Smock For A White Witch



Jaye Sudar


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

I truly appreciate my husband's mad computer skills in downsizing my photos, and acting as cameraman.

Outline the story …

The White Witch, by Elizabeth Goudge, is set in the 1640’s during the English Civil War. The main character, Froniga Haslewood, is a half Romani, half noble Englishwoman. She is a skilled healer, and herbalist who navigates between the worlds of her English family, and the Romani. At times, she thwarts convention by wearing a Romani green gown. Froniga’s mix of herbalism, Romani magic, and faith makes her a complex character. I relate to her as I am a gardener and herbalist.

Clothing is mentioned in the book in the most vague ways possible. I researched what was worn in the time period, and found the dearth of information available rather frustrating. Pinterest provided much needed inspiration.

I’ve made a smock based on smock #78 in Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 4. It is close to the appropriate timeline in the book. I believe that Froniga would not have worn the latest fashions, but would still have nice clothing due to the Haslewood family connections. Therefore, having a smock of an earlier style would have been fine. I simplified the embroidery too.

Outline the construction…

The fabric is 4 oz linen, which I felt would echo that made by Froniga. It is mentioned in the book that she spins and weaves her own fabric. It is sewn with linen thread. The wrist and neckline ties are two loop finger braids. I used green pearl cottons for the embroidery to echo her love of the green gown mentioned in the book. The lace was gifted to me.

The entire garment is hand sewn. While I have sewn for many years, I have only been making historical garments for the last 10 years. I have ventured into the realm of totally hand sewn garments over the past 5 years. I love the way handsewn clothing drapes, and moves.

This garment is the second I have drafted from a Patterns of Fashion book. As I normally do historical garments of the 900’s, this smock was a challenge. The neck gussets were an interesting method for making a neckline that I had not encountered before. The first few attempts were ugly. Sizing up the pattern was also a cause for frustration ,and skill improvement. As for the underarm gussets, I found the split top gore a challenge to set and line up correctly. Melding the three seams together was cause for much reworking. I was glad when they finally fit correctly. All seams are sewn with a running backstitch, and felled. The hem is whip stitched. The cuffs and neckline opening are done with a rolled hem.




  1. Avatar Jane Riddles Sheffler on March 12, 2021 at 7:16 am

    It came out so lovely! I might have to try one myself!

    • Avatar JAYE SUDAR on March 14, 2021 at 2:53 am

      Thank you! I was a little concerned about the neck gussets, but they work really well.

  2. Avatar Stef McKnight on March 12, 2021 at 7:59 am

    The attention to detail is very notable. Such beautiful needlework

    • Avatar JAYE SUDAR on March 14, 2021 at 2:54 am

      Thank you. I enjoy handwork far more than I ever thought I would.

  3. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 8:44 am

    your needlework is fabulous! and the story is so beautiful, your entry reflects it so well

    • Avatar JAYE SUDAR on March 14, 2021 at 2:56 am

      🙂 Thank you. The book is very good, and one of my favourites. It was interesting to work on clothing from an era different from my “norm”.

  4. Avatar Susan Scott on March 12, 2021 at 10:51 pm

    Stunning and the beauty is in the simplicity.

    • Avatar JAYE SUDAR on March 14, 2021 at 2:57 am

      Thank you. It is simple in many ways, but I found the split gussets interesting. They added style and fit.

  5. Avatar Jackie Jacobs on March 13, 2021 at 3:14 am

    So simple, yet so perfectly constructed. Awesome job on the gussets and the hand stitching of the seams. An awesome touch to the overall garment. Great job.

    • Avatar JAYE SUDAR on March 14, 2021 at 3:00 am

      Thank you. I have really enjoyed hand stitching garments, especially historical ones. I find that they hang or drape differently. Working the embroidery over the seams was a lovely finish. I just wish that I had started sooner. This garment was done on and off over 26 days.

  6. Avatar Mandy Pursley on March 14, 2021 at 4:58 pm

    Lovely stitching and detail work! You really elevated a simple garment into a piece of art. Very well done!

    • Avatar JAYE SUDAR on March 15, 2021 at 2:40 am

      Thank you. It is the beginning of an entire outfit. I enjoy working with a garment and bringing out what sings to me.

  7. Avatar Carly Van Groeningen on March 19, 2021 at 11:33 am

    Beautifully done! I have a lot of admiration for all that hand sewing!

    • Avatar JAYE SUDAR on March 24, 2021 at 1:54 am

      Thank you. 🙂 I really enjoy the way a hand sewn garment drapes.

  8. Avatar Phanuel Jagna Levinsen on March 20, 2021 at 10:39 pm

    The detail-work with the green yarns is simply stunning. Wonderful garment!

  9. Avatar Maeri Certo on March 26, 2021 at 1:30 pm

    Your gores look beautifully set and your embroidery is lovely!

  10. Constance MacKenzie Constance MacKenzie on March 28, 2021 at 5:36 pm

    Thank you for introducing me to another Elizabeth Goudge book.

  11. Avatar JAYE SUDAR on April 3, 2021 at 5:06 am

    You are so welcome. My favourite of hers is The Middle Window.

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