Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Future plans

I went through my sewing projects and realized that I have only 10 UFO's left from last year. More than halfway done, it other words. I still plan to have none at the beginning of 2015. Which mean that I can actually start to think ahead and plan for the future. Once, before I got caught up in the 18th century I dreamed of having a historical wardrobe from every century. I don't have such grand plans anymore, I merely would like to have something from the 15th century forward. I won't be able to make that many gowns next year, but I can at least start to make a dent. And here is what I dream of, in chronological order, but not in the order I will make them.

15th century

I have never been able to muster much enthusiasm for the fashion during the Middle ages, but it would be nice to be able to attend Medieval events. After delving into the fashion mysteries of the Dark ages a bit I feel that I actually can feel enthusiastic for the 15th century and mostly for the type of gown that is often called Burgundian.
Detail from The Donne Triptych by Hans Memling c. 1475

Of course that would also mean that I need to make a shift.
Detalhe de um quadro por Boccace, Le Décaméron, Flandres, século XV. Mulher de camisa a vestir porvavelmente uma saia.

And I would probably also make breast support. I do need something to keep them in check and a snugly fitted shift doesn't make it. And now we have the Lengberg brassiere which Katafalk has made and as her bosom is almost as large as mine I Think it will work well for me.

A kirtle.
Detail from The Raising of the Cross found here.

And suitable headgear. I find myself quite attracted to these cut-off cones, for some obscure reason.
Portrait of A Lady by Rogier van der Weyden, c. 1460

Portrait of A Young Woman, attributed to Hans Memling, second half of the 15th century

16th century

I like a lot of 16th century fashions, but I would probably go for a German gown from the first half of the century..
Katharina von Bora by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1526

Lucas Cranach or his workshop, 1525

Or a very late style, which actually would work on both side of the year 1600.
Johann Jacob Firnhabers stambok, 1614-1620

Regardless of style I would, of course, need the suitable underpinnings.

17th century

I've already started, but I want to make a mantua as well. No, I want to make two, one early from the 1670's and one that could work for either side of the year 1700. I find it facinating that a T-shaped garment imported from the East could evolve into the iconic gowns of the 18th Century. I recently bought a whole bolt of japanese kimonofabric in thin striped wool and I Think it would be interesting to make an early mantua out of it. The fabric is only 35 cm wide, but the front pieces of the extant garments I have seen the pattern of has that width. It isn't too farfetched that the first mantuas were made up from sucj narrow wirdths and I want to make one just to see how I would need to pierece that fabric. And then I want to make a later style to compare.
Eleonore, Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg, German school, dated 1658-1680 but I think it can be narrowed down to the 1670's when one consider the mantua and the hairstyle.
Lighweight wool in brick red with White and yellow pattern. The pattern is not period correct, but as stripes were popular I think it can work anyway.

Embroidered mantua c. 1700

But before I make either of them, I need stays. Yay, I new reason to make stays! I want to make the pink ones in V&A, only not in pink.
Silk stays, 1660-1680

I also need to make a shift to suit and the later Mantua needs to be topped of with a fontange.

19th century

For all the changing fashions of the 19th century, very few tempts me. I do like the fashion in the late 1820's/early 1830's. The waist is more or less back to there it is supposed to be, the skirts and arms are getting fuller.
Green velvet evening gown, 1830's

Also, some seriously crazy hair was going on.
Lady In Brown Dress with Fur Collar by Etienne Bouchardy, 1832

Eugenie Hortense Auguste Napoleon de Beauharnais by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1826

I have an-almost-completed Regency corset and from what I can gather that style would work a bit later as well.

And, of course, I would need a chemise. And for every period I need proper shoes and this and that to complete it all. So clearly it will all take some time to make it all. I will start with the 17th Century stays and then the early Mantua and then we'll see. It seems likely to be 19th Century as there is a rather lively 19th Century Group in Stockholm. For the summer I will focus on the robe battante and my 40's wardrobe, though.

Monday, 9 June 2014

New article on 17th century makeup on Your Wardrobe Unlock'd

My second article on mid-17th century beauty is now up. Makeup trends, skin care and ingridients and I also do two makeup tutorials with period makeup. I thought it was interesting to see how different makeup can look depending on ingridient and was of application.

If you subscribe to Your Wardrobe Unlock'd, then you can read the article here.

Monday, 2 June 2014

A few pictures from the 18th century erotic calendar

You may remember that Gustafs Skål produced a calendar for 2013 and both I and J were involved. The theme was erotic, but the 18th century way, with a raised hemline there and a stolen kiss there. 2013 is long since over, so I thought I should show you a few of the pictures. They were all based of period paintings and pictures, but we did not set out to copy the pictures.

The photographer is Staffan Huss, you can find his web page here. All the models were, at the time, members of Gustafs Skål and none of us are professionals. All the clothes and some of the props belonged to us. All the pictures were taken at Kristinehovsmalmgård, an 18th century manor house in Stockholm.

A stolen kiss, originally depicted by Nicolas Lafrensen.

Models: Barbro Hellmin, Natalie Hulsin and Henry Wölling

The original is called The Indiscrete Wife and I don't know who originally created it.

Models: Agneta Stehager, Carina Rosén and Henry Rosén

This is one of the best photos. You wouldn't believe what a mess the attic was, but it turned out amazing!

Model: Caroline Eklund
Le Lever de Fanchon by Nicolas Bernard Lépicié, 1773
I was a bit shocked when we looked through the pictures and I realized that our picture was the raciest of them all! The painting, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, can be found in several version and the one we used is called The Beautiful Servant Girl. Other versions, however, are called The Useless Resistance... My first model experience, so the stiffness isn't only due to the stays.

Models: Elisa Edgren and Jan Schmidt

Take a peek at Anna's shoe. She is a shoemaker and have made it herself!

Models: Anna Lindqvist and Henry Rosén

Elégante à sa toilette by Michel Garnier, 1796
The title of the original painting is Mme. de Bouvillon Tempts Fate by Asking Ragotin to Search for a Flea. We tried to find a way to incorprorate a dog and a cat because of the great symbolic value, the dog stands for fidelity and the cat for female sexuality (note the cat on the attic painting above), but unfortunately we couldn't.
Models: Martin Lejon and Marianne Berndt

Jean-Baptiste Pater

Friday, 16 May 2014

Sewing plans and summer plans and health

The echo temple at Haga
I try to keep my personal life out of my blogging, but sometimes, of course, it intrudes anyway. Like right now and as this is something important to every woman, so I will let it intrude for once. Some time ago a small tumor was found in one of my breasts and even if the doctors thought it very unlikely that it was malign, they wanted to remove it and booked me in for surgery pretty much immediately. The surgery went well and the final test result says that I am clear of any danger, but ladies, I can’t urge you enough- go and have your breasts checked out regularly! I’m very glad that I do!

So I am well again, the only lingering effect is that I’m still sore, which only affects my life when it comes to my sewing plans, because I can’t wear stays. And as I have been unwell for a large part of the late winter/early spring (I had a few weeks with my ever returning bronchitis), my sewing plans needs to be re-made. I had decided from the onset that they are flexible as I plan to help me sewing and I knew my plans was over ambitious, but I wanted to try it anyway. Now, however, it’s time to let go and re-think.

First, I have to put any sewing projects on hold that I need to wear stays for. That means the 17th century purple bodice, Gustaf III’s national gown, or rather the robe part as well as finishing the embroidered polonaise. I can still work on the petticoats for the purple bodice and the national gown.

Second, I will give up trying to make all the challenges on HSF14. I like the concept and I love the Facebook-group, but one of the things that makes me not sew are just deadlines and right now I get more stressed by the deadlines every second week than inspired. I have also realized that there is a danger that I throw out my planned projects to make something that fits with a challenge. Which means things I really want to finish gets bumped back. I also have a priority list and I want to keep to it. So for now I will be happy if something I finish fits a challenge and let the rest go. Next year I will hopefully have less planned projects so I can be more flexible.

So what has worked for me? To fix four projects at the time and only allow me to work on those. This has worked really well. I devote most of my sewing time on the item that is on top of my list, but can switch to one of the others when I need a break. This also means that I always have something for hand sewing when I watch a movie. When I finish the top project, the next one gets bumped up and I can add the next one on my list. For example, right now I’m working on finishing a 40’s silk noil skirt, but I’m also working on the petticoat for the national gown, the skirt for the 1910’s suit and adding a new project, a Robe Volante. Which you may have suspected after yesterday’s post.

I have wanted to make a Robe Volante since forever and though it was certainly not part of my plans, I also didn’t have plans for breast surgery. I have no idea when I will be able to wear my stays again and there are usually a lot of summer activities. I do have my blue casaque, but I always feel frumpy in it. Granted, being rather big, I will probably look like an elephant in a Volante, as I do in the casaque, but I am not going to make it frumpy. I’m going to make it in silk taffeta that is shot with pale gold/dark blue, which makes it a shimmering green, and I’m going to give it gold details and wear it with my panier. I may be an elephant, but I will be a shimmering, glittering elephant, not a frumpy one.

When the silk noil skirt is done I will put the Volante on top and add the double-sided raincoat that I have been stalling. 

On June 6 I hope for wonderful weather, because there will be a picnic in the garden of Haga Castle. It will be a historical picnic, but it will be multi-eras, which I think will be a lot of fun! And hopefully my Volante will be done, but if it isn’t, I will go as a frump.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The Robe Volante in art and reality

Robe Volante, c. 1720.
Yellow and red changeable striped silk taffeta with racket
sleeves ("manches en raquette"); large pleats at front and back.

In Sweden there is an idiom that says “A loved child has many names”. If that is true, then the Robe Volante was very dear, as it also were called Robe Battante, Adrienne, contouche, innocente, flying dress and, in a shorter version, casaque. It became popular in the 1720’s and remained fashionable for some 20 years. Like the mantua it had deep pleats in the front and the back, but on the mantua those pleats were held close to the body, first with a sash and then the pleats were sewn down. In the Volante these pleats were hanging freely, giving the gown a loose bell-shape, something that was underlined as it was worn with something else that became fashionable in the 1720’s, the hoop skirt, or panier. It was originally bell shaped, but got wider and flatter, in the 1730’s, to reach its widest points in the 1740’s.


The Volante very quickly morphed into the Robe Française where the front of the gown became fitted. The Volante and Française co-existed and it is sometimes difficult to say it an extant gown is an unusually fitted Volante or an unusually loose Française. There were also variations within the Volante's. The first ones had loosely pleated backs, the stacked double box pleats was something that developed in the 1730’s.

Robe Volante in pale blue silk, 1730's, Metropolitan Museum

This Volante is open to the waist and very similar to this one. Others were closed all the way. The neckline always seem to be V-shaped. Despite being so loose, stays were generally worn underneath, though probably not laced very hard. It may sound odd to wear stays, but not if one comsider that this is what a woman wore for breast support in the 18th century and she might not (I wouldn't because that would actually be more uncomfortable than wearing stays) want to let it all hang freely.

The backpleats looks to be quite loose here and the sleeves looks pleated, another old-fashioned look that some extant mantuas also have.

Detail from L'Enseigne de Gersaint by Antoine Watteau, 1720
Robe Volante, 1720-1735, Musée Galliera de la Mode de la Ville de Paris
The pictures were found here.
This gown also have decorative buttons down the front, though I'm unsure if they are also functional. They can be seen on paintings from the period as well.

Like this one, in velvet.

Élisabeth-Charlotte d'Orléans,Duchess of Lorraine and her son François-Étienne by Alexis Simon Belle,1722

Here is a version with decorative frogs and a somewhat peculiar frill around teh neck. The stays do seem to be very loose.

Declaration of Love by Troy,1725

A Robe Volante worn completely open.
L'amour et le badinage by Jean-Baptiste Pater, painted before 1736
And getting in and out of it.

Dame à sa toilette recevant un cavalier by Jean-François de Troy

After the Ball by Jean-Francois De Troy, 1735
This version looks like it is closed by hooks and eyes.

The Alarm by Jean Francois de Trow, 1723
With more distinct pleating in the back.

Robe Volante, 1735-1740, Metropolitan Museum

A painting were both versions a worn, both the Volante and the Francaise.


Declaration of Love by Jean Francois de Troy, 1731
Robe Volante c. 1730
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
There was, as I have already mentioned, a shorter version, the casaque.


Lady Sealing A Letter by Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin, c. 1732
It's possible that they were just shortened volantes which had been worn, but there are two beautiful embroidered casaques which clearly have been made shorter by purpose.

Embroidered ölinen casaque (Italian), 1725-1740, Metropolitan Museum

Silk casaque with embroidery in white silk, 1730-1740's, Kulturen, Lund

The petticoat is quilted, but sadly re-made so it's impossible to say what it looked like originally.
The loose fit of the Volante must have made it ideal to use as a coat as you could have worn several layers underneath. The lady enjoying a day on the ice, must have done so to stand the cold.

Detail from Winter by Jean-Baptiste Pater,1725
It must also have been very comfortable for travels. There have been some debate over these paintings online, but I think they are meant to be showing travelling clothes. Masques were not only worn for masqueardes, but for travels as well, to protect the face from sun and dust.

Countess de Rieux, by Maurice Quentin de La Tour, 1742
Posthumous portrait of Louise-Élisabeth de France, Duchess of Parma by Jean-Marc Nattier, c. 1760
A very similar portrait, I guess one of them is a copy of the other.

Unknown woman found at Just A Wench Livejournal

Two gowns balancing the fine line between Volante and Francaise

C. 1735, The Museum at FIT

C. 1735, Les Arts Décoratifs

An assortment of paintings showing of different versions of the Volante.

Mrs. Elizabeth Symonds by Allan Ramsey, 1740

Nicholas Lancret

The Four Times od Day- Midday by Nicholas Lancret
People In the Park, the workshop of Nicholas Lancret

A Lady and Gentleman Taking Coffee with Children in a Garden by Nicholas Lancret, 1742
Follow the link underneath for a high res version.

St. James' Park and the Mall, 1745
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