Sunday, 4 October 2015

Coloured cap and coloured hair powder

I made a coloured 18th century cap earlier this year, but haven't got around to take photos until now. This kind of cap is called "bindmössa" in Sweden and in the 18th century it could be both soft or clued on a stiff frame. The stiff version is very common in Swedish traditional costumes today. The patterns is from Duran Textiles. The fabric is a remnant of silk brocade from the 1940's, something I found among my grandmother's sewing stuff. The pleated cotton lace is not a whole cap, but just a pieces tacked to the brim. In Sweden this is called "stycke", which means just piece. Originally two caps were worn, a white and a coloured one, but in the 18th century the under cap had been reduced to the small part that actually showed.

I also made my third tête mutton hairstyle. I've written a little about it here. This time Itried my yellow hair powder. Not for the powdering before-styling, but after to the hair was done to spruce it up. As I thought it gets more of yellow tint than blinding yellowness.

Not visible, but I also tried out my 18th century perfume, Aqua Mellis, The King's Honeywater for the first time. It has been left to mature for a year and it smells really lovely now. Very soft and you had to come very close to sense it, but lovely. A sort of spicy citrus. There is no honey in it at all.


Monday, 28 September 2015

Fontange caps

High on my wish list is a 1690-1710 mantilla and with that I would need a fontange cap. This rather absurd cap fashion became popular during the 1680’s and remained popular until the 1710’s, or so. It was usually paired with a high hairstyle, confusingly enough usually called a fontange hairstyle. To be technical the fontange was the ribbons on the cap, the high pleated frill was called a frelange. As it rose higher and higher it was supported by a wire construction called commode.

The only extant fontange cap, as far as i know, is actually worn by a doll, known as Lady Clapham. V&A describes it like this:

Circular doll's cap consisting of the cap, wire and ribbon. The cap is made of spotted lawn edged in English bobbin lace which falls into two lappets on either side of the face. It has a graduated double frill ('Monte la haut'), a narrower frill in front and a taller frill behind. The frill is supported by a wire covered in muslin formed in a semi-circle with eight radiating spokes graduating to the highest in the centre. The cap is circled with pink silk taffeta ribbon which is twisted about the cap, and is tied in two bows and lined with brown silk. The ribbon is padded in between and sewn to a cotton band which forms a base to attach to the doll's head. The cap is secured by a linen cord drawn through the back breadth.

Victoria & Albert
Unfortunately no one seems to have made a proper pattern.
If you look at art, the standing frill seems to have been done rather differently. 
Anne de Souvré, marquise de Louvois by Simon Dequoy, 1695

16Mme Roig, née Theresa Gazanyola, unknown artist, 1699

María Luisa Gabriela de Saboya by Miguel Jacinto Meléndez, 1712-1714

Unknown widow, ca 1690

Maria Anna of Pfalz-Neuburg by Godfried Schalcken, 1690 
Go to the web page to be able to zoom in.

Marchioness Angela Maria Lombardi, unknown artist, ca 1710

Recueil des modes de la cour de France, 'Femme de qualité, en d'Eshabillé d'Esté' by Nicholas Arnout, 1687
I’m making a modified version of two layers of fine white linen and lace made by my grandmother.

Monday, 7 September 2015

What I'm working on

I haven’t posted much this year because I haven’t sewn much. All the joy in sewing just disappeared and it was only this summer it started to return. But I’ve actually finished something:
A 1940’s style handbag (still in need of a last ironing). It will match an unlined coat which is halfway done.

I’ve also started an embroidery project, which will probably take some time:

The pattern is from a jacket in V&A, only that one is embroidered in silver. I’m taking a liberty in using blue silk thread, but it’s a period correct thread; Gilt Sylke Twist in Popyngay.
I’m also working on a working pattern for a pair of 17th century stays.Merging my shape with the patterns for the pink stays with sleeves from V&A are a bit of a trial. I’m on toile number three now, but I’m going to make it in cardboard as the fit seems fine but I want to make sure all the angles work. I also plan to make a mantilla. I don’t need more projects, I know, but the extant mantilla I have the pattern from is dated to 1690-1710 which would give me a quick 17th century appropriate garment and also one that doesn’t required more than token lacing. Also, I found a white/silver brocade at Pure Silks that I had to have… (The black is also for the mantilla, the pink taffeta for a 17th century petticoat.) I need to tweak the pattern a bit, though.
And I’m making a fontange cap to go with it. Not a very big one and a chance to use some of the lace my grandmother made. Next step is pleating the standing part and attach it to the cap.

Add caption

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Working women in late 18th century Sweden

It’s not quite true that I haven’t been sewing this year, I have worked on a couple of small cap and embroidery projects. But that is just about what my energy level has been up to. I haven’t blogged much either, but hopefully both sewing and blogging will work better for me now. So I thought you would be interested in seeing some of Pehr Hilleström’s (1732-1816) painting of working women I have seen this summer. Most were seen at an exhibition at Sven-Harry’s art museum and two at Julitta manor house. The picture quality is reflected by the fact that most were taken with my mobile phone.
Some of you may remember that one of my costuming pet peeves is when a garment is dismissed just because it wasn’t worn at one particular place. The costume world is, for good reasons, turned toward England, France and North America, but there are a number of regional clothing differences and the working woman’s clothes often reflected that. For example, the dreaded sleeveless bodice and shift combo, was actually a perfectly acceptable for a peasant woman in Sweden during the 18th century. And coloured caps were also worn, something I was once told didn’t exist during the 1700s. This laundress is wearing a bodice that seems unboned and a simple shift. Her blue cap is what in Sweden is known as a “bindmössa”. It’s a cap made of a coloured, often expensive fabric and in the 18th century it could cover the whole hair or just be placed on the back of the head. It often was (and is) stiffened. It’s still an important feature in many Swedish traditional costume. Originally this cap was worn over a white linen cap, but in the 18th century the cap was worn on it’s own. It could, however, be worn with a “stycke” (meaning piece) made of fine linen or lace and attached to the cap in a way which made it look like a separate cap was worn underneath. A ribbon bow was often attached to the back of the cap.

A "bindmössa" could be worn by the middle classes as well. Bellamn mentions the rather wealthy Madame Bergström who is wearing a cap made of  green silk moiré and  decorated with silver lace. Underneath the cap she is wearing a "stycke" On the picture below you can't see much of the actual cap, but you can see the "stycke"

This woman has very nice cuffs, I Think. She's not wearnig a cap, but a "klut", a neckerchief folded into a triangle and wrapped around the head.
As is this woman

Another bodice, this one clearly unboned. There are several extant ones and they range from being completely unboned, having bones in strategic placed up to half-boned.
Of course white caps were worn as well

These close-ups are from a large painting showing a party outside Svartsjö castle, showing a variety of clothes. Lots of stripes!


Monday, 24 August 2015

It's plastic and it's fantastic

The party where historical accuracy is anathema. A couple of friends and I have been talking of having a plastic 18th century party for ages, and this year we finally managed one! We were about 20 brave souls who dived into the wonderful world of plastic, PVC and polyester and a very good time we had.

I took a lot of care into my makeup and wig. Note the attention to the oh so important details like a lot of eyeshadow, visible hairline and rosebud mouth. There was some drama when I realised that the glue to my false eyelashes had dried out, but I decided to be brave and go anyway.
Crushed velvet is underrated- I think J looked great in his breeches and waistcoat. One of these days there will be a matching coat, but I think wearing the waistcoat open like that added panache. The wig was styled after watching Amadeus. I had hoped to make myself a red velvet gown as well, but time didn’t permit it. Luckily I had a dead dinosaur in the attic and paired it with a pair of PVC stays I made years ago when I wanted to try out a new stays pattern and test sewing in PVC. Nice to finally have an opportunity to wear it.

The guests approached their inner bad taste in different way. Some, like me and Lovisa, went for correct shape in the wrong material. She won our costume Contest.
Some looked like they were ready to be extras in an Adam Ant video.

Plastic bags came to good use.
As were old curtains, back-lacing and a complete disregard for proper lacing.

Gentlemen did the right thing and either skipped the coat or the waistcoat.
Bright colours were THE thing.
We also had inflatable plastic pigs for the proper La Petite Trianon-feeling.

Johanna was the most elegant, I think. Wearing a battleship on her head was actually pretty elegant. You can see more pictures here. And Åsa, who sadly couldn’t come, show her outfit here. And here is a whole slew of fantastic pictures by Helen.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Social media and the myth of perfection

Wearing History posted about media and social perfection recently. It's easy to think that those who post beautiful pictures lives life that are constantly perfect, so she gave us a challenge:

Do a blog post, gathering images from your blog, Facebook, and Instagram feed and share what was REALLY going on.  You don’t have to go into detail.  But let’s just take a moment to be raw and open and honest so that we can connect on a less-than-glossy level.
I tend to avoid the cameras when things are bad, but I have a few.
Deep inside an untreated depression.
Unemployed and dealing with the aftermath of divorce and depression.

One month into an unusual kind of pneumonia. It too seven months Before I got a diagnosis and spent all that time short of breath, coughing, fatigued and with odd temperature spikes.
Several months into the same pneumonia.

Sveltering heat.

Reeling from the shock of the unexpected death of a realtive.

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