Saturday 31 December 2011

Happy New Year!

I hope you will have a great beginning of 2012!

(Picture source:

Thursday 29 December 2011

That was the year that was 2011

Looking back I realise that I have finished a few things this year after all. Not as much as I would want, but still. I also started the the 1940’s wardrobe-project, which has been a lot of fun and something that I look forward to continue.

So, more or less in the order they have been sewn, the finished projects of 2011:

The deer hat for the 12th Night masked ball.

A 1950 faux fur jacket.

Friday 16 December 2011

New museum collections online

Madame Berg brought to my attention that The Royal Armory, Skokloster castle and the Halwyl palace now has a database online on their collections, to be found here. . In Swedish only so far, though. The armory, for example, has a very large, perhaps the largest collection of 17th century men’s clothes in the world. If you want to look for clothes, then put in “Dräkt” after “Klassification” and the year you want to search for in the boxes after “År från” and “År till”. Choose “ja” on “Föremål med bild” to ensure that you only get the items with a picture.

I found a lot of goodies during a quick search. As I have a special interest for theater and masquerade costumes, here are a few I found:

Theatre costume “Watteau” from the end of the 17th century in taffeta and linen.

Monday 5 December 2011

UnFinished Projects

As I said in my previous post, I really don’t need any new historical projects this year. I can’t help that I felt a compelling tug to join the 1912 project. Well, actually, I will need to sew a gown of 1912 as I’m pretty certain that there will be some Titanic-related events next year, but what I will not, even if I would love to, is to join the pattern test sewing. I’d love to, but no. I will look forward to see what other people will come up with- I’m sure there will be some lovely stuff.

To make it a bit more visible for myself and as a warning example for others, here are my UFOs:

Thursday 1 December 2011

What I want versus what I need

(Picture source:

The end of 2011 is near and I have a strong feeling that this year has been a bit of a shopping spree for me. I haven’t shopped over my income, but I feel have been shopping more and somewhat unwisely. Some things have been necessitates like refreshing a rather worn bra wardrobe, but did I really need all those fabrics, perfumes and funny trinkets? No, I didn’t. And with the upcoming year there are a few things I really want to be able to afford, like a trip to Venice in April and remodeling our bedroom. I feel a strong need to look over by shopping patterns and stop buying what I may want but don’t really need. There have been quite a lot of talk about trying to put a stop to needless shopping on blogs this past year or so and a lot of it make a lot of sense to me, like The Seamless Pledge:

1. No buying new clothes for the duration of your pledge. By new, I mean any new mass-manufactured clothes.
2. You can buy second-hand manufactured clothes – so be prepared to get to know your local charity shops awfully well.
3. Vintage clothing is a-ok!
4. Anything you’ve made by hand is definitely allowed. Get your sewing machines and your kntting needles out, because handmade is definitely in!
5. Get involved! Join in on the Flickr group and like our Facebook page. I’ll be looking to feature pledgers on the blog in the future. I’d love to see your second-hand finds, refashions and hand-made creations!

Food for thought, definitely, but I don’t think I could completely forego buying new clothes, or rather, shoes and underwear.

I think that I, instead, will turn to The Slow Fashioned Pledge and not only apply that to clothes, but to everything I buy.

Friday 4 November 2011

Extant stays from the 17th century

Compared with the 18th century therearen’t many stays still around from the 17th century. There isn’t much written about them either- I suspect there are a buried treasured hidden in museum collections that no one has ever bothered about. Here I have collected information of the extant stays I know about. To not make the post too long, I’ve saved the boned bodices of that period for a later post.

The oldest stays we have are German and dated to 1598. It was part of the burial clothes for Pfaltzgrafin Dorothea Sabine von Neuberg and is described by Janet Arnold in i Patterns of Fashion 1560-1620 (You can also find the pattern in Corsets and Crinolines by Norah Waugh. It’s made out of two layers of linen and one of silk, boned with whalebone. There is a pocket in the front for a busk, laced in the back and, as you can see from the picture, there is no boning over the chest.

(Picture source:

Tuesday 25 October 2011

The masked ball at Kalmar castle

I had a great time at Kalmar. The castle is lovely with beautiful baroque rooms, the food was excellent and the company great. Perhaps some of the costumes weren’t the very vest 18th century clothes I have seen, but there were enough truly beautiful ones to make up for it. Unfortunately neither I nor my darling felt we wanted to lug around our big camera, so we only took a few pictures of each other before the actual ball begun.

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Admits defeat

I have been sewing on my robe de cour. And sewing. And sewing. And started to feel that I didn’t want to go on a masked ball because I felt so rushed and stressed and that even if I sew every waking moment, I still wouldn’t be able to finish it in time. Either I would have to resort to sloppy sewing, or I could retreat. I choose the last. I have spent so much time on it now and I don’t want to rush it, I want to make it properly. So I fall back to what I have and will go in this gown instead.

I’m very pleased with that outfit too, so I’m sure I won’t regret. Clearly I couldn’t make a robe de cour in six weeks without going crazy. I think, though, that I will be able to finish it quite sanely after the ball.

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Some more 17th century ladies

This is my last batch of 17th century pictures. I hope you'll enjoy them!

I like the "buttons" that alternate down the front.

Sunday 16 October 2011

A 17th century society without compare

Yesterday we had a first informal gathering of 17th century enthusiasts and I must say that it was a success. We had all provided to the table, so we ate from a table loaded with various kinds of food, which felt quite right. We were 12, but there were quite a few who wanted to come but were unable to. After much talk and laughter we decided to give ourselves a name, “1600-talssällskapet Makalös”. Which, translated to English, would be The 17th century society without compare.

Friday 14 October 2011

How to make a robe de cour in six weeks and hopefully not go crazy, part 5

At the moment I feel like all my waking time is spent sewing. It’s little more than a week to the ball and I have to make a white domino for my darling as well. What I have done so far is this.

Hour 14-17 Stitching extra boning channels down the front and across. Linen canvas and inserted boning made it quite a hassle.

Tuesday 27 September 2011

The real century of the décolleté?

Everyone who has ever worn a pair of stays knows that it’s the best push up bra in the world. However, if you turn to the world of art, the fashion in the 18th century seem to have been all about ignoring what happens to the female chest when its pushed up and compressed instead just treating it like a smooth expanse of flesh.

When it came to the 17th century I had the notion that it was all about high neck and cartwheel collars by the beginning and those straight over the shoulders neckline by the end of it. You know, you carry an image in your head, but the more I look, the more I find that in the 17th century, breasts were not something you ignored if you were an artist. Did that nice low-cut gown show the chest, then, by all means, pain the chest.

Saturday 24 September 2011

A blog you really should take a peek at

I really, really have to point you toward this blog; Before the Automobile . Absolutely stunning 18th and 19th century clothes made by a Finnish lady. The only problem with it is that it gives me an acute inferiority complex… :D

Monday 19 September 2011

How to make a robe de cour in six weeks and hopefully not go crazy, part 4

As I have a deadline and work full time, so my sewing time is limited, I’m using both machine sewing and hand sewing. The machine for such things as boning channels and inner seams, hand sewing for everything else.
Hour 2-4 Sewing the boning channels. Easy work, but quite tedious.

Thursday 15 September 2011

Anthony van Dyck

I have always been very fond of the portraits of Sir Anthony van Dyck who lived 1599 to 1641. He was a Flemish painter, but also worked in Italy, not to mention England- he became a painter at the court of Charles I. He painting often show off the clothes very well and I love how his persons really do look like persons with their own individuality. He also paints children that look like children, even if they are dressed like adults.

Tuesday 13 September 2011

How to make a robe de cour in six weeks and hopefully not go crazy, part 3

Materials The inner layers of the bodice will be made in linen canvas. I love linen canvas- it’s the 18th century stay maker’s best friend, if you ask me. I have used it in two previous pairs, but had ran out of it when I made my 1790’s stays. In retrospect I blame the fact that they turned out too large on using more lightweight linen that stretched too much.

Monday 12 September 2011

How to make a robe de cour in six weeks and hopefully not go crazy, part 2

Construction: I will base my robe de cour on the ones extant in Stockholm, but though they are similar in construction, they are not identical. All the bodices are in effect fully boned stays, covered with silver brocade so the boning channels aren't visible, laced in the back. The lacing holes are not visible; the outer layer extends over them. They have short sleeves of the same fabric as the rest of the gown and on them sleeves, or cuffs, in starched and pleated silk gauze are (or have been) basted. They also have long trains, attached to the bodice with the help of cords and hooks.

Saturday 10 September 2011

How to make a robe de cour in six weeks and hopefully not go crazy, part 1

Preparation time: Years. The armoury in Stockholm is lucky to have four robe de cours from the 18th century and at least one of them are displayed at any given time. It was the first 18th century gown I ever saw and despite my father's horror stories that the dress walked around at night with no head, along with the empty armour, I still loved the gown. When I first started to make 18th century clothes I dreamed of making a robe de cour, but there never seemed to be a good opportunity for it. A court dress are, after all, meant for the really grand occasions. But now I have a big party coming up- the masked ball at Kalmar castle in October, so why not take the chance now.

Sunday 4 September 2011

17th century ladies

I found a little treasure here. Click on the pictures to get the details.

I love the black lace and look at her skirt. It seems to have been pleated into small pleats first and then pleated into big ones.

Saturday 3 September 2011

Still dreaming about the 17th century

The 17th century seems to be moving closer. A few months ago I created a Facebook group just to see if there were any interest for the 17th century apart from me and the few I have talked with; I jakten på 1600-talet. (In Swedish only, translates to “The hunt for the 17th century”). To my surprise and delight the interest was larger than I thought and now some drifty people has proposed a first meeting to see if we can’t make this into a society. I think it’s a great suggestion!

Another nice thing; To my delight I have found out that Susan North and Jenny Tiramani are editing this; Seventeenth-Century Women's Dress Patterns: Book Two . Scheduled to be published in June 2012. Seems there will be a book on later 17th century clothes after all.

Monday 29 August 2011

I have made a hat

It’s a bit quiet here. Not that I don’t sew, I just haven’t finished anything lately. I’m on the last leg of a hand sewn 17th century shift and I need to get the gown for the 18th century masquerade in October going. Well, I’ve finished one thing, this 1940’s green felt hat. If you follow Fashionable Forties, then you have already seen it, but if not, well, it is sewing, after all.

I had great troubles with the pattern, the infamous Vintage Vogue V7464, hat B. If you feel inclined, then there is a dress diary here and here. One thing I noticed when wearing it that the elastic did nothing to keep the hat on. It just slid on my hair- I guess it would work better if I had had my hair down. Luckily I inherited a few hat pins from my grandmother, so I used one of those to keep the hat in place. Much more becoming than elastic anyway. Despite the frustration when trying to work with the pattern, I’m really very pleased with the result.

Monday 18 July 2011

17th century embroidered jacket

I have for quite some time been lacking in embroidery projects. Of course, I ought to finish the petticoat to my embroidered polonaise but truth to be told, I'm a bit bored with it. After working on it for five years I would like to do something else for a while. One embroidery project I have been toying with for years is to try to replicate this jacket from Victoria & Albert.

It has always felt like a too complicated thing to do, but in Seventeenth-Century Women's Dress Patterns the jacket is analysed which means I have pattern, embroidery pattern and construction at hand. The embroidery in itself isn't complicated, only wriggly. The biggest problem right now is the fabric. It's made of fustian, but not with wool but with a linen/cotton blend. I'm not sure if that is possible to get and if, if the modern fabric is anything like the 17th century one. Perhaps I should just use linen, which is, after all, used on other jackets from the same period.

I'm currently on vacation at the summer house, but unfortunately the weather isn't that great, which means my son is bored to his teeth and we are watching a lot of movies. So I'm hand-sewing an 17th century shift. It's in linen gauze and the construction makes it impossible to use the machine. Quite boring work but not hard and I'm sure it will be very nice when it is done.

Thursday 30 June 2011

My grandmother in the 1930's.

My maternal grandmother Greta has probably been the person who has influenced me the most when it comes to sewing. She was all her life a very snappy dresser. My Mum has let me scan and post pictures of my grandmother and even though the pictures are small (I tweaked them a bit to make them larger) I still think they are marvelous little peaks into her life and her wardrobe. The pictures in this post are almost all of them from the 1930’s, when my grandmother was in her twenties, she was born in 1913. I think they prove that even a working class girl, who made her wardrobe with a small budget, could with fantasy and ability to sew, make a wonderful wardrobe.

Monday 27 June 2011

Using historical movies as a source of inspiration

For those of that also read Fashionable Forties, I’m sorry for the double posts- I’m not going to make it into a habit. But I felt that this post isn’t just relevant for the 1940’s, but for everyone interested in historical clothes.

It may sound a bit odd when I say that even movies in a historical setting, may work well as an inspiration source. They are set in another time, with other fashions, right? Yes, they are, but historical accuracy has not always been particularly important, especially not during the golden era. Generally speaking the costumes had a more or less accurate look, hair had a somewhat right look and make-up was completely contemporary. There are reasons behind that, for example, even if the moviegoer expects something different s/he still needs to recognize things. If every single detail was to be historically correct, the final look would be something so alien to the modern eye that it would be rejected. Now, those expectations change too. Nowadays period movies usually strife for accuracy in costume and hair and even modify make-up to make it look at least somewhat different to our modern eyes. The modern moviegoer has learned to expect this. The moviegoer in the 1940’s did not and thought nothing when Lizzie in Pride and Prejudice, 1940 (played by Greer Garson) looked like this, false eyelashes and all.

(The movie was set in the 1830’s, not the Regency, but the hair has most to do with the 40’s.)

Even if you try, it is hard to completely remove all traces from the time we live in, even when that is the goal. Some things gets so ingrained as to be considered natural that a movie that is considered perfect when it is released may seem dated after a few years Let’s look at a modern actress, Elizabeth Mcgovern. In 1981 she had a part in Ragtime, a movie set in the early 20th century. It is a very good costume movie and it has dated well, but still… Brooke Shields eyebrows, anyone?

Sunday 26 June 2011

My Sara-hat

A few weeks ago my friend Sara died very unexpectedly. She was a very special person and she will be terribly missed. As her best friend said in a speech on her funeral, something Sara once said about herself: "Every person is unique, but perhaps I'm a bit more unique than everyone else." She was.

Sara was also one of the founders of the Society of Gustafs Skål and she dressed in 18th century, she dressed in any century with a flair and elegance that few can manage. She could dress as the extremest of fashion plates and look just natural. The last time I saw her I bought some straw hats from her that she imported them herself from Romania. Today would have been her 42nd birthday and Gustafs Skål has gathered in the park of Haga castle to remember her. I'm unable to attend, so instead I have finished one of the hats. I don't have the flamboyant style Sara had, but I have tried to make a hats that is flamboyant for me. She would have told me if she had loved it. She would have told me if she had hated it too.

Thursday 23 June 2011

These are a few of my favourite things

Or rather portraits. It's raining and I have been looking though my Photobucket and now I'm inflicting you with some pictures I particulary like. With that I bid you a festive Midsummer and I will return next week- hopefully with something sewing related.

Elizabeth of Austria

Wednesday 22 June 2011

18th century mourning clothes

I have been thinking a lot of 18th century mourning clothes lately. If the Victorians practically reveled in it, mourning in the 18th century was a bit more restricted. It was something mainly for royalty and the upper classes, though by the end of the century it had started to seep down into the middle classes. Mourning clothes could be black, grey or white in material with a dull luster. Depending on the degree of mourning no jewelry, or very little of it, were worn.

Monday 13 June 2011

Meets Lipton

He is a five-year old Shetland Sheepdog who, as of Friday, will bes our dog. We already know him very well as we have dog-sat him when his owner’s have been on vacation. Now a developed asthma makes it impossible to keep him and we were asked if we could consider taking Lipton in. We have been thinking of getting a dog for some time, so it was very easy to say yes. Lipton is a lovely, well-behaved dog and it will be so much fun to have him. He also gets along well with the cats. Mats love and adore him (he was raised by a dog) and the others treat him with indifference. In Page’s case indifference as long as he keeps away for the cat food. And it will be so beneficial for me to have to walk a dog every day.

To tie it all to the 18th century, here are some nice pictures with dog from the period.

Friday 10 June 2011

The masquerade gowns

I have a bit of a thing when it comes to masquerade gowns in the 18th century. They are so much fun! So far there have been three and a fourth is planned for October.

Tuesday 7 June 2011

Blue 1790's outfit

This was a totally un-planned outfit. In December 2009 I stumbled over this painting and fell in love with the blue and rose outfit. Love at first sight and I just knew I wanted it for the 12th Nigh Ball that was (then) a month away...

Thursday 2 June 2011

White gown of 1797

I fell in love with the beautiful gown from Tidens Toj years ago and set out to make it in embroidered white linen. Only I found that I didn’t have enough for fabric for the lovely drape in the front. As the fabric had been resident in my stash for years there was no chance to get some more. It still turned out to be a lovely gown and I’m very pleased with it. I adapted the pattern for my roundgown for it, making the front a bit less gathered, for example.

Wednesday 1 June 2011

Round gown

I have a knack that I’m not particularly proud of- the knack of making the shirts of my 18th century clothes too short. I managed to do that beautifully with my 1790’s round gown, as you can see on the pictures. The patterns is from Kvinnligt mode under två sekel, again- I love the book. And I love the pattern, it was very easy to put together and had some fun construction details such as the bodice have a seam MB, but then a narrow extra back piece is stitched on top of it to give the impression of two curved back seams. I have since used the pattern for two other projects. The fabric is IKEA’s Anneli in yellow, an 18th century re-print in linen/cotton.

Tuesday 31 May 2011

Pierrot jacket

The pattern for this pierrot jacket is taken from Kvinnligt mode under två sekel. The original is made of striped silk and luckily enough I had a piece of striped cotton in my stash. Though I have used this jacket for several years, it is still not finished. I need to tweak the front so it fits better and both front and sleeves need their buttons! For now I just pin it shut.

Sunday 29 May 2011

18th century hats

18th century hats are so much fun and I love to make hats. And I only have three, go figure. I'm working on getting more of them, though. The first one is a straw hat I bought in a store for oriental food for very little money. I cut off the crown and shortened it before I re-attached it. The pink ribbons are the same as on my blue jacket.

Saturday 28 May 2011

1770's French gown

Or Robe à la Française. Once again from Janet Arnold, but I changed the front a little. I made this gown to for the purpose of lending it to a friend when we attended the Georgian ball in Bath in 2006. Don't tell anyone, but it's high quality dead dino. It's rather practical, actually, to have a gown that you can wear when thre's a possibility to be kids with sticky fingers around and I don't have to worry that precious silk may be ruined. At the same time it's rather fancy and people usually think it is silk, so good for going out in the public too.

Friday 27 May 2011

A 1740's wrapping gown

The funniest thing with this painting of a woman in a red velvet wrapping gown with fur trim is that I found it well after I had finished my green velvet wrapping gown with fur trim. The pattern used is once again from Patterns of Fashions by Janet Arnold and is called just a wrapping gown. I wanted something cozy for winter but originally I had planned to trim it with fake fur. Then my Mum gave me my grandmother’s old muskrat fur, which is why I used real fur in the end.

Tuesday 24 May 2011

I'm not ignoring you

For some reason I can post and edit my posts, but as soon as I try to answer comments, Blogger refuses to acknowledge me and eternally wants me to log in again. But every time I log in I get kicked back to the log in page when I try to answer. The same happens when I try to comment on other blogs. Very frustrating as I have a couple of comments here that I would like to respond to. I promise, I have tried!

Thursday 19 May 2011

Chemise a la reine

I made my first chemise a la reine in 2003; I have since made another one, and liked it enormously. Such an easy gown to make and very comfortable. I used the pattern from Norah Waugh’s The Cut of Women's Clothes: 1600-1930, more or less as it is- the only change in the actual pattern was a slightly bigger armscye. I also omitted the front opening and pull it over my head and the channels on the bodice. I find that works perfectly fine with just a sash to pull in the wrinkles.

Red stays

My first pair of properly fitting stays, front- and back-laced with an additional stomacher. The pattern is similar to the picture but taken from Norah Waugh’s Corsets and Crinolines. It’s my second try to that particular pattern, but the first one was very sloppily done and more of a mock-up than finished stays. This pair is made of two layers of linen and boned with stripes of the kind of plastic that windshields of MC helmets are made off. In the back some of the boning is replaced with hemp cord, which made these fully boned stays to breathe a little. The stays are boned with linen tape, which may be period correct, but a complete hassle to sew.

Blue casaque

Sometimes it’s impossible to wear stays, like after surgery, and in 2005 I had urgent need of a loose jacket. I turned to Kvinnligt mode under två sekel by Britta Hammar och Pernilla Rasmussen for help. It’s one of my favourite costume books as it describes and gives patterns for extant clothe sin Sweden from the 18th and 19th century. Extra fun if you are Swedish, but a great complement to Janet Arnold too and a great pity that it’s both out of print and only available in Swedish. In it there is a lovely casaque from the early 18th century, with awesome embroideries. Now, I did a much simpler version, no collar and no real cuffs, I just pleated the end of the sleeves. The fabric is rather heavy cotton that I spiced up a little with adding a braid in white silk.

Red pet-en-l'air and petticoat

My red pet-en-l’air is one my top favourites ever, despite that the bodice could fit a little better. It’s not that hard to fix, though, so it’s my entire fault. The petticoat is a wee bit too short too, but that can’t be help, there really wasn’t enough fabric to make it longer. The fabric is a rayon/cotton blend that really feels like silk and I love the red colour so much. I bought the fabric when I had very little money and could only afford to buy 5 meters, in retrospect it would have been perfect with 1/5 meter more, but when the wallet says no…

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Blue jacket and petticoat

My second attempt on 18th century clothes went much better and I’m still very pleased with it. Unfortunately I can’t close it anymore, but I still live in hope…

The jacket and petticoat are made in a pale blue cotton/linen blend. I have forgotten where I got the instructions for the petticoat, but its same pattern, or rather diagram, perhaps, that I have used ever since for petticoats worn over pocket hoops. The top is shaped so it dips CF and CB and then pleated onto the waistband, so when it’s worn the hem is straight. The pattern for the jacket is once again picked from Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion, dated to the mid-18th century.

Monday 16 May 2011

The first 18th century gown

As I have finally managed to figure out how to make a static post I thought I should do one with everything in my 18th century wardrobe. That proved to be a way too long and cumbersome entry, so instead I will do separate posts for every outfit and then put the link in the static post instead. I’ll try to do it in chronological order, which means that this will be the hall of shame post.

Wednesday 11 May 2011

18th century masquerade

In Oktober we will attend a masked ball at Kalmar Castle . We have just purchased tickets and booked rooms. Yay, I'm exited! I was often inKalmar as a child so it will be nice to go back. The castle is quite magnificent.

Tuesday 10 May 2011

A review on Seventeenth-century Women's Dress Patterns

My goodness and oh my! Buy this book!

Ahem. Seventeenth-century Women's Dress Patterns edited by Susan North and Jenny Tiramani arrived today. It's a wonderful book with patterns from V&A's costume collection. Though clearly heavily influenced by Janet Arnold's patterns books, this books goes further. For one thing, there are colour pictures! The book begins with a section on tools and techniques and some history. A how to on knitting, sewing and embroidery stitches. Then there are 15 patterns including bodices, jackets, mantle, gloves and a cap. There are pictures of every garment from several angles and, if possible, a portrait from the time. A description of the garment. Then there are several close-up, followed by the patterns. And then you get the construction! Some garment have extra suggestions on fastening and such and some have x-rays.

This is an incredible book! So informative and interesting. The only less good thing about it, and that is also mentioned in the foreword, is that V&A's 17th century collection is rather limited and most garments are from the first three decades. Not a plethora of styles unfortunately- I had high hopes on something from 1650-1680. Perhaps one can hope that this book will spark an interest for the 16th century and something else will crop up.

Aaaaand. This book is Book One. There will be more books. I wonder what is next. I hope there will be books on men's clothes as well. And I can't wait for the 18th century book.

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Descriptions and pictures of clothes from the 16th and 17th century #3

The third and last part, Gustav Vasa’s son, Johan III and his second wife, Gunilla Bielke. I think Johan’s burial clothes are the most interesting of them all.

Saturday 30 April 2011

Descriptions and pictures of clothes from the 16th and 17th century #1

This post and the next two are a revised re-post from my Livejournal in 2005. As it seems much more likely that if I give anything up it will be LJ and not Blogger, I have decided to re-post some of the more interesting things I have written. Here are the descriptions and pictures of clothes from the Swedish royal family in the 16th and 17th century found in the book Vasagraven (1956), edited by Martin Olsson.

Thursday 21 April 2011

18th century hair tutorial

I did this hair on a friend a couple of years ago. It's a rather easy way to get a 1770-1780's hair. The model's hair was thick and long, somewhere between BSL and waist and a dream to work with. She had curled the front hair and then I teased it quite a lot, adding extra strength hairspray.

Saturday 9 April 2011

Banyans and masked balls and straw hats, oh my

I have been a bit quiet here, but not for lack of sewing. I just haven’t much to show yet. I have finally cut out the banyan for my darling. I’m sure it will be very nice- steely blue-grey taffeta with pale grey charmeuse for lining, but charmeuse is truly hell to cut in. First time I work with it a slippery is just the beginning. There will be a matching cap and hopefully I can get a waistcoat out of the remnant fabric too.

Thursday 31 March 2011

Need 18th century shoes?

American Duchess is launching this pretty 18th century shoes in silk. Pre-orders start on April 1 and will get a nice discount. Look here for more information.

Sunday 27 March 2011

Airing the faux fur jacket

I hope you don't mind more photos, but they are vastly better than the first ones. I still maintain that it isn't the most flattering cut for my body type, but if was very warm and cosy and fun to wear.

And if anyone wonder, this is how a middy cut looks when the hair is airdryed and brushed and nothing else.

Sunday 20 March 2011

Vast tracts of land

Last Friday I had the opportunity to break in my new stays. The pros are that they are really comfortable and, if I may say it myself, very pretty. The cons are that they are, in their brand new and un-stretched state exactly the right size. Which means they will become too big soon, even is I stay the same weight. How I managed to make something that will be too large is a mystery, if I err in size when I make garments too small. Oh well. It's not that I mind making stays exactly. I also need a little more boning in the front, even if the back and sides worked very well with few bones.

My darling took a few pictures of me, which perhaps wasn't the best of ideas. I have the distinct feeling that his focus wasn't exactly on the stays...

Saturday 26 February 2011

A 1950's faux fur jacket

I have just finished my first ever project in faux fur. I had anticipated that it would be difficult, but it was actually not hard at all. I followed the suggestions here. My faux fur was a pretty generic short-haired black one and the quality is OK- I bought it really cheap a couple of years ago. I did cut the fur with small snips with scissors, but if I would use a fur with longer hair, then I would cut it with a razor knife. I didn't have any problem with the fabric slipping, but I did pin madly. Again, with longer hair I would baste too.

Wednesday 23 February 2011

The very very late blogaround

I must confess, last week I totally and completely forgot about the blogaround. And somehow I didn't get around to do it this monday either, so you may spank me with a wet noodle.

I'm actually having an awful february, which began with a nasty cold that developed into an even nastier nasty bout of laryngitis. This is the third week I'm on sickleave and I'm climbing the walls. I'm forbidden to speak and it really makes you feel isolated! So if you have some lonk you think I would be interested in, please, give it to me! I'm in sore need of entertainment and cheering.

And I do have some links for you too:

Couture Allure writes about the fashion company Lilli Ann, which at least I had managed to miss before.

Diary of A Mantua Maker gives us a overview of the 18th century polonaise.

A tutorial in making a pair of Regency shoes.

The Lady's Resource Site is a blog that links to various articles and blogs regarding fashion history.

Deriana gives the cutest overview over the history of the Tudors you'll ever see.

And Casey of Elegans Musings has made the cutests 30's underwear.

Sunday 13 February 2011

Almost finished 1790's stays

All my plans of finishing the stays soon after my last post about them got a bit delayed due to a nasty cold, but here are some progress.

After attaching the shoulder straps I needed to try them on to be able to determine how longs straps I needed. I used some old boning left over from an old pair of stays, which is why it sticks out so. Trying them on made me realise two things. First; they were actually not too small, which I had feared, but too large! So if I don’t grow larger I won’t be needing that stomacher I made. The second thing, which I already suspected, was that I needed more boning in the front, as you can see here:

Monday 7 February 2011

Monday blogaround

I managed to contract yet another bad cold over a week ago that kindly developed into laryngitis. So I'm eyeing all my sewing projects with longing and spend my days reading blogs and watching old movies. I'm beginning to get bored out of my skull... But here are some nice links for you.

Aclisto isn't the only one I seen pointing at theGoogle's Museum Project, but I saw her post first.

The Dreamstress talks about the infallabilities of museums.

3 Hours Past the Edge of the World has tested a gizmo that makes patterns drafting a dance. I was really interested until I saw the price... Worth checking out though and let's hope the price will become affordable one day.

Katie Jacobs point at an archive for Regency fashion.

Gertie of Gertie's New Blog For Better Sewing has read an article abour repro vintage clothes.

Frualeydis dissertation on Medival clothes in Sweden and Norway are now online. Only in Swedish, but there is an English summary.

Monday 31 January 2011

Monday blogaround

I’ve been a bad blog-reader this week, but here are a few links.

American Duchess again with a pair of very interesting stays.

A Fashionable Frolic point toward a new online costume exhibition.

It’s hard to to not point to. This time with some interesting 18th century gowns.

Saturday 29 January 2011

Building a 1940's wardrobe

I have started a new blog. Being possibly insane I have decided to make myself a 1940's wardrobe, which you can find here:

In my library I have a Swedish book from 1944 called "Alla kvinnors bok", which translated to English means "Every Woman's Book". It's a rather thick volume that covers a lot of things like proper behaviour, housekeeping, decorating a home, marriage and children. Those subjects are all at the end of the book, the first half covers the most important subjects of all, beauty and clothes. As a time document it is all very interesting, but it is just those first chapters that got me thinking a night when I couldn't sleep and I leafed through the book while drinking tea. The book describes how a woman with the ability to sew can create and vary a good wardrobe, if she plans a little. There is a four-year plan how to achieve that and the idea occurred to me that it would be fun and interesting to try to do just that. I like the fashions of the 1940's. I like to sew.

The idea would be to start now with the autumn/winter wardrobe so I have it when it's time to wear it. Though I have a fair knowledge of the fashion of the time, I'm not an expert, so I expect this to be a learning experience for me. I will also need to adapt the clothes so that they will be wearable for me. I don't think I will wear these clothes every day, but I want them to work for every day. There is also the question of materials. Is it possible to use the same materials? Do I want to use some of them, like real fur? And, of course, I need to make these clothes within my budget.

So why a new blog when I already have Isis' Wardrobe? Well, I feel that this is such a special project, that it needs a space of it's own. A place to collect what I do, resources and hopefully some interesting discussions along the way. To call it Fashionable Forties is perhaps not the most original, but that was what my brain came up with. And being in my forties as well, makes it a bit of a pun. So I hope you will find this venture interesting. And perhaps you would care to join in? I would love to see what others would make out of it.

Monday 24 January 2011

Monday blogaround

More interesting links.

American Duchess has got one of her designs made up by Garmz. It’s a nice coat and I think Garmz is a neat idea.

Needle N' Thread reviews a book about blackwork. Want that one!

I hope Operafantomet doesn’t mind that I link to two of her posts. First a post on extant clothes in Norway . Check out the 18th century stays with the rather original boning placement.

And second, A post on an extant 16th century gown.

Saturday 22 January 2011

More 1790's stays

The stays are coming along very nicely and I think they will be finished pretty soon.

Most extant stays I have read about are finished pattern piece by pattern piece and then whipstitched together. However, there is an Swedish example in Brita Hammar and Pernilla Rasmussen's Underkläder that have been put togther with the right sides of the pattern pieces put together and then stitched like that. It is noted that these stays probably wasn't made by a staymaker, but as I'm not a staymaker, I don't feel bad that I make them like that. I started with sewing the front and back together, putting the right side of the bottom layer of linen to the right side of the silk (which has been basted together with the second layer of linen previously).

I then pressed the seams, folded so the right sides are, well, right, pressed again and then basted the three layers together.

Then I sew all the pieces togther, pressed the seams and stitched them down. It should be noted though that I have never seen stays being made that way so I don't claim any historical acuracy here, but it works for me.

The boning channels were next. My original plan was to make the stays fully boned, but after looking through Underwear: Fashion in Detail I fell for the green stays on page 122, which has pretty cross-stitched decorations. I'm not copying the boning pattern, or the decorations slavishly, but I'm using that for inspiration. The boning channels are sewn with white linen thread that I inherited from my grandmother- she used it in lace-making. I like it, because the stitches shows up better than with ordinary thread. The boning channels are 1 centimetre wide and the channels for the decorations either 5 or 8 milimetres wide.

The lacing holes are sewn with the same linen thread, vaxed. One of these day I'm going to becoming great at sewing them, but that day isn't here yet...

Another alteration to my original plan was the decision of binding the stays with chamois leather. A little digging brought me a supplier in Sweden and it took me two days to get it. It's very soft and supple and has a pale yellow colour. To rest my hands a little a took a pause in making the lacing holes and cut out strips of the leather and bound the stomacher. I can tell you that with a sturdy needle it was no problem at all to sew on a machine. The leather is quite stretchy and it was very easy to sew the point of the stomacher. I wouldn't sew the binding of a pair of tabbed stays a machine, but I will on this pair.

Folded over and stitched to the backside. The binding is 5 milimetres wide and much more padded than a fabric binding. Not a bad thing when it comes to stays.

My next step will be to cut out the shoulder straps and attach them. Then decorate the stays, my plan is to use white and pale yellow silk for the cross-stitch. Boning, binding and then put in the lining. It's a fun project and I look forward to try them on.
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