Friday, 26 July 2013

On instant gratification and long time goals

The Reader by Jean-Honore Fragonard, 1771
All in all I am in a very good place right now. Relationship, family, living, work, economy, health, they all work and I’m very happy about it. But there are a few kinks that I’m working on and one is the kick of instant gratification. You get it when you blog- I love getting comments on what I write and it is great for the Ego when I have made something and it gets admired. Instant gratification is around when I shop all those nice things that I don’t really need, and I don’t go over my limit, so why worry. For example- I generally feel that I’m allowing myself the easy way out on several aspects of my life right now and I would like that to change, to give myself what I really want, even if it takes a bit longer and doesn’t get as much attention.

I want to travel more than I have. I want to go back to Rome, Paris, London and Edinburgh. I want to see new places like Prague and Venice, for example. And I know that a bit of not spending so much of what I don’t really need would go a long way toward that. As for now, J and I have decided to let September be a non-spending month, apart from bills and groceries. I think it will be easier if we do it together and can cheer each other.

As for blogging, well, the instant gratifications are only part of it and not even the biggest part either. Another reason is because I’m a compulsive writer. I wasn’t always, but ten years ago I saw a picture online that triggered something and I started to write and since then I haven’t stopped. I write stories and I blog because I love to write. It isn’t always easy, but if I don’t write I feel a bit odd. I certainly don’t want to bash blogging, I love it, but I have, for quite some time, felt the need to write something with a little more weight, something lasting. I have wanted to write a book.

And for the same amount of time I have struggled with little demons that tells me that I don’t write well enough, that it won’t be interesting enough and that no one will want to print it, but in the end, what I really feel, is that it doesn’t matter if I’m not good enough for other, because I need to write this for me. Even if no one else reads it, I want this for myself. I have already blown the whistle at Madame Isis Toilette, so some of you already now that I have swatted away my demons and have started writing a book on 18th century beauty and makeup. I have a lot of fun right now, researching, trying out recipes and writing. I want o write a book with accurate history, doable beauty recipes and makeup tutorials and I know that is an interesting enough subject and I will do my best to make it good enough for others to read as well.

But this also means less blogging. I’m not going it up, because I still sew and it isn’t a chore at all to blog about sewing, but other kinds of posts will have to stand back for book writing. Less instant Ego stroking for me, but I think the more long term reward will make up for it.


Sunday, 21 July 2013

18th Century Hair & Wig Styling: History & Step by Step Techniques

I'm on vacation and hadn't planned to post in a while- Internet in the archipelagio outside Stockholm isn't the best, but this is exiting news and I want to share. I am sure that most of you already know about Kendra of Démodé and have already caught wiff of her upcoming book, 18th Century Hair & Wig Styling: History & Step by Step Techniques. But in case you haven't, then I hope that you feel as exited as I over the chance of getting a book with how-to's for 25 hairstyles. There is a FB-page here.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Making a 17th century shirt- setting in the sleeves and the gussets

The shirt is nearing its completion, the only thing left are the cuffs. The sleeves are very wide with only a portion of that gathered at the top of the shoulder. As with the collar, the body of the shirt is top-stitched to the sleeves.
The seam allowance are folded and sewn down invisibly, creating a false French seam. On the original shirt this is done on the side and sleeves seams.
Where the gathers are there is a strip of linen tape sewn over them. Probably because it would be too bulky to fold in the seam allowance. The inside looks very neat.
The gusset is a small rectangle, 8X8 cm when hemmed.
As my fabric doesn’t have selvedges, the fake French seams the original has would be much too bulky. Instead I sewed in the gusset from the right side. I always start with sewing the gusset from the corner were sleeves and bodice meet, first down the sleeves side, and then from the corner down the bodice side. After that I fold it so it meets the other side where the sleeve and bodice meet and repeat. Only I continue down the sleeve seam down the whole way, apart for a 10 cm long slit. Then I do the side seam the same way. As my shirt is shorter than the original one, my side split are much shorter, but start at the same place as the original, 46 cm down.
The gusset in place.
The side split is reinforced on the wrong side with a small rectangle of linen, 3X2 cm when hemmed.
The next post with show not only the cuff, but also the finished shirt.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Ladies and gentlemen in plaid in the 18th century

Once upon a time I heard that there were no plaid, or checkered clothes in the 18th century. Clearly that was not the case, as there actually are extant ones. Not to mention paintings.

Robe à la Française, 1760's
Robe a la Francaise, ca 1765
Robe à la Française, 1770-1790
  Not exactly plaid, but the pattern makes for a checkered look at a distance.

Robe à l'Anglaise, 1784-87
Silk caraco jacket, 1770's
I love this fashion plate and I live in hope that someone will make it one day.
Journal des Dames et des Modes, 1797
François-Hubert Drouais, 1757

Princess Frederika Sophia Wilhelmina of Orange, nee Prussia by Johann Georg Ziesenis, 1768-1769
Her apron is clearly plaid, but is her caraco jacket? I think it looks spotted, but some say plaid.
Plucking the Turkey by Henry Walton, 1776
Young Moravian Girl. Johann Valentin Haidt
Oyster vendor after Mercier. Mezzotint
Portrait of a woman, unknown artist

Tartan were around in the 18th century, and evidently not only used for kilts. An article on 17th and 18th century Scottish costume can be found here.
Portrait of a Jacobite Lady by Cosmo Alexander, 1745-1750's
Flora McDonal by Allan Ramsey,

Sir Robert Dalrymple of Castleton, ca 1720

John Campbell by William Mosman, 1749

Dr. Sir Stuart Threipland, of Fingask

James and Alexander McDonald by William Blake
Prince Charles James Stuart by William Mosman, 1750

Woollen, twill-weave hard tartan man's coat, Scottish, 1740–50
Click on link for a larger picture.
Waistcoat, 1775-80

Thursday, 4 July 2013

New outfit and a trip to Sala silver mine

Last year we went to the 18th century festival at Sala silver mine and had such a great time that we repeated it this year, especially as I was asked to hold a little talk on 18th century beauty. You can read more about that here. I also had the opportunity to finally wear my pink/green jacket and petticoat. Remember that I couldn't find the petticoat when I was going to the party at Svartsjö castle? Well, now I just went up to the attic and found it in a bag at once. I swear it wasn't there the first time! I don't remember now when I started this outfit, but it was years ago, at least six. I wanted something like a fashion plate, but I think I have an inner restraint because no matter what I do to try for something over the top, I never seem to manage. I am still very pleased with it all. I did have a particular image in mind when I started, but it has disappeared since then. A friend of mine did recognise though and have promised to find it for me again.

The material is pink silk taffeta with green silk trim, stomacher and hat. The jacket has a zone-front, the petticoat is worn over a false rump. I have re-drafted my bodice pattern since I cut out this jacket and the neckline needs to be tightened around my collar bones. The fishu hides it though. I was also a lot thinner when this project begun, so there had to be some fiddling around teh waist to make it look good, but an apron is good at hiding imperfections as well.
The original plan was to make the stomacher pink, but I ran out of fabric. I quite liked it green though. I think I have enough green fabric left to make another, more narrow, row of gathered fabric on the petticoat.
The hat stays in place with the help of a big comb and it stayed on surprisingly well. I wasn't aware of how crazy the angle looked until I saw the photos!
Lithia in a new gown. 

Madame Berg in her leather stays, made after this pair. 
The Wild Man re-appeared, this time with buttons in his jacket.
The noble savage.
He was roped in by a fair maiden.
Given a brief lesson in manners.
And turned into a gentleman.
There was also an Opera Buffa, unfortunately without any songs or music, but very funny nevertheless.
But there were some music at least.
Sunday was a bit colder than the Saturday, with some rain.
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