Sunday 27 April 2014

What a Swedish rural bride wore at her wedding, Midsummer 1795

Nordiska museet in Stockholm has an almost complete wedding outfit worn by a young woman at her wedding in 1795 in Tunge socken, Ale härad, Västergötland. It is a good example of what rural women wore in Sweden in the 18th century, though the material were finer than for everday clothes. As you can see the sleeveless bodice, so abhorred in reenactment circles, is perfectly fine and period correct if you happen to be Swedish.

A lot of the wool fabric used for the clothes are very fine camlet, manufactured in England and therefore expensive and often used for wedding clothes.

This striped wool bodice has an unusual feature, the lacing is hidden by a stomacher. It's dated to 1780-1795, but it is known to have belonged to Annika Andersdotter and as it is unlikely that such an exclusive fabric had been used by a young girl, this bodice probably was part of the wedding outfit as well. That would make an outift with two jackets and two (if you don't count the underbodice) bodices, but at was not uncommon for the bride to change clothes during the festivities as a mark of her changed maritial status.


Underbodice worn by Annika Andersdotter at her wedding in 1795. No descroption of material, but linen seems likely. It also have boningchannels.


Bodice in red wool with 16 bones in reed, lined with linen. The boning channels and decorative stitching is made in white linen thread.


Red jacket in a wool blend with the warp in blue wool and the weft in red worsted yarn. It is laced in front with a stomacher to hide the lacing and with several boning channels with reed both at the front and the stomacher. The remains of decorative pink silk ribbons can be seen.


Jacket in black wool camlet of a similar cut. remains of black silk ribbons were probably used to decorate the stomacher.


Petticoat in greyblack camlet wool. Pleated at the back. Waistband and the top of the petticoat is lined with blue and white checkered linen.


Apron in very sheer cotton, linon, woven with lappet weaving. The hem is 5 cm wide and at the top it is pleated to 40 cm to a 6 cm wide band in linon with another pattern in the weave. Both sides end with selvage. The fabric is probably imported from Scotland and is a very early example of this kind of weave in cotton instead of linen. Very exclusive, Annika must have come from a fairly wealthy family


There are another item in the trosseau, but it seems that Digitalt museum has no picture of it. It is quite likely that it is some kind of bonnet, or possibly shoes. The grooms outfit has preserved as well, but there are no pictures of his clothes either.


Saturday 26 April 2014

Help saving Your Wardrobe Unlock’d and Foundations Revealed

I guess most of you have heard of these two sites, but if not, then I can tell you that they are online magazines that deal with costuming and corsetry. Every month articles are published that deals with various aspects of costuming, sewing, patterns and in-depth articles on a specific time periods or subjects. Some of these articles are free, but to read them all, you need subscribe. However, at the moment only some 500+ persons do that and if these sites are going to live, they need 750 subscribers. You can read more about in on their blog, here.

I must say that I was quite surprised that there aren’t more people who subscribe. I have done so since they started and I think they are a wonderful resource. True, there is a fee to pay, but I feel that what I get is worth it. There is such a wealth of information here and it is a wonderful resource.

I understand that even the most modest fee may be too much for some, but remember, you can stop subscribing any time you want, so you could try it for just one month to see if this is something you like. The first month of subscribing to Your wardrobe Unlockd’s or Foundations Revealed is just $5.97, and then the fee is raised to $ 11.97. There is also a possibility to subscribe to both and then the fee is $9.97 the first month and after that it is $19.97.

If you are a student, then you get a whooping 50% discount!

You can also give away subscriptions for 1, 3 or 6 months, so if you need to give a costuming buddy a gift, why not give a subscription.

Read more about how to subscribe here.

One of the beauties of being a member is that you are allowed to save and print all the articles, so if you are a member for just one moth you will be able to get so much material that if you were to buy it as a book, you would have had to pay a lot more. So if you feel that you have $5.97 (or $11.97) over to spend this month, why don’t you try a short subscription and see if this is something for you?




Friday 18 April 2014

The 1910's Suit-A-Long

Wearing History is hosting a sew-along for a 1910's suit. It is only just starting, so it's not too late to hop on. Of course, I wasn't to add anything new to my sewing schedule, especially as I have just spent two months being ill and all my sewing has fallen behind. But I also want something from this time period, so I have decided to make a change in plans. There will be posts on Wearing History's blog and there is also a Facebook-group.

Part 1: Suit-A-Long! Let’s Go!

Part 2: Suit-A-Long. What fabric do I buy?

The pattern is one of Wearing History's reproduction patterns and can be purchased both as paper pattern as well as an E-pattern. The original is from 1916. There is a possibility to purchase just the jacket or skirt, or both together.

I want to use fabrics I already have in my stash and I know I have enough black wool for both jacket and skirt. However, I want to make the skirt in another colour. At first I thought stripes as that was very popular, but I don't have any striped fabrics at home. I do have some nice blu-grey linen and I think there is enough to make the skirt. I really hope so. I would like to make some details like collar and belt on the jacket in the same linen and I am also thinking of attaching some soutache braids to details and skirt for added visual effect.

1910's dress

Edwardian jacket
1909 extant blue suit, closeup of jacket soutache trim

Gown, 1910-1913

Skating jacket, 1895

Of course I really need a proper corset for the 1910's, but for now that will be on hold. The jacket is loose fitting and I think I can get away with using a generic underbust corset until I have time to make proper underpinnings.

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Costume mysteries of the 17th and 18th century

I think anyone who look at clothes on the Net finds them, these odd or mysterious items that doesn't look quite like anything else. Or when the photos are so bad and the information so scant that you are just dying to know more about them. Here are my favourites.

Nordiska museet in Stockholm have long been my favourite culprit when it comes to teasing us costume nerds with bad information. Nordiska's collections are huge and they have very little money, so one can understand why just about 1/3 of their collection have found their way into the online database and not all of them have photos. It's very annoying nevertheless, especially as Nordiska has some clothes that seem to be pretty unique and really should be shown off for the world.

A gown from the 1690's in white, embrodered silk and black lace, stomacher in white embrodiered silk and petticoat in black lace. What is going on here? Carolina Brown in the book Mode, Kädedräktens historia i fem sekler, calls this a mantilj (mantilla) and it is really shaped like a shawl. there are no sewn sleeves, for example. Nordiska gives no information at all about this gown, and if it is dated correctly and hasn't been re-made later, (impssoble to say from a black-and-white photo) then it is something unique. I have never seen anything like it. Have you?

I think this is a mantua, dated to the early 18th century. It's in silk, but what about colour and, a picture of the front!

Embrodeired jacket, waistcoat and petticoat from the 18th century. The only information is that teh jacket has been shortened. But wh want to know more, don't we?

A childs gown from the 1660's. It can actually be found in the online database, but with no more information. Not to mention that that they have another 17th century child's gown, without a picture. 
LACMA has this 17th century ecclesiastical lay figure costume. And that is all they let us know.

Here the Museum of Fins Arts Boston (which also have a terrible search function ion their database, delights us with this description of a gown from around 1700:
"Blue silk damask brocaded with polychrome silks and metallic yarns in stylized floral motifs. High round neckline with small rounded wrap collar. Coat closure with two welted pockets; vertical and horizonal darts in bodice; metallic fringe at front line. Full-length sleeves with metallic cording ruching bands at elbows, asymmetrical slit cuffs. Skirt fullness gathered by deep inverted gore at dropped waistline. Cording ribbon randomly applied at side seams."
And annoys us with not showing any pictures of the front.

This picture is said to be a 17th century dressing gown. I would love it to be that way. However, it seems to originate from this page and as you can see it shares room with clothes that looks like they are modern reproduction with a mantua from the Metropolitan. None of the pictures are sourced properly. My gut feeling is that this is a not from the 17th century.

I would also love to know more about the 17th century clothes found in graves in Turku in Finland, especially a really lovely striped gown. Go and read the whole article for photos! In general costumes preserved at small museums with a limited budget gets very little attention. I am sure that there are a lot of costume treasures all over Europe that are just waiting to be discovered!

Monday 7 April 2014

The (un)wired cap

My cap is done and though it turned out OK, it did not turn out the way I wanted it. It doesn't matter much, though, because I need several caps and the way this one turned out, it works very well for some of my clothes. I was aiming to make a small wired cap, suitable for the period 1740-60, the research can be found here and here but as you can see it isn't that small and more suitable for a lter period where a wired brim doesn't seem to have been popular anymore. So I decided to just starch the brim and leave it as that. My original plan was to make the wired cap with a lace brim, but decided on linen because I found that I had no leftover lace at home, so I'm not sad, now I can make it the way I wanted it to begin with. As I starched the brim, it did stand up a little on its own anyway.

I based my pattern on the shape of this cap on Duran Textiles, but made it smaller. Not small enough as it turned out, though. The band was cut out from what remained of my fabric, it got to be about 80 cm long, and when hemmed, 6 cm wide. Both cap and brim were then hemmed as narrowly as I could, which turned out to be about 3 mm. When I made my 17th century shirt I got the tip to lightly starch the fabric before hemming it and that made the process much easier.
The edge of the crown was gathered down to 36 cm and the brim pleated to the same measurement. Then I arranged it on my ironing board, roughly mimicking the shapr of the crown, you can see the pins holding it down.

Then I ironed it so all the pleats got flat, removing the pins as I went. After that I starched the brim as heavily as I could.

The last moments were to whipstitch crown and brim together and pleat the back. I wore it for the first time last Saturday when I held a lecture on 18th century makeup at Kristinehovs malmgård, an 18th century manor house in Stockholm. I paired it with b´my blue and white striped 1790's gown. The lecture was held in the Animal room, which holds an owl on the clock, a parrot on the lamp, mice on the floor and butterflies and birds on the walls. Here I am pointing at the bird's nest.

Close up on the bird's nest. The wall paper is a copy of an 18th century one found in the theatre at Drottningholm's castle.

The Challenge: #7 Tops and toes
Fabric: Lightweight linen
Pattern: Self-drafted but heavily influenced by one of the patterns found at Duran Textiles.
Year: Last half of the 18th century.
Notions: White sewing thread in silk, starch.
How historically accurate is it? Pretty accurate. The pattern isn't original, but it is hand-sewn and constructed in a similar manner to extant caps.
Hours to complete: 14
First worn: April 5 when I held a lecture on 18th century makeup.
Total cost: Don't know as I used linen scraps.

Friday 4 April 2014

Extant 18th century caps

The actual sewing on my cap is done, now I have to sew in the wire and see if my idea on how to do actually work when it is applied. Very exiting... You can see a previous post on the subject here. I have also found an article on just earlier 18th century caps at A Most Beguiling Accomplishment. Here is also a few extant caps. None of them are wired, but wire must have been easy to remove so you could wash the cap and perhaps it was also removed to change the look of the cap.

Three lace caps. The first is just dated to the 18th century, but I think it is quite correct to assume that it should be dated to around 1750.

Flemish cap, 18th century

French cap ca. 1750
Belgian cap ca. 1740
Cap, probably American, 1750-1799

Cap, 1751-1800

Cap, 1750-1800

Cap, 1775-1800
Cap, 1775-1799

Mourning cap in pleated silk and black crape
Cap, 1785–98

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