Saturday 1 December 2018

1913 and 1762

It’s been a bit of the quiet sewing wise this autumn. I’m hand sewing an early 16th century
shift; it’s sewn together, had the seams felled and it’s hemmed. I’m currently gathering the
neck and cuffs.

I did a fast and fun project, completely from stash,  a couple of weeks ago; a 1913 evening
trousers with a simple kimono top. The top was simply drafted on the fabric; an off-white
dupion which once was the skirt of my first wedding gown. The trousers were made after

LACMA helpfully have the pattern online in this PDF. As I was unsure of the original wearer'
size but deduced she was probably more slender than I am, I simply used the width of the
fabric for the widest part and then used that measurement as the first leg on scaling the
pattern proportionally. It worked really well, apart from the fact that the original wearer must
have been a tall woman. I’m above average, and the trousers were a tad too long. But I
loved the way it draped; the fabric is a cotton/rayon blend which I bought on sale almost
twenty years back. It was perfect for this project.

Apart from a need to shorten it, I want to find tassels with a bit more oomph! I also need to
change the button eventually as these are actually meant to go on my Victorian bathing suit
when I get around to make button holes at the sides of it. But I love this outfit and want to
wear it more. I was also very pleased with how my hair and makeup turned out. And I’ve
found a picked apart lace dress among my grandmother’s things, so I plan to reuse that for
something similar to this:

But my next project will have to be a robe de francaise. On June 8 there will be a grande ball
at Svartsjö Castle, close to Stockholm. Here is the event on Facebook. And here is Menuett
Akademien’s invitation:

Chers Monsieurs-Dames de la noblesse Suédoise.

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen.

The year is 1762, an evening in the promising month of June.

His Majesty King Adolph Fredrik would like to invite You all to a pastoral evening, une vrai fête champêtre, a grand yet intimate event for those members of the Swedish nobility still loyal to the Monarchy, at His Majestys charmingly beautiful Hunting Lodge Svartsjö Palace. Svartsjö is located at Färingsö, just outside the town of Stockholm.

This gracious fête takes place on Saturday the 8th of June, starting at 6 o’clock in the evening.

The event is arranged to provide amusement for Her Majesty the Queen of Sweden, Lovisa Ulrica.

As a mark of love and of gratitude for her successful personal contribution to the peace negotiations with her brother His Majesty the King of Preussia, thus securing advantageous conditions for Sweden following the Pommeranian war.

• A true Minerva of the North •

The evening will provide You with wonderful entertainment, such as excellent music, song and dance (of an International quality ), a rich Souper with delicious foods as well as sweet treats, etc. And possibly some other sort of surprise peut-être..? The whole evening is meant as a surprise for Her Majesty the Queen herself.

All this for the price of only 1550 SEK per person. You do not want to miss out on this fête champêtre. His Majesty does not want you to miss out either…

* Please note that only payment equals a ticket. Kindly make the payments to the bank account: 122-4989

If you reside abroad, kindly use the following details: IBAN : SE06 6000 0000 0006 8949 7288

* When payment has been duly made, kindly send an email containing your full name (and stating if you have any special food preferences) or allergies, to the following address:

* Included in the price is some refreshments, such as a few glasses of wine or beer, and a drink upon arrival. There will also be a bar available, if You wish to purchase any further drinks. (!We do only accept swish at the bar!)

* Please do note that You will need to bring your own appropriate cutlery, glass and dinner plate. This in order to preserve the historical feeling of the event.

As Svartsjö Palace is located some distance away, there will be a bus leaving from Stockholm Central Station (at a small extra cost), providing easy transportation both there and back.

The Dancing will be organized in three different levels of dancing:1: advanced, 2: intermediate, 3: beginner. Kindly choose your own level. (Dancing is naturally voluntary)

There will, of course, be a prize awarded to the best dressed guest at the ball. (Dresscode: 1755-1765)

His Majesty expressly wishes this Fête extraordinaire to be a complete surprise to Her Majesty up until her arrival (just like at the inauguration of the Pavillon Chinois at Drottningholm Palace some years ago), so please do not reveal the secret beforehand as that would spoil a part of the amusement.

A warm Welcome to You all!

I’m very excited over this! Menuett Akademien is known for their spectacular balls; last year
it was the 1680 ball I made a mantua for. Now I plan a closed-front robe de francaise. It may
not have been the height of fashion in 1762, but you do see them all through the 1760’s, and I want to sew something I haven’t done before.

Monday 3 September 2018

17th century frog purse- done!

I finished something during my vacation! And a UFO of long standing too- namely the 17th century frog
purse. I fell in this frog purse five(!) years ago and decided I wanted to make one. Apparently, frog
purses were quite a thing in 17th century England, and there are several extant ones. You can see a
post about them here.

I almost finished mine, but then I realised the back legs were too heavy and long, and I balked at re-making them. Until now.

It’s not a perfect replica of the original one. For one I had very few construction details, so I had to
guess a lot. What I did know was the measurements of the body, and how the legs and arms were
made, as well as the stitched on the body and the eyes. I tried to follow that as close as possible.

The body was made in green silk taffeta covered with needlepoint stitches made from gilt silk twist.
It’s padded with felt.

The arms and legs are made of wire and very thin millinery wire, which was first covered with linen
thread to bulk them up, and then they were covered with gold thread.

The eyes were made of vintage glass beads.

I attached the arms and legs on the front, then lines both front and back with gold silk taffeta, before
sewing it together. I still need to find a suitable cord.

It’s very small- I guess I could fit a lipstick inside it. Maybe.

Monday 30 July 2018

An Artistic inspired gown.

Originally I had planned to make a white cotton undergown with a black wool overgown. the pattern coming from La Mode Bagatelle's Artistic Reform Teagown for Visby Baddagar, the Victorian sea holiday I attended. But time ran away for me, and the white undergown wasn't finished in time. Instead I decided to wear my green silk taffeta dinnergown under the overgown, qith a high-necked chemise. I also wore my reform corset during the day, changing to a proper corset for the evening.

I liked the effect of black and green, though I still want to finish the cotton gown to wear with it. The overgown is the B-one, and it was very easy to sew. I had to make the crossover in the back deeper than indicated as my back is narrow. and I opted to only have one ribbon as I liked how it looked like this.

Helping Lithia to hem her gown in the very last minute.

While my husband watched the lovely view of the sea.
The dinner dress was made from underdress B, but I redrafted the front to make it shirred instead of plain. I'm super pleased with it, even if I need to make a few small changes to improve the fit now.


Improvised hair- I simply hadn't had time to do proper research, but a lit of fake curls. The hair jewelry was made by Lithia, who you can see on this picture too.

A gaggle of friends, some of which I went to Versailles with. The lady in red is wearing an original bodice!
A glimpse of my corset, the wonderful Sanakor corset from Foundations Revealed. I have Lithia to thank for it, as she enlarged the pattern and generously let me use it. I need to tweak it a little over the bust, but it did what it was supposed to do and gave killer curves without lacing down much at all.

Friday 27 July 2018

An 1870's bathing suit

Last weekend I attended a Victorian sea holiday, and had a spledid time. And for that, among other things, I needed a bathing suit. I really liked The Mantua Maker's Grecian style bathing suit 1870-1890, and made it up in dark green wool crepe. Strictly speaking this is not period as bathing suits seems to have been made in wool flanell or cotton, and in black, dark blue or pale grey. But I happened to have dark green wool crepe, and deemed it good enough.

I was quite pleased with it, but the pattern run a bit large, so I could have made it one size smaller and it would probably have looked better. As the pattern pieces are all more or less straight pieces I think I will unpick it and size it down. The bathing suit was not difficult to sew, but surprisingly time consuming. I also found the instructions rather confusing, as the instruction for lined versus unlined versions were mixed together, so you had to read very carefully to make sure you were following the right instructions. And some pattern pieces was called the same thing without the added information if it was meant for the front and the back. You had to look at the drawings and draw your conclusions from that.

Lithia and I in the same bathing suit but obviously in different colours and decorations.

Feeling peckish... The hat is true vintage and once belonged to my great-grandmother.

Before and after. It was actually very nice to wear after the bath as the wool kept you nicely warm, if wet. I didn't have time to make a matching bathing cap, but I plan to for next summer.

A gaggle of bathing Victorians

My husband opted out of the bathing.
The photos were taken by Lithis and Myra Lea. You can see more on their Instagram accounts; @lithiablack and @litenkrubba. You should also check out @efridis, and in case you didn't know, I have one as well; @isiswardrobe.

Monday 28 May 2018

16th century headdress, fiction and fact

I found this when I was looking for images suitable for my 1520’s gown project. It had nothing to do with it, but it was too good to pass on.

Pretty door knocker, c. 1500.

Source; Wikimedia Commons
And what must be the same kind of headdress, the extant version.

Ladies head dress from the grave No.31 (1525) in Geiterkinden Church. Now in Kantonsmuseum, Basseland

Thursday 24 May 2018

Resarch for a 1520's gown, part 4; resources

This is a list of books, articles, and blogs I have read, so far, and found useful. It is by no means a finished list, and I will add on it as I continue my research.

Books and articles

Dahl, Camilla Dahl; “Huffer till Theris Hoffueder: Sen-renæssancens Kvindehuer, ca. 1560–1630,” Dragtjournalen 2, no. 3 (2008): 21–52, pp 39–46 [n Danish. About caps and hats for women, with some references to the earlier 16th century)

Dahl, Camilla Luise; "Klædt i rigets borgerdragt. - stand, status og national identitet udtrykt i borgerskabets dragt i reformationstidens. Danmark-Norge og Sverige" [In Danish. About the clothing of townspeople in Denmark, Norway and Sweden in the 16th century.)

Johnson, Caroline, edited by Jane Malcolm-Davies and Ninya Mikhaila; The Queen's Servants: Gentlewomen's Dress at the Accession of Henry VIII, Fat Goose Press Ltd (December 1, 2011) [Focus on the English court with patterns and sewing instruction]

Blogs and web pages

16th Century German Costuming 

Costumekullan [A fellow Swede who also are making clothes for 2020]

Dragter på epitafier og gravsten i Danmark. [In Danish. “Clothing on epitaphs and tombstones in Denmark” spanning 16t-18th century. Lots of pictures!)

Elizabethan Costume Page [Huge collection of links, several of the useful for the early 16th century too.]

The Friesian Frock Girl 

The German Renaissance of Genoveva


Detail from "Blodbladsplanschen", a depiction of Stockholm's Bloodbath. The original was made in 1524, but was lost in a fire in the 19th century. This is from a 17th century copy.

Sunday 20 May 2018

Resarch for a 1520's gown, part 3; what money can buy

I can’t make shoes so I will have to buy them. Here is a number of links in an alphabetic order to
places to purchase shoes. The only one I have personal experience of is Harr, which I’ve always been
very pleased with, but they are also pricey. I want good shoes, but I also don’t want to spend a fortune
on what I probably won’t use much. It’s also unlikely I will end up buying shoes from the USA as the
postage combined with taxes can double the cost.

I will also need some bling. The lady in my painting is wearing a gold chain around her neck, a
diamond-shaped brooch, and four rings on the visible hand. I think it’s likely she is wearing rings on
the other hand too. I’m not aiming to find jewelry which is exact replicas, but I want it to work for the

I haven’t found any online shop for historical jewelry who sell this kind of heavy chain, but a quick
search on Etsy provided me with several suitable chains, so I don’t think it will be too hard to find a
suitable chain.

Armour and Castings have a few nice diamond shaped brooches.

As for rings I have found a Swedish company;Historiska Fynd who makes historical reproductions in bronze, which makes them rather inexpensive.

15th century:

16th century

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