Sunday, 5 April 2020

HSM2020: Challenge 4 - Local, an 1890s blouse

The theme for the HSM challenge in April is local
Support your local industry and your local history by making something that (as much as possible) uses materials made locally, or purchased from local suppliers, or that features a garment specific to your part of the world.
For that reason I decided to go to the only local fabric store in the area, the one in my neighbouring town, yes I live in a town with any craft stores. So I went to Rosa Huset in Borlänge. I usually don't go there, since I don't have a car, but at the moment I'm taking care of my mother's car. Once at the store I realized that it would be a bit difficult to find good fabrics for historical costumes, it mostly had knitted fabrics and very modern prints, great selections but not what I was after. In the end I found this floralr print in cotton, and since I have been thinkging a lot about 1890s clothing I decided to buy 2 meters and make a blouse or shirtwaist out of it. Now floral prints were not common in shirtwaists, but they do exist, it was a lot more common with white or other solid colours for the shirtwaists. Still I liked the print and wanted to use it.

For the pattern I used my basic bodice that I did for a shirtwaist back in 2015. Since then I have gained quite a lot of weight, but since the pattern was meant to be poufy it still fit, I did add a few centimeters to the center back, but didn't do anything to the front. I also want to be able to wear this blouse without a corset, since I'm planning on using it at work in or 1897 cottage.

I cut out the bodice, and realized that there was one big issue, the neck opening was quite large, and I wanted it to be snug with a high collar. I did add a dart in the center back to see what difference it would make.

The dart was good for shaping, but I woud need to take in a lot more. Since there would be a lot of fiddling with the neck I decided to finish the rest of the bodice first, so I would be able to close the blouse.

The front sides where turned in twice and then I sewed the buttonholes, by machine, and the buttons. Now it was time see what I could do with the neck opening. I started with taking in quite a bit at the shoulder seam, thus raising the whole bodice upwards. I then cut out a collar piece from my TV493 pattern and tested how tight I wanted it to be. When I had a good fit for the collar it was time to match the collar to the neck opening. In the end I added four darts, two at the back and one on each front and that gave me the fit I wanted.

 This is the pattern for the collar, I had to tweak the TV493 pattern, so that there was a bigger difference between the bottom and top of the collar, that was also done with two darts. That way the collar naturally curves out towards the neck, and that helped mas that the neck opening should probably have been even tighter. The collar is quite soft since I didn't use any interfacing, just two layers of the cotton fabric.

 This was the bodice with the collar. Unfortunately the work with the neckline, and the raising of the shoulder seam had shortened the bodice. I might have to add a peplum to it, to keep it from riding up over the waistband of the skirt when I'm wearing it, but I will see if this is ok first.

For the sleeves I started with a sleeve pattern that I had started to workon for my Daisy dress. It's based on my standard short 18th century sleeve, but I had made it bigger to get a puffy sleeve. This was a good test to see if I need to make it even bigger for Daisy (yes, she needs really big puffy sleeves). For the lower sleeve I used the sleeves from TV493. I really like that two piece sleeve that is slightly shaped.

The upper part of the sleeve
I sewed the upper and bottom part of the sleeves and then attached them together before adding them to the bodice.

The final thing was to hem the sleeves and the bottom of the blouse.

The HSM facts

What the item is: An 1890s blouse
How it fits the challenge: The fabric, thread and buttons were all bought in the only fairly local fabric store I have access to
Material: 2m cotton, 11 wood buttons
Pattern: It's Frankenpatterned from the 1911 Dressmakers guide and TV493
Year: 1890s
Notions: thread, buttons
How historically accurate is it? The pattern and shape is accrate. I have used modern sewing thread and it's all sewn on my modern machine. Floral blouses were around, but monochrome was more common. All in all around 50%
Hours to complete: one day
First worn: Not yet, since all events are cancelled for the near future
Total cost: $20 (the fabric was 50% off)

Friday, 3 April 2020

1890's summer photos in the snow

Today my work had decided to do our photos for the upcoming summer and the 1897 miner's home that we are going to have open for the visitors. There were some challenges, like the house not being finished and the clothes not having arrived, and last but not least the fact that the winter decided to make a comeback and there was a layer of snow in the ground.

The lack of clothes was fixed by me bringing my own 1890s clothes, I am planning to wear them in this setting as well. I wasn't wearing the clothes, I'm simply used too much when it comes to publicity and it would be more about me than the character. Also my hair is stil bright pink and red, something that I will change before the summer but not yet. Thankfully we had the great Tilda who came, fitted in the clothes and was a real champion in the quite cold weather, it was also really windy.

She is wearing my Edwardian shirtwaist, a generic skirt  made from a pair of curtains and my timeless linen apron (that I'm using for everything from the Middle Ages until today).

It looks so fun pretending to have a nice and warm summer day, while the crew is wearing winter clothes and there is snow on the ground.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Brown food is good food - a week with 1890's lunches

The last week I was home in isolation due to coming down with some cold symptoms (I feel fine now). Since I was working from home I decided to take the time to actually try out some food that was eaten in the period 1895-1906 in Falun, since the museum where I'm working are aiming to build up a living history part dedicated to that time period. Most of the food is very hearthy and simple with few ingredients.  Since I'm not doing hard manual labour for me it was definitely enough to have lunch, and then just a very light dinner because I was still full from the lunch. Also my dinners were almost all vegetarian, since the lunches were severly lacking in vegetables and it feelt good to eat something that wasn't just different shades of brown and beige.

The recipes are with one exception taken from the book Dalmål - från barkbröd till björnstek, by Kerstin Ankert et al., but I have modified them to be more suited for one person, and for a modern stove.

Sluring  - a recipe after Anna Johansson, wife of a brewery worker,  in Falun 1906.

Served with some crispbread and pickled greens

2-3 slices of thick bacon
200 ml milk
150 ml wheat flour

Fry the bacon in a pan and remove it but keep the fat in the pan. Mix the milk and flour into a batter and pour it in the pan. Let it simmer for 20 minutes and stir from time to time until it turns lightly yellow. Eat with the bacon.

This tasted as expected, and I like bacon so it was good.

Korngrynskaka or barley pudding - a recipe after the worker Axel Petterson in Fredshammar 1897

I forgot to take a photo of this dish

100 ml dried barley
1 small onion
1tblsp golden syrup (ljus sirap)
30 g butter/margarine/fat
300 ml milk

Grease a baking dish and pour the barley into it. Chop and fry the onion in the fat until golden. Mix it with the barley and add the syrup and some salt. Pour the milk over it and put it in the oven at 175 degrees Celsius for 45-50 minutes, or until the barley has soaked up all the milk and is soft.
I don't like fried onions in gratins, some of my least favorite dishes in the traditional Swedish kitchen have golden syrup added to them so I was really sceptical, but it tasted surprisingly good.

Kolbotten with sauce

Kolbotten - recipe after Lena Johansson, a miner's wife, in Falun,1906
3 slices of bacon
150 ml flour
150 ml water

Mix the water and flour and let it rest while you fry the bacon in a pan. Remove the bacon and pour the batter into the pan. Put a lid over the batter and let it fry on a low heat for 15-20 minutes, turning it once to make it even on both sides. The result is a quite thick pancake.

Sauce  - a "common dish for workers in Borlänge at the turn of the century"
25 g of fat (margarine/butter/bacon drippings)
1 tblsp of flour
200 ml water
one small onion

Use the same pan that you used for your bacon and kolbotten. Add in some more fat and let it melt. Whisk in the flour and when you have a thick paste you add the chopped onion and water. Whisk the sauce so that it is smooth and let it simmer on a low heat, be careful so that it doesn't burn, until the onions are soft. Add chives and salt for some extra flavour. The original recipe doesn't have chives, but it's such a common herb in other recipes from the same time so I didn't feel bad for using it.

Eat the kolbotten and bacon with the sauce poured over it. You can also substitute the kolbotten for boiled potatoes.

Klimp with mesost-sauce - recipe after Listen Mårtensson, wife of a painter, in Falun 1906

Klimp is basically the Swedish form of small dumpling, it's a great food because it's very cheap and filling. In Sweden it was common to cook the klimp in soup or stews and use them instead of potatoes or bread.

50 g flour
30 ml milk
pinch of salt

Whisk the flour, salt and milk into a smooth batter. Boil up a generous amount of water, with salt in it. Take a spoonful of the batter at the time and drop it into the boiling water. The klimp rises to the surface when it's cooked through. It has a tendency to stick to the bottom so it might be good to use the spoon and make sure they can rise up.

Mesost or in Norwegian brunost is a cheese made from the whey, and usually contains some amount of goats milk. It has a sweet taste that is a bit toffeelike. I really don't like mesost, so I used messmör (mes-butter) which is a softer, more mellow spread also made from whey but without any goat's milk.

1 tblsp fat (margarine or butter)
1 tbslp flour
200 ml milk
1 tblsp mesost or messmör

Make a roux from the fat and flour and whisk in the milk. When yout have the consistensy that you like add the mesost and stir it in until it as melted into the sauce.

This was sooooo good, and definitely my favorite dish of the week. I added some chives to the serving.

And finally something sweet to go with all the savory dishes

Bärkaka or berry cake - from a description Selma Ström's Hemma på Elsborg, a book about growing up in Falun around the year 1900.

25 g margarine or butter
400 ml flour
1 tsp baking powder
0,5 tsp salt
200 ml sourmilk (filmjölk)

100 g frozen berries (or fresh if you have them, should be lingonberries but I used a mix of currants and strawberries)
golden syrup (ljus sirap)

Melt the margarine/butter and let it cool. Mix the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the fat and the sourmilk. Take up the dough and use a rolling pin to make really flat round cakes and prick them with a fork. Fry the cakes in a dry and hot pan, around 2 minutes on each side. When they are finished place them under a towel to keep them warm.

Heat the fruit until it's soft and mash it with a fork. Take a cake and spread a generous layer of the berry mash on it and sprinkle some golden syrup over it

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

HSM2020 Challenge 3 - Green, the goldwork sweet bag

It was time to actually make something usable of the goldwork embroidery. My posts about the embroidery itself can be found here (part 1). and here (part 2) . I decided that the best thing I could do was to turn it into a bag or purse. Small square purses were around throughout most of the Middle Ages, you can find a lot o examples here. It seems as if the highly embroidered bags were mostly religious objects though. In the late 16th century though highly embroidered purses called sweet bags came into fashion, at least in England.

English sweet bag, late 16th century, Met Museum 
 The sweet bags carried sweet herbs and other scented things, for me a bag the size of the embroidery would be perfect for a mobile phone and my insulin pens. Historical sweetbags were embroidered an all sides, I only had enough embroidery for the front, but then on the other the metal threads wouldn't risk getting entangled in the dress fabric.

In order to protect the backside of the embroidery I decided to line it in linen. The pattern is very simple, a long rectangle folded in the middle and sewn up the sides.

I sewed the sides together with backstitch and felled the seams.

I added four eyelets on each side, that I bound with buttonhole silk.

The top was folded down as well, so this is the inside of the bag.

On the outside I added a gold braid that I found in stash, both for the drawstring and for the string to carry th purse in. I also made three tassels from the last of the gold twist thread and soe black silk thread that I added to the bottom.

The gold braid gave the bag just a little bit of extra bling that it needed. The ends of the braid was frayed to create something more tassel like.

Here is the bag worn, by a totally non-historical gown. I would have preferred a longer string to carry it in, but it was simply all the string I had

What the item is: An Elizabethan sweet bag
How it fits the challenge: The base material is green
Material: 40 cm of green wool flannel, 40 cm of linen, gold thread in diferent varietys, natural pearls, glass beads
Pattern: I made my own
Year: ca 1570-1625
Notions: Silk buttonhole twist, polyester sewing thread
How historically accurate is it? This is more inspired and plausible than accurate. The motifs of the embroidery are all ound in 16th century sources, but it would probably have been made more with silk thread. I would say around 30%
Hours to complete: The embroidery probably two weeks or so, sewing the bag together 3 hours
First worn: Not yet
Total cost: Sample pack of gold threads $15, the rest was from stash but probably to a worth of another $10-15, so in total $25-30

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Finishing the goldwork

I have really enjoyed doing the goldwork, and I've continued to add more floral ornaments around the main elements.

When I started to get into cutwork and beading I found that it was really helpful to have a piece of felt where I could keep everything. It made it easier to see the small gold pieces and beads, and they didn't roll around on a hard and flat service.

In the sample pack that I had ordered there were several kinds of supplies that I hadn't really thought about it using, mainly the gold leather and some check thread. Since this is about learning different techniques I wanted to use them all, even if I don't plan on using them in my big goldwork project.

I addedsome more florals and some grapes, made from glass beads. Grapes pop up a lot in 16th century pattern books so it felt good to add them.

After all the outlines it was time to see how much of the ornaments I could fill in with the check thread.

This is the final embroidery, the check was enough to fill in four of the major leaves, but not the ones in the bottom. I tried to fill them with beading, but that didn't look good so I left them empty.

Now it's on to actually make something useful from the embroidery, I am thinking about making a purse from it, we will see what happens.

Monday, 16 March 2020

HSM20 Challenge 5 - Basic; the one hour dress

It feels like I'm just starting a lot of project at the moment, but I'm not finishing them. For that reason it felt good to make a quick project that I started and could post the result of in less than 36 hours. It was ready in less than a day, but I needed to get photos so it took some more time.

Today I was away on a workshop for doing educational time travel. Basically it's when you take children on a journey back in time and let them pretend what it would have been like to live then. The workshop had a very vague "bring some old fashioned clothes with you" on the invitation. I started thinking about what I would wear, very aware that the people doing the workshop would wear some pretend late 19th century. Then in the invitation it also said that we were going to make a time travel ourselves to 1920. I don't have any 1920's clothing, since it's probably my least favorite fashion decade. Still when I did my regency gown I discovered that a fashion that I didn't really like actually wasn't too bad, maybe it was the same for the 1920s. I decided to make a 1920's frock. I was aware of the "one hour dress" that pops up a lot in 1920's fashion blogs. This is one tutorial from the Closet Historian. Therer are many others out ther if you google "one hour dress".

Since it's still pretty cold here I wanted to make it longsleeved instead of short sleeved, and after some feedback in the Historical Sew Fortnightly group I got assured that it was possible to just lengthen the sleeve part. The one hour dress is a really basic pattern. One long rectangle for the sleeves, one square for the bodice and one rectangle for the skirt. I followed the advice to cut the bodice and sleeves in one piece and the skirt as a separate piece. As for fabric I dug into my stash and found that I had a pretty big piece of linen that I could use. I would have preferred cotton but I didn't have enough of any cotton fabric. I cut out the pattern and had it sewn together in less than an hour. I then tried it on and it felt like I was wearing a sack of potatoes. I was not happy and swore over the ugly 20's fashion. I decided to take it in, and it looked a lot better. I still wasn't happy though, but I finished the neckline and the sleeves and I hemmed it. Then just before I went to bed I decided to remake it again, and take it in a lot more. The skirt part was taken in with 40 cm! and the bodice part was also taken in around 4 cm. In the end the bodice part needs to be just big enough to be able to pull it on and off, there shouldn't be more than a minimal amount of ease over the bust and/or the hips (depending on what's biggest. Too much fabric in the skirt also made it look too baggy, with less fabric it looked a lot better. I think I have added around 20 cm on each side that was pleated into the bodice as close to the side seam as possible. So this is a lesson for big girls like me, it might sound safe to add fabric, but in fact too much fabric makes it look more like a big sack.

This dress meets the challenge because the pattern is very simple and basic, I now also have a basic 1920's gown that I can dress up with some pearls and other accessories, or dress down with an apron. I didn't get any photos but I started out wearing it with a silk velvet cloche and I looked like the rich relative from town visiting in the country, and then for the time travel I put on an apron and was ready to work. I'm still not convinced that the 1920's is a suitable fashion for people with my biody type (XL with a protruding tummy and a big bum)

This was the open air museum that we were at. It's a number of buildings from approximately 1750-1960, even if the last house is mainly used as an office.

One of the houses is furnished like the 1920's. It was still pretty cold so I also wore a long knitted cardigan, and I had knee high woollen socks and a pair of wool leggings on as well. For shoes I used my standard black discrete shoes that I basically use for any time period when I don't have any period correct shoes.

What the item is: a basic 1920's frock
How it fits the challenge: It's the basic look for the 1920's that can be both dressed up and down to fit the occasion.
Material: 3 m purple linen
Pattern: The one hour dress pattern
Year: 1920
Notions: Polyester thread, polyester bias tape to bind the neckline and sleeve cuffs.
How historically accurate is it? The pattern is accurate, but I'm not knowledgeable enough in the time period to know if a dyed linen like this would have been used. Linen was around and purple was around, I just don't know if they were combined into one type of fabric.
Hours to complete: 5 (including the almost total remake)
First worn: March 16 for a time travel workshop
Total cost: It was from stash, but the fabric had probably cost around $30 if bought new.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Doodling with goldwork

As part of my 1520s courtgown I want to try doing goldwork embroidery. Usually I am the kind of person that just orders stuff and then get on with it. When looking around for material I realised that there are a lot of different kinds of gold threads to work with, and I just didn't know what would work best. For once I decided to order a sample pack and do some test embroidery to try out the different techniques.

I ordered my sample pack from The Golden Hinde in the UK, since I couldn't find a supplier in Sweden. For tutorials on how to do goldwork I have followed Sarah Homfray's embroidery channel.
For inspiration for the embroidery I have used different ornaments that I have found in 16th century books, embroideries and pattern books.

I started out with simply doodling some leaves and vines. I used a frixion pen to trace the pattern on the wool that I'm doing the embroidery on. All the gold threads are couched in position.

I added a freshwater pearl. It's the kind of pearl called a nugget, so the irregular shape is great for the 16th century, but it was a bit hard to make the decoration around it. I also started to add some pome granate ornaments.

At this stage I decided to explore some more techniques that were used in historical embroidery, so I added some appliques.

The appliques were accentuated with gold leather, that was also in the sample pack.

I tried to make a majestic bird, but it looks more like a duck. I also added a new cluster of pearls and removed my early doodling, since I wasn't happy about it.

So far I'm mostly happy with the appliques work, and the bird (absolutely not a duck) is really cute even if it didn't turn out as planned. I'm using the different kind of gold threads about randomly, it simply has to do with how much I have of each kind of thread. So far I think my favorite threads are the pearl purl, used in the pome granate motifs, and the roccoco thread that makes up the main stem and leave of the first ornament. I'm not too happy with the copper coloured twist, but there was a lot of it in the sample pack so I'm using it to fill out as much as possible. We will see what happens next, I actually find it hard to be totally creative and come up with something that looks good by myself and isn't just a copy from something else.