Sunday, 12 July 2020

HSM 2020 challenge: no buy - my Edwardian underwear

For my visit at Hildasholm I needed some underwear. I had the Rilla corset from Scroop patterns, but I should have something to go under it and over it. When looking at my stash I realized that I am actually starting to run out of regular white cotton. I also didn't really have the time to do a full set of underwear. I decided to use a modern shaping slipdress under the corset, it would give enough support for my bust as well, and then concentrate on a petticoat and corset cover.

I've already written about the petticoat, and afterwards I realized that since everything was from stash I can include it in this challenge.

This was the challenge
No-Buy: Make something without buying anything. Whether it’s finishing off a UFO, using up scraps of fabric from earlier challenges in the year, sewing entirely from stash, or finding the perfect project for those small balls of yarn, this is your opportunity to get creative without acquiring more stuff.
From my small amount of white cotton I just managed to squeeze out one back piece and two front pieces for a corset cover. I have made a corset cover before, but I just can't find it which is a shame since it had some antique lace on it. It probably wouldn't have worked though since it was quite a cream colour that would probably have been visible under the bright white viscose that I used for my Elsie blouse.

Even if I didn't find the corset cover, I did find the pattern and I used it again. I wanted to add some extra seam allowance, but I didn't have enough fabric, and in the end it worked out well without the extra margins.


This was done the evening before I went to Hildasholm, so I cheated on the inside. The raw edges have just been zigzagged, and the hems are zigzagge and then just folded over. There is a tape at the waist level, to be honest I think I put it in a bit too high, to make a channel for a drawstring and on the neckline there is a drawstring as well.


It is closed with two sets of snaps. I had planned to make button holes and use mother of pearl buttons, but snaps were faster. I was happy when I found a piece of lace in my "miscellanous lacy stuff" box. That was also where I found the ostrich plume that I used for the hat. The lace is shiny and probably polyester, but it was a nice way of adding something to the plain corset cover.


Here I am wearing the petticoat and the corset cover. I also realized how dirty my mirror was after having seen the photo. As mentioned I'm wearing a Rilla corset under it all. The Rilla was quite comfy, but I didn't manage to tight it quite enough. It's laced with interlocking laces, like shoe laces, and that makes it harder to tighten it. Even if my shoulder is a lot more mobile than it was just a year ago I still have a problem reaching stuff on the back. On the one hand it was a lot easier to sit down and drive to Leksand in a quite loose corset, on the other hand I could feel it sliding arond a bit when I was just walking around at Hildasholm.

A new experience for me was that I felt that a longline corset with attached garters was more complicated when you wanted to use the bathroom, compared to when I've worn 18th century or 19th century corsets. It's probably just necessary to find the right way of doing it.

Anyway here are the facts for the challenge

The Challenge: No buy

Material: 1 m of cotton fabric, one 1980s romantic lace skirt

Pattern: The petticoat was a reuse, the cotton cover is from the 1911 Textbook of Domestic Art

Year: 1910s

Notions: Snaps, cotton tape ( a wide for the waist tape, narrow for drawstring). 1 m of polyester lace

How historically accurate is it? 30% It gets the look, but is made from a mix of modern and historical materials, and the inside is not finished in a period correct way.

Hours to complete: 1 evening

First worn: On a visit to Hildasholm on the 8th of July

Total cost: This was all from stash, but probably around $20 if it would have been bought new.

Friday, 10 July 2020

On my head at HIldasholm

For my visit at Hildasholm I needed to do my hair, and find a hat. I did some very quick solutions, that I was actually really happy with.


The hat is a regular sun hat from H&M. I bought it two or three years ago, and I use it regularly during summer. In order to pimp it for the early 20th century I added some trim though. The band around the crown and the bow are made from cheap poly satin. I made a tube and turned it inside out for the band, and then I pressed it. The bow is made from two rectangular pieces, one larger than the other one, and then I put another smal tube of the same fabric around it in the middle to create a bow shape. The bow wasn't pressed, since I didn't want it to loose it's quite fluffy appearane. I also found a plume of ostrich feather, that I didn't know that I had. It's made from two feathers sewn together to create volume.


Everything was just tacked on the hat with regular sewing thread.I didn't do it too well, since I want to continue to use the hat for more regular wear.

Under the hat I also needed to make something about my hair of course.

The hairstyles of the later 1910s had lost the big pouf and rolls of hair from the earlier Edwardian era. It was still an updo though, not a short cut style.



The evening before I washed my hair. I pinned the front part into smaller pin curls and the rest of the hair on large foam rollers, and then I slept on it. The rollers created quite a lot of volume, that I rolled into a bun in the back. I basically parted the back hair in three parts, the middle part was bigger and made up the most of the bnn, the side parts were twisted and pinned into the larger bun, and also hid the hairpins that kept the larger bun in place. The pin curls in front were drawn and pinned into place, on one side I was quite happy with the waves they created, but the other side didnt get that much of definition to the waves. Still it was a very simple and fairly quick hairstyle, if you exclude the time the hair was on rollers.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

HSM 2020 : Sewing secret

Earlier in May Marlene that I've met through Cosplay Dalarna shared a photo of her early 1900s skirt and that she wanted to go to Hildasholm in costume. I of course jumped at the idea, since I also have some outfits from the early 1900s. Well then I decided that I wanted to finally make the 1916 outfit that I've wanted for some time, it is one of my favorite fashions. So I quickly ordered Wearing History's e-patterns for the Elsie blouse and 1916 suit, and some fabric for the blouse. I had already found a piece of purple cotton sateen that I could use for the skirt.

Hildasholm in Leksand was the summer cottage for the famous physician Axel Munthe and his much younger wife Hilda, and when they separated Hilda kept her attachement to Hildasholm. The house was built in 1910-1911 and since Hilda was from England it's like a little island of arts and crafts-style in the middle of Sweden. I think the whole house is adorable. I also happen to know their chief guide there, through work, and when I mentioned that we had planned to go there in full costume he got so happy and told use that he would give us the chance to eat and drink in the salon. We had planned to go last week, but the weather forecast was dreadful, so we pushed it to today, even if the weather didn't look promising. We got there and it was quite nice, unfortunately the rain started pouring down when we were walking in the garden, so we didn't get any photos from outside the house.


We had tea/coffee in the salon, and got to sit on the original late 18th century Sheraton set, while drinking from the antique china and using the same linen as the family. The napkins had "AM" for Axel Munthe embroidered on them We were both a bit nervous about using the napkins, especially since we had first gotten a quite messy tomato/mozzarella bread roll.




 During the tour we got to try on some original hats. The black one was worn by Hilda Munthe and the cream one was worn by Swedish queen Viktoria during her visit. When trying the hats on it was obvious that they were made for much larger hairstyles, since the crown was way to big for my modest hairstyle.



I'm wearing the Elsie blouse. I'm not going to make a full post about it, since there are better descriptions of it out there. I made sure to look at Wearing History's youtube videos about the blouse. If I make another version I would probably take it down a size in the front, it's very poofy, and make it a bit longer so that I have a bigger skirtpart to tuck into my skirt. On the indoor photos I'm wearing a cardigan I found at a regular streetchain (Lindex), since I needed something more than a blouse when the temperature was just hovering around 10 degrees Celsius. I had no time or fabric to make the jacket for the suit.


The skirt is the skirt from Wearing History's 1916 suit pattern. I did screw up printing the e-pattern though, since I did manage to print it doublesided. When I realized that the skirt gores were quite regular gores, I winged them and used the same pattern piece for the front and backs, I just added some extra width to the back pieces so that I could get some pleats in the back.

The HSM challenge for September is Sewing Secrets: Hide something in your sewing, whether it is an almost invisible mend, a make-do or unexpected material, a secret pocket, a false fastening or front, or a concealed message (such as a political or moral allegiance).

When I was making the skirt it happened that I realized that I didn't have enough fabric. Thanfully I'm short enough that I could use the shorter length of the pattern, and it was long enough for me. Fo the belt though I just could get the double pattern pieces now matter how I tried. In the end I added a seam in the center back and that way I could get at least one side of the belt in the same fabric as the skirt. I needed somethng else for the inside of the belt though. When going through my stash I had found a quite ugly green linen fabric that I used for the hem facing. Now I started thinking that my skirt is almost purple, and the suffragettes used purple, green and white as their colours. I decided to make a fully reversible belt with the purple on one side and the green on the other side.

So when I go about my ordinary business I can use the purple/burgundey side of the belt, and then I can switch to the green when I want to get political. This also inspired me to make purple trim for my hat. The big buttons are also non-functional, since the skirt is closed with some hidden snaps, also a sewing secret.

As a bonus, when I started working on the skirt I actually took the pieces to the treadle machine in our miner's cottage. And if I wanted to be there and use it, I had to look the part.


It was the first time I tried a treadle machine, and I had problems getting started on it. In the end I did sew the inner waistband on the treadle, but did the rest on my modern machine. Also it was 30 degrees the day I used the treadle so I was basically melting while sitting there.

The Challenge: Sewing Secrets

Material: 2 meters of cotton satin, 0,5 m green linen, 0,2 m cotton duck (for the inner waistband)

Pattern: Wearing History 1916 suit

Year: 1916

Notions: Güterman thread, 6 velvetcovered metal buttons, 3 sets of snaps and 1 hook and bar for the closure.

How historically accurate is it? Around 60%

Hours to complete: 2 days

First worn: On a visit to Hildasholm July 8th

Total cost: Around $40 (If I had bought all materials new, everything except the buttons was from my stash though)

Monday, 6 July 2020

What a difference some starch make

Ever since I starched the edges of Lady Poe to keep them from unravelling I have been interested in trying out more starching. I did use the leftovers of the starch and dunked a petticoat in it, but that was quite diluted and weak. Now I wanted to really starch a petticoat.

Only problem is that I don't have a good late 19th or early 20th century petticoat. What I had up in my attic though was one of these probably 1980's romantic skirts, in cotton with a bit of ruffle and broderie anglaise at the bottom. I had gotten it as a gift many, many years ago for someone who thought I could use it for something historical. I hope my photos in the following are clear enough, I can't use my dressform for this since the 1520s court gown is occupying it.


One issue was that it was too small, I could pull it up to my thighs, but not over them. It was quite long as well, and with my short legs I wouldn't feel bad cutting off the top to make it larger.


I measured and cut off around 12 cm. I had planned to use the cut off strip to enlarge the skirt, but as you can see it wasn't straight, and when I tried to rip it into a straight strip it simply got too small.

Instead I took a strip of cotton voile and cut it into three lengths. I used one length for the top part of the skirt, and I gathered two lengths to make a ruffle. I then simply cut out the side seam of the skirt and added this new panel in. It's not the most beautiful or discrete piecing, but I'm not planning on showing off the petticoat.

At the top I just folded and sewed the top edge down and put a piece of cotton tape as a drawstring. I had a functional petticoat, now it was time to play around with starching it. I very much followed the instructions from Leimomi at The Dreamstress.


I don't have a garden or balcony, so in order to dry the petticoat (after I had dunked it in my biggest pot on the stove) I put it over a stand made from my washing basket and an extra bucket. I had covered the stand and the floor in plastic bags, so that the starch wouldn't go down the drain or the petticoat wouldn't cling to the stand. Also since I had a limited space, and bucket/pot, I didn't wring any extra starch out, I simply tried to pat off the worst. I left the petticoat drying until next day.


When it was dry it felt very much like paper and as you can see it could stand on it's own. I took it to my ironing board, that I had covered in an old sheet, and pressed the whole petticoat with the ironing on the highest setting and using a lot of steam.


After the pressing you can see that it has gotten a lot softer. It's still crisp though, and it's definitely more comfortable now that it doesn't feel like raw paper. If you don't let the starch dry completely you are supposed to get a stiffer result when pressing it.


Since the dressform can't be used, I still wanted to show the effect of the starch. As you can see the ruffle is at a definite angle and holds its own shape.

I'm definitely converted to starching my petticoats from now on, I'm not sure I'm daring to starch cuffs and collars and finer delicate things though.



Saturday, 4 July 2020

HSM Challenge June: It's only natural

As I mentioned in my previous post I had decided to make my new wulsthaube from only natural materials. Today me, Annzoo, Monica and Ingeli met up to try and make wulsthauben for all of us. Me and Ingeli had made ones before, but Annzoo and Monica were new to them.

For my wulsthaube I  mostly followed the instruction from Marion McNealy, that you wan watch here.


To make a structure for the wulst I used cane, if it hadn't been for this challenge I would probably have used wire, but the cane and wool padding is what made this fit into the challenge, and it stretched me outside of my comfort zone when it comes materials.


Just by holding that first ring up towards my head it was obvious it was too big, so I made it smaller. The ring is held together with small scraps linen fabric that I have just tied into knots.


The wool felt was cut into strips that I wrapped around the cane frame and held into place with wool thread.


I then wrapped the whole ring in strips of linen.


I then sewed a second strip of linin around the whole ring. I wanted to have two layers of fabric between the wool and the hood itself, since the wool still contains quite wool fat and I don't want it to seep into the hood. This also helped to cover all the raw edges of the first linen wrap. 


I then hemmed a piece of linen, that was wide enough that it would cover the padded ring. To make it fit around my head I had to make it smaller on one side, so adjusted the length with some knife pleats.


Here is Ingeli helping Annzoo with her wulsthaube. We had met up so that we could take turns and fit our wulsts on each other.


For me it was a matter of taking excess fabric and serucing it to the wulst. This is the inside


And this is the back.




I really like the look of my new wulsthaube. It really reminds me of the headdress that can be seen in this painting of emperor Maximilian and his family.

Painting by Bernhard Striegel, Kunsthistorishes Museum, Wien.
That being said though, the wool has made this wulst a lot heavier compared to my older wulsthaube, I'm doubting that it would be comfortable t wear it for a whole day. The size and shape is also a bit wrong, and earlier, than what I'm aiming for my 1520s court gown. I think I need to make another wulsthaube for that project.

This was a project that I really did out of curiosity, what would it be like to work with wool and cane instead of cotton or poly batting. The cane structure was also different, since my old wulsthaube was basically just a soft cushion. I think that for 1520s wulsthaube I would like to combine the two and use the cane structure, but don't make it into a full circle, I also want to use lighter padding.


The Challenge: June - It's only natural

Material: 1 kg raw wool, 40 cm cane, 70 cm white linen fabric

Pattern: I mostly followed the instrucions of Marion McNealy.

Year:  1500-1515

Notions: white linen thread, wool thread, was

How historically accurate is it? This is on top of my ability to make something accurate, and with all accurate material. There are no preserved wulsthaube that shows exactly how they were done, but I would say around 90%.

Hours to complete: The wool padding took several days to wash and felt, but the wulsthaube itself was made in 6 hours.

First worn: Not yet

Total cost: The raw wool that I used was a gift from a colleague, the rest ends up at around $25.

Friday, 3 July 2020

Wool padding

The theme for one of the HSM challenges is:
"It’s Only Natural: Make something inspired by nature, or use natural fibres and materials in a way that stretches your usual practice (e.g. natural dyeing, using cane instead of plastic whalebone for corsets/stays etc.)"
 At first I had no idea what I was going to do, but since I'm going to make a new wulsthaube for my 1520s gown I decided to go all natural on it, unlike my old one that had synthetic padding. Cotton padding could have been used in the 16th century in Germany, but up here in Sweden any padding would have had to be wool.

Now one of my co-workers have a small flock of sheep, and I asked if she could give me some wool from them.


She came with a bag of raw wool rowings. They only use the wool as cover in the gardens so it was dirty and filled with small sticks and other stuff that had gotten caught in the fleece.


The first step was to simply by hand sorting the rowings and removing the dirt that I could pick by hand. After that I let the wool soak in several baths of cold water. The water in the first bath turned brown, so I changed water more or less directly. For the other baths I let the wool lie there for several hours, the last bath was overnight. By now the water coming off the wool was clear.


The best thing would have been to hang the wool out to dry in the garden, but I had to make do with my bathroom. I placed the mass of wool on a rack, so the air could circulate undet it as well. Then I just let it sit in my bathrrom until it was totally dry, which took a couple of days.

Then it was time for the fun part - felting the wool. I haven't felted wool since I did a thing with a kindergarten group and we made balls. Also I don't own a set to card the wool, but I had read a couple of descriptions where people felted uncarded wool.

Felting wool is wet and sloppy, I did it in my apartment building's communal washing area. Basically I placed the wool rowings on a board, stacked several on top of each other and then I drenched it in water mixed with green soft soap (grönsåpa) and while it was wet I rubbed the fibers against each other. As soone as they started to dry up I added more soap-water. It took me around 30 minutes to get a felted mat. It has holes in it and is uneven, but since I'm just going to use it for padding, that's ok. It would not hold up for any heavy wear.

When I was happy I rinsed the mat thorougly and in the last rinse I added a bit of spirit vinegar (ättika).


I placed the mat on the rack again and let it dry completely, which once again took quite some time. The washing and felting with soap has really turned all the brown-grey rowings into beautiful shades of grey.

Monday, 22 June 2020

Repairing Lady Poe for work

Sometimes I think about how I started as a costumer, and how important it was for me to not start another project before I had finished the one I was working on. That's not exactly the case anymore. I would also say that with more historical wardrobes I have found more opportunities to wear them and that means that I keep doing smaller projects while working on my main one. So I have finished the lacng holes for the sleeves of my court gown, but this weekend instead of finishing the sleeves I brought my Lady Poe down from storage.

You might remember how all the trim frayed liked crazy and I felt it was a bit of a disaster when I wore it for the ball last June.

This was the state of the trim, and I was spreading silk everywhere. Now I went over all the edges with my pinking shears again, but this time I painted all the edges with heavy starch. I made it from 1 tablespoon of potatoe starch and 400 ml of water. It was a gooey mess, but I painted it on with a brush, and the day after I pressed it.

This is the new trim edges. They do still fray a little bit, but it's not a disaster. I probably need to go over all the edges when I'm going to wear it and make sure that there are no loose threads that can start to unravel. The trim feels very papery, but there are no stains from the starch on the silk.

For fun I diluted the heavy start in more water and also starched my smallest cap, a petticoat and linen veil with it, just to see what would happen. I love the feeling of the starched petticoat, so I think I need to go over all my petticoats and starch them from now on

Why did I do all this? Well at work we needed to do a fun thing for social media about the middle of the 18th century, and of course I volunteered to dress up apropriately for the time period. It was also a chance for me to get photos where I'm standing in a place that's normally closed off.




For my hair I took the time to sleep on pin curls for the front of the head, but the back was just allowed to dry naturally. I then used cold cream and hair powder and made a tete de mouton hairstyle. The back hair was just braided in two braids that were looped up, and all the hairpins are hidden under the cap.


The social media thing will go online in the end of June.