Sunday, 29 May 2016

Making a lucet chord

Yesterday I was at the medieval fair in Leksand.  I had planned to wear my 16th century undergown to it, but with 45 minutes left before leaving I realized that I could finish the dress but it would look really bad if I stressed it. So I went in civilian clothes instead.

When I arrived I was happy with my decision,  there were a lot of nice costumes among the visitors and traders and it will be a lot more fun going another year in a complete costume.

Overall the quality of the things for sale was really good. I spent most of the time in the big Korps tent. Korps is one of the main shops for historical costuming and it was great to be able to actually feel th3 fabrics and compare them. I did buy a nice purple linen and a lucet.

A lucet (slynggaffel) has been used since the Middle ages to make chord and I've been curious on how to make it ( to "slynga"). When I finish my 16th century gown it would be fun to have a period chord in it.

Today I looked up this tutorial, it took me a while to find that it's called lucet in English and "slynga"didn't give me many hits. There are a couple of different tutorials out there but this was the one I found easiest to follow.

This is my own first start of making a lucet chord.

 The chord started out quite uneven, but now I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of it. It got better when I tried to keep 5he thread fairly high up on the prongs instead of at the bottom.

I also like that I have a craft that's easy to bring with me.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Willrow Hood - the Ice Cream Maker Guy (ICMG)

What would you save if the evil galactic Empire all of a sudden took control over your city? Some rush to save money and valuables, some wants to bring mementos, and then there is the guy that decides to save his ice cream maker.

This is from the scene in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes back when people are running away from Cloud City. Quite early on it was identified that one of the persons rushing past the camera is carrying an ice cream maker, and he was nicknamed "The Ice Cream Maker Guy". It was one of the in jokes, and after a petition from fans he was even made into an action figure

Now named Willrow Hood and with a backstory that he was a rebel spy, and that the ice cream maker is actually a computer core with secret rebel data.

Of course such a cult figure also got a cult costuming. At Celebration 2010 I had a friend who got really popular in his Willrow Hood costume, and at Celebration 2012 a whole group of costumers dressed as Willrow Hood and carrying ice cream makers made a ceremonial run through the convention centre. It was called "The Running of the Hoods" and has been a staple of big conventions since then.

The costume at its most basic is an X-wing jumpsuit, code cylinders, compad and boots, an ice cream maker, a black wig and a mustache. Yesterday I made some ice cream, and decided to take some photos of myself as the Ice Cream Maker guy.

Sure it's a modern European ice cream maker, but it's an actual ice cream maker. I'm also wearing my ugly black wig that used to be my 18th Century Snow White, and a huge fake mustache I found at IKEA of all the places.

I have submitted my pics to the Willrow Hood Detachment, so if I'm bringing it to London I'm hoping to be part of the Running of the Hoods at Celebration Europé III.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Some Edwardian hair

It was dark and I just have grainy photos of how I did my hair on Sunday, but here it goes.

 I started off with doing quite large pincurls. Previously I've used my curling iron for rolling up the hair, but this time I used my fingers and made the curls almost double the size as usual. I also tried to pin all the curls up fairly high up on the head. I damped the hair by just squirting some water on it before I started with the curls.

The bad thing with the big curls is that I couldn't sleep on them, so I let them out before going to bed. I squeezed some hair clay in them to keep them in shape. This had worked fine earlier in the week.

Now though they got quite a lot flatter when sleeping on them. Still the hair was fluffy so I just gently teased it and added some more hair clay.

Instead of a hair rat I used a weft of loose hair that I have and pined it like a halo on my head. The colour isn't an exact match for my hair, but close enough that it wouldn't be visible if it just peaked out a little bit.

I also added a hair donut to the back of the head. Everything was pinned on with hairpins.

After that it was only a matter of taking the hair and place it over the halo of fake hair and pin it to the donut. I knew that I was going to wear a hat so I didn't worry too much about how it loked up at the bun. I finished off by using my home made pomade.

About the pomade. It definitely held the hair very well, stronger than hairspray. I don't know if it's me or the pomade but it tended to clump some hairstrands together and made them look very greasy, as well as making the fluffiness disappear. It was also a bit lumpy, so I had some small white spots in the hair. I was worried that it was going to be hard to get it out of the hair, but just a regular hairwash with shampoo and conditioner took care of that. I think that I am going to try and remelt the pomade and add some more shea butter to it, maybe it's simply too much beeswax in it. I also think it would work great for 18th century hairstyles, if I add some kind of powder to the hair.

I thought my hair looked ok, but I would like to have a lot more volume at the sides so I need to come up with some way of doing that.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

HSM Challenge 4 - April: Gender Bender

This year again the National Railway was organizing a turn of the century fair, even if it wasn't as big as last year's 100 year anniversary. In the winter I had this idea to look at Edwardian sportswear, and I decided to do a pair of bloomers, which would of course fit well with the Gender Bender challenge, since this was the first time in the western world when women started to wear any kind of bifurcated garment.

At first I thought I would be able to create the pattern myself, but then for simplicity I decided to order Laughing Moon #110 Ladies´1890's Sporting Costumes. The bonus is of course that I didn't just get a pattern for the bloomers, but a nice jacket and gaiters as well, and I'm planning o making them in the future.

The bloomers need a lot of fabric, and in my stash I had a brown striped fabric that was just big enough. I'm pretty sure that it's some kind of polyester suiting fabric, but I picked it up years ago in an op shop. I didn't take any photos of the making of the bloomers, I basically just followed the instructions with the pattern. I also opted for using elastic at the kneebands instead of buttons to keep them tight. If I want to change that I can do that some time in the future.

Overall the pattern was really simple and it didn't take me more than 4 hours to make them, including handsewing the waistband and the kneebands.

I wore the bloomers together with my Edwardian shirtwaist and corset cover from last year. I wore one of my TV110 corsets and my smallest 18th century shift instead of a chemise. I finished the outit with wearing a my smallest bergére hat, brown stockings and black shoes. I have a pair of shoes that look more Edwardian, but I have a big blister on one of my feet and couldn't walk in them, these were the most neutral shoes that I could wear for a whole day.

At the National Railway Museum I met up with Johanna, Aggi, Carolina and other people from the Swedish 20th century society. Here are some of the photos that I took while there.

There was a penny-farthing there
Would I be able to get up on it?

Nope, not a chance
The owner of the vehicle showing how it should be done

I wanted to show how agle you are in bloomers though so I climbed up on a statue instead
When I got home I decided to try the bloomers on a bike though, and after all I have what I call an "old ladies' bike", so not too different from old bikes.

A lot easier than the penny-farthing

The bloomers were comfortable and easy to bike in

No problem at all.

Just the facts:

What the item is: A pair of 1890's bicycle bloomers
The Challenge: 4 Gender Bender
Fabric/Materials: 2 m of polyester suiting fabric
Pattern: Laughing Moon Mercantile #110
Year: 1895
Notions: sewing thread, hook and bar, elastic
How historically accurate is it? Polyester fabric and elastic in the kneebands drops this down to around 40%
Hours to complete: 4
First worn: May 15 - the National Railway Museum's 1900 Fair
Total cost: $7, the fabric still had the price tag on

Friday, 13 May 2016

Trying out some Edwardian hair care

This Monday I realized what kind of person I am, and how obvious it is that I tend to want to dive quite deep into things when I get the chance. On Sunday it's a 1900's fair at the National Railway Museum, and I'm going there. I was not happy about my hair the last time, so I wanted to do it better now. I started reading a lot of tutorials on Gibson girls' hair-dos, and when reading up on historical hair it's inevitable that you also run into a lot of posts about 18th century hairstyling. Both Edwardian and late 18th century hairstyles are very much about adding volume, so I figured I could pick up stuff there as well.

One thing that is clear, especially when reading about 18th century hair, is that you can't do without pomatum and powder. Pomatum is simply an older name for pomade, a grease that you add to the hair to make it more moldable, but also to make the powder stick to the hair. The powder acts as a dry shampoo, and helps keep the head clean and add volume.

I then tried to find out how to make your own pomatum/pomade, since there wasn't a chance that I would get it shipped here in time, the only sellers of pomatum that I've found are in the US. One thing led to another, and in this blogging World we live in I found a lot of recipes of pomade for people wanting to live more "natural" and avoid chemical stuff, like modern shampoo and hair styling products. Reading them I thought "hmm, this doesn't sound too complicated", I found a Swedish place selling the ingredients and made an order. Today the things I needed arrived, so I set off to make my own pomade.

A note that what I've done is not an historical recreation, originally pomatum was made from lard and animal fats. I'm using modern ingredients, but I here the end result, a simple hair product to help with styling, was more important than historical accuracy.

The recipe I used was from The Hippy Home-maker

3 tbsp beeswax
2 tbsp shea butter
2 tbsp coconut oil

 I put the beeswax and the shea butter in a metal bowl and placed it in a pot with boiling water and let them melt. When they had melted I kept it on the heat for 20 minutes. I also added some ground cinnamon and cloves to the fat to give it some scent. It would of course be better to have used whole spices, and I was sure that I had some but apparently I had used them up when baking for Christmas.

After 20 minutes I poured the fats into a plastic bowl, added the coconut oil and whisked it all with an electric beater until it cooled into a fluffy consistency.

Here is the finished result scooped up into a small jar. The ground spices add some brown dots, but that won't be visible in my hair since it's quite dark.

Making this was easy, but of coure I haven't tried it out yet so I don't know how well it works. It took me a lot longer to get the spoons and bowls that I used free from the fat and grease. And in case the pomade doesn't work with the hair it's probably very good for your hands, since my skin now feels very soft and moist after having worked with it.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

The little Greedo dress

On May the 4th I posted a photo on my Facebook of me in a dress, whishing everybody a happy Star Wars day. Apparently most people didn't see that I was wearing a Star Wars dress. Here is the story about the Greedo dress.

Back in March Holly from Sew-Nerdy posted about a very special fabric that she had designed and printed on A fabric that consisted of the head and hands of the bounty hunter Greedo from Star Wars intertwined with a damask pattern. Now I'm not a big Greedo-fan like Holly, but I loved the colour, exactly the kind of green that goes really well with my current hair colour. I had to ask her about the fabric, and she was kind enough to let me make an order for th fabric. I ordered some in a jersey fabric, with a plan to make some kind of easy spring dress.

Greedo in Star Wars: A New Hope
I didn't have a pattern, but I have very many jersey dresses, they make up the bulk of my wardrobe. So I took one of the dressed that didn't have any darts but was just a front and back piece.

I put a piece of pattern tissue over the dress and simply traced it. Then I found a piece of black neoprene in the stash and used it as a waistband. I think that was necessary since the jersey was quite thin, but the waistband keeps everything in position, so that the bodice isn't stretched out by the weight of the skirt.

For the skirt I also traced the same dress as above, but the thinner jersey made it cling too much over my stomach and thighs. To solve that I ripped up the side seam and added a long gusset to each side. For the sleeves I took the first basic sleeve pattern I could find in my pattern stash, but enlarged it a lot. I didn't want the sleeves to cling at all. I finished off with cuffs and a neckband made from the same neoprene as the waistband.

Now I have a fun and very comfortable dress that I can wear on everyday occasions, and people won't even know that it's a Star Wars dress. I opted for long sleeves since almost all of my bought dresses have short sleeves, and I wanted a dress that I could wear when it's colder, without having to put on a cardigan or jacket over it. I practically lived in the dress up at Nordsken, simply because it was so comfortable.

Since it is a bounty hunter dress I of course had to wear it when I talked to Jeremy Bulloch. If I ever get to meet Paul Blake, the actor playing Greedo, I'm thinking of having him signing the dress and embroider it on permanently.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Nordsken, Skellefteå May 5-7 2016

On Wednesday I sat off for the northernmost troop that I've done so far. Me and small Group from Nordic Garrison, Nordic Base and Swedish R2-builders met up at Arlanda Airport and flew up to Skellefteå.

We arrived at the hotel, set up our stand and started trooping.
Arty Anna showing up part of our stand
The gang was super group of people, and we had so much fun. I also really liked the event. It took place in a convention hall connected to the city library. It started out as a gaming convention, but now it really was an open forum for all kinds of "nerd" culture. There was a LAN going on, there were boardgame tournaments, in the library you had comics and artists, we were there, there was a cosplay contest, role playing and an SCA group as well. There were a lot of people, but it didn't feel crowded so you could walk around and talk with everyone.

Me, Dawn (our newest jedi) and Arty Anna with R2.
I only brought my X-wing pilot, it has been approved now. It had the thing I wanted in a comfy con costume, of course there are some adjustments that I need to make but overall there were no problems walking around in the whole day.

We had a great time after the con as well, going out eating and talking. On Friday I wore my Rebel Cheerleader, and I don't know what it is. When I get the pom poms in my hands I just can't help just jumping around and goofing with them.

The atrium in the hotell was a great photo location
The guest of honor during the con was Jeremy Bulloch. He is probably my favorite actor of those going around the Star Wars con circus. He's so friendly and nice. He was a bit surprised when I didn't want a Boba Fett - autograph though, but instead had him sign the cover for the DVD of the old TV-series Aristocrats (one of my favorite 18th century series).

The Nordic Legions together with Jeremy Bulloch
They also had a cosplay contest. I really like that it was a contest for all levels of cosplayers. The winner got a golden ticket to the Swedish cosplay championships, but it was great to seem them all, and it really showed that cosplay is for everyone, not just the experts.

In the break of the contest they called me up on stage so that I could talk about Star Wars costuming and what the Nordic Legions do.

From our stand at the floor we also had a good view that everyday there was something called Jedi Academy.
I thought it was something close to the Jedi Academy, where they train with lightsabers and then meet a Sith Lord, but it was actually a full mini LARP. The children didn't just have to practice with lightsabres, they also had to save a rebel pilot and find plans to the Death Star. That took place in a small cantina that they had built up in a closed room. One of the days I took the chance to take part in it, so I sat down in the cantina as a pilot with a broken space ship that needed to find spare parts. I basically just sat in the cantina with a mug of something to drink and looked mysterious.

As I said the Legions weren't the only ones dressed out. I saw this woman the first day, so I had to run after her to talk about 16th century costuming. We sat down for a nice chat, and it was great to see how she had made her dress, and of course to feel it. You can find her at Fru Kålugs medeltid

I finish off with one of my favorite photos from the weekend, it's Stein A from Norway standing in the background.

At the end of Saturday we packed up our stand, were driven to the bus station where we boarded a bus to Bastuträsk.

Photo: Henrik Pilerud
In Bastuträsk we boarded the nighttrain down to Stockholm. The train arrived in Stockholm 6:30, and then I just had to wait until 8:30 to get the first train inland towards Dalarna. So 15 hours after having left Skellefteå I arrived home in Falun.

This definitely goes up as one of my favorite troops, I really like the profile of the event and there were hardly any problems. I'm hoping that we will get back there next year.

And the total amount collected for Save the Children ended up at 8519 SEK (a little more than $1000)

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

All the best laid plans....

I haven't been updating a lot lately, at least not compare to last year. There is a simple reason for that; I haven't felt very inspired for sewing lately.

There are reasons for the lack of inspiration as well. Last year I felt that the HSM challenges, having to finish one thing every month, really helpt me in keeping up the tempo on my sewing. This year it's felt more like a burden. probably because I haven't been able to match what I wanted to do with the challenges.

The smocked 16th century shift also killed me a bit on details and handsewing, and feeling my own pressure that if the shift is handsewn, then everything needs to be handsewn.

Lastly I have gained weight over the last 6 months, and I don't feel so comfortable in my body. I have gained a size, and I'm not looking forward to putting on my corsets/stays, and I don't have time to make new ones. :(

Still in order to actually do something I have decided to totally scrap my planned list. What projects I do will be the ones that I get sudden inspiration for. I will also try and actually make some clothes that I can wear, without it being costumes or historical clothes.

May is a hectic month, so I still have a lot to do and I'm hoping to finish a pair of bicycle bloomers from 1895 and the undergown for my 16th century project. And the undergown has made me inspired to make a totally different and secret costume...

Something is happening...