Sunday, 18 September 2016

Pet en l'air sleeves

I'm not sewing a lot at the moment. I'm busy planning and working on redoing my whole kitchen, meaning throwing everything out and get new stuff, including floor and all appliances.

Still this weekend I got the chance to do two things. The first was that I invited some friends for a party on Saturday, and everyone should come dressed up/out. In the end it was more like a girls' film night, but it was fun and relaxed. I wore my old printed cotton Anglaise, but before we started to watch a film I slipped into something more comfortable. That's when I discovered that I couldn't get out of the Anglaise by myself. The sleeves were so tight, and with my lost flexibility in one of the shoulders I couldn't wiggle out as I usually do. Thankfully I had friends there who could help me undress. (We also discussed the lack of chambermaids in today's society, and that they wouldn't be satisfied with just room and board if I hired one).

With the problems of getting undressed in mind I set out to finish the sleeves of my pet en l'air. I had already sewn them on before Saturday, but it felt more important than ever to make sure that they are big enough.

For the sleeves I went back to my very first 18th century jacket. It's been long since I threw away the jacket, but before doing that I cut out the lining o the sleeve, since that was a well-fitting sleeve, and the most accurate thing with the jacket.

I used the old sleeve as a pattern, but also added a bit at the bottom to make it longer. The sleeves are unlined and I sewed them together on the machine.

I attached the bottom part by hand, using backstitches. I feel as if I have more control of tricky seams when I sew them by hand, and instead of a faster seam that I might have to rip up and redo I took the slower approach.

The top part was pinned on, and the excess fabric was gathered into a small pleat at the back of the sleeve.

A strap, in the shape of simply a rectangular piece of fabric, was pinned on top of the shoulder lining and sleeve seam. As you can see the strap is bigger than needed, I didn't measure it beforehand but simply folded and cut away fabric until there was just enough to cover all the raw seams. As you can see I'm working on my dressform. Even if I can't fit my 18th century bodices on it, I think it's a lot easier to pin curved shapes, like shoulders, on it, than trying to do it flat on the floor or a table. The strap was topstitched in place with running stitches.

To finish the neckline I added neck binding. It's also strip of fabric that was sewn to the right side of the back and then folded to the inside to hide the raw edge.

This is the finished back of the jacket.

As for the sleeve fit. It was really roomy until I added the neck binding. There must have been enough bulk of the fabric, the cotton that I'm using is very thick, so that the back width has shrunk a bit, and that affects the sleeves. I can get in and out, but I need to be careful about this for my next project, and possibly add a bit to the back to avoid the issue.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Good and bad news

Over the last months I have had an aching shoulder. I have assumed that there was a strained muscle or something and hoped that it would disappear. The last weeks it has gotten worse though and there are some movements that I simply can't do. Yesterday I  called my the local health centre and the gave me an appointment with a physiotherapist. The appointment gave me some good and some bad news that will affect my costuming.

The goodnews is that I have a diagnosis, it's a frozen shoulder, and it will get better by itself eventually. Even if there is pain I can't make it worse by doing certain things. I should keep the shoulder active as long as it doesn't hurt too much.

The bad news are that I'm in the freezing stage, that means that for the coming months it wii hurt more and more and I will loose movement in the arm. Then the shoulder will be frozen for a couple of months, meaning less pain but also limited movement, then it will take a copke of more months while the shoulder thaws and I regain movement.

I don't think it will affect my sewing much, thankfully it's my left shoulder and I am righthanded, but wearing the costumes is another thing. I will not be able to lace myself into any backlaced stays or corsets, during the worst period I might get problems keeping my arm over my head to fix any hair, and I already have problems getting into clothes that arebtight over my shoulders.

The silver lining is that my next major project will be centered on the 1770s, so I can use my front laced stays. I haven't started on the sleeves for the pet en l'air yet, but when I do I will need to make them larger and more loosefitting than I had planned. The sleeves were looser in the earlier decades of the 18th century so I will just be a bit out of fashion. I'm also happy that I made several caps and bonnets last year, so I have an option when I don't want to make big hairstyles.

My next Star Wars project is also planned for comfort and ease which feels good right now.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Work trip to Röros, Norway

I've been on a work trip to Röros for the last few days. It was mostly about seeing how they work with their mine museum and building conservation. The program was really packed, but there were some costuming related stuff as well.

On the way there we stopped at Härjedalens Fjällmuseum, which is a regional museum for Härjedalen. It's a small museum, but really nice, and they had one part about the dress of the people in Härjedalen. Härjedalen is very much a transit region, basically in the middle between the Swedish Baltic coast and the Norwegian Atlantic cost, and it's reflected in how they dressed. The clothes were very much of the latest cut, and there were a lot of them. A typical woman in Härjedalen in the early 19th century regularly owned around 100 different articles of clothing. Status was all reflected in the clothes, so even if you lived in a shackle, you made sure to look good before going out.

I really liked these three bodices from around 1820. The regency waist line is obvous, since the bodices are really short. The fronts are wrapped over each other, and I guess pinned in place. I really enjoyed seeing the closure, since I haven't seen too many bodices displayed with the back towards the viewer.

In the mining museum in Röros they also have a costume exhibition, unfortunately it was really hard to take photos there, and I only had time to rush through it.

I really fell in love with this red quilted petticoat. I couldn't find a date for it, but most of the clothes were from around the middle of the 19th century. I would love to have a quilted petticoat like that for my 18th century wardrobe though.

It's hard to see but this jacked from around 1830 was the thing I was most impressed with. The very wide sleeve has been gathered with perfect stroked gathers into the narrow arm scye.

Overall I can really recommend a visit to Röros it's a very beautiful town with a fascinating history.