Saturday, 30 June 2018

1490's teal undergown

At Leksand's medieval fair in the end of May I decided that I needed a a medieval outfit that wouldn't melt me if the temperature got above 20. I did remember that back in 2013 I bought two pieces of lovely wool fabric when I was in London, but I had never known what to do with them.

I had 3 m of the teal fabric, and 2 m of the yellow. The fabric is a very thin, lightweight wool. It's too thin to be historically accurate, but I figured that it could make a nice light wool gown. Since the fabric wasn't accurate I also decided not to handsew the dress, but do most of it on the machine and only do the visible seams and hems by hand.

3 m of fabric is really cutting it close, for example I bought 5 m for my green wool 1520's gown. I still wanted to see if I could get a dress out of it.

This spring I have also bought a book about late 15th century fashion for women.
This is a book I can really recommend, there is a separate book for men as well. It's not a pattern book, instead it goes through all the layers needed to make an outfit and the general look of each piece of clothing. It also includes hairstyles, fabric options and a few of the most common stitches. The late 15th century has so much in common with my interest in early 16th century, so it wasn't hard to find inspiration. I decided to make a short sleeved undergown of the wool. Short sleeves means less fabric, and since it's an undergown it would be possible to make it a bit shorter. Undergowns were worn as outer gowns when working, so I would be able to walk around in it as well.

I started with my general bodice pattern that I made for the green gown. With inspireation from the book above I decided to add a centre back seam as well, and to shape the bodice in the back seam and side seams.

This is the base bodice pattern that I started with.

Then I cut out the lining fabric and pinned it in place unti it felt good. I used a sturdy linen, from an old pair of linen curtains for the lining.

Then I used the lining pieces as pattern pieces for the main fabric. When I had attached the lining and outer fabric I marked the holes for the lacing and I made the lacing holes by hand.

This is a good example of why it's not good for a diabetic to sew when the blood sugar goes too low. The bottom lacing hole is what I started with, after having eaten I had to rip it up and meake new neater lacing holes. I'm using a button hole stitch for the lacing holes.

Then it was time to try and get a skirt out of the leftovers from the fabric. I managed with only one large seam to piece two fabric pieces together.

I also had to make do with a skirt that was a bit shorter than I would have liked. I used a hemfacing so that I didn't need to turn up any more fabric than necessary. The skirt was gathered into the bodice with box pleats.

The finished gown, worn together with my first smocked shift.

And from the back. When  I took the photos I was on my way from Tuna Ting, and had already ditched my veil, that's why my hair is uncovered.

I'm really happy with this dress, and it's cool and light. Perfect for hot summer days. In fact it was almost too cool for today's weather.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

A visit to Gamla Staberg

Gamla Staberg is part of the World Heritage of Falun, and I have used it restored mid-18th century garden for quite a few photo shoots, for example here and here. Up until now the mansion has been a private home, so not accessible. Over the last year, since the last tenant left the house, it has been going through a careful renovation and been restored back to more what it used to be like in the 1740s. On Midsummer's Day it was time to open it to the public, and I had been asked to come in 18th century costume.

I decided to go with my pet en l'air, since it was the one closest in time to the 1740s.

I had made a new trim for my hat, by simply gathering a ribbon and tacking it to crown.

I was really pleased with how my hair turned out. I more or less used the instructions for the "Summer" simple, pulled back style from 18th century hair and wig styling. The less was due to me not having the book at hand, so I had to improvise in the back a bit. Still my hair is long enough that I can make my own braid and pin it up, but it was hardly visible.

All in all it was a nice day out, and it will be realy nice to see what's going to happen now with the house. I even got a bit 18th century inspiration again, and felt that I really want a new petticoat to go over my pocket hoops and to finally make something with my reproduction fabrics.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Happy Midsummer

This weekend it's Midsummer, and even if I didn't celebrate in and special way it at last meant a visit to Vika to watch the raising of the maypole. It's also the annual outing of my Vika traditional costume.

It was traditional weather so no silk cap this year, I don't want rain spots on it,  but at least it was warmer than two years ago when I had to wear my winter shake.

My Loungefly Star Wars handbag goes really well with the colours of my costumes.  

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

My special sewing box

In the autumn I found an ugly brown sewing box that my mother didn't use. I definitely saw that it was quite practical, especially for keeping some order among my sewing threads. It was ugly though, in brown wood. I asked my mother if she could redecorate it for me as a Christmas gift. It has taken her some time to finish it, but now it's done and made to match my sewing corner.

This is the inside, just look at all those pegs to put the thread rolls in. The only thing remaining from the original colour is the pin cushion of red felt.

 Most of the things on the front has some family connection. The thimbles on the left are from my mother and her mother, the thimbles on the right is from my paternal grandmother and her mother. The doily is Brussels lace and my father has bought it in Brussels. The flowers are from my maternal grandfather's aunt. The white lace on holding one pair of thimbles, as well as the lace on the inside is bobbin lace made by my father's paternal grandmother.

All in all I'm very happy about this little box, both for its practical use and for all the family history it contains.

Friday, 8 June 2018

June 6th picnic with Cosplay Dalarna

This year again we decided to have a small costume picnic on the 6th of June, Sweden's national day. We decided to be in Borlänge, where Niklas and Monika were helping out with some activities for the kids. Due to some health issues and work we were a bit decimated, but us who were there had a nice relaxing afternoon. We also decided that since most of the activities at the June 6th festivites are geared towards children, next year we should come in our cosplays from films, TV and games that they recognize.

This is the four of us in different eras. Ann-Sofie and her husband really looks great as Tintin and Captain Haddock.

I had a hard time deciding on what to wear. I had planned to wear my 1890's sport outfit, but I only have a blouse and no jacket for it. It would have been ok to wear, if some of the heat from last week had remained, but when I went to the supermarket in the morning it was barely 10 degrees and I was freezing. Then I realised that one of the few warm garments I have is the coat from my 1787 revolutionary. I went up and got it, but when I started to dress I realized that I just didn't want to wear stays today. I skipped the gaulle and I was just wearing my shift and two petticoats under the vest and coat.

 The hair was another issue, since I normally do a lot of pincurls when I try to do 18th century hairstyles, thankfully the late 1780s are bushy and I had my big white cap. I curled the front of the hair with my curling iron and teased it to give it a bit of volume, and hid the rest under the cap, except for two long curls in the back. Not my best hairstyle, but it took me less than 20 minutes to do. I'm also apparently out of hairspray, so the hair started to loose its shape fairly quickly.

On the way home from the picnic I stopped by my mother's house, and while I was in the garden one of her three cuddly cats showed up.

I must say this look with a vest, but no coat was really comfortable and definitely something I can wear more often when I want to do 18th century light.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

HSM challenge 6 - my 1520's gown

As you might have seen in my last post I wore a new 16th century gown in Leksand. This was my main project for the spring, but apparently I didn't take any photos of the progress. The theme for HSM challenge 6 was
"Rebellion and Counter-Culture: Create an item that pays homage to fashion rebels and clothes that flaunt their place on the fringes of standard sartorial society, or that was signature to a rebelling cause."
My 1520's gown is not a fashion rebel, if anything I have made it quite conservative, but now it's time for a bit of history lesson.

Falun, where I live in Sweden, grew up around the copper mine. It was in use from the late Viking Age up until 1992, and even if would have its heyday in the 17th century it was an important part of the Swedish economy already by the late 13th century. In the 15th century the master miners, the shareholders of the mine, built up wealth enough to be able to arm themselves. They were also a class of people well connected to the German trading towns around the Baltic Sea. At the same time Sweden-Finland did go through a time of turmoil, with basically armed conflicts and civil war raging for most of the century. The Master Miners' support were sought and feared by the different factions in the conflicts, since they could easily stand up a sizeable army made up of their armed mine workers. This lead to the Master Miners getting used to have a say in the politics. This period of political influence ended in the 1530's when the Gustav Vasa first went up to Falun, and the region of Dalarna, to get support for his rebellion against the Danish king. The rebellion was a success, Gustav Vasa became the new king. The people of Dalarna weren't very happy with some of the king's rulings though, and three times they rebelled against the king. In 1533 the king travelled up to Dalarna and subjugated the whole region, and executed the leaders of the rebellions, including some of the most prominent Master Miners. Later history writing has made the difference rebellions in Dalarna part of both the regional and national mythos, so there is a lot of connection to the theme of "Rebellion".

I have based my outfit on what would have been a suitable dress for a Master Miner's wife or daughter in the 1520s, when they were at their height of politicial power and ready to rebel against anyone interfering with them. I have discussed my design choices in this post.

The gown is made in green wool flanell, with guards in the same material. The bodice consists of one backpiece and two front pieces. I made the pattern for the bodice by cutting out a general shape, and then having help to pin it into a model that I wanted. It is closed with hook and eye.

I made my own hook and eye tape by sewing them to two strips of very sturdy linen. By having the hook and eye on separate strips it was also easy to adjust the fit of the bodice, by changing their positions.
Here you can see that I had to sew them further in under the bust, but let them out at the bust, or else I would looked totally flat in front. They stick out from the main fabric, but is hidden under the guards. The skirt is pleated into the waist with wide knife pleats.

I was so very happy with the sleeves. I think this is the first time I have gotten sleeves where I have full movement, and they are not too tight. The secret - I found this tutorial from the Completely Dressed Anachronists. It is the first tutorial where I found it took my beefy upper arms into account. I can still make it even better, to remove the small wrinkles, but I'm so happy with it.

Together with the gowm  I'm wearing 5 out of 6 HSM challenges for the year (my hairnet, my shift, my apron, my gollar ). I'm also melting since it was almost 30 degrees Celsius.

The Challenge: 6 - Rebellion and counter-culture

Material: 4 m green wool flanell, 1 m orange wool flanell
Pattern: draped on my body
Year: 1520s
Notions: thread, 15 pairs of hook and eye
How historically accurate is it? I would say 80 percent, it's all handsewn but the hooks and eyes are modern, and there might be other details wrong as well.
Hours to complete: a month
First worn: Leksand's Medieval Market June 1-3
Total cost: $150

Monday, 4 June 2018

Leksand's Medieval Market

Ever since the beginning of the winter I had planned to stay over at the medieval market in Leksand. This year the market had made a restart, with new organisers. I must say I liked it better. It felt like there was a lot more to see and a lot more of high quality vendors, all in all Leksand is really great medieval market.

Niklas and Monica from Cosplay Dalarna had promised that me and Linnea could borrow their old tent, since they had bought a new and bigger one. Well after a lot of misfortunes with the tent it was clear that they would not have time to get their new tent up to Leksand in time. Thankfully though the world of cosplayers/costumers is pretty small, and it turned out that Ingeli, one of my best friends in the Nordic Garrison, was also going to Leksand and she could bring her old tent. They were even nice enough to raise it for us so it stood there when we arrived on Friday evening.

Here is our little camp all set up. Me, Linnea and Kristoffer (who we had recruited on the way) shared the huge black and white tent, but we spent most of the time under Monica's and Niklas' pavillion.

Friday night dinner is getting ready. We had planned the dinner so that each of us would prepare a meal and bring it with us so that we only had to heat it, and not cook it from scratch.

Dinner time. Despite the temperature in the day reaching almost 30 degrees it started to get chilly in the evening as you can see by people wearing hoods and caftans. And it turned out that the night would be really, really cold in the night. In fact I didn't sleep at all because it was so cold, and I apparently hadn't brought enough blankets with me. It didn't even help that I had my brand new 14th century night cap. Our huge tent was also to big to be heated up with our body heat.

On Saturday morning the temperature started to rise pretty fast though, still I had decided that I would wear my full 16th century outfit. Us campers were also visited by some other friends from Cosplay Dalarna.

Here is our group photo, and it's taken by Niclas, who was there in modern clothes. I didn't manage to wear two layers of wool for more than a couple of hours, though.

Me, Ann-Sofie and Linnea. I was grateful that I could hike up the skirt, by borrowing a belt from Linnea, in proper trossfrau style.

For most of the market I was only wearing my undergown though, since it's sleeveless. I was also very glad that the location is just by the water, so it was nice to go down there and cool down. In historical clothes we just stood there in the water and wet our headscarves before wrapping them on our heads (my hair dye still bleeds so I now have a pink veil) but I had brought modern swim wear as well so when the market closed in the evening I switched to that and made sure to take a really nice bath.

On Saturday it was even hotter, and I hadn't planned on wearing anything but the undergown. Then me and Linnea offered to take part in the medieval fashion show, they had a landsknecht but no 16th century women. And if I was going to be in the fashion show I sure wanted to show off my best, so I dressed up in all the layers and accessories. Now the temperature was definitely hovering around 30 degrees, and that was too much. I almost got heat exhaustion on the way, and I think my hydration/salt balance still hasn't gotten back into balance a day later.

I'm almost melting here, but at least it looks good.

As you might have seen in this post I have a few pieces of clothing, including my ain green gown, that I haven't posted about. I'm going to talk about that in a future post.

It is pretty fun that everything I'm wearing in this photo has been made as HSM challenges this year.