Thursday, 10 October 2019

HSM19 Challenge 10 - details, another smocked apron

It's funny I think I made my first smocked apron for the October HSM18 challenge, and now it's time again. I think a big reason is that I enjoy sitting in front of the TV on a dark evening and a smocked apron is just the right size to work with in the sofa. October is also a bit of a calm month after the summer costume season, but before any Christmas stress or other things pick up, perfect for some smocking.

This time I didn't do an apron for myself though. This is for a friend, who due to physical issues can't handsew. She's going to help me with some other things, so it will be an exchange of services. It also means that I had to keep proper track of how much money I spent and how much time it took.

For the fabric I used a linen from which is unbleached and has the feel of being handwoven. I have bought more of it to make a shift for a working woman for myself out of it. For the apron I bought one meter, and then I cut out strips off the sides to create the waistband, but otherwise I use the full width of the fabric.

I started the project on a really cozy crafting evening at a friend's place. Where there were four of us sitting in a wooden loft and made 16th century stuff.

I started with hemming the bottom and the side of the apron, and then it was time to make the gathering stitches. I use a regular sewing thread in a visible colour for the gathering stitches. You actually don't need to be too fuzzy about the exact measurments for the stitches, but they need to be equal.

I prefer to make the rows of gathering stitches fairly tight horizontally, because then I can use the gathering threads as guidelines when working the smocking stitches. I usually do six rows, and I tie the gathering threads together in pairs, since that makes it easier to pull them later on.

Here is the fabric with the gathering threads pulled together.

Now it's time for the smocking itself. I start at the top gathering thread, hold folds 1 and 2 together and do two to three backstitches to sew them together. Then I go to gathering thread number 3 and 5 and do the same thing. It usually looks a bit wonky at the start, but it will look better with more rows done. 

On the way back up you hold fold 2 and 3 and make stitches at the 6, 4 and 2 gathering threads. The aim is to get rows of altrnating stitches that will make up the honeycome pattern.

Once you have gone the full width of the fabric remove the gathering threads and decided how wide you want the apron to be. The honeycome smocking is quite elastic so it's easy to adjust the size. 

 The last thing to th finished apron is to add a waistband. It's a simple folded band, from strips of the same fabric. I like making the waistband extra long so that I can tie it in the front, which is a lesson I learnt when I had my shoulder problem and lost a lot of my mobility and simply couldn't tie anything behind my back.

As for details, the theme of the challenge. Since this apron wasn't for my personal use I really took the time to be careful with the stitches. I'm happy with the smocking, but I'm even more satisfied with what you can't see. I managed to make the hems invisible from the right side, and the waistband is sewn together with tiny slip stitches.

Invisible hem

The slipstitched waistband

What the item is: a smocked apron
How it fits the challenge: All the tiny seams that are totally invisible, until you get really, really close
Material: 1 m of unbleached linen
Pattern: My own
Year: smocked aprons were used in the late 15th and early 16th centuries.
Notions: unbleached linen thread and wax for the thread
How historically accurate is it? As far as my knowledge this is as close as you can get the materials and patterns of the time, but since I'm not sure I put it at 85%
Hours to complete: 15
First worn: Not yet
Total cost: $22

Friday, 20 September 2019

ComicCon Stockholm 2019

It was time again for ComicCon Stockholm, which is the biggest comiccon-like event of the year in Sweden. This year I didn't bring anything new, but it was the first time I wore Luna Lovegood for a big event, it was also the first time that we had the whole HP crew from Cosplay Dalarna assembled.

Friday is always a slow day. I did a stint as X-wing pilot in the Nordic Legions' booth. I decided to have some fun with make-up though, I mean how often can you wear the green lipstick you got from your sister?

Matching lips and hairband

I finally had the opportunity to meet up with the amazing Britta though, at NärCon I had only seen her in a distance when she was wearing her costume. She is definitely one of the coolest and nicest cosplayers I know.

Saturday was crazy. Simply put they had oversold tickets and let way too many people in. It was so crowded that you could barely move. The queue outside was Celebration-like, stretching for hundreds of meters. It was great fun patrolling the queue though, and it's always fun when you do it in a group. This time there were four of us X-wing pilots going around.

I also had a presentation of the Nordic Legions. It was the same set-up as in NärCon, since I think that works really well. It was a bigger crowd than at NärCon, but also more kids who just wanted to see cool costumes and not listen to the "behind the scenes" of being in one of the big Star Wars costuming clubs.

After the talk I switched to Lune Lovegood for the rest of the day, and had a lot of fun with the HP Dalarna people.

When my bloodsugar dropped I even found some candy that was straight out of Honeydukes

The whole HP gang ready for action
We also made the Heroes Cosplay Walk on, but that was a mess due to the number of people and the organizers not setting a cap on the number of entrants. We got a lot of cheers from the audience though, showing once again that a group is always appreciated.

On Sunday I was in the Nordic Legions' booth as Luna, it was my first official Reel Icons troop. There were a bunch of different characters, which always leads to fun photos, but my favorite was the little girl who came as Luna and wanted to have her photo with me. She got to borrow my wand as well, and she was really cute.

Cape off with Batman

Dancing with Haddock, Tintin, Harley Quinn and Batman

Being confused over muggle technology

This is how it works!

Force vs. magic
Unfortunately I didn't feel very well, I had had a cold the week before, and now it returned. I got out of costume and finally got some good photos of my "I heart SW"-dress that I made a year ago.

I was really happy that I had hitched a ride with Monika and Niklas home, instead of sitting on the train. I then had to stay home from work for a couple of days, but now I'm hoping that I'm finally rid of the cold. Next event will be AvestaCon last weekend in October.

Photos are also from the Nordic Legions' camera, ArtyAnna Cosplay and Tinkky Cosplay

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

HSM19 Challenge 9: Everyday Wear - the mustard kirtle

The HSM19 Challenge for September is Everyday wear.

 Everyday: It’s not all special occasion frocks. Make something that would have been worn or used for everyday.

I was happy that  I could use my mustard kirtle for this challenge. Even if I am planning to wear the kirtle as an underkirtle for a more grand project, my plan all along was to make the kirtle as a stand alone item that I could wear for more regular occasions, and portray a more simple woman than I have a tendency to do when I only make pretty, pretty dresses.

For all the posts in this project, follow the tag "mustard kirtle" . It is a basic pattern, two side pieces and two back pieces. The lacing holes are bound by hand, and I'm using a lucet cord for the lacing. The kirtle has loose sleeves, that I can skip when I'm using it as an underkirtle. So far I have pinned them on, but I'm thinking about adding lacing holes so that I can tie them on instead.

I wore it to the Medieval days in Älvkarley August 31-September 1. I noticed that it was a very comfortable kirtle, but I am going to tighten it up a bit before I use it as an underkirtle. The straps are a tiny bit too long to support the bust and I can definitely get it more snug. For now though it is a very comfortable everyday kirtle.

What the item is: An early 16th century kirtle
How it fits the challenge: A kirtle to be wear for every day and portraying a working woman
Material: 4 m of mustard yellow wool tabby
Pattern: My own
Year: First quarter of the 16th century
Notions: Linen thread, a 10 cm strip of wool flanell as a hem guard.
How historically accurate is it? It's all handsewn iwth period materials, I'm putting this in the 90% category
Hours to complete: 2 weeks
First worn: Laxöns Medeltidsdagar August 30
Total cost: $130

Sunday, 8 September 2019

18th century fun

Today there was a talk about 18th century fashion at the county museum. I wanted to go there, and my friend Emma also wanted to go there, and of course in costume. Emma doesn't have any 18th century clothes, so she arrived in the morning at my place. We could fit her in my desert rose stays, brown pierrot and the yellow skirt I made for my navy anglaise. They all look so good on here, sure the jacket was a bit big, but it worked with some strategic pinning, it only shows how versatile 18th century clothing is. It was really fun to see the clothes in use, since there is no chance that I would be able to fit in them anymore. They are still probably the best 18th century items that I have made.

I was happy to see that I could fit in my full 1787 revolutionary though, I was worried that th coat would be too small in the sleeves, but it also worked out.

After having pomaded and powdered our hair we tried to get some nice bushy styles of the 1780s going. We both realized that our hair is actually too long to make the really good styles, but we did our best. This is actually a lesson, women in the old days didn't necessarily have very long hair because it's actually harder to accomplish some of the styles with long hair.

After the talk, were people also took a lot of photos of us we decided to go out to the 18th century mansion (Gamla Staberg) outside Falun. We were even so lucky that the house, restored to the 1750s was open so we could go in, most photos were taken in the garden though.

Inside the main building

Doing my best to imitate the fashion plate inspiration
This was the inspiration for the 1787 revolutionary

I love my hat even if it's a bit uncomfortable to wear a full day

The best look of the hairstyle. It got crushed by the hat and it's so newly dyed that it's very red even with a lot of powder

Friday, 6 September 2019

Presentation of my blogs


some of you reading this might now that I have another blog - Historiekullan. I have lately realized in some aspects Costumekullan and Historiekullan overlaps. This is a short presentation of why I post the things I do in which place.

Costumekullan - this blog. It started out as my cosplay blog, but is now fairly divided between cosplay projects and historica recreation.

Historiekullan - the other blog. This is a blog solely focused on the 15th and 16th centuries in Scandinavia. I post here every other week, and the posts are in Swedish since it is mainly about Swedish history.

Where the two blogs overlap is when I recreate 15th anc 16th century things, not the least when I make food and bake things. Food and baking is also not strictly about costuming, which is the core of this blog. But where should I post when I have made a new 16th century recipe?

I have decided that I will continue to post historical recipes on this blog, a couple of months ago I also asked my followers on facebook if they would be interested in that. I will try and post the recipes in both Swedish and English, since some reading about them may have come over from Historiekullan.

Both blogs are just different sides of the same coin though, my deep love for the 15th and 16th centuries, but in this blog I also share my other interests and try to keep it more personal. If you are interested in Scandinavian history and can read Swedish I definitely recommend hopping over to Historiekullan from time to time.

16th century ginger biscuits have their place in this blog

Sunday, 1 September 2019

The finished kirtle

After I had done the bodice it was time for the skirt. I simply used two lengths of the fabric and sewed them together with felled seams. I then did four rows of gathering threads and gathered the fabric.

The gathering stitches are not perfectly aligned, it's good enough that I eyeball them. Do not sew the stitches too tightly, it looks ebeter with fewer but larger folds in my point of view. In the photo you can see both the stitches and when I have started to gather the fabric. For a long piece like this I also prefer to divide the sections, so I don't try to fit the whole width into one superlong gathering thread.

Once gathered I pinned the skirt to the bodice and sewed it on. It is important that you catch every fold that is connected to the bodice. Then I folded the linen lining over the other side and attached each fold on that side to the lining. This not how I've seen it done in other tutorials so I don't know how accurate it is, but it works for me.

I finished the skirt by adding a 10 cm hemguard. Using hemguards is my favorite hem technique. The guard protects the edge of the skirt, and if it gets dragged and worn it's easier to just add a new hemguard. The hemguard also gives the skirt edge a bit of structure that helps hold it out  from the legs. Finally for a hemguard you don't have to calcualte a lot of extra length for the hem, which for me means saving a few centimeters on the skirt and that's not bad when the fabric is expensive. For this hemguard I used a strip of orange wool flanell.

I close the kirtle with a lucet cord made of brown wool. I first though that the wool was too elastic, so I tried with linen yarn. It was great, but I couldn't keep it from breaking after 3 cm. I then made a meter of so with a cotton string, but it just didn't feel right. I went back to the wool yarn, and decided that I could live with the elasticity. All lucet cords are a bit elastic anyway, no matter the raw material. To close my bodice I needed around 75 of lucet cord.

I wore my the kirtle for a daytrip to a semi-local medieval fair on Saturday. I had also made a pair of loose sleeves, using my standard S-pattern. The sleeves ended up a bit too long, but otherwise they were nice. I also want to come up with a way of tieing the sleeves on, and not just pin them.

Monday, 26 August 2019

Finishing the bodice of the kirtle

The finishing touches of the bodice was to make lacing holes and finish the edges around the neckline and armscyes. This is going to be mainly an underkirtle, and I want it to be really snug and tight, and then lacing is easier to adjust than hooks and eyes.

To stabilize the lacing I added an extra strip of thick linen between the lining and the outer fabric where the lacing was going to be. I'm hoping this will be enough without having to add any boning. My current kirtle is made of the same fabric as the extra strip, and it doesn't need any boning.

I make the lacing holes with a buttonhole stitch, using double waxed linen thread. I definitely need to practice doing more lacing holes to get them really even, I noticed a clear improvement from my first to the last one.

In order to make the holes I didn't want to punch or cut holes, something that every corset pattern says that you should never do since it weakens the fabric.

To make the holes I started with using an awl to make a small hole. This doesn't cut any fibres in the fabric, it just moves them to the side.

When I had a small hole I pushed a larger knitting needle through. This is the only knitting needle that I own, and I have it becaue it makes perfect holes for 00 grommets when making corsets.

I wanted the holes to be a bit larger though. I had used the knitting needle in my teal 1490's gown, and the lacing holes ended up being very small. I didn't have a larger knitting needle, so I simply used the handle of a paintbrush that I thought had a suitable size.

When I made the lacing holes I had to keep reinsirting the paintbrush quite often, or else the holes both get a lot smaller and they loose their round shape.

This is the finished front of the bodice. It is going to be spiral laced, that is why the lacing holes are uneven and not straight across from each other.

And this is the inside of the bodice. Along the neckline and the armscyes I simply folded the wool tabby over the edge of the linen and secured it with a small hemstitch. I didn't finish the eges of the wool, since it doesn't fray and I felt that a folded edge got too bulky.

So now it's just the skirt left to make it wearable, and then I want to add a pair of sleeves, depending on how much fabric I have left after the skirt. With some luck I might even be able to wear this new kirtle to a semi-local medieval fair in the weekend. I'm going there over Sunday, so it's not a full weekend event with camping, just a quick visit with my mother and aunt.