A long awaited Spencer Jacket (HSM 3/2017)

I finally did it, the one thing I’ve been talking (and thinking about) for about 4 years.

I made a Regency Spencer!

Yay!

I’ve been wanting one since I first got into this hobby.
Doing the occasional regency dance recital in our often les then agreeable Swedish climate (I’m thinking of you – dance recital oct 2013), I felt I really needed someting more then a shawl and mittens to keep the cold of my back between shows.

So in planing this years HSM I (as usual) added the wish to maybe this year would be the year when I finally made that jacket. Not getting any big hopes up, what with a baby, starting work again, and another big costume all wanting my attention.

inspiration

But somehow I managed to get inspired, and to whip it out in between baby’s naps and other projects costume fittings.

I started by trying to decide which of my two Spencer patterns to use. Full of indecision I actually patterned and made mock-ups of them both.
Laughing Moon 129 “Wrap front Spencer”
 
I like the fit, and I LOVE the back peplum, and it was fairly easy to get together.

Period Impression 461 “1809 Spencer jacket”
I like the fit of the bodice, even though it felt a bit long and the peplum in the back was so wide it kind of got lost. Something that would be easily fixed, and I do love the way the waistband goes cross the sides and fasten on to the back piece.
I’ve also heard a lot (and not the good stuff) about the sleeves on this pattern, so I decided to try 2 different styles. The left sleeve is the original, which was bulky at the top, narrow at the wrist and twisted along the arm. For the left sleeve on my mock-up I used the previous patterned “Laughing moon” sleeve, which surprisingly fitted both my arm and the sleeve-cap much better.

After some debating back and forth my boyfriend decided for me, and I went with the “Laughing moon” style, with the fold down collar and the nice sleeves.

Then I busted my stash and found a lovely burgundy colored wool I bought for a Regency gentlemen tailcoat a few years back. I figured I could always get more fabric if I ever felt the need to make that (like that’s ever going to happen…).

Not sure if it was the reference image that inspired me or not (probably), but I also decided to make the collar and cuffs out of some black wool I got a whole bolt of in my stash.

So as usual, I cut the fabric, pinned and stitched the main pieces together. bodice stitched together.

I made the sleeves

end stitched, cut, turned and attached the collar.I haven’t padstiched anything since fashion school, and it felt great doing it again.

I inserted the lining, and clipped and turned the bodice.

Then I tried it on.  Sorry for the pore quality mirror selfies

That’s when I realized something was of with the collar.
 Jupp, thats my boobs, and a VERY un-evenly attached collar

After some carefully re-measuring I discovered I’d stitched it on more then 1,5 cm uneven.
Crap!
After some hesitation, where I tried to figure out how to fix the problem in the easiest way possible, I un-picked the stitches a few cm around the “to long” edge, and turned in the amount of fabric/collar needed to make it even. Then I hand stitched it closed again. That’s what you call cheating, but there was no way I would un-pick the whole collar, with the seam-allowence already cut and jacked.

I also needed to re-stitch the points of the darts a tiny bit lower, to get it to sit nicely over my stays.

Then I finished it up, by attaching the sleeves and adding hook & eye for closure.

It was around this point, when trying to iron the collar to lie nicely, I realized I’d totally forgot to make the the inner facing on the front edge.

Doh… 😦

That would explain the white lining peaking out way to much.
Serves me right, for not wanting to waste time or tracing paper on linings and facings, but simply using the main pattern pieces for everything.

Well not much to do then to use force (which meant several rows of stitches and a whole loot of steam) to try to get it to lie nice.

The finished Spencer:

All the facts:

Challenge: Nr 3/2017 “The great Outdoors”

What: a 1800-1830s Regency spencer.

How it fit the challenge: It’s a wool jacket meent to be worn outdoors. The color (and my accessories) also makes it perfect as a riding outfit.

Pattern: Laughing Moon 129 “Ladies wraping front Spencer”

Fabric and notions: 1,5 m burgundy colored wool, scraps of black wool, 1,5m white cotton for lining, thread, 2 pair of hooks and eyes.

How historical accurate: So so. The Pattern and material are all good, but it is made entirely by machine using modern construction techniques. Strictly speaking it would be a 5/10, but since people of the period wouldn’t notice the machine stitched seams unless they were rely close I say 8/10.

Time: About 6-7 hours. It took me a week to make du to needed to wait for baby to sleep, but I’m confident I could whip one up in less then a day if I could work without interruptions.

Cost: Everything came from stash, but bought anew it would have cost about 150-200sek (20Usd).

First worn: Late mars for photos.

Final thoughts: I love it! I felt so nice in it, and would love to wear it as a piece in my modern wardrobe (Hm, maybe it will work well with jeans and a t-shirt…). It was also very fun and fast to make, and I’m already thinking about making a few more.

Bonus pic of me (multitasking) trying to get some blogging done in between mock-up fittings.

Make-do Pieced shawl (HSM 2/2017)

One other thing I made that would fit perfectly into the challenge of “Make-do and mend” for last months HSM, is this simple cotton shawl/neckerchief.

It started out as a small piece of rectangular fabric (50 x 140 cm) that I got for 10 sek (1 Usd) at a estate sale last summer.

It reminded me of lots of Swedish folk costumes and fabrics worn by my peasant ancestors back in the day.

I knew I wanted to make something that could be paired with outfits from 18th century all the way through to the 1920s. But what?

It was the small amount of fabric (les then 50cm) that made the choice for me – a shawl/neckerchief/fichu, would be perfect.

The only problem was the piece was to short to make a proper shawl.
But as they say – “Piecing is period”…
Time for some mathematics.

I cut the fabric in 4 different sized pieces and then attached them again to get that biggest size shawl with the least amount of seams possible.

The sewing itself was noting special, just spaced backstitches and folded over edges and hems. detail of pieced corner

finished but not yet pressed.

The only thing that I wasn’t completely happy with was the fact the plaid was a un-even, which caused the side-turned piece not possible to pattern match. But I don’t think that will be noticeable once worn.

The finished shawl:

Paired with my 18th century “Outlander” jacket:


Just the facts:

Challenge: nr 2/2017 – Re-make,

What: a 18th-20th century neckerchief/shawl/fichu

How it fits the challenge: The fabric is second hand from a estate sale, and I pieced the fabric to make a bigger shawl then the original fabric.

Pattern: None – just made some quick calculations.

Fabric/Notions: 70 cm blue/white plaid cotton fabric and thread.

Time/Cost: About 15 Sek (1.5 Usd), and 3 hours.

How historical accurate: Spot on I think :-). The material and weaved in plaids are good, and so are the stitching with waxed linnen thread and the fact that I pieced together a bigger piece from a smaller one.

First worn: Beginning of Mars for photos

Final thoughts: I think it is good, and i will probably get some use out of it being so simple and non time specific.

Re-make a pair of bodice (HSM 2/2017)

I tend to think these “make-do/repair/re-make – challenges” are pretty boring. And I never know what to make and feel kind of uninspired by the whole thing.

But then something always happens.

I guess it’s due to my ever growing costume wardrobe, and my inpatients (often pressed by deadlines) to get stuff finished, that I always end up with several entry’s for the “re-make” HSM challenges.

The first one, this time, is the fixing up of my 16th century “Pair of bodice” (corset) that I made as one of my first historic pieces back in 2013.
2013-03-01 14.33.57Mighty proud back then

Since I’ve long been dreaming of expanding my 16th century wardrobe (and just recently got both patterns and a lovely black wool for a robe) I decided it was time to go through the existing pieces to make sure they where up to speed.

2013-02-09 15.45.57 2013, and just starting to ventur into the world of historic costuming

 
February 2017, and still a novice (tough a bit more knowable)
The corset fit me almost the same as back in 2013, but that was not enough anymore.
It needed to be fixed.

Here is how it looked before I dug my seam-ripper into it.

The first thing I did was to take my measurements, and they tuned out (as I expected) to be the exact same with and without the corset on. I know that the 16th century silhouette don’t call for any sliming of the torso, but a column to get the right look of the garment. But despite that I wanted to minimize my “column” as much as possible – Oh the vanity…

One of the biggest problem in this was the thick (2-3mm) plastic zip-ties I used to completely bone the bodice.
They build on to the outside of the corset to give me the bigger/same size as un-laced.

So they had to go.

Or at least most of them.
After I unripped the bias tape covering the upper edge, I removed every other bone at the front, all bones at the sides and only left a few ones a the back. I also cut the remaining bones down a god cm to make them fit better into the channels.
Cutting down the plastic boning.

Once the bones was gone I faced another problem – now the whole thing was a bit to big…

So I grabbed my seam-ripper, and got to work removing the piecing I added for exactly the same (opposite?) reason when I made the bodice.

Once almost all the upper binding was removed, I also took the opportunity to shorten the shoulder straps.

By now the corset looked like some kind of roadkill, with everything hanging lose and the big pile of boning sticking out. 

 Quality control by my tiny “helper”

Then all that was left was to stitch everything back again.

The finished Pair of bodice:


All the facts:

Challenge: nr 2/2017 – Re-make

What: The re-make of my 16th century “Pair of bodice”

How It fit the challenge: I re-made the pair of bodice to better fit my current skill and body, making it a lot more likely I will actually wear them. I also got a lot leftover boning from the fix-up, that I can use for other projects down the line.

Pattern: None

Fabric/Notions: Thread

How historical accurate: Not at all except the shape. The whole thing is made with machine, in synthetic brocade using both plastic boning and metal eyelets (so sorry you guys…). But it is a clear example of how my knowledge and skill have grown and since they will never be seen, it don’t bother me as much as it probably should. about 3/10.

Time/Cost: About 3 hours and it didn’t cost me a thing (of one thing I gained a few cents with the opportunity to re-use the left over bones).

First worn: Beginning of Mars for photos

Finished thoughts: I’m happy that I now might finally wear them 🙂

***

And here’s a complimentary “striptease” 🙂

photos by: Elin Evaldsdotter

Shirts for a Gentleman

Last fall, right before I hit the wall sewing wise I’d taken on one of my rare commissions (I don’t usually sew for others unless its totally on my terms).
But when my wonderful dancing master Sievert asked me if I could help him update his historical shirts I couldn’t say no.

He needed both a new medieval and a new regency shirt to use on our dance recitals.

So I got some nice cotton (I know linnen would be more accurate but I was to make them on machine anyway. And they needed to be easy to wash and care for), made some quick pattern calculations and cut the rectangles needed for both the shirts.

Then I stopped, put my head in the sand and closed my eyes to everything sewing/historical (because pregnancy can do that to you)

More then 10 months later (after the birth of my son, and then some), I was once more ready to tackle the shamefully late commission.

So after one intense week of sewing in between feedings, I managed to sew and deliver both shirts.img_0882

The process went pretty fast and straight forward except one little hiccup –
While putting the last hand on and pressing the Medievals shirt I noticed the seam allowance on the outside on one of the sleeves.

Meaning i’ve put it in inside out.

Crap!

So it was on to un-picking the french felled seam (with hand finishing:-( )
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I then turned the sleeve outside- in and re-attached it, pressed and once more used tiny hand stitches to fell the seam.

There done!

Or, wait a second…

NOOOOoooo!!!

I done the exact same mistake AGAIN!

Some of you might remember that I’ve done this before (on my Borgia chemise les then a month before).

How is it even possible that I didn’t learn?
By now I tossed the damned thing into the corner and went to sleep, debating with myself if I could leave it like that.
Of course I couldn’t – It was  a commission piece after all.

So bring back the seam ripper.

The only trouble was that these folded french seams needs really small seam allowance to look good, and the only way to achieve that is by trimming it after you stitched the first seam. This practice, and the fact I’ve done it wrong not one, but twice, meant that I cut of about 1,5 cm on the left shoulder compared to the right. Making the whole garment a bit of.

Once the sleeve was re-set, a third time, I quickly finished and packed the shirt away, out of sight.

The finished medieval shirt:img_0420

img_0388The final result after all the re-stitching.

img_0428Sleeve with ties

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Then it was time to get cracking on the Regency shirt.

This time I didn’t do the same mistake (Hurray!), and the shirt was finished in a few days.

The finished Regency shirt: img_0873

img_0878Metal buttons on a standing collar.

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The two shirts now at their new home.img_0884Lets hope he gets a lot of wear out of them.

Regency Apron – Photoshoot

For the photos of my new apron I wanted to try to copy the inspiration print s much as possible, and since I haven’t made the rest of the outfit, I picked some pieces from my existing costume wardrobe that would some what give the right look.

I’m wearing my white regency evening gown, regency stays, cap, fichu, mittens and a few different hats and bonnets (like my green silk 1860s, brown velvet 1840s) for props.

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Behind the scenesimg_2436

Regency Apron (HSM 1/2017)

Since my plan is to go for easy pieces this year (yeah, Erhm, sorry that ship’s already sailed) I decided to submit a lovely piece of clothing I started sometime this fall and only finished a little while ago.

Namely this pretty Apron:8b05963d5ee97df4f28e42f9f5f09e09I loved this print since I first saw it and been wanting to re-create it for quite some time.

The first thing I did was to dig up a piece of soft cotton satin in a lovely dark green color, which I scored for basically nothing at a flee-market a while back.
The fabric was only 1 m long but that was exactly enough.img_2191Some creative cutting (without piecing, Yay!)

img_2198I started by hemming the sides, and  bust “flap”, using my sewing machine, since sewing time is scarce at the moment.

Then I stitched and turned the tubes that was to become the shoulder straps.img_2200

The hardest part was to figure out the bust flap and the closing, since I wanted to be able to wear it in several different ways (Flap up/down, Straps straight/crossed at back)img_2228I ended up only attaching the flap at the “waist” so that it could either be folded down (hidden) or pinned to the straps if worn up.

Then I marked the buttonhole placement, and stitched them (using my machine). img_2232

I finished by adding the buttons, and a 10 cm wide piece of linen to the hem to give it some weight. img_2313

The finished apron:
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Bust flap down and crossed straps in back: img_2302

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Just the facts:

Challenge: 1/2017 “Firts & Last”

What: a Regency apron

How It fits the challenge: It would be one of the last pieces you put on before leaving the house/doing your chores. It’ also the my first venture into the late Regency/early Biedermeier but not my last since I now wish to make the whole outfit from the inspiration print.

Pattern: None, I drafted my own – It’s basically a trapeze with shoulder straps.

Fabric: 1 m green cotton satin and 15 cm white linen for hem binding.

Notions: Thread and buttons

Historical accurate: Besides from the machine stitching and maybe to “weak” fabric I would say it is pretty good. The shape is good and the construction is plausible. about 6/10

Time: About 4 hours – figuring out the construction took the longest time.

Cost: 30 Sek (3 Usd) – got to love those flee Market bargains.

First worn: Mid January for pictures

Final thoughts: I think it looks pretty good, and helps “dress down” my more fancy frocks in a pretty way.

2017 – Planing Ahead

As we go deeper into January 2017, its time to plan this years sewing.

Yay!

This year I did things a little differently then usual (where I just pic ALL the things), because having a small baby really eats away of your sewing time 😉
So, this year I picked All the things I want to sew..

…and then I removed half of them.
All costumes with lots of pieces/decorations/complicated (and time consuming) elements had to go. Sorry, Not sorry.

Then I took a hard and “realistic” (yeah right) look at what was manageable with approx 1-3 hours sewing a week (more, if I could use nap time at its fullest but that’s hardly likely).

Then I took a look at my stash (because after half a year of maternity leave you really need to cut back on the excesses, like fabrics) and added that account into the ekvation.

And lastly I run everything through the eyes of the “Historical sew monthly” and possible events to come, and tried my best to match everything up.

So, after lots of forth and back, here is what i plan to make during 2017:
(Presented through the HSM17 lineup)

 The Historical Sew Monthly 2017:
(January-July)

January:
Firsts & LastsCreate either the first item in a new ensemble, or one last piece to put the final fillip on an outfit.

8b05963d5ee97df4f28e42f9f5f09e09I begun the work on the apron on this fashion plate back in December and it will be both my first entry into 1810-20s (late Regency), and possibly the last piece of this ensemble I can finish this year (even though I would love to make the dress and bonnet as well).
And for the purpose of this challenge the apron will be the first item on this ensemble and the last ting to put on before leaving the home.

February:
Re-Make, Re-Use, Re-Fashion
Sew something that pays homage to the historical idea of re-using, re-making and re-fashioning.

For this one I have two dresses that I would love to re-make to a better fit and perhaps even a better design.

IMG_2031 This 1780s Robe needs to be fitted better over my “new” stays, and perhaps let out a tad in the sleeves.

IMG_0522This 1910s evening gown needs a nicer back closure, and I think it would look better with the draping a bit more stitched down and controlled.

March:
The Great Outdoors
Get out into the weather and dirt with an item for outdoor pursuits.

I’m not quite sure on what to make for this one yet, but I would love to make either a Regency Spencerempire2

Or this 1910s wrap cape.4208693c640de62d4b97f0ac6ec639fdBeautiful, Isn’t it?

Another thing I’m contemplating is to make a 18th century hair decoration to match the brown Robe Anglaise above. fbac9dca5d32b7a9e85ab39e839c26ea 650e2205c62d97b75a2e1ba7ad3e4a16
Something like these two mixed up

April:
Circles, Squares & Rectangles
Make a garment made entirely of squares, rectangles and circles.

1237560510215538790warszawianka_chiton_clothing-svg-hiOn this one I plan to keep it simple with a Greek Chiton or Peplos made from one/two big rectangles of fabric.

I might also get time to make the frilly 1820s bonnet from January’s fashion plate.

May:
Literature
– Make something inspired by literature.

Also not sure on this one.
I would love to make a new Edwardian evening gown (if some of my fabrics speaks to me)mode1910-2

Or a green Regency day dress (or maybe a Pelisse) out of a pretty cotton fabric I’ve been sitting on for a few years now.5880ee0d1aa5d43db828e03caa587e55

Or I might just take this opportunity to finish my Robe a la Franchaise (begun in 2014)
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The literature reference won’t be hard to find on either of them.

June:
Metallics
make something in silver, gold, bronze, and copper, whether it be an actual metal, cloth of gold or silver, or lamé.

I was planing on making one of these 1-hour dresses from the 1920s in a lovely turquoise jewel toned fake silk, but now that I read the challenge description again I realize that won’t do.ladda-nedPerhaps I can add some sparkle or a nice piece of jewelry to go with the dress, to make it fit the challenge criteria better.

July:
Fashion Plate
Make an outfit inspired by a fashion plate, whether it is a direct replica, or a more toned down version that fits the resources and lifestyle of the character you are portraying.

Another Regency piece I’ve been coveting for a while is a greek inspired over robe like his one.eveningfulldresslabelleassembleeapril1811

For the rest of the year (Aug-Dec) I want to wait a bit to decide what to do, since life and priorities change depending on sewing time/up-coming events or new interests.

So the last 5 challenges will be decided later this spring/summer.

AugustRidiculous 

SeptemberSeen Onscreen

OctoberOut of Your Comfort Zone

NovemberHSF Inspiration

DecemberGo Wild

Here is however some of the things I’m thinking about

A new 17th century evening bodiceelizabeth-capell-countess-of-carnarvon-ca-1665-sir-peter-lely

A 15th century Burgundian gownspinning-women1

A sheer Regency gown to dress up/down depending on occasion. 28187ad2219cb5718f1b8e6e7609ab73

A man’s Regency waistcoatk4202drw

Of course I also plan to make lots of new baby clothes and perhaps one or two modern dresses/shirts for myself.

Lets see what I can get done 🙂

2016 in Review

2016 is one of those years we will always remember for it’s tragic events, raising lack of humanity/ compassion for the most vulnerable in our society (and world).

But for me, 2016 will always be one of the mot important years in my life – it’s the year my son was born.

Thus a big change in my priority’s (and time/energy) leaving my sewing somewhat on the backwater.
And taking into account that I had a 6 months hiatus from sewing last winter(Oct 2015 – April 2016) there is a miracle I managed anything at all. But I did actually finish a few items both before and after my delivery in June.

And here they are:

1790s printed Roundgown:
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Viscose 1790s Roundgown (both with and without baby-bump)IMG_9669

Regency Petticoat IMG_9661

Babyclothes:
Modern:
Jackets, bodys, pants, hats and rompers several of each.IMG_9732 IMG_9915

Historical:
A hat and shirt for a newborn IMG_0282

Halloween:
Henry VIII Costumeimg_1718

Menswear:
(not yet posted about)

Medieval shirt:img_0416

Regency Shirt:img_0861

1950s turquoise viscose dress:IMG_0842

1450s Italian Gown:img_0524

1400s Chemise IMG_0334

1450s Italian Court Gown img_0442

1550s Elizabethan gown:img_1581

Brocade gown img_1480

  Quilted petticoatimg_1033

I’ve also finished a few minor projects like, hemming skirts/pants, sewing curtains/pillows, adjusting dresses etc.

And as always I have a few things on their way which I didn’t manged to finish before the new year (but which hopefully will be completed in he following months).

Al in all I think I did pretty well with my 3 mayor project, which all has been on my wishlist for quite some time.

Qvilted Purple Petticoat

Once my Elizabeth I dress was finished, it was time to get some good photos of the outfit.

The night before the photoshoot I pulled out all the things needed (stockings, shoes, hairpins, and so on) when I noticed my green quilted petticoat was no where to be found.
After some searching I suddenly realized – It (amongst lots of other stuff) was currently on loan to Ekenäs castle as part of an exhibition.

Crap!

And I didn’t own anything to get even close to the bounciness it provided to my skirts.
And the Elizabethan gown REALLY needed some serious bounce…

Dubble crap!

So what’s a girl to do?

Make another one of course!

Thankfully they are not that hard to make, and since I actually had planned to make a second one a while back, so the needed material was already waiting in my “to make” pile.

A pre-quilted bedspread bought cheep at a big dollar store.
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The facts:

What: A Quilted petticoat aprox 1500-1900
used in the past for warmt and skirt support (to get the fashionable shape)

Pattern: None – It’s basically a rectangle pleated to a waistband.

Fabric & Notions: One pre-quilted Bedspread, thread, 0.3m cotton scraps, hooks and eyes.

Time & Costs: About 3 hours and 100 sek (12 Usd)

Final thoughts: This is such a nice and fast piece to make, and even though it’s not as sturdy as my green petticoat I really like the shape it gives. Plus it will aslo work as a skirt worn with a 18th century jacket or Anglaise.

Henry the Eight – Don’t be such a baby

2 (or 3 months) ago, when deciding on projects for Halloween (Elizabeth I for me) I realizes that this would be the first (of many?) costumes I would make for my baby, and that I really wanted it to be special.

So what would I dress my chubby redheaded infant as for his first Halloween…?

The answer came to me pretty fast:
Hernry VIII – of course

workshop_of_hans_holbein_the_younger_-_portrait_of_henry_viii_-_google_art_projectPortrait by Holbein d.y. and the one I used as reference for my baby costume.

I started by taking a close look at the inspiration/reference pic, and flipping through the pages of “The Tudor Tailor” I found what I needed.
img_1287Male Tudor outfit.

Then I hit the fabric store in search for some suitable fabrics.15451386_10211259297419846_1297395615_nLeft to right: Brown fake fur (stash), burgundy/red singel Jersey, grey/silver printed Jersey, white knitted leggings and golden trim.

Since this was to be a costume worn (once) by an infant I decided to make it as easy and wearable (read soft/comfy) as possible, using Jersey fabrics and omitting anything complicated (like slashes) or small/sharp (like beading and pearls).
I also decided it was totally acceptabel to cheat as much as possible 🙂

My first move vas to get a pair of white leggings/tights from a well known clothing store. img_1271

Then it was time for the actual sewing.

I started with the body using a baby pattern I used previous and knew and liked. img_1266I stitched it up using my serger and a double needle on the edges.

The finished Body:img_2180I like that it is usable as a modern/regular piece on its own.

Next piece was the “skirt”, which was made from a lenght of fabric which I hemed and pleated to a elastic waistband.img_1291

The finished skirt:img_2171

Then it was time for the main piece – the cape

I cut a rektangel from the red fabric, folded it over cut it open at the front and pleated it at the shoulders. Then I stitched on some decoration.img_1261

The sleeves was made from rectangles stitched together, decorated and gathered at top and bottom. img_1264Ignore the wonkyness – I stitched this with my baby sleeping in the carrier on my belly, so not the best attention to detail.

Then I cut the fur collar from a piece of stash fabric.img_1269

img_1284Pining and stitching the fake fur to the cape.

The finished Cape:img_2182

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Lastly I made a small hat/beret from a circle and a strip of black jersey. img_1310

The finished hat:img_2179

This was such a fun project and I really love how the little coat/cape came out.

and finaly

Here’s some photos of my own prince wearing the outfit:img_1718

img_1721“Eat all the things…”

And some pics with the two of us together (Elizabeth I and Henry VIII)img_1762

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img_1827Photos: Elin Evaldsdotter