Traveling with Baby – Medieval baby sling

For the easiest entry to HSM ever, I started looking into ways to travel with my little one.

Before the use of strollers and the intricate baby carriers that’s becoming more and more popular, people (read women) used the easiest way of tugging their baby’s along – a fabric “sling”.

I will not go into the use of slings and ways to travel with baby’s in past times, since others do it so much better, like Som när det begav sig (link in Swedish). A simple google search will also give you the history from (more or les reliable) sites – most of which sell modern baby carriers and shawls.

The construction of my baby sling/shawl was to make a rectangle 3 x 1m and hem the edges.
I then tied it around my body (under one arm and over the other shoulder) and placed my baby in it.

And that’s that.

And since I sewed it by machine it actually took longer getting dressed for the photoshoot then it did making the sling.










IMG_0226Photo: Maria Petersson
(I only let go of my hands for a second)

The Challenge: Nr 6 2016 – Travel

What: A baby sling

Year: 1500-1600s

Material: 3,5 m of ivory cotton

Pattern: None – I just cut a rectangle 1 x 3,5 m and hemmed it.

Notions: Thread.

How historically accurate is it? The fabric should probably be linen or wool, but since this was meant as a first try I think it would do. the machine stitching are on the other hand not at all accurate. 6/10

Hours to complete: 10 minutes

First worn: Beginning august for photos, but will maybe be used late August for a Medieval fair.

Total cost: 100 Sek (16 Usd)

Final thoughts This was such a cheat. It was way to easy and fast to really count, bu since I did have my baby (!) in June I think I can give myself a break.

Monochrome Medieval baby undies

Last fall when I took a break from sewing I also quit he HSM mid run.
But now it’s time to jump on the bandwagon (halfway through) again.
I have been sewing a few things that would fit the previous challenges this year (read all about them here) but lets start with July (since that the first one I managed o finish within the time frame of he month).

The theme for this HSM 2016 nr 7 was Monochrome, and I was eager to test my hand at some historic baby clothes.

Using my newly bought book “The Tudor Child” for the patterns for basic baby gear. IMG_0179

The Pattern for the shirt is fairly simple. IMG_0180

I cut the fabric in my favorite cotton/linen blend, and started by hemming the piece as stated in the instructions.IMG_0181

IMG_0183The folding pattern for the shirt.

Then I whip-stitched the hemmed edges together.

Once the shirt was finished (it all went surprisingly fast considering I did it all by hand with a sleeping/feeding/squirming newborn in my arms) I moved on to the biggin/hat.


IMG_0184The pieces cut from the same cotton/linen blend.

IMG_0191Hemmed pieces. I decided to ad ties to help keep the bigging on my baby’s head.

I did a slight miscalculation drafting the pattern making the center piece to long. IMG_0192Ops… 
But really, it was just to cut it of.

I also realized I messed up stitching the shirt.
The center is supposed to be open to get easy access for the baby, and since they are supposed to be swaddled (Yeah, No, that’s not going to happen with my baby) the opening would be completely covered in other fabric. so in the end I think this way was better for me.

The finished pieces: IMG_0282





The Challenge: Nr 7 2016 – Monochrome

What: A shirt and bigging/hat for a newborn baby.

Year: About 1500-1600

Material: 0,5 m Linen/cotton blend.

Pattern: baby swaddling Shirt and Bigging from “The Tudor Child”.

Notions: Thread

How historically accurate is it? Pretty good. The pattern and sewing methods are good (except the mistake of stitching the shirt front closed). The fabric should be linen, but since I have difficulty finding a soft linen I think the 50/50 cotton blend I use are quite legit. About 8/10

Hours to complete: 4 (3 for the shirt and 1 for the bigging)

First worn: Beginning August for photos. Was meant to be worn late August for a Medieval fair, but I’m not sure anymore (see “Final thoughts”)

Total cost: 50 Sek (8 Usd)

Final Thoughts: It was really fun making these pieces. They came together so fats and the fabric was a joy working with. Unfortunately the Shirt ended up way to small for my fast growing baby – well guess I just have to make another one…

Guest blogger: The queen of Ekenäs Castle

As I mentioned in my previous post, this summer I got the chance to show some of my dresses at Ekenäs Castle where a friend of mine work.

Next up I was planing to tell you all a little about the castle itself when it it me – whom better to do that then the warden, Maria herself.
Maria Reuterhagens profilfoto

So here’s now my first guest post, By Maria Reuterhagen, the warden of Ekenäs castle.

IMG_9993The present Ekenäs castle was built in the 1630s.
There used to be a village where the castle is situated today, but the village was moved to make way for a castle, probably in the late 1300s or early 1400s. The first castle was probably built in the early 1400s and it existed until the late 1500s. No paintings or descriptions exist of the old castle so the shape and size of the old castle is unknown, but some vaults remain in the basement floor and the cellars.



IMG_9977The present castle has served as the home of several noble families in Sweden including Nattochdag, Sture, Banér and Klingspor families. The present owner of the castle and the estate is Wilhelm Bergengren, who made sure the very worn down castle he had inherited from his grandfather was renovated and can receive visitors once more.

IMG_9984The matron of the castle is Hönsagumman, translated “the chicken lady”.
She was an employee at the castle who saved the castle from being burnt down by Russians in 1719. She still looks after the castle and is one of our most beloved ghosts.

IMG_9986The dining room has been renovated in 1870/1880s style. The Swedish kings from Gustav Vasa to Carl Johan XIV can be seen on the walls.

IMG_9994One of the owners of Ekenäs castle, Gustav Banér, got decapitated in “the Linköping bloodbath” in the year 1600. In a civil war in Sweden in the late 1500s, Gustav Banér supported the king on the losing side, Sigismund. The new king, Karl IX, made sure he and tree other noblemen (plus a bailiff) were convicted and killed for treason. His son, Peder Banér, was the builder of the present castle.

IMG_0007The royal family’s of 16th/17th Sweden

IMG_9995The only original pieces of furniture still existing in the castle can be found in the countess Klingspor’s parlor – also called the blue parlour.
The still bright colour in the wall paper is the result of presence of arsenic. The countess Klingspor comes back once every year on May 2nd to have a traditional Swedish fika – coffee and cookies. On that date, the bailiff has to make sure that the countess has real coffee and real cookies in her parlor. Otherwise she will be very angry and things will disappear from the parlour – which has happened if her fika has been forgotten or overlooked…

IMG_0003The yellow drawing room, renovated into Swedish equivalent to regency period-style.
With two paintings showing the castle with a lake next to it. The lake has existed but was removed around 1900 – according to one story as the result of a curse…

Library with walls renovated in rokoko style, floors are from the 1880s.

IMG_0028Guest rooms on the upper floor. Of course with arsenic in the wall paper.

IMG_0017(Not the room pictured)
The room of the white lady. The person who tries to sleep here never sleeps well. The white lady shows herself when somebody living at the castle is about to die.

IMG_0030Bed from the late 1600s.
If you pull out the sprints, it can be turned into a flat package and can be pulled up easily at another place or another castle. 1600s IKEA!

IMG_0033The basement where Nisse, the stable boy, was beaten and hidden behind a brick wall because he knew too much. He is supposed to be behind there still…

The kitchen was at first situated outside the castle since so many fires started in kitchens. This kitchen is from the later half of the 1800s. The iron stove made it possible to move the kitchen into the castle. There was a sink so you could get rid of used water, but the fresh water had to be carried inside. The castle still has very little electricity, no plumbing, no running water and no heating. It is possible to visit the castle from late April to mid-November.

IMG_9992 In action

The Castle is open for public guided tours during the summer season, the rest of the year, check website and/or contact the baili.

Exhibition of costumes at Ekenäs Castle

Back in April a friend of mine (who just happens to be the tenant at a 17th century castle close by) asked if I would like to put some of my costumes on display.

Would I?
Of course🙂

We discussed back and forth for a while which ones to choose.
Then the planes got put on hold both due to our massive workload and due to the upcoming birth of my child.

In end of June we resumed the planing, and decided a date for her to come and collect the outfits.

So the day before, I went down in the basement and located all the bits and pieces for the 4 chosen costumes.
Then I got to work mending and ironing everything to get them all to look their best.

IMG_9953It’s hard work ironing 4 m of train.

IMG_9956Collected outfits – sorted, ironed and ready to ship.

IMG_9955I also lend her my dress-forms.

The castle Ekenäs is a museum with several different styles of interior decoration (from 17th century until early 20th century), and we wanted the costumes to represent a wide variety of times/people. Or at least as much of a variety you can get with only 4-5 shown pieces.

Here are the ones we choose:

1880s evening gownIMG_5660

Displayed in the dining hall next to the old piano and beautiful set dining room table.IMG_9990


1780s Flower Robe AnglaiseIMG_3585

Displayed in the living-roomIMG_0009


1790s Gentlemans wool outfitIMG_1115-ok

Also displayed in the living-roomIMG_0010

1913s Walking-dressIMG_0614

Displayed in one of the bedroomsIMG_0015


And 1880s underwearIMG_5851

Displayed in one of the master bedroomsIMG_0024

I went to visit the Castle the other day, and got to look at my costumes the way the other visitors did. It was quite fun to watch old ladies and children alike photograph and point at my dresses.
And I must say, they really added something to the room and their exhibitions.

Wedding with friends

A week ago my dear friend Linda, from high school got married to the man she’s been dating since before I knew her.

It was a lovely wedding, held outside at a beautiful location, on he most perfect of summer days. IMG_0037The bridal party approaching the guest and waiting groom.

13769600_10155062431904517_5713467184305011177_nMe, my fiance and child right before the ceremony. 
Photo: curtesy of my friend Isa Gillman

IMG_0070“You might now kiss the bride”

IMG_0057My friends Isa and Emma (with her newborn baby girl) from high school.

IMG_0060And our boys…

IMG_0118Charlie and dad both sported the bow-tie.

IMG_0083The little flower girl eagerly assisted with he pacifier. 

IMG_0098Lovely photo of a lovely bride.

IMG_0104The bridal waltz – look at that beautiful lace and beaded dress back.


IMG_0116The bride and her ever growing son.

IMG_0076The location was so perfect for an outdoors summer wedding, with a 19th century mansion, a great yard and even a little pond and gazebo on the backyard – I might just need to get the owners number…

IMG_0137The wedding-dress in all its glittery, tulle glory.

IMG_0124All my girls together.

IMG_0130Me and the bride doing silly faces.

IMG_0142Pro camera-GroupSelfie (I’ts really hard actually, twisting your arm that way)

IMG_0145My two tired boys at the end of the day.

And my dress…

I did plan to make myself a new nursing-dress, (from the Regency round gown pattern) but ran out of time (due to a clinging, ever nursing newborn in my arms 24/7), and I decided to do the next best thing – order a dress online.

With only a week left to the wedding, I put all my eggs in one basket and ordered this pregnancy/nursing dress in Azure blue, just hopping that the color/size/style would fit me.jolene_seaside_3_redigeratAnd it did.20160723_225236_resizedI felt very pretty (and comfortable) in the colorful jersey dress. Phew.

Ponderings on a friday afternoon

This is an old post, written about 3 months ago, that I forgot to post. But I think it’s still important for me o went these thoughts out loud, so here we go.

A quick warning – this have nothing to do with sewing or anything like that, so if that’s why you’r here (which I guess it is) considered yourself warned.


Today after work, I dropped by the grocery store to pic up some items for dinner. When the person behind me in the check-out line stepped in way to close.
Have you ever had that feeling – someone’s just a tad bit to close for comfort, and once you move to fix it, they keep stepping after. It’s not like a conscious threat, just something they do without thinking.
– They invade your personal space.

This happens to me – a Lot.

480826931Way to crowded for my taste…

I read some wear that the scientists managed to pinpoint the exact inch of peoples “personal space”.
with some variations in different countries and cultures, they know exactly how far away we comfortably stand to a stranger or our dear friend (much closer) when interacting.
We are all hardwired to feel this line in between two people and to place ourselfs accordingly.

Well I guess some people just did’t get that memo…

Or rather, I think my “personal space” are somehow bigger then the average persons.

As a Swede, who’s basically known for standing orderly in line, without ever making eye-contact with other people, I often rage at myself for not speaking up, even when I’m literally pushed into a corner.

I’ve been “pushed” out of check-out lines, seats on busses and lovely spaces on the beach countless of times, and I never say anything out loud (though my body language shouldn’t be to hard to read, you’d think).

Last week one of my co-workers (totally oblivious of personal space) kept following me when I step by step backed away from him, since he was way to close (in my mind). It ended when I hit my back against the wall and literally dowe under his arm in panic, to get away from him.
And no, this have nothing to do with sexual harassment, flirting or something like that. We were discussing a work thing, and my skin just started crawling with panic, just because he didn’t realize he was “in my space”.

Not even then did I say something.

Afterwards I always ponder over what I should have said (because just standing still, holding my ground just don’t work when the panic rises inside).
– Excuse me, but I feel uncomfortable when you/people stand to close, can you back up a step please?
– Sorry, but you are standing to close for me to be comfortable, can you give me some more space?

It sounds like a simple thing to say/do but somehow I never dare to.
Perhaps I’m afraid of peoples reaction, should they feel insulted and say something like: “I never hurt a woman
in my life! Is’it because I’m a man?” or something like that.
Because, lets face it, girls/women often take the hint when you step away the first time, and if not, a raised eyebrow and a look will do the trick.

Susanna_and_the_Elders_(1610),_Artemisia_Gentileschi“Susanna and the Elders” (1610) by Artemisia Gentileschi
Ok, maybe this picture is a bit overkill, but sometimes you literally feel like this.

What do you think?
Does this ever happens to you, and what do you do then?

I think I’m just worried I will pass this on to my child, since it looks very much like insecurity and self-degradation compared to other people.
And I wish I will find the courage to speak up next time.

And don’t even get me started on my fear of the “Oh, lets pet that big baby bump of yours”, I feel might come now the weather are warmer and the jacket are thinner (and don’t closes anymore).
I hope I will give those people (often older ladies) a nice right hook… put again, I probably won’t😦

Experimenting with (modern) baby clothes

As I stated way back in January, this year will be filled with jersey and snaps (in stead of ball gowns and corsets).

I promise I won’t bore you with it all, but for this one post, showing my first batch of baby clothes for my newborn child.

Lets just start by stating that – Buying nice baby fabric is hard!
Especially if you don’t want “blue cars” or “pink princesses”, but still would like some color in your kids wardrobe.
Although I live how a small amount of fabric (like 1 m) basically gives you a whole set of clothes, including body, pants, romper and hat.

After some frustration in the beginning, I did find some nice fabrics in a “not to obvious gender specific” print/color.
IMG_9712Some of the sourced fabrics. Aren’t they cute🙂

Alongside the fabrics I also bought a few basic patterns, which I would use as a base and the alter for size and style as I grew more comfortable working with stretch fabric and baby sizing.IMG_9745Bodice taken in to make for a smaller size.

Al of these pieces are first tries at the pattern, so a lot of strange sizing is going on which I will have to fix until next time. I find it really strange how different pattern company’s make a standard baby size 56 in totally different size/proportions.

Anyway – this is what I’ve made (so far)

A simple hatIMG_9737

3 bodys (using 2 different patterns)IMG_9830


2 rompers (and a third one on its way)IMG_9833


3 pair of pants20160714_103251_resized



Speaking of different proportions to the same size…
IMG_9743 IMG_9744

And a jacket/sweatshirtIMG_9732IMG_9735

And here are proof that, at least one (so far) of the pieces, fits my baby boy.20160713_155916_resizedHe is 5 weeks by now (OMG!)

It’s so fast and rewarding to make these clothes.
I mean one body in an hour, and pants and hats even less, how could that not be fun.

Swaddling – or not…

While searching the internet for cute pictures of baby’s in history (mostly to look at their clothes) I inevitably came across a lot of pics of swaddling.

The Swaddling in itself means that you wrap your infant tightly in cloth, so as to resemble the tight and warm uterus of their mothers.

This practice was wide spread and lasted at least from the medieval times to the late 18th/early 19 century, when the teachings of Rousseau became more accepted. In some countries the practice is still in use today – in fact, almost the first thing our nurse did after delivery was to wrap my baby really tight in a blanket, and tell us he should stay that way through the first night. So even here in Sweden it’s still used in some way.

Read more about the practice:
A great resource with step to step pics of how to o it your self at:

1454c0328b140b0ba3655d3ed4389920Two infants swaddled, 17th century

Even though, nothing I would seriously consider for my baby, I was tempted to try it once – at least to get some cool historical locking photos of him.

I found instructions and tips in my new book “The Tudor Child” on how it was done in the 16th century (and probably long before and after)12963796_1390845904277015_3094627140263033254_n

Swaddling-set300The pieces needed for a proper swaddling during 16th century

9a1dfe35c6acc042d0bbda1db106a6abA doll completely wrapped in linen to show how it should look once done.
(See the whole picture series and read more about Swaddling at

I decided quickly that I would not even try to make all the items called for, but to settle for the absolute minimum – a forehead cloth and a big linen square to wrap him in.

How it went?

Hm, not as good as one could hope…

IMG_9921Trying to tie the forehead cloth on a squirming and screaming infant is no easy task for a nervous new mom…

“Lets just settle for a few pics on the balcony, before the entire linen cloth falls of your little butt”.IMG_9925




My (everyday) pregnancy style

As we all know, being pregnant do some things to your body (and mind).
Things that makes your morning routine take some extra time, and I’m not talking about morning sickness or the constant trips to the toilet – I’m talking of the head scratching process of dressing.

In the beginning (at least for me, I know everyone have it differently) you just feel bloated, unattractive and with a greenish tint to your complexion. Though wearing your normal clothes still works, if only a bit snug, some people prefer to wear cute little dresses with a bow tied on top. This was not an option for me, since we decided to wait quite some time before announcing to anyone that I was expecting.
So usual clothes it was – Even though I didn’t choose the most figure hugging tops in my wardrobe, (and thanks to Swedish autumn and winter just around the corner I could easily hide in bulky knits and cosy sweatshirts.

I was lucky enough to be able to wear my winter jacket the whole winter (it was a close one though, had spring hesitated a week more I would have been forced to get another one).

When spring arrived and my belly started to show for real, I bought a pair of pregnancy pants from a known two lettered fashion store, and kept wearing my usual tops and shirts. Everything with enough stretch in them would work. I also frequently used a pair of soft lose pants tied under the bump.
After a while I needed to add a long tank-top beneath my regular tops as my expanding belly made them look shorter and shorter.IMG_9754Comfortable loose pants, slim dress worn as a top and white belt.
pregnant in: week 39*

IMG_20160510_133456_resizedThere is no way that sweater will close…
week 37

In May my belly was really growing fast and I could literally see the changes each morning. I got myself a new pair of maternity jeans (the old pair was quite worn out by this time), and even splurged on a pair of denim shorts. 20160509_081328_resized_1Summer style – also, notice the sensible walking shoes
week 36

I did attend a few parties during the spring, and in the beginning had some trouble finding a nice dress to wear.
I bought a lavender blue pregnancy dress in January for these occasions, but when time come to put it on, it never felt right. In stead I raided my own closet, and found several dresses that would work.2016-03-14_20.03.36_resizedThe maternity dress I never liked.  
I did wear it though – for my birthday celebration in week 39 – the day before delivery.
week 30

IMG_9766A printed A-line dress I wore to several parties and occasions both during and before pregnancy.
week 39

IMG_9771A green form fitting jersey dress, I’ve never had the courage to wear before, but with a bump this big I figured no one would notice my other “bumps” and “humps”…
week 39 (two days before delivery)

Although not as much as I initially planed, I did work out some during my pregnancy. And when it came to clothes for bicycling, power walks and weight lifting I just used my regular fitness clothes – Pants worn beneath the belly, long stretch tops and jackets/west worn open.
IMG_20160305_110924_resizedweek 27

image000002_resizedweek 38

In the end my favorite clothes during my pregnancy was a slim black dress, a long tank top and a printed kimono/caftan, all worn with a narrow belt beneath the bust – non of which was new or made for a pregnant body.
Slim black dress accessorized with belt, huge jewelry and gold bag.
week 30

IMG_0109_resizedAt my “goodby-party” at work, wearing flowery kimono, tank top and shorts.
week 38

IMG_20160515_194543_resizedweek 37

*In Sweden we count pregnancy in 40 weeks (with 40 full weeks as the calculated day of birth, and full term at 38-42 weeks).
I had my baby at 39 weeks and 2 days.