A Treasured Heirlome

Last months theme on “Historical Sew Monthly” was “Heirloom” (yes, I’m a month behind, but plan to soon be back on track).

Since all my older relatives have past away I struggled a bit with this one, but finally came up with something that would work.
But while I finish things up an get proper photographs of my entry, I thought I’d share one of my favorite Heirlooms from my grandmother.

Her binder from the pattern drafting mail class she took in 1964. IMG_7900“Nordisk brevskola” (Nordic mail courses”

When I was a kid me and my siblings used to visit my grandparents every weekend.
My grandmother was such a fun person who loved children and was never to occupied to play with us or show us how to pluck starwberries from their gardens.

She suffered from a stroke when I was about 13 years old, and even though she survived she could no longer play with us, or even make us understand her strange sounds, no longer able to produce any words.
I remember how chocked I was about her sudden change, and my uncomfortable feeling of insecurity and  when she tried to talk to me.
I’m ashamed to admit I couldn’t handle it and thous almost stopped coming along to wist her.
A few years later she had yet another stroke, lethal this time, and I remember the emptiness and sorrow I felt, regretting not being there more at the end.

After her death I was given her old sewing patterns, some threads and this particular binder – which I hold dear to my heart.
The thought of her taking the pattern drafting course  slowly learning by finishing one homework/test at the time, is just wonderful.
Since I also know she loved to sew little dresses for me and my sisters – which unfortunately all have now gone to charity.

Anyhow, to late in date for the HSM but a nice piece of Swedish dressmaking history all the same.IMG_7901“Modern pattern drafting”

You’l learn how to properly measure someone.IMG_7902

Drafting the basic pattern templates – Her the dress/bodice/skirt pattern.IMG_7903

Fabric layout’s equally important – in Sweden we call this a “Läggbild”IMG_7905

You also need to know how to alter the pattern pieces, and how to move the darts to your desired location.IMG_7906Interesting to see the way they used to put the darts between the breasts – something almost never used anymore.

Drafting a circular skirt (half circle) for that characteristic 50s look.IMG_7904

And some more challenging stuff like this fabulous jacketIMG_7907

I also love this kimono sleeve draftingIMG_7909

And who can resist the glamorous 1960s full skirted evening gowns IMG_7908Oh la la

IMG_7910My grandmothers “homework” drafting’s.

And at the end of the binder/course she received a diploma – notice the date…IMG_7911

I’m yet to make up one of these patterns, but I definitely will someday – if only to remember my granny.

“Sew 17th century Challenge” – The Bodice (part 1 – The pattern)

The last piece I needed to complete the “Sew 17th century challenge” was also the main piece – the bodice.
Read about the other garments here: Skirt, Cufs,Coif, Fur Shawl
And to make this post a bit lighter I’ve cut it up in a few manageable pieces.
First up – The Pattern

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When researching the bodice I found several different patterns*, and after some narrowing things down, I ended up with two finalists to make into mock-ups. Both from Waughs “Corset and Crinolines”

The first pattern I picked was “1660s bodice lining”
It has the perfect neck scope and shoulders, and the much need lacing down the front.
The only thing I’m missing is the tabs down the hips.1650 waugh

I scanned the pattern, opened it in Paint and changed the printer settings to 400%
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Then I cut all the pieces and taped them together. IMG_7342

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I traced the pieces and made some alteration to my measurements.IMG_7354

Then it was time to bring out the cotton sheeting to cut the mock-ups.IMG_7356

I added boning at some vital places, and my pre-made lacing strip to the font, to get a more accurate fitting.
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IMG_7396I really liked how the pattern fitted my body – both comfortable and strong.
I also like the look of the off-the-shoulder sleeves, even though I can hardly lift my arms.

The next pattern to try was the “1680s court bodice”.
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I printed, attached and sewed the pieces in the same way as before.
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IMG_7378I love the shape it gives me, but It’s not nearly as comfortable as the previous one.
I’ll have to move the lacing to the front on this one, and to do some serious editing to the sleeves and neckline.

Hm, which one to choose…

In the end I opted for the “1660s bodice lining.

IMG_7406Creative mess, right?

So then it was back to the drawing table to ad some tabs to the otherwise perfect pattern.
IMG_7390I even tried it on with my (at the time) almost finished skirt.
Pretty rough, but you get the idea if the shape.

*I found patterns for 17th century stays and bodices in almost every book covering this period: Waugh’s “Cut of Womens Clothes”, Arnold’s “Pattern of fashion” and “Seventeen-Century Women’s Dress Patterns” by North & Tiramani.

Next up – making the foundation…

New patterns

My wove not to purchase so much fabric this year, are going according to plan (I’ve only cheated once (or twice if you count Buckram as fabric)).

What I didn’t take into account was the ever growing temptation to splurge on patterns instead…

Since I mostly make my own pattern (draft or drape) I just recently discovered the allure of already tested, well researched beautiful historical patterns. Who can resist them?

And into the rabbit hole we go…

Lynn McMasters 1850-1860s summer hatIMG_6474

Lynn McMasters 1860s BonnetIMG_6475Yep, I got some serious millinery planed.

Past Patterns mid 19th century staysIMG_6476By now you’d probably guest my next big project…

Truly Victorian 1865 Eliptical Cage CrinolineIMG_6477Yes, 1860s costume (followed by at least two crinoline appropiet events) coming this spring/summer.

Laughing Moon Wrapping front Spencer IMG_6478This wil be the year I make one of these (I hope)

Truly Victorian 1880s Hat Frame IMG_6479

Truly Victorian 1887 Alexandra BodiceIMG_6480Hopefully I can squeeze in (out?) an 1880s bustle outfit as well this summer.

Wearing History Edwardian BlouseIMG_6481

Wearing History 1910s suitIMG_6482

Wearing History 1879 Pompadour Dinner BodiceIMG_6483

Wearing History Smooth Sailing Pants and BlouseSmoothSailingPatternCover(Apparently I forgot to take a picture of this one, so here are one I stole from google)

Another of my recent buys are a drawing/Inspiration book which hopefully will keep all my costuming sketches in order – instead of on random scraps of paper and receipt.IMG_6487

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Here I can penn down both my sketches/ideas and fabric recommendation, event dates and what I will need to complete the outfit (shoes, glows, petticoats ect. IMG_6484

IMG_6485I even started on a sewing diary for each costume.

Now it’s back to sewing.

Another pile of Books and Patterns

In the beginning of august every year, one of our nearby towns host a big market (and when I say big I mean huge).
Even though they almost exclusively sell trash and junk, I’m always happy to go.

This year my favourite stall with lots of great sewing stuff had been replaced by a rock t-shirt stall (bummer). But I did manadged to came away with some new sewing bits which I got really cheap at a “10kr store” (like a 2 dollar store) anyway.IMG_1575I got some thread in assorted colors.

IMG_1574lots of long pins – love the size of these, even though I always discard the wheels (who ever would keep their pins in such  an order as to put them back in the little slots?).

IMG_1576Some new needles for my sewing machine.

IMG_1577And which costumer can ever do without safety pins.

IMG_1572I also got this little sewing package just for fun, and because the buttons are worth more then I payed for the whole thing.

I also got some new shawls.IMG_1571A lovely golden/taupe and white square one.

IMG_1569And a burgundy/gold thin butt long shawl which will be perfect for both regency and Victorian.

I found his belt in a second-hand store just the other day.IMG_1561
It closes with ties in the back and have a lovely pattern of little paisley swirls.IMG_1560This will be perfect for dressing up one of my old gowns for a party in a few weeks.

 I have also bought some  ore old patterns from the internet.

Simplicity 2772.IMG_1565I originally planed to use this pattern for the same event I mentioned above, but now I think I will stick with my old gown.

Simplicity 5041.IMG_1568A child’s pattern for making lovely masquerade dresses.

Simplicity 4400.IMG_1567The shape look Victorian but I also get some Elizabethan wibes from this pattern.

Simplicity 4156.IMG_1566I first saw this pattern on a blog a few weeks ago, and when I found it online for a bargain I snatched it up.

I also got another “Allers Mönstertidning”, this one from 1936.
Unfortunately the seller called me a few days after and told me the magazine had torn when packing, and could she send me two of her other ones instead?
Well yes of course she could.

So I got this Christmasy edition from 1937.
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And this autumn looking edition from the same year.
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She even throw in two sewing instruction “books”.IMG_1553Matelassé – the word for decorating cording.
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And one about “Hålsöm” (sorry, I don’t know the English word).IMG_1551But it is a way to decorate garments and finish edges, crating spaces in the fabric.

IMG_1552Well I’m not complaining ;-).

But my spending spree don’t stop there.
This weekend me and my family visited the capital during the cultural festival, and just happened to stumble onto the biggest book market ever.

Of course I couldn’t resist some of the old costuming books I found. (It was a good thing the sellers didn’t take credit cards, that way I could only spend the small amount cash in my pocket).

I got this French book about fashion history.
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I don’t understand a word, but the illustrations are beautiful.
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And I really like the thought of some previous (french?) owner doing putting down notes besides the pictures. IMG_1536

My sister found this pretty “cafe table book” for me about the decadents of the 20s fashion.
IMG_1548IMG_1549Gorgeous pictures.

I also got this popular book by Nancy Bradfield.
IMG_1537The pictures are great and I would like to make just about everything depicted in this book.IMG_1539I did however get a surprise when opening the book.Inside lay a few things from some previous owner.IMG_1540Like this poster of medieval headwear.

And these two small books about paper costumes and fashion history.
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But the most intriguing thing was these pieces of paper combined with the small folder about puppet theater.IMG_1543It leaves me with the conclusion that the person who left these thing in Bradfields book, was dong some kind of costuming for a dolls play. But was it just a mom wanting to delight her kids, or some one who actually costumed a real play performed to hordes of little children?
Guess we will newer know.

1880s Evening Gown – Pattern Trouble

I’ve been so busy finishing my opera gown, that there’s been no time to blog about the process – and really, I didn’t want to spoil it and show it of here (in the unlikely case someone at the bal, read this before the big night).

But now the night has past and I can tell you all about my trials and errors in the making of the gown.

As some of you might know I decided to make myself a gow similar to this one, to wear at the “Oskarsbal” late januay.39.384 000239.384_side_CP4

I almost jumped up and down finding the perfect pattern online and decided to buy it, instead of draping/drafting my own, thinking I would save some time and effort.

IMG_4854Truly Victorian 462 had the perfect neck opening, and the train extended from the bodice back piece without a seam. Exactly like my inspiration gown.

So I took my mesurments, and drafted the pattern from the pattern sheets, without any alterantion.

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I cut and sewed a mock-up, and then I laced myself into the corset, doned the bustle and petticoat and tried it on.

IMG_4859And it was huge!

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I mean look at that – so increadable large, not even the shoulders fitted, and that sleeve – I could get two arms down that sleeve.

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What the heck went wrong?

I went back to the pattern, and quickly discovered that I’ve drafted the wrong size (no brainer), following the lines on the wrong side of the intended letter, thous drafting one size to big. And since I’ve wanted to stay true to the pattern, I didn’t think of controling the mesurments before cuting the mock-up (stupid).

But it seems to me there is way to much widht to acomodate only one size. I doubt there is about 30cm in differens between sizes. Ok, I don’t know, but somewhere it went wrong, and the only thing to do is to try to fix it.

Being in a bit of a rush, and not trusting the pattern anymore, I decided not to draft another pattern in the correct size, but to try to adjust the current mock-up to fitt.

I started by pining away 6cm in each side seam, and 4 at center back. I also pinned a 3 cm vertical tuck on the backpiece to acomodate my erect posture.

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Then I put it back on. (I’ve been doing all this thinking and pinning still wearing my undergarments).

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So much better. But still some thing needed to be altered. So I made the front 4cm smaler, took out a bit on the shoulders, and made the neck opening a bit bigger.

I then transfered the alterations to the pattern, moving the mesurments around a bit to get a good spread at the different seams. IMG_4929(Everything outside the lines are to be cut of)

Then I re-cut the mock-up and sewed it up again.

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Now we talking.

And before I took it of I cut some of the neckline and put on my long opera glowes, just to get a feel for how it would look.IMG_4921

I even tryed to drape the bustle, but I guess it’s easier to do when you’r not wearing it…IMG_4913

All this fiddeling and messing around with the pattern set me back almost a whole day. So with now only 6 days left to the bal it was time to move on to the sewing.

Medieval pattern drafting

This fall/winter I will attend my first medieval event and therefor will need something to wear.

Odly enough I must admit the middle ages never tempted me before. I tought the costumes and styles of the period seamed pretty plain and boring, and I figured I would never have the use of one.

But when the invitation for a Medieval feast arrived from my dancing company I didn’t heasitate. I signed up for both the party, the medieval dance course and the medieval sewing course. If you haven’t noticed, I have a tendency to go all in with things like this.

So now it was time to make an medieval outfit – and we only had about 1,5 months to do it. The first challenge was to decide on wich style of dress I was going to make.

medieval4The stylished simple Cotehartie

campbellp393Or the pretty high waisted gown from later in the period.

The sewing group was asked to by the book “The Medieval Tailor Assistant”, (I’ve already read through it), and will treat it as my construction bible for this project.

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While still unsure about the dress style, I draped a fitted bodice pattern on my dressform.

IMG_2340I adjusted her size to my mesurments and putt a sports-bra on her.

IMG_2343Following the instructions in the book, I cut and draped two pieces of fabric over the dressform.

IMG_2354Starting with the shoulders, pinning the fabric close to the dressform.

IMG_2355And then the waist.

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I did the center back and neck shaping. And then the same at the front.

IMG_2352The front neck needed some big darts to lie nice and flat.

IMG_2357Side view of the front.

IMG_2366Then it was time to mark the armholes.

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Cutting the exess fabric from the neck and armhole.

IMG_2378Then I marked the lines with a red marker, making sure not to miss any needels.

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IMG_2383And removed it from the dressform. Lying falt on the floor, I traced the dotts to make some nice looking lines.

IMG_2388The vertical darts will be left closed while cutting the toile.

IMG_2391Cut the pieces out, and place the front pieces (and then the back pieces) on top of each other. Adust the lines.

IMG_2395 Trace the pieces to a cotton fabric, and cut the toile.

IMG_2417IMG_2431Make it up and try it on.

Since I draped mine on a dressform and not straight on my body, there was a few adjustments that needed to be done. I took out some width at the center back and also placed a vertical dart at the shoulder blades.

And there you have it – your bodice blocks to make your pattern from.

Now it is time to start with the actual pattern.

Which dress I will make?

You will just have to wait and se…

Regency Stripes

Well, as I haven’t been able to sew all the things I’d liked this month, I will continue to posts about the HSF-challenges finished earlier this year. And as soon as I manadge to find the time to make something new (and to photograph it) I vill share it whit you.

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For the HSF challenge nr 6 – Stripes, back in mars I knew that I wanted to make a regency dress. Having recently finished my first attempt at this kind of dress for a customer in december, and was itching to give it an other try.

Here are some of my inspiraion dresses. 1810klein

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I already had the pattern since before: Reconstructing History- lady’s regency gown, but I hated it. Everything was wrong with it. The pieces didn’t fit togheter, and the gathering was just ridiculously massive. It gave me a serius head-ake trying too figuring it out the first time.

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So I studied the pieces of Arnolds two regency patterns.2013-03-03 18.42.55

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Then I re-cutt the pattern to make a lot more sence. I made a mock-up and did some final adjustments to the pattern.

Then I found the perfect fabric super cheap in my new favourite fabric store.

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It is a pistage-green striped really thin cotton weave. I also got a darker green linnen, cream colored lace and a plastic row of pearls for the decoration.

The sewing went fast and easy and after only one day of sewing I could try it on to check the lenght and back closure.

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Then I hemed it, and hand stiched on the lace and beads.

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And finished

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stripes

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IMG_1573Photo: Elin Petersson

Just the facts:

Challenge nr 6 – Stripes

What: A simple mint green Regency dress

Fabric: 3,5 m of soft and thin cotton fabric (almost like voile).

Pattern: “Reconstructing History” nr 838. Not a pattern I would recommend for a beginner. I had to change and alter almost every pattern piece. (I think it would have been both faster and easier to make a new one from scratch).

Year: About 1800 – 1810

Notions: Green contrast fabric, 5 pearl buttons for closure, thread, 2 m of lace and 3m of pearl-ribbon.

How accurate: Mostly made by machine, and with modern pattern reconstruction and sewing method. So except for the silhouette and the “look” of the dress – not accurate at all I’m afraid.

Hours: About 16 (with lots of handstitching on the decor).

Cost: About 30 USD

First worn: On Gods friday when we had the photoshoot.