HSM 2017 – The rest of the year (Aug-Dec)

I always find it hard to plan a full year of sewing ni adwance, since so much can happen that will change your creative drift and interest.
So this year I only made plans for the first half of the “Historical sew Monthly“.

But as summer’s now upon us I think it is time to take a new look at the uppcoming challenges, and to try to figure out what I wan’t to create for the ending of this year.

August:
Ridiculous
Make something that was considered outrageous in its own time, or is just utterly ridiculous to modern eyes.

There are SOoo many things yuu could do here, like 1880s bustles, 1890s mutton-sleeves, 17th century trunkhose ore 1830s hairs (already done that:-).
But for this challenge I will try to finish my Robe a la Franchaise that I begunn in 2014.21b6904ef6a12a9a9d65e486ef558bfdIt’s not silly looking per se, but the panniers that it will go over are a bit cazy

September:
Seen Onscreen
Be inspired by period fashions as shown onscreen (film or TV), and recreate your favorite historical costume as a historically accurate period piece.

I’ve been wanting to make myself some more 17th century garb and now might be a good oppurtunity to get to it.
elizabeth-capell-countess-of-carnarvon-ca-1665-sir-peter-lely I’m thinking maybe a new 1860s bodice (since I already have a pattern)
Or maybe someting a bit more daring like a mantua (I’ve hears a lot of Swedes arte doing these now a days…)

October:
Out of Your Comfort Zone
Create a garment from a time period you haven’t done before, or that uses a new skill or technique that you’ve never tried before.

This one is hard, but I’ve been wanting to give menswear a fair try, so why not now. k4202drwI already have a Regency west cut and waiting, and if I can find the time I would love to also make a pair of breechers and a shirt.

November:
HSF Inspiration
Be inspired by something that has been made for the HSF over the years to make your own fabulous item.

 There are so many gorgeous and inpireing entrys to the HSF/HSM, that it would be almost inpossible to choose only one.
That I think I will approach this from the other angle – to decide the garment first, by going through my stash and then find the right inspiration from the comunity.

December:
Go Wild
You can interpret this challenge as an excuse to make something that incorporates animal print, or wild animals in some way, or to simply make something wild and over the top.

I also been craving an 15th century Burgundian gown for myself, and since those often are decorated with fur, it would be the perfect choise. spinning-women1

As you sure can guess, I’m planing a lot more costumes this year, 3 of which are already well on their way, that don’t fit into the scheduel that is the HSM.

1750-1850s Spring Ball (2017)

Wow, It’s already been more then a month since the spring ball (and summer arrived) but I just now finished my blogpost about it.

As you might recall, I had quite a bit sewing done before the ball, both for me (1825s bonanza)
and my sister (a whole 1860s costume with underpinnings and everything).
Thanks to good planing (he he, right;-)) I managed to finish everything in time,
and didn’t even have the panicked last minute finishes that always seams to be my lot.

The day of the ball was a bit hectic though.

As I needed to turn the mandatory dance rehearsal down, in order to get to a friends babys christening instead.
But since I still had my sisters dress at home, I had to make a pit-stop at the dance-hall to leave it to her, before I stuffed my (relatively) clean baby in the car and drove 1 hour to get to the church. After a quick stop, leaving our present, and eating some cake I rushed home to get dressed in record speed for the ball. My outfit ready and awaiting.

Thank good my boyfriend (who happened to have a book-release that same day) had already come home, and could take the baby and help me close the dress.
Even more thank good, I’ve already done the dress-rehearsal (or more exactly the hair-rehearsal) so I managed to get the hair done and the dress on in not more then 30 minutes.
Beat that!
Does this lok like a fast and easy hairdo?

Arriving (in time) to the ball, I had some time to calm down and to find my sister.Hiding out by the fire-extinguisher

The evening started with a mingel and everyone admiring everyone else dresses/costumes. 

Selfie with a big digital camera is not as easy as it looks…

Beautiful girl – terrible lighting…
I’m not kidding, this is how bad the lighting is in the dance hall.

Group picture, with awful resolution
Pretty bows on the shoes 🙂

Then it was time to head upstairs to get some dinner. unfortunately me and my sister dragged a bit behind to take some silly pictures, and once we got upstairs there was no seats left.

They managed to get out a few extra chairs for us, but since all tables was full, we was seated on the table flanks far away from each-other.

pretty far away…

The dinner started with a soup made from peas, which was really good. 

The main course was basically beef, chicken and bacon combined.

As a vegetarian there wasn’t to much to eat, unfortunately.  “Can we pleas call for a pizza, cause I’ve only had some cake since breakfast…”

During dinner one gentleman got up and started singing an “humorous” old song, which was kind of musing, at first, but 78 verses in I was not the only one rolling my eyes at the (inappropriate old sexist jokes in the song and) man taking up to much space.

Once we finished the dinner I took the opportunity to take some picture of pretty dresses while the tables cleared to make room for the dance.  

Beautiful regency sisters

Mirror selfie

Then it was time to dance

We had one break for dessert later in the evening I’m still starving, thank you very much 😦

Then the dancing continuedSomebody knows how to pose…

Then it was time to say goodbye and go home.
I had lots of fun dancing and fooling around with my friends, making some new friends as well, but to be both hungry and really tired made me a bit cranky at the end.
At least I got lots of compliments for both my hair and my dress(es) 🙂

Got an Event coming up – but no costume?

We all face this dilemma one time or the other.

You get invited to a fancy party/wedding/themed birthday-party ect. and you got noting to wear.

For us in the costuming world however, it’s not as easy as taking at tripp to the nearest department-store.
We need to create our costumes for ourselves.

Here’s a few tips and trixs for looking the part(ish) for your next short-noticed costuming event:
For the sake of this post, lets pretend yo’r going on a mid 19th century picknick (1840-1860s)

Got Time and Sewing Skill but short on Cash?
Here’s some of my dresses made on really limited funds:
(Two words for you – CHEAP FABRIC)

*Look for suitable fabrics:

– On sale:
Bough 5m of thin plaid cotton on 70% of from a big fabric store for this dress.

– At Goodwill:
I used 1 cotton beedsheet that I got for 50Sek (5Usd) on second hand.

– In unexpected stores like IKEA and Walmart:
Two sets of cotton beddings made up this dress. The duvets was enough for an additional evening bodice.

* Use “bad” material and scrimp on fabric:
(This must be the worst advice ever but knowing how to do it well is GREAT when funds are lacking.)
1 set of polyester curtains 140 x 250cm (bought at IKEA for 100 Sek (10 Usd)) was just enough for my sisters 1860s evening gown. (And yes I used up every scrap of the fabric)

Short on Time and/or Sewing Skill?
Here’s some example on costumes made with minimum sewing and time:

* Buy the items you need:This blouse are currently up for grabs in my shop.

* Make Fast and Easy items:
This costume (skirt, blouse and belt) took me about two days and is made mostly from rectangular pieces (the belt/swiss waist are really easy to make as well).

* Use pieces you already have:
This is a combination of 18th century cap, 1860s blouse, 1840s skirt and early 20th century apron.

* Use modern pieces from your wardrobe:
A children’s boater, paired with a modern high collared blouse accessorized with a brooch and umbrella works in a pinch.

No appropriate underwear?
This era (mid 19th century) causes for pretty spectacular underwear
But don’t worry if  you’r lacking some of them
Here’s some ideas how to fix the fashionable silhouette without to much of a trouble, Starting with the corset:

* Use a Corset from another era:
I just recently made myself a 1860s corset, and used to use my 1880s one for everything from 1830-1900s.

* Use a modern corset:
I made this corsets from a 1880s pattern but my sister uses it as modern party clothes.

No crinoline?
No worries why don’t you simply…

* Use a modern hooped wedding petticoat:
My very first petticoat was a bridal hoop that got lots and lots of use (notice the regency stays with the hoop for my very first 1840s event)

* Make yourself a quilted petticoat:
 Made from a pre-quilted fabric, this gem have seen every era from Tudor England to 18th century and the 1850s. It’s just Perfect!

When everything else fails – Think outside the Box:

* Go down the heralding chain:
Maybe you can pose as a commoner using shawls, old blouses and aprons.

* Focus on accessories:

Two bonnets with about 50 hours difference in time spent on them.
The green one is a piece I made from scratch using silk and hand-sewing, while the right one is a modern straw hat where I cut parts of the brim, and added a lace-ribbon and called it a day.

* Borrow:
If you’r going on a event, chances are that you know at least one person there – see if they have something that would work on you.
Here my sister’s wearing my green 1840s gown for a winter photoshoot we did a few years back.

* Bend the timespan:

Perhaps there’s not such a big deal if you show up wearing costumes from 10 years to early/late.
After all everyone just there to have fun, right?

You might even get away with 100 year wrong if you think strategically…
18th century peasant can almost work in the mid 1800s.

* Crossdress:
Bend the gender barrier and dress as a man (or lady).

* Or maybe you even got a national costume laying around…
Most of our Swedish national costumes comes from the mid 19th century, why not use that as an excuse to wear one.

But most of all, don’t sweat it if your not wearing the perfect costume, chances are no one will notice the modern tidbits or, lacking bloomers.
Go, have fun, and don’t over think it.

Best of luck on you’r costuming event this summer 🙂

What’s in Store… (pun intended)

Exiting things are happening with “Fashion through History” this year.

You might already have noticed some change in this sites appearance.
After 3 years of the same fonts and images I thought it was time to update a bit.
With pictures I’ve taken myself, which means I own the rights to – That’s A good thing 😉 

I also made myself a logo:
Noting fancy but it does the work.
Now I just have to learn how to watermark my images…

What you might not have noticed (or maybe you have), are the new blog adress (fashionthroughhistory.com)
That’s right, I’ve gone the distance and finally gotten rid of the “WordPress.com” ending.
Hopefully the transition will go smoothly and you don’t have to change anything in your saves/bookmarks ect.
(please let me know if you’r having trouble finding the blog).

But why all the changes/updates suddenly?

Here’s why:

After many years of dreaming, but being to much of a chicken to really get to it, I’d finally dicided to open my own costuming/sewing business!

Yay!
(Omg! what have I gotten myself into!!!!)

I will start in minimum scale with an online web-shop here on the blog (just added to the top-bar).

For the time being I will only sell my own “old” costumes (another pun), but I plan to expand soon to more solid stock items and brand new garments.
And maybe sometime in the future I’ll even take commissions :-).

Because of the business regulations here in Sweden, I will only be selling to people located in Sweden to start with.
If everything goes well, I hope in the future to be able to do businesses with people all over the world.

Something that won’t be changing though, is the continuously entering of new blog posts (loaded with pictures), the occasional book-review and lots and lots of (lovely) costumes.

Lastly I just want to say “Thank you”! to all of you who’s following me and encouraging me in my costuming adventure.  Now, go and shop 😉

Love
Åsa

1825s silly, silly evening hair

One of the things I got the most compliments on wearing the new 1825s outfit was the crazy as hair I sported.

There’s a party on my head…

Since I don’t have a lot of hair on my own – modern everyday style beats once in a while historical hair-possibility’s, I needed to do something drastic to disguise the modern me for the upcoming historical ball.

My first thought was to use my “go to” solution – A turban.
It’s easy, cute, comfortable and perfectly accurate for the time period.

But then I would need some fake curls for the bangs…
..and those 1820-30s hair are pretty fun and crazy…
..Maybe… I could…what if I…Hm, this flower wreath looks cute…and this braid is almost a perfect match for my hair…

And then I was caught.

I searched my bookshelf, my bins of hair-accessorize and the box of neatly rolled spool of fake hair I’d cut from a wig a few years back and never used.
Collecting the material.

After reading through “The laced Angels” blogpost about her 1830s hairdo I felt confident enough to give it a try.

I started by cutting apart one plastic “doughnut” (the kind ballet dancers/gymnasts use, which suddenly got really popular a few years back) 

Then I separated a few of the curled pieces of fake hairand twisted them around the doughnut/crescent, adding glue where needed.To make it sit more secure on my short  hair I added two wig clasps to the ends of the piece.

Then I cut the black elastic from a hairband-braid, and glued it together to form a circle.Not a nice joint, but it will be covered by other things later so I’m not overly concerned about it.

I Braided a few of the other pieces of fake hair,and put together a the rest into two clusters of curls for the bangs.All the pieces lain out roughly the way the’r suppose to sit on the head.

Here’s my first try at putting it on:
Starting with a back combing of my own bangs, and a brown hairnet, to keep all the short hairs from acting up.

Then I pinned/clipped the crescent on top of my head.

I added the two curly bits to the front/side of my face

and put the two braids on to cover the edge of the cresent.

Finally I added a wreath of purple plastic flowers

As you can see, I definitely needed to do something about the back of my head. Something I fixed by re-arranging the hanging braid and adding a white flower over loops of  pearls stitched to the back of my the thick braid.

A few days before the event I dyed my hair a bit darker red to match the hairpieces.
Blending together much better now.

Here’s a few pic from the photoshoot:

1825s Purple evening gown – photoshoot

The day after I finished my dress I’d scheduled a photoshoot with my sister (and her 1860s ball gown).
Perfect timing 🙂

We took a while getting ready, working hard to get our hair to behave in a acceptable way. And I got to try my newly finished hair-pieces (more about that in an upcoming post).
For these photos I’m wearing my purple 1825s evening gown, Regency long stays, chemise, petticoat, white stockings, ballet flats, long white gloves, fan, pearl necklaces/wrist band and a flower wreath in my hair.

Photo: Elin Evaldsdotter

1825s Purple Evening gown

When talking about attending the spring ball this year (and deciding to make a whole new outfit (inside out) for my sister) I promised myself I would not make anything for myself (yeah right…).
Since I already have so many dresses that almost never get worn, I convinced myself that I would use one of them, exactly which one would be a problem for later. Some of the dresses I had to choose from in my closet.
(You can find them all in my portfolio)

But as my sisters dress neared completion, and there still was 3 weeks to the ball, my determination started to falter.

I made a quick sum-up in my head and (on paper) to see what, if anything, would be manageable, if, I decided to make some small thing anyway. Could/should/would I make something like one of these?

The following days I did a quick survey among my friends to find out what they intended to wear for the occasion. It turned out they all was to wear their regency style, mostly due to lack of space for big skirts on the dance floor (ops, maybe I should have known that before starting on my sisters 1860s dress…).
Sadly I didn’t felt at all like wearing regency.
And all my old dresses seemed so dull and un-flattering, or overused.

You all know this anguish.

So what to do?

Without any particular plan in mind, I started rumoring around in my stash, hunting for inspiration.
And there I found a sett of purple/white printed bedsheets I got on sale a few months back, thinking I’ll turn them into a 1850s evening gown.  Pretty purple cotton satin
Sadly I realized to late the duvets was white on the backside, and not purple all around like I thought. And therefore not enough fabric for big 1850s skirts.Bummers…
The purple fabric would however, be enough for a small/medium sized dress if carefully cut and using the pillowcase for the bodice.

That’s when inspiration struck.

I would make a late regency/early Biedermeier dress.

Or more precise, the 1825s dress from “Pattern of fashion”, combined with this fashion plate from 1820s

It would be something like this  a quick drawing of my intended design

Time to get to work while inspiration was high. So I drafted a pattern using my regular templates, and since I’d recently run out of drafting paper and of course forgotten to get more, using baking paper for the bodice.Oh, come on, you’d all done it…?

I made a quick mock-up and after some help pinning myself into it, did a fitting.

Adding darts in the front, lowering the neckline a tad, and taking the whole thing in at center back a few cm, was all that was needed.
Then it was time to cut the fabric.

I interlined the bodice (and the sleeves), pinned and stitched the pieces together and added the darts at the front.

Then I stitched rows of gathering stitches on the sleeves and carefully gathered them to the right size.
Huge sleeves – here is one done and the other one awaiting gathering.

I pinned one sleeve and a piece of contrast piping to the neckline for the fitting, to get a better idea of how it would look.

The only thing needed changing was to take the darts in a tad,

resting over night on my dressform

Once I was convinced the dress would fit right, I got started on the piping.
Using bias cut strips of the white/purple fabric combined with pieces of a cotton cord from my stash I soon had the 3 m or so I needed for the neckline (and belt). 

I stitched the piping to the bodice, and the pre-made skirt to the bodice, added lining, folded under the edges for closure and hemmed the skirt. 

With a fully functional dress, is was now time to get starting on the decoration.

Since both Waugh’s pattern and several other sources I accounted called for a padded hem, I decided to give it a try.
Cutting strips of corresponding fabric and basting it to cotton bathing, after which I tured the edges under and whip-stitched the ribbons to the bottom of the skirt. Basted strips waiting to be attached.

And lastly I used upp the final scraps of fabric to make a belt, backed with heavy interfacing and edged with contrasting piping.Working on the belt.

And that was that.

The Finished dress:

The Facts:

What: A 1825s Evening gown

Pattern: I drafted my own, using Waugh’s “Cut of women’s clothes” as a guide.

Fabric & notions: 1/2 of a purple cotton beed-sheets and 1 pillowcase (approx. total 2,5 m fabric), 0,5 m cotton for lining and interlining, 14 pair of hooks and eyes for closure, 1 m stiff interfacing for the belt, 0,3 m of white/patterned cotton and cotton wadding for decoration, 4 m cotton string for piping.

How historical accurate: So so, the material and silhuett are good, but the print and construction are all modern.

Time: It was pretty quick so maybe 10-15 hours, over a timespan of 2 weeks.

Cost: Everything came from stash but bought anew maybe 200 Sek (20 Usd)

Final thoughts: This is one of my favorite dresses of all time. It is so fun and beautiful in a crazy way. The color is really pretty and it’s so comfortable and easy to wear. I felt so pretty dancing around in it and got lots of compliments on it.
I will most definitely re-visit this decade sometime soon.

1865s Teal Evening gown (HSM 5/2017) – Photoshoot

The week before the ball my sister came over to do the final fitting and to take some photos.

She is wearing her new green corset, orange cage crinoline, petticoat and 2 pieced gown. Accessorized with black gloves, black lace-fan, a black velvet bag, silver tiara and necklace. She is also wearing a chemise, stockings, bloomers and dancing shoes.

Photos: Elin Evaldsdotter

Bonus:
Video of the gown in motion (shaky mobile video – sorry)

1865s Teal Evening gown (HSM 5/2017)

When all the underwear (almost all, I still had the chemise and a second petticoat left to finish), it was time to get started on the dress itself.

Since the dress was for my sister, it was she who ultimately took all the decisions on the final style, and I came with lots of suggestions, inspirations and different looks.inspiration sketch

We finally decided on one main inspiration Evening dress ca. 1865, From the Cincinnati Art Museum

Since the budget was particularly scarce on this project, we decided to cheat and use a set of IKEA curtains I already had in my stash for the dress fabric.It’s a thin polyester in a lovely dark blue/teal color that would be really pretty in a style like this.

1 pair of 2,5m x 1.45m curtains would require some really thoughtful cutting and pattern layout, but with some math and quick calculations I was fairly shore I could get the dress cut from the fabric (as long as I didn’t do any errors…)

I also recently ordered 5 m of silver sparkles and a few m of black lace which both would be perfect for this project. (So, not stash, but almost:-))

I started by drafting the bodice pattern using modern templates and my sisters measurements.
Then I did a quick mock-up that we tried on over her recently finished corset.

Lots of adjustments needed

Just to be sure I got everything right (and since I didn’t had fabric for any errors) I did another mock-up of the bodice.

After the last alterations was made, it was time to cut the fabric.
Only scraps left.

Then I got to work making the skirt.

Starting by marking and stitching the silvery sparkles (which I’ve already cut apart) on the skirt panels.

Then I sewed the skirt panels together, interlined it with a black cotton fabric that also would serve as lining and pleated the top to my sisters waist measurement.
not completely happy about the look of the pleats, I put it on my dress-form (over the new crinoline) to get a beter look. Something seamed wrong.
So I grabbed my books and read up on the period way to pleat the skirts to he waistband, and there I found the answer – by the 1860s they left the knifepleats of the earlier period for a few double box-pleats evenly spaced around the skirt. So that what I did.
 Much better

Then I attached the skirt to the waistband and after a final fitting cut and hemmed the length. I also moved  some and added some extra sparkles and stitched on a narrow black lace ribbon to the bottom edge.

Then it was time to get started on the bodice.

I started by interlining all the pieces in a strong black cotton twill, after which I stitched the darts and the pieces together. I added some bias tape and bones to the seams to make the bodice old its shape.The interior of the bodice

Then it was time to try the gown on my sister.

Don’t you just love how she matches the wall… 
Thank good for multiple mock-ups. The bodice (and skirt) fit almost perfectly (the wrinkles you see at the back will disappear once I got the center back bones in).

After some minor adjustments, I set the sleeves and the lining and got started on the eyelet for the back lacing.Here I ran into trouble. after almost 3 months of planing and making undergarments for this dress, I still hadn’t found any suitable lacing cord in a color that would work for the dress. I’d been to every sore in town, searched the internet, contemplated using black or even discard of lacing for closure all together, when I realized I might in fact have something in my own stash that would work.
Hurray! The odd colored cotton cord I’d got on super sale a few years back turned out to be the exact shade of Teal I needed – what are the odds? Perfect match! – Is this a sign my stash are to big?

Once the eyelets where finished I stitched down the lining, hemed the sleeves made a belt and added some black lace to the neckline.  

Then I got my sister to come and try it on for a (almost) final fitting, where we marked the skirt length, stitched the belt on the bodice and added hooks and eyes to the waistbands of both pieces to keep the bodice from riding up.
We also decided on how to accessorize, and to ad a piece of the same black lace around the sleeves and hem.

And since I want to submit this dress for the Historical Sew Monthly nr 5/2017 – Literature, I did some thinking on what book I would choose to make it fit. Then came the obvious answer – Victoria and her Court by Virginia Schomp (find preview from Google Books here).
Because who if not Queen Victoria would house a gown like this.

The Finished dress:

Just the facts:

Challenge: Nr 5/2017 – Literature

What: A 1865s evening dress

How it fit the challenge: It’s a plausible outfit for one of Victorias many ladies in waiting, or even the Queen itself, as described in Virginia Schomps book Victoria and Her Court.

Pattern: I drafted my own after studying the 1865s dresses from Waughs Cut of women’s clothes and Arnolds Pattern of Fashion.

Fabric: 5 m of teal colored polyester curtains (2 pieces 250 x 145 cm each), 4 m of black sheets for lining and 0,5 m of black cotton twill for interlining.

Notions: Thread, Buttonhole-thread, 7 short bones, 1m black bias tape to use as bone casings, 1 m heavy interfacing for the belt, 1 belt buckle, cotton cord for lacing, lots of silver spangles and 7 m of black lace for decoration.

How historical accurate: The shape/look is right, but the construction, pattern and material are all modern. So maybe 4/10

Time: In total about 20 hours (on the dress).

Cost: Almost everything came from stash and/or was really, really cheap. I think I payed about 300 Sek (30 Usd) total for everything. But on a dress like this there really is no limit at what it could cost.

First worn: For photos on May 1 by my sister, and later for a ball on May 6 2017.

Final Thoughts: Both me and my sister are totally in love with this dress. I love how it’s so stylized yet over the top at the same time. The small bodice comparied to the lovely exaggerated shape of the skirt, and the subtle sparkle of glitter when it moves makes me very happy. I also had a lot of fun making it. Only problem is, now I want my own…