My outfits are finally done! This is what they looked like on the catwalk!

Ok finallay, after a whole school year of sewing a couple of days ago it was time for the end of year show and catwalk. I’ve already mentioned this coming up, and it was a very stressful week leading up to it, we had a different project (costumes for a big opera that we had been asked to make!) that needed to be completed in very short time. So it was a very full on week with long days. And then there was the catwalk! 

 

We all had the choice between being part of the catwalk or have our things on show in the school exhibition. I decided early on that I wanted to do the catwalk, but there was just one more of the girls in my class who also wanted to. So that meant that out of the 11 people in my class only two of us walked the catwalk. I thought it was a little bit of a pity that not more of them wanted to do it, but of course we all should choose what suits us best :)

On the day before, Friday, we had the first rehersal. And it felt horrible. I really did not feel happy or comfortable after that rehersal. For one because everything was just very chaotic (as it often is on rehersals..) but also I felt that we stuck out so very much, me, Andrew, the other girl from my class and her husband. We were obvioulsy the only ones who did anything remotely historic, a lot of the other things were very modern and very much “fashion”. So I really didn’t feel like we fit in. Plus the music we had picked to walk to was so very different from what everyone else had. So I was not happy and not comfortable and that evening I was almost regretting having said I’d do this.

But of course this is so often the case, when you are just about to do something you wish you weren’t going to, but then when you actually do then you enjoy it. And such was the case this time too. On Saturday morning we had the proper dress rehersal, and then everything felt a hundred times better!

 

Because we had these historic clothes we were going to go out twice to show our stuff, first in the underwear and then a bit later in full costume. I think this was a good idea because as most people are not used to seeing historic clothes it could be fun to see more of how the layers are made up.

 

Andrew and I had been practicing in our living room how we were going to walk and pose, it was quite fun actually. I’m sure the neighbours were wondering what we were up to though!

 

So first up was the underwear. I was wearing my combination and my corset, Andrew was in breeches, stockings and shirt. And the music we had chosen for this part was THIS piece from the HBO mini series John Adams. We wanted something quite calm and good to walk to, and as we wanted to give the impression of it being a morning schene, with us half dressed only, the music couldn’t be too “epic”.

Second time we came in it was to this classic Swedish piece which I just love. It’s called ‘Drottningholmsmusiken‘ and was composed in the 18th century and Drottningholm is the name of the Royal Palace outside Stockholm which is the recidency of the King. And all the time I’ve been working on this outfit for Andrew this song has been what I’ve pictured for it. So of course we had to walk to that one!

Nervous as I was the day before I can’t but admit that it was so much fun to do this! It was a little scary yes, but sometimes we need to do things like that anyway. And I think for me it would have felt a little bit like an anticlimax after all these months of sewing to put them on a mannequin and leave them in an exhibition. But that’s just me.

We did stick out. But I think in the end it was a good thing. I think it provided a refreshing break with something a little different. And the feedback we got was so incredibly good and positive I can’t but be happy and grateful and just a little bit proud. :)

We took a few more photos afterwards too, so here are a few more.

Very happy that Andrew already had the wig and the sword and everything, it really completed the look!

I had made that necklace myself a couple of days earlier, as I really needed a necklace and I wanted a Downton Abbey style one…

It was a really exciting and fun day, and a lot of people turned up! I’m so grateful that I’ve got a boyfriend who is more than happy to do something like this with me, even if he was uncomfortable about wearing Georgian make-up.. He did such an amazing job that day that I don’t know how many people he had who came up and asked if he was a professional or an actor!

The day after we were so exhausted we didn’t leave the apartment once. Slept for 12 hours straight and did absolutely nothing. I’m slowly, slowly coming back to the world of the living again now I think, but last week was a tiring one!

Hope you’ve enjoyed these photos, I might do a more detailed post about my dress later, but here you’ve gotten to see what it is like at least. :)

Talk to you all soon!

Aurora

My readers are the best! :)

I once again want to thank you for your fantastic responses to my previous post. It was such an encouragement to read your thougths and opinions. And once again it was a reminder to myself of how sometimes when battelling a question in my mind and coming to no conclusion sometimes asking for help isn’t such a bad idea really. Because I can really be one of those persons who won’t ask for help but will try to solve everything myself. And the silly thing about it is that I know people are often so happy to help! So it is good to get wonderful reminders of that sometimes. :) You guys are the best!

 

Andrew and I are having a short break from Göteborg right now and are up with my family in the countryside. It’s a long weekend here and I need to be in Stockholm on Monday together with my class, so we thought we might as well go home for a bit. It is always good to come home for a visit, although I’m enjoying trying out city life I really am a country girl at heart. And especially at this time of the year when spring is in full swing all around being in the countryside is nice.

 

So it’s been a relaxing weekend so far. Today I was trying out some ‘Downton Abbey’ hairstyles, beacause I realized I only have a week left until the end of term exhibition and fashion show at school where I will be wearing my complete outfit and walk the catwalk in it. So it was high time to figure out what to do about my hair! But I think I’ve got something that will work now, so hopefully I’ll be able to show you that in about a week! :)

I am getting slightly nervous about this catwalk thing. I’ve never done something like that before and it’s really exciting, but a little bit nerving too… Andrew will be walking with me in the outfit I’ve made for him, and I have to say I think he will really look the part!

It will be a fun experience I’m sure! :)

 


Oh and on a completely unrelated subject, I assume you’ve all  heard about the new little baby princess born today?? Congratulations William and Kate! I’m a die-hard royalist and so news like these are always important to me!

 
I was actually very annoyed when two days ago I was talking to a couple of friends and neither of them were aware of the fact that it was our King’s birthday that day! But then I am aware that not everyone in Sweden is as big supporters of the Royal family as I am. Sadly.

 

Off to sleep now, but I will talk to you all soon!

 

Aurora xx

 

 

Thoughts regarding this blog

You have probably all noticed that when it comes to this blog I have long been struggling to keep it going the way I used to. And I feel this is something I want to talk to you about.

 

Of course one of the reasons that I have been posting less often is simply because of life getting in the way, different things that keep me busy or just simply a lack of energy for writing. But apart from this there is also the fact that I don’t quite know where to take the blog from here. I have been turning this question over in my mind for a long time now, trying to decide what I want, but it’s not so easy for me. You see I love this blog, very much. I am proud of it and of how long I have kept it going for (with admittedly some rather substantial gaps in between now and then..) and it has played a HUGE part in my life. It’s one of the biggest reasons that I continued to immerse myself in this big passion of mine, Jane Austen and everything around it, it has been something to fuel that passion on even more. Give it more purpose. It has brought me into contact with some of the most amazing peopel I have ever met, many of who have come to be friends for life. It has been a connecting point between me and so many other Janeites all over the world, and that has been (and still is!!) a privilege and an honour! It has encouraged me with my sewing, which in turn has lead to me being where I am today at this school. And most importantly, it is the reason that I met the love of my life, Andrew.

 

So as you see it really has played a big part in my life, in more than one way. But I’m finding it harder to keep motivated and inspired when it comes to the blog now. I often feel like the posts I write I’ve written several times before, that it’s not new anymore. And that makes it less fun. I will admit there are times when I have thought about stopping altogether. But I don’t want to have to do that, because as I said, I love this blog. And if people are still happy to read then I am more than happy to write. I guess the reason that I am saying all of this is because I wanted to ask you for your opinion. What do you think I should do? What is the reason you come back to this blog and read it? Is there anything you should like to see me write more about? Or something completely new? And also, is there any other blogger who has experienced feeling this way too?

 

Many questions I know, but if you feel like answering even just one of them with your opinion I would be grateful. I just want to make this fun for all of us! :) And I’m not tired of blogging, I’m just feeling like I’m a little bit stuck in the same track with not enough inspiration to keep it as exciting as it used to be for me. I have also been considering potentially starting up a different blog too on the side of this one. But I would still need to figure out what that one would be about haha :P

 

Anyway, that was something I needed to say. And please know that when I say that I lack inspiration it doesn’t mean I don’t have things to write about, I do. And also know that it has nothing to do with all my wonderful readers out there! You are the best part about this blog and the reason I want to keep it going, because I love having you all here!! But if anyone has any thoughts please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment!

 

Thanks for listening to this rambling, I appreciate it!

Shirt, Breeches and a Waistcoat I am very proud of

To continue posting some of the stuff I have made for school. I have yet to show you any of the men’s things I have been sewing. This year of our course we are working on making two complete outfits, one man’s and one woman’s, so our time has been equally split between the two. Of course since we are making men’s clothes, and everyone in my class is female, we have to have a model to make them for. I am fortunate enough to not only have someone who is willing to put up with modelling for me but who also loves having a complete new wardrobe made for him.

The outfit I chose to make is a 1790′s outfit, and it includes shirt, breeches, waistcoat and jacket. The jacket I have just started on, but the other three garments are completed and I thougth I’d show them all to you. :)

The shirt was the first item I made. I’ve never sewn a histroic shirt before but I love how this one turned out. The ruffle and the tall collar are my two favorite parts of the shirt.

Front veiw, unbuttoned

Gotta say I love the ruffle! 

I have a weakness for tall collars, both on men’s and women’s clothes

An extra insertion in the neck to create more gathering

For the cuff I made an openable one wich when you button it collects all the leftover material and makes it a ruffle

Just a cute little button loop

Second up we had the breeches. These are made from a fake silk material (in other words, synthetic, but it looks like silk :) ) in a gorgeous shade of blue that I am completely in love with. The jacket will be made from the same material. I am making a very upperclass style, more court than everyday wear, and so consequently practicallity is not high on the list ot features for these clothes. The breeches are as tight as I could get away with, they are mainly meant for standing up :P

The lightening in these pictures is very bad I know, doesn’t do the color justice

And from the side

Close up of the flap and buttons. As well as tall collars I also have a weakness for covered buttons. So you’ll see a lot of that in my sewing. You can better see the color of the fabric here

Because this is an era when men were real peacocks you have to enjoy making the most of it! So bling-bling clasps were a must! ;)

And then we have the waistcoat. My pride and joy when it comes to this outfit. The waistcoat too is made from a fake silk which I just happened to find in a scrap pile. But it was absolutely perfect for what I had in mind.

When I first started planning this outfit I knew I really wanted a nice embroidered waistcoat, but embroidery takes a lot of time, not to mention that I never fancied myself any good at it at all! So I started exploring different ideas of what I could do to imitate embroidery, ribbons or applications to sew on etc. But nothing seemed quite right. So finally I just had to accept what I had secretly wanted all along, to do it all by hand.

Hours and hours and hours and thousands of stitches later this is what it looks like.

All the garments for this outfit that I’ve made so far. I think the waistcoat really completes the look! 

Pocket flaps

Lacing in the back to achieve the best possible fit

Looking for good button placement. The gold trim I did buy ready made and sewed on, the rest is all my embroidery

And now the buttons have details on them too! 

I am very happy with it. For me it wasn’t all about achieving this look, but even more about proving to myself that I can do it. That I am not worthless at embroidery as I have always thought (at least now I have a little more practice!) and that I can make something turn out pretty much the way I had planned it (belive me most of my previous attempts have not!). So it was good for me to do this. And of course, being hand sewing this meant that I could bring my sewing with me. Do a little bit here and a little bit there, while watching a movie or sitting around talking. One of the reasons I love hand sewing so much more than machine! Also I find it much more relaxing.

I have a plan to eventually embroider the jacket too, but I think that will have to wait till a later stage, I need a little break now I think!

Period Drama Recommendations

Hello all you lovely people!

Has spring found it’s way to your corners of the world? Every day here I am excitedly finding signs that we are moving further into spring, with snowdrops and crocuses around the house, and the first days of sitting outside in the sun eating lunch. I’ve got to say, a little bit of sun does wonders to raise your spirits doesn’t it?!

School is keeping me very busy right now. We are coming up to the more final stages of this years projects. Which means we are now busily sewing away at our dresses. Which is lots of fun, but I am slightly regretting the decision to do a very sequin heavy dress, with all the sequins sewn on by hand…. But hopefully the result will be worth it all :)

I was just thinking it was a really long time since I last posted anything about a period drama I’ve watched on here. And believe me there has been plenty of new good ones since I last wrote about one. So I thought I would do a little list here of some of the great series I’ve seen over the past year or so. Obviously there are such amazing series like Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife that you guys already know about, and know how much I love, so I won’t really mention those. Except to say that if you haven’t seen them, DO! And if you have, well just watch them again ;)

So here goes.

 

 

1. Jeeves and Wooster (1990-1993)

I really can’t understand why it took me such a long time to hear about this wonderful series based on the books by P.G. Woodhouse. But once I got started watching these together with Andrew we were both so sucked into it that we finished all the seasons in no time at all.

Jeeves and Wooster is set in the 20s, Bertie Wooster is a charming but not so very clever young man of good family who has little to do with his time except go to his club and go visiting people at great estates, getting into all sorts of trouble. And Jeeves is his very wise and capable valet. Wooster is forever coming up with “ingenious” plans to help people, but they always end up not going quite as he had planned and Jeeves always has to step in and save the day. It is so clever and funny, and packed full of amazing quotes. And of course what really goes to make it so good is that Jeeves is played by the brilliant Stephen Fry and Wooster by the equally brilliant Hugh Laurie. And they both do a fantastic job pulling those characters off.

I think it is a 4 season long series, and very well worth seeing! I couldn’t find a proper trailer for it, so instead I will post this clip for you to take a look at. :)  

 

 

2. John Adams (2008)

There are many films telling the story of how America became a country, the war of Independance, but none that I have seen have been so historically accurate or realistic as this one. John Adams is a miniseries from HBO and it tells the story from a slightly different perspective. Its focus is on the political side, not the military, and it is told through the eyes of John Adams. It gives a more humble view of the events of the time, which makes it more realistic. I think it is a incredibly well made and good series. It took a while before I got really in to it, but after an episode or two I did and then I very much enjoyed it. I think it is a series that deserves more attention than it is given, a lot of people seem never to have heard of it, yet it depicts such a famous and popular topic. So I would heartily recommend it!

To make it even better there is one thing that I just love about this series. The clothes. They are just so real looking! They look like the kind of clothes someone would have worn, not a costume. And the materials are all proper, sturdy and once again, believable. I think this care and attention makes the characters seem to come alive even more.

 

 

3. Outlander (2014)

Now Outlander is different from the other series here in that it is based on more of a fantasy book. Or books I should say, because there are several. I got the recommendation to watch Outlander when it first came out from one of the ladies in my class. I had not heard of it or the books preivously but when she told me that it was set in two eras, the 1940s and the 1740s I knew I had to watch it. Two such good eras in one and the same film, sounds too good to miss out on!

The basic story of Outlander is that after the war a couple travel to Scotland for a holiday, while there the wife is magically transported back to the 1740s and the Jacobite rising. While trying to get back to her own time and her husband she slowly starts to adapt to life in a different era.

It is not the most historically accurate of series, but it is still fairly good in that sense. And I did find some episodes to be very slow and uneventful while some were great. But I did really enjoy it, and am eagerly looking forward to season two coming out later this year!

 

 

4. ANZAC Girls (2014)

I really, really love this series! For those who don’t know what ANZAC stand for it is Australia and New Zealand Army Corps and came at first from the combined forces from these two countries in the first world war. Living together with a military historiy obsessed kiwi this is something I have heard a thing or two about in the last year or so. So when this series came out I was quite anxious to see it, it sounded like something right up my alley. And it was.

It is the story of army nurses who travel from New Zealand and Australia to nurse their soldiers in Egypt, Turkey and France in WWI. As anything set during the war it is filled with hardship and heartache, but it is also very beautiful and filled with the stories of these girls who are based on real people. And if I had lived during the war I think I would have liked to be a nurse, as horrific as it would have been, to have been able to do some good, just like these girls do. I am aware they have more liberties in this series than they probably would have had in real life though. Best I can do for now is to make myself a uniform like theirs, and that is high up on my list of projects!

I cannot recommend this series enough, it’s one of the best I’ve seen in a long time!

 

So those are my recommendations for this time. I’m sure I have more to tell you about, but for fear of making this post too long I will leave it at this for now. Let me know if you’ve seen any of these and what you think of them. Or if you haven’t, well maybe there is something there that strikes your fancy :)

Opera in Georgian Costume

Before I start this post let me warn you right away that it will be very picture heavy!

I have been wanting to write this for literally a year now, and am sad it has been so long in coming. I can’t remember if I ever mentioned last year that I was trying out a new era with my sewing, the Georgian era. I had been contemplating thsi for quite a while but you know how it is, it isn’t so quick and easy to just jump into a new era just like that, building up a complete outfit takes time as there are many different parts of it. So this Georgian outfit had been a long time coming. And the first step was, obviously, once again a corset. Now I know I just showed you a couple of corsets, and though I am happy with those ones too I have to tell you, this one is my pride and joy. It was one of those projects which were allowed to take all the time it wanted, it was made 100% by hand (and sewing all those boning channels took a looooong time!) and literally contains both blood, sweat and tears. And I guess that is part of why it is extra special to me, the work and time it took to make it. For boning I used basket making reed (if that is what you called it) which worked just fine, appart from that one piece at a time it isn’t so sturdy and this meant that quite a few of them snapped half way pushed in. Not so fun. My fingers were covered in blisters by the end of it.

So once that was completed I made a pair of basket panniers following a tutorial on The Dreamstress’ website. I don’t have any pictures of those yet but they were both fun and easy to make.

A petticoat I made using a cheap and rather nasty unused sheet and following the instructions on Koshka the Cat’s website. Super easy and quick!

And then it was time for the actual dress. I was aiming for an outfit from around 1775, and I, for the first time, used a pattern out of Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion. And it worked out really well actually. I wasn’t planning to spend so much money on this, but when looking for a fabric I saw this gorgeous curtain material that I just couldn’t resist.

So this is the final result.

I was rather pleased with how my hair turned out too 

 Now that I had the dress what better than an occasion to use it! And I got that quite soon after. My wonderful boyfriend gave me tickets to the Royal Opera in Stockholm to see a production of Andrea Chénier, a not so well known opera set during the French revolution. And his idea was that we both dress up in costume for the occasion. I am so lucky to have someone who likes to do things like that with me! And of course this meant I had to quickly whip together a Georgian style jacket for Andrew and a pair of breeches.

Georgian Andrew

My friend Beata came along with us to take some photos in the beautiful gold hall of the opera. We got quite a bit of attention and more than one “good luck for the show!” ;)

Because it was the middle of winter I had to make a cloak too, wool with fake fur. I love it! Andrew borrowed a cloak from my brother for this.


This is my personal favorite picture! 

It was a great evening, and I was so excited to try out a new era! I’ve worn it once since then, which I will tell you about later. But I’ve got several plans of new gowns already….

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