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….

“I’m one of those strange beasts who really likes a corset”

A belated MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR to all you wonderful people out there!! I hope you have all had a beautiful and blessed holiday however you spent it! I spent it with a couple of lovely weeks at home with my family. The day after we got home though the internet cut out on us and the rest of our neighbouring area, and remaind gone for the rest of our stay at home. So my plan of posting some updates on here didn’t work out. But now Andrew and I are back in Göteborg again for another term, and I have internet again 🙂

I thought I would show you some more of the things I have made in school. After the stage of shifts, petticoats and other undergarmants we came to the section I had been very much looking forward to; CORSETS!! Some of you will know I love corsets, and sewing them, so this to me was very fun.

We didn’t have as much time devoted to these as perhaps would have been good (due to a misstake in the schedule..) so in about two weeks we were all supposed to make two corsets each. And that can be a bit of a stretch. The ones that I made were matching the eras of the shift and the combination I had made just before, so one from the early 1700s and one from 1910. And without further ado, here they are.

The 1700s one I made from a mint green cotton/linnen mix. It is fully boned, with plastic boning (if I had gotten my way completely it would have been some form or reed or something similar).

For the other corset I was originally planning to make it in a silk material, but after searching around a little for inspiration I saw this gorgeous corset on the great blog Bridges on the Body. And I loved it so much I decided to try to make something similar. I was going to put red details on mine too, but when I put them on they just completely took over the whole corset, the red was suddenly the only thing you saw. So I went with a olive green instead. 🙂 The red looks so good on the original (the one to the right) but for some reason it did not look nearly as good on mine…

But this is my version of it.

Conclusion. I still love making corsets. And I want to continue making plenty more!

MY Hornblower on the East India Company ship Götheborg

If anyone every happens to find themselves in Göteborg one of the things I think you should try to go and see is the beautiful East Indiaman ship the Götheborg.

Like many countries back in the 17-18th century Sweden had its own East India Company, sailing back and forth to China bringing home rare and exotic goods from the orient to the people here in the cold north. One of the most famous of these ships was one called Götheborg and, not surprising bearing in mind its name, it was from this city.

That ship is obvioulsy no longer around (it sank, just off the coast of here) but 10 years ago after many years of planning and building a project was completed, a replica of this ship. This ship has since sailed all over the world, quite literally, and it is possible to travel with it as it does. It is quite fantastic really, and what else is fantastic is that the home port for it is pretty much just across a bridge from where we are currently staying.

When I see these colors I can’t help but feel patriotic!

Andrew has always had a big interest in ships, and ones like this one especially. Ships from the Georgian/Napoleonic era, both naval and other are something he loves. So for him it was quite a big thing to get to go on this one. He started off with doing a couple of volunteering weekends onboard, and has after that gone back again and again helping out as a volunteer with all the work. There is a lot of maintanence to be done before it goes off on a long voyage again, and before winter completely sets in. So he has beenhelping out tarring the rigging, painting and whittling, scrubbing off rust and de rigging the whole ship. And he’s loved it!

Much as I would love to travel on this ship I honestly don’t know if I would have the guts to climb up those riggings. It’s a long way up, and it’s an old-fashioned style ship, imagine it in stormy weather out at sea… :/

I just really wanted to show you this beautiful beautiful ship, and one day we went there with our good friend Clarinda who kindly took some photos for a “Hornblower photo shoot” we did of Andrew. Because of course he had the uniform and sword, and there are not so many places where you can take photos in such a authentic looking setting!

Isn’t he handsome??! Plus I have a weakness for that particular uniform! 

S.O.I.C. = Svenska Ostindiska Companiet

You gotta love silk roses!

Last week at school we had a couple of days where we all got the chance to try out some different/new things. We had some subjects to choose from and one of them was making flowers out of fabric and making fascinators. I have long wanted to give millinery a go, and I have to say that after that day of trying it out I was seriously wondering if I hadn’t picked the wrong course! It was just sooo much fun!!! I was able to make some gorgeous silk roses and attached them to a little hat piece that I had covered in red velvet, and to complete the look I added a beautiful and delicate vintage style net. I am so thrilled with how it turned out, and now I just HAVE to get some equipment to make more hats!! 🙂

The Unmentionables

Hello! I hope you’re all having a lovely Saturday! I’m having a relaxed morning at home, got up and made some scones when I woke up (they turned out so so) and ate them in bed with a cup of English Breakfast tea and a light and easy to read chick-lit.  I’m alone home for the weekend so might go out and meet up with a friend this afternoon.m

This week at school has been busy, we’re working on skirt supports (aka hoops, panniers, bustles etc.) right now and one thing I can say for sure, they are big and cumbersome!

I thought I would share some pictures of the things I’ve made so far at school, but I’ll split it up into a few posts and start from the beginning with the first items I made (even though I don’t think they are the most exciting ones). So first out for us to do was the “unmentionables”; underwear.

As I said before with this year we are going to be making one complete women’s outfit and one complete men’s one, so we had to decide on what time period we want to do for our outfits and we could choos any point between 1500 and 1912. For my women’s outfit I have decided to go for the latest possible, 1912, and for my men’s one I am doing a ca 1790s. But even so a lot of the time we are asked to do two things for each stage, like one early and one later. Which is why for this one I decided to do one early 1900s combination and one early 1700s shift.

The combination (which for those not familiar with the garment is a combined shift and bloomers sort of) I wanted to do lots of details on, because excisting ecamples from back them usually had that. So I used lots of old lace I had in my stash and made lots of pleats and tucks all over it.

Full front view

Back details (and yes, I can see that it needs a proper iron..)

Pleats on the shoulder

Lace, lace, lace…

I’m not 100% pleased with it I can’t say. I thought the pleats would be a nicer effect than I thought they were in the end. It’s alright but next time I’m definitely going easier on the pleats 😛 The lace however I love!

The second garmet as I said is an early 1700s shift (though to be fair it could pass for quite a long period as this garment didn’t really change that much so quickly). The reason that I chose to do this period was because Andrew and I have been talking about getting into some early 18th century re-enactments here in Sweden, the Caroleans to be more precise (he is actually off right now to an event in Estonia for this, but I’ll tell you more about that later). So I thought since I was making something anyway I might as well do something I could have some use of and that I might actually need.

 By itself it isn’t much to look at. Rather plain really. But it’s a beautiful linnen material and most of it is done by hand, you know, just because I wanted to 😛

Sleeve detail. I’m so happy I had all this old lace that I could use! I mean if you want to buy lace today it’s really hard to find anything nice and delicate looking which isn’t very plasticy.. 🙁

And this is what it is like with the stays I made on top. I’ll show the stay and my corset in the next post I write 🙂

Since I last talked to you…

First of all let me thank you for your comments that made me feel very welcome back into blogging! It is so nice to know people are still reading this! 🙂

So let me give you a short update on what has been going on in my life these months when I’ve been all quiet on here.
As you know my boyfriend moved over here from New Zealand a year ago and having him here is of course amazing. Moving to a new country the way he has though requires quite a bit of paperwork and permits and registratering and other exciting things (though we are very fortunate in that regard compared to a lot of countries where it is even harder I am aware). We should *fingers crossed* be done with that part soon though as the final step for recidency should hopefully be completed.

This winter I took job working extra at the local kindergartens. It was only meant to be a little now and then at the different places but very quickly I got a full time position in place of a lady who was on long term sick leave. That was good of course from an economical point of view, I worked there all winter, spring and most of summer, but in other ways it was very hard for me. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy it, I did and the kids were wonderful most of the time, but it was all a bit too much at the time, I felt overwhelmed and overworked by everything that was happening. So this I think was the main reason things got so quiet on here for so long. I didn’t have the energy to write.

During the spring I decided, after A LOT of debating with myself, to send in an application to a school for a course I had come across and that I liked the sound of. The school was Tillskärarakademing (I honestly don’t know exactly how to translate that word, Sewing Academy will have to do) in Göteborg (Gothenburg to you Englishspeakers 😉 ). There are three schools like this in Sweden, one in Stockholm, one in Göteborg and one in Malmö and they are the big sewing schools we have and anyone who is in the textile/fashion world here has at some point gone to one of these three schools. The course I found was a 2 year course on the subject “Costume for the Stage and Historical Dress”. I don’t think anyone here will be surprised that I liked the sound of that course! haha

One view of our beautiful new home town

Anyway so I applied for this course (which was only available at the school in Göteborg and only took on a few people every second year) and amazingly enough I got in! 🙂 So all of a sudden I had a plan of what I was going to do for the next two years, something I haven’t had in many many years, if ever! And all of a sudden life was full of preparations that needed to be made, the biggest one being finding somewhere to stay in Göteborg, which is NOT easy as it is a big student town with not nearly enough aparmtents for the amount of people who want them! We found something temporary at least where we are until Christmas but after that we still haven’t got anywhere yet. We are looking, but if anyone knows of anything or know anyone who might know please let me know!!

Yeah, so that’s where we are now. Me and Andrew are living in a new city and I’m going to school here. It’s been a lot to get used to, big changes. I’ve always traveled a lot but this is actually my first proper move away from home, so that’s something tog et used to as well. But it’s fun too! And so is school. We are 11 in my class and this first year we are focusing mainly on historical clothes and we will be making a complete woman’s and a complete man’s outfit by the end of this year working our way in through all the layers. We’ve done shifts/underdresses, corsets and shirts so far and are now on to skirt supporters. It’s fun 🙂

I might post some photos of the things I’ve made so far in school, but for fear of making this post too long now I will finish off here and instead write soon again! So until then my dears! 🙂

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