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….

“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 🙂

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