An 18th century shortgown

Happy 2019!

This year I have a lot happening – both reenactment and in my personal life. Many, many years of studying is coming to its end and this spring I will graduate with a Masters exam in Geology and start to work a normal day job. In fact, I’ve already been hired by a consultant company to work hours until my graduation, to then start working full time there. I’m very proud of myself, and excited for this year!

Reenactment-wise I will attend several events, with at least four different time periods. The usual 14th century with Carnis, with the big event being Battle of Wisby, hopefully 15th century at Glimmingehus again if the event will be on this year as well. Then, around autumn, it will be time for my first 17th century event. If I’m lucky I’ll even be going to Grolle in October.

Now, my first event of the year will be an 18th century pub-event called “Den Sprängda Husaren” – The Blasted Hussar. It is an event that I have wanted to attend the other times that it has been held, but never had the possibility to. This time around I decided that I would have to make it, and as it seems I will be going to the event now in February! Happy Andrea!

What do I want to wear for the evening? Something simple, something wooly – something that is not too far up on the social ladder. I already have stays, two skirts, half-mittens, a cap, and stockings. What I need for my outfit is something to wear as my outer layer on the upper body. I have some lovely striped wool that I’ve had for several years, without a project in mind for, which now presented itself when I was cleaning my sewing room. Looking through Pinterest for inspiration I found several Swedish short-gowns (tröja), many of them striped. I’m not entirely sure about translating the Swedish word tröja to short-gown – I’m not certain enough about the terms for this period, but I found the word translated to short-gown in a newsletter I linked below.

While striped fabrics are very poplular in the 18th century, the stripe in my wool isn’t really perfect. I have seen it here and there, in one or two fabric samples (e.g. in this sample book from 1771), so while it exists, it is not representative at all. I decided that it was okay for me, since this isn’t a time period that I really prioritise in my reenactment – though it is a beautiful period!

A Swedish short-gown with a similar stripe as my gown. Now at Nordiska Museet. NM.0001390

According to the book “Möte med mode” by Berit Eldvik, the style of these short-gowns were in fashion at the high society during the middle of the 18th century, after which the style wandered down in levels to be popular among common people at the end of the century. The earlier gowns were made up of silk, and the later ones mostly of different kinds of wool or wool blends. Many of the Swedish short-gowns were quilted, but not all.

What do you do with a not so fancy background? Remove it 😉

My short-gown is inspired in particular by two extant pieces. The pattern is taken from a printed cotton short-gown from Källfors, Sweden, and has been written about on the Durán Textiles Newsletter in 2007. It is made up of two pieces, with the sleeves cut as one with the body without shoulder seams. In the newsletter there is a drawing of the pattern of this short-gown, which I scaled up and made a toile of. Trying it on with my stays I realised that it was a perfect fit, but I still decided to add 1 cm to the width of the sleeves to get a little more room to move.

A work-in-progress image from my Instagram from when I was scaling up the pattern.

The second short-gown that inspired my gown is featured in the same book as I wrote about before, Möte med mode, and it also features a simple construction. It had one feature in particular that I wanted to carry over to my gown – a printed cotton band sewn to the neckline of the gown. I had a long cut out piece of a printed cotton that I used to create a ball gown for my highschool graduation ball, that is a reprint from a late 18th century print block. This piece was perfect to put along the neckline of my gown.


Swedish short-gown, c. 1750-1775. Now at Nordiska museet. NM.0090398


My gown has two layers, the striped wool and a plain linen tabby as lining. I stitched the three main seams on the machine after tacking the pieces together to be able to treat lining and outer fabric as one piece. After that I sewed the rest of the dress by hand. I trimmed the lining’s seam allowances and split and felled the wool over those, thereby covering the only machine seams in the garment. To attach the lining to the outer fabric at the hem and centre front, I used a technique that was used on the Källfors short-gown, hiding the raw edges by sewing the lining down with slanting stitches that left ‘dotted stitches’ at the right side. On the Källfors gown this technique also was used to finish the neckline, but I instead covered the raw edge with the cotton fabric as I sewed it to the neckline. This is the same way the cotton is attached to the striped woolen gown.

To finish everything up I needed four ties to be able to close the gown. I decided to use an orange silk from my stash that I dyed with madder a couple of years ago, and cut it with a special pair of scissors to get the zig-zag pattern (I pressume that those scissors have a specific name, but I don’t know it). To use cut strips of fabric rather than narrow ware, I based on another Swedish short-gown, which has white silk ties with this cut zig-zag pattern. Using orange silk I think looks very nice with my historical eyes, but my modern self must say that it is not the prettiest next to the burgundy red in the cotton print.

Swedish short-gown, c. 1770-1790. Now at Nordiska Museet, NM.0158631

From start to finish this project took me about 9 hours. It was a very fun project and I’m very happy with the result! When I’m wearing the gown it very much reminds me of a painting of an 18th century girl called Smultronflickan (Smultron translates to  Wild Strawberries and flicka is girl, giving the English title of the Strawberry Girl). The stripes are different, but the way the gown falls is much the same.

Smultronflickan, by Nils Schillmark, c.1782. Now at the Finnish museum Ateneum.

Now I can’t wait to wear it at the event, and get some nice photos of it! I still have some minor things to make for the outfit, like a new rump or a quilted petticoat, because the one I have now doesnt really give me the silhouette that I would want, but it should be no problem to finish it on time.




Minnen av 2015 – Memories of 2015

Jag vill bara dela med mig av mina bästa (och sämsta) minnen från mitt 2015. Jag åkte inte på så många event, men ett av de jag lyckades åka på var rätt stort. Årets första halvår var mest fokuserat på textilt hantverk. Andra halvan av året hade fokus på studier, men jag hann ändå få några saker gjorda,

I just wanted to share some of my best (and worst) memories from my 2015. I didn’t attend a great number of events, but one of the events I got a chance to attend was really big. The first six months were rather focused on textile crafts. The other six months were focused on studies, but I still managed to get some things done. 

Året började med en hel del blogginlägg. I januari publicerades flest inlägg och jag skrev bland annat om kjollängd och jag brickvävde ett hårband. Årets första blogginlägg var dock den färdiga Bärnstensklänningen, vilken blev ordentligt använd under 2015.
The year started with a lot of blog posts. January was the busiest and I wrote about skirt lengths and finished a tablet woven filet. The first blog post of the year was the finished Amber dress, which was much used during 2015. 
The Amber dress, finished in January
Resten av våren spenderades främst med att göra accessoarer till mig själv, som radband och en 1700-talshätta. Jag gjorde också lite prylar till andra som en del av en klapplek. Det var dock inte bara accessoarer som blev gjorda – jag sydde mig själv en rosa överklänning och skrev en liten artikel om medeltida frisyrer som fick ganska stor uppmärksamhet. Min tanke är att jag under 2016 ska fortsätta titta på medeltida frisyrer och kanske utveckla all kunskap till något mer.

The rest of the spring was focused on making accessories for myself, like Prayer Beads and an 18th century cap. I also made some things for others as a part of Pay-it-Forward-game. It was not only accessories that were made – I sewed myself a pink surcote and wrote an article on medieval hairstyles which got a lot of attention. I intend to research more about 14th century hairstyle and possibly develop it even further
One of the 14th century hairstyles from April
Sedan kom sommaren och med det startade eventsäsongen. Jag åkte totalt på fyra event. Ekenäs Riddarspel, Varbergs Medeltidsdagar, The Battle of Azincourt och Anno på Bohus Fästning.
Then summer came and with that the event season started. I went to four events during the summer. Ekenäs Riddarspel, Varberg Medeltidsdagar, The Battle of Azincourt and Anno at Bohus Fortress

Slaget vid Azincourt var ett stort event. Det var riktigt roligt att åka dit och bilresan dit och tillbaka är det bästa jag gjort hittils. Jag fick träffa massor av underbara människor och hade jättetrevligt, men samtidigt var det ett av de värsta event jag varit på rent vädermässigt. Det var kallt, blött, lerigt och ganska miserabelt i stunder, men ändå ett häftigt event att ha varit på. Jag har försökt att bara välja några av favoritfoton till det här inlägget, men det blev ganska många foton ändå. Jag hoppas att ni tycker de är lika fina som jag tycker!
The Battle of Azincourt was a massive event. It was really fun to go there, and I had the best roadtrip ever. I met lots of lovely people and had a great time, but at the same time it was kind of the worst event I’ve been to weather-wise. It was cold, wet, and muddy, and rather miserable at times, but still a great event. I’ve tried to choose only my favourite photos from these events to share here, but it’s still a lot of photos. I hope you find them as lovely as I do!
Ekenäs Riddarspel
Ekenäs Riddarspel
Ekenäs Riddarspel
Varberg Medeltidsdagar
Varberg Medeltidsdagar
Varberg Medeltidsdagar
Varberg Medeltidsdagar
The Battle of Azincourt
The Battle of Azincourt
The Battle of Azincourt
The Battle of Azincourt
The Battle of Azincourt
The Battle of Azincourt
The Battle of Azincourt
The Battle of Azincourt
När sommaren var över återgick jag till att sy accessoarer och mindre plagg. Man kan aldrig ha för många hättor har jag hört, så jag sydde ytterligare en Herjolfsneshätta. Jag gjorde också en väldigt fin tofspåse i silke som jag stormförtjust i. Resten av hösten gick till att sy mer moderna plagg, som en 1700-talskjol och en modern underkjol
After the summer was over I went back to making smaller items of clothing and accessories. One can never have too many hoods – I sewed another Herjolfsnes hood. I also made a very pretty, tasseled, silk purse, which I am very much in love with. For the rest of the autumn I made more modern items, like an 18th century skirt and a modern wear petticoat
The tasseled silk purse.
Året avslutades med spånad, något som jag hållit på med hela året. Jag älskar att spinna med mina medeltida sländor och spinnpinne (distaff). Tills nu har jag använt ett kvastskaft som spinnpinne, men min fantastiska mamma gav mig en handtäljd spinnpinne i julklapp som hon täljt själv. Jag är så tacksam för den! De sista härvorna jag spann under 2015 var till Herjolfsnesutmaningen. Nu ser jag verkligen fram emot att börja sy på min Herjolfsnesklänning!

The year ended with spindle spinning, something that has been present during the whole year. I love to spin with my medieval spindles and distaff. Up until now I’ve been using a broomstick handle as a distaff, but this Christmas my dear mother gave me a proper, handcarved distaff which she had made herself. I’m so grateful! The last skeins to be spun during 2015 was for the Herjolfsnes Challenge. Now I look forward to start sewing my Herjolfsnes dress
Two skeins of yarn for the Herjolfsnes Challenge
Vad kommer 2016 innehålla? Jag vet inte. Jag ska försöka att bara använda tyger jag redan har hemma, istället för att hela tiden köpa nya. Redan nu kan jag säga att det kommer bli en väldigt svår uppgift för jag har redan planerade inköp, men faktum är att mitt förråd svämmar över av tyger som redan har specifika projekt knutna till sig. Även om jag inte skulle köpa några nya tyger har jag projekt för hela året redan…

What does 2016 hold for me? I don’t know. I will try to only use fabrics from stash, rather than buying new fabrics all the time. I guess that will be a hard task, because I already know that I will have to buy some more fabrics, but the fact is that my storage is full of fabrics bought for specified projects. I’ll have project for the whole year even if I won’t buy new fabrics… 

HSM # 3 – An 18th century cap

Jag har haft massor att göra den här sista månaden och har varken haft tid att sy så mycket jag hade velat eller blogga om det jag faktiskt fått gjort. Ett inlägg som ligger halvskrivet handlar om trettonhundratalsfrisyrer – jag gjorde några manuskriptbaserade uppsättningar på mamma och mig själv när jag var nere och hälsade på henne senast och tog bilder under processen. Förhoppningsvis får jag snart några timmar att skriva färdigt inlägget under. Anledningen till att jag inte hunnit göra något är att jag har fullt upp med skola och extrajobb.

I have had lots to do this last month and havn’t been able to neither sew as much as I would like nor blog about the things I’ve done. One post that is half written is a post about medieval hairstyles – I did some manuscript-based styles on my mother and myself and got some photos of the process. Hopefully I will have an evening soon to finish it. All this is due to my schedule being full of school and work besides that. 

The finished cap, here paired with a silk fichu

Vad har jag fått gjort då? Jag har spunnit en del och har sytt något litet (som är hemligt än så länge eftersom det är en gåva) och så har jag såklart sytt en grej till månadens HSM-utmaning – Stashbusting. Utmaningen var att skapa något utifrån tyg och sybehör man redan har hemma och jag började på en bh-särk som jag fick lägga åt sidan när jag insåg att jag inte hade tillräckligt mycket tyg hemma till kjoldelen…Tillslut bestämde jag mig för att göra något som inte tog så lång tid utan gick bra att klämma in i mitt hektiska schema – en 1700-talshätta i linne till min dräkt!

What have I got done then? I’ve been spinning some and sewn a small piece (which is still a secret since it’s a gift) and of course sewn an item for this month’s HSM-challenge – Stashbusting. I had a hard time deciding what to make for the challenge, and I did start on a bra-shift which I had to abandon since I realised that I didn’t have enough linen in my stash, so I finally decided on something small which wouldn’t take a lot of time – a cap for my 18th century costume. 

Som de flesta av er vet så är 1700-tal inte min starkaste sida kunskapsmässigt – jag är i stort sätt nybörjare i perioden – så jag är fullt medveten om att jag kanske fått vissa saker om bakfoten. Oavsett så har jag baserat stilen på hättan på ett antal målningar från andra halvan av 1700-talet – framförallt målningar av vår egen Pehr Hilleström. Mönstret är löst baserat på några tutorials jag har sett på nätet med lite ändringar för att passa mina inspirationsmålningar bättre.

As most of you know, 18th century isn’t where I have the most knowledge – I’m really a beginner here – so I’m quite aware of the fact that I might have done some things wrong. Anyway, I’ve based the style of the cap on lots of period artwork, mainly the work of the Swedish painter Pehr Hilleström. The pattern is loosely based on several tutorials I’ve seen online with some tweaking to better fit the paintings I’ve been inspired by. 

“En som plåckar fågel”, Hilleström, P. circa 1776. Picture from: Bukowskis
“En piga höser såppa utur en kiettel”, Hilleström, P. Second half of 18th century.

“Ett fruent : läser vid ljus och ett annat står och förmanar henne”, Hilleström, P. Picture from: Bukowskis

“Hönsmatning i landskap”, Hilleström, P. Picture from: Bukowskis

Kullen (rätt term?) är en slags halvoval som är delvis rynkat mot en rak remsa. Remsan smalnar av mot ändarna och kullen är bara rynkad mot den längst upp. Volangen är också en rak remsa med avsmalnande ändar (av dubbla längden mot den förra) som är rynkad mot den kortare remsan. En enkel principskiss, som inte är i skala, kan ni se nedan i min vackra paintbild.

The caul is sort of a half oval, the brim is almost a straight piece and the ruffle is as well. The caul is only gathered to the brim at the very top, but the ruffle is gathered all the way (and is double the length of the brim). Like my very pretty paint-image below (which, obviously is NOT to scale). 

Basic geometry of my cap

Just nu är den inte dekorerad alls, men jag tänker sätta ett sidenband på den som man kan se i Hilleströms målningar. Problemet är bara att hitta riktiga sidenband – allt jag hittar här är 100% polyester…

At the moment it’s not decorated, but I intend to put some silk ribbon on it as in my inspiration paintings. The trouble at the moment is to find proper silk ribbon, all I can find here in Sweden are 100% poly…

What the item is: A linen cap

The Challenge: #3 – Stashbusting
Fabric: A thin linen (125 g/m^2), leftover from the frilled veil I made for my mother. 
Stashed for how long?: Seven months
Pattern: Made my own based on period artwork and some online tutorials
Year: Late 18th century
Notions: Waxed linen thread, 100/2
How historically accurate is it? It’s handsewn with period techniques, so perhaps 95% with the 5% minus being due to the fabric and thread being machine made.
Hours to complete: 4 hours
First worn: April 1st, for the pictures
Total cost: Perhaps 20 SEK,  ~2 GBP

Björklöv – Birch leaves

Jag är mitt uppe i en flytt plus att jag jobbar en del, så det har inte blivit så mycket gjort de senaste dagarna, men några dagar sedan tog jag mig tid att färga en bit tyg. Biten är lagom för en tofspåse till bältet. 

I’m in the middle of moving and working, so I have not been able to sew as much as I’d liked, but I did make time to dye a piece of fabric. A piece large enough to make a small pouch.

Tyget är en vit yllekypert, betad med alun och sedan färgad med björklöv. En ljus, klargul färg. De två bilderna är samma tygbit i olika ljus.
The fabric is a wollen twill – I used alum as mordant and then dyed with birch leaves. A light, bright yellow. The two pictures are of the same piece of fabric but in different lights.