15th century kirtle no. II

I have had a bit of a slump going on with my medieval reenactment. The excitement of making new things and do research slowly faded to almost nothing some two years ago, and over the course of the last couple of years I’ve only made two new pieces of clothing. One hood for 14th century reenactment and my red 15th century kirtle for Glimmingehus. Other than that, my main crafting focus has been on knitting and my folk costume – both are areas that I hae been giving lots of love and attention.

Thus, the year of 2020 was very welcomed by me in terms of not going to any events, or to feel the pressure to produce things for my 14th century personas. To be honest, the whole year of being at home was rather relieving for me in many ways. Of course I would have rather it to be a normal year without a pandemic, without all the hardships that has followed in its footsteps, but to make the most out of the situation I felt like I really needed that break.

So, the result was that I was going into 2021 with a little bit more energy than before. Early in the year I was invited to join the local version of Company of Saint George’s event Pilgrimage 2021. A distanced 15th century pilgrimage taking place at the same time all over Europe (the world?). It felt like the perfect event. Hiking along the pilgrim trail in Kinnekulle, Sweden, together with some friends. I even felt like I had everything I needed, save for a pilgrim’s staff, which I was able to order early on, so – no extra pressure there. There is something very soothing in knowing that you are prepared, and can focus on only having a good time. I felt very good in the whole situation, with no stress at all.

Then, just shy of a month before the event I got that feeling again. That longing to produce something. To craft something new. I felt that I needed a simpler kirtle to go with my pilgrim’s outfit, as well as I kind of needed it for my kitchen worker impression at Glimmingehus. I scowered my fabric boxes for a suitable fabric and found three meters of a thin woolen twill in dark forest green. Maybe not the most suitable colour in terms of my goals of keeping it simpler, as I think the dye truly would have required overdying a yellow with woad/indigo, but it might pass as a grey fabric being dyed with birch leaves and iron to darken the colour to this green. I am no expert in plant dyes, so you tell me. What do you think?

My goal was to have a wearable, but perhaps not finished dress, by the time of the event. That is, a dress with maybe not all seams felled, that needed to be closed with pins rather than lacing. I could use the same pattern as for my red kirtle, which made things super easy. I did some changes to the sleeves in order to make it more of a working garment, which includes changing the sleeve head to have a little less of a difference in the curve to allow for more movement as well as giving the sleeve some more ease. I also made it a full sleeve, with wide ‘cuffs’, to allow it to be able to be rolled up when doing dirtier works.

With as few seams as this the sewing was fast. Really fast. I decided early that I would fell al the seams as I went to make sure that the job was done and not left undone for eternity, as is the case in some of my other dresses. The reason for this is mainly that the thin twill frays quite easily, so I wanted to protect the raw edges. This I did by felling both seam allowences to one side and covering it with filler thread as I was sewing it down with whip stitches. I am not perfectly sure that the technique with filling threads was used in the period, but it was a step I considered necessary as I didn’t want to add the extra bulk that would come with me folding the seam allowences over.

This time I made sure to not stress. I made sure to enjoy every single stitch in sewing the kirtle. Everytime I stuck that needle into the fabric it would be with a sense of calm and happiness. And so it was. In the first time in many, many years, I was sewing a medieval garment and enjoying the whole process. A huge step forward, in my opinion.

The result? I finished the dress in less than two weeks. Not to a wearable extent, but all finished. I’m very proud of myself! Do you think it will look nice at the pilgrimage?

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!

nm1390
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.

tvärärmatröja2
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.

20190110_224301
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.

 

nm90398
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.

nm158631
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
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.

tvararmatroja_wm

tvararmatroja_wm-3

tvararmatroja_wm-5

A Visit to the 1910’s

Snart har det gått tre månader av det nya året (redan?!) och jag har inte fått tummen ur att skriva ett blogginlägg till er. Hemskt ledsen för det. 😉 Som ni antagligen märkt händer det mycket i mitt liv.

Almost three months of the new year has passed (already?!) and I haven’t got around to write a blog post for you. Sorry for that. 😉 There are lots of things going on in my life which you’ve probably have noticed.

IMG_4652




En av sakerna som hänt den senaste månaden att jag blev vald som ordförande i min reenactmentförening Fraternis Militia Carnis. Yay! I augusti ska vi organisera ett event i Linköping. Det är en stor bankett med torneringar och en mindre fest för de som inte har lust att vara överdrivet uppklädda. Läs mer om det på http://carnis.org/banquette-2017/

One thing that has happened in the last month is that I was chosen as the new chair(wo)man of my reenactment group Fraternis Militia Carnis. Yay! In August were hosting an event in Linköping, Sweden. That event is a big banquette with tournaments and a smaller feast for those that doesn’t wan’t to be too fancy. Read more about it at http://carnis.org/banquette-2017/

En annan sak som hänt är att jag och några vänner besökte Tjolöholms slott och deras afternoon tea i 1910-talet. De har en utställning med en del av kostymen från Downton Abbey just nu och i samband med det har de några afternoon tea där de har serien som tema – man får alltså gärna komma dit i dräkt. Jag, Annette, Cathrin, Ida och Andreas åkte dit i söndags, men dagen började med att vi intog brunch hemma hos mig. Sedan fixades dräkt och frisyrer innan det var dags att åka till slottet och njuta av en fantastisk eftermiddag med riktigt gott afternoon tea. Såklart tog jag en hel del bilder under dagen!

Another thing that happened is that a couple of friends and I visited the Swedish castle of Tjolöholm for an afternoon tea in the 1910’s. They have an exhibition with some of the costumes from Downton Abbey at the moment and therefore had that theme on their afternoon tea. Me, Annette, Cathrin, Ida and Andreas were there this Sunday, but first we had brunch at my place, then got our hair and clothes in order before going to the castle where we had the most fantastic afternoon tea. Of course I took some photos during the day!

IMG_4613

Här är några av mina foton – resterande kan man se på min bloggs facebooksida:
https://www.facebook.com/recreatinghistoryblog/

Here are a few of my photos – the rest can be found on my facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/recreatinghistoryblog/

IMG_4759



Until next time!