Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Plans

My family and other close friends know that it takes quite a bit of time for me to decide on things. This is not least true when it comes to sewing; more often than not I have changed my mind about the design somewhere between three and eleven times before starting on a dress, coat, skirt, etc. The bigger the occasion the more difficult it is to decide on what to make. Now, with the dress of my life to sew, I’m having some major indecision issues. Last Monday in school, I changed my mind three times in as many hours…. The only thing that is absolutely certain is that it’ll be in some shade of white. Sigh.

Right now, however, I’m leaning towards something like this (an old picture, and the dress is woefully wrinkled in it….):


This hand sewn wool dress was made quite a few years ago, and worn on the premiere of The Return of the King, and at a New Years ball the same year. The style is inspired my medieval gowns, but is by no means period. It’s embroidered at neckline and wrists, and laces up in the back with hand sewn eyelets. The embroidery was inspired by medieval illuminations.


I’m pretty clear on how I want my hair and veil. I’ll wear my hair up, hopefully with some volume, low in the back, with the veil simply dropped on my head, no gathers or anything. I also know that I want a myrtle wreath securing the veil. I’ve wanted that since I first saw this bride in high school:

Detail of the painting “Bruden smykkes av sin veninde” (The bride is dressed by her friend),
by 19th century Danish painter Henrik Olrik.


Mine might be set more to the front than in the picture though. Think Marias wedding outfit in Sound of Music, and you come pretty close to the look, or air, I want, though I’ll change the details to fit my taste.


However, I have to manoeuvre in a much smaller space, so no cathedral length trains or veils for me :)

Now, I have concentrated much more on finding a place for us to live (though Tobias have spent more time on that than I), and a job for me, than I have on the wedding itself. There is also the whole bureaucracy involved, with booking a date in the temple, a location for the open house, contacts with the government concerning me changing my name, and there being no legal hindrance for us to marry. But since that is not very interesting to read about, I won’t say anything more about it until I actually have something to report.

And speaking of that – the date is set for the 18th of February. Just a little over two months away – yay!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Why I am a Very Lucky Woman

I have many reasons for this, of course, and here are a few of them:

I have a loving family, that’s always been there for me. We’ve shared a lot together; joy, grief, loss, laughter, poverty, relative plenty, work, play, learning opportunities, etc. What would I be without them, my Mum, Dad, brothers and sisters?? I also have a lot of good friends and relatives that’s been there for me when I’ve needed them, including my future in-laws. Love you all!

I have been blessed with tolerably good health. I’ve had my trips to doctors and hospitals, I’ve had horrible accidents and suffer pains from time to time, but all things considered, I’ve been healthy. I’m also blessed with living in a country with good medical possibilities and a good social security system.

I live in a country where I’m free to express my opinions freely (even the ones that may not be political correct or popular at the moment), and where I have religious freedom. That is a lot to be grateful for, right there. I hope I extend the same courtesy to others.

I have a good education, that make me pretty sure of being able to always have a job I like when I need one. I might not like studying, but I appreciate the opportunities it gives me.

I’ve been blessed with talents that keep me amused forever, and can be used to help others from time to time.

The country I live in is beautiful! I love every season – the cold, snowy winter we have now (unusually cold and snowy, I must say), the slow, creeping spring with timid flowers, which suddenly bursts into summer, so lush and bountiful it’s almost unbelievable, which in turn develops into crisp days of reds and yellows. There are many beautiful places on this earth, but to me, Sweden is the most beautiful of all. I may be just a little bit biased, of course ;)


Today we got our engagement rings

And last, but certainly not least on my mind, I have a fiancé that I love, and that, incredibly, loves me too, not despite my oddities and nerdiness, but because of them. A man who has all the must-have qualities I’ve looked for; he loves and obeys the Lord, served a mission, works hard, have a sound opinion on economy and family, and a good sense of humour. And as if that was not enough, he also possesses something that I’ve always thought would be impossible for me to find in my future husband (icing on the cake if you will); a peculiarity very similar to my own. I feel so blessed to have him in my life; it brings tears to my eyes just to think of it.

Am I not a very lucky woman?

Monday, 29 November 2010

Engaged :)

Last night my boyfriend Tobias proposed, and this morning I said yes. Not that I had any plan of refusing him, I just had to get used to the idea of saying yes. (I think he was glad there was a snow storm last night though – he just might have been a little worried that I’d run away during the night, haha.) So, there it is; I’m engaged. Wow. How did that happen?? A month ago I didn’t even have a boyfriend (we’ve been dating for almost four weeks), and for the first time I was happy being single, and had no plans on a relationship for a while. And yeah, this might be a good time to think “those crazy mormons” ;)

It’s not as bad as it sounds though – we’ve both known of each other and each others families since we were children (one of my first memories are of his parents visiting me in the hospital as a little girl), we just never thought of the other in this way before now. I'm not very good at expressing my feelings, so let it be enough to say that as surprised as I am, I’m also very, very happy.

Marrying early is the pattern we’ve got from our parents; my Dad proposed to my Mum a little less then a month after they first met, and three months later they were married. My fiancés parents’ story is similar. Actually, marrying early is very common in the church. I can’t see a problem with it – most people nowadays seem get intimate and some move in together much sooner than we got engaged, which from where I’m standing is much more odd. Because of our faith, chastity is important to us, so we choose to marry.

This afternoon we went ring shopping. In Sweden the couple exchange rings when getting engaged, and so, it’s as common to buy rings together as being presented with one at the proposal. I must say I prefer to have had the chance to choose – I wanted to make sure I got a ring I liked, one that “felt like me”. The one I chose is very simple, an unadorned gold band (again in keeping with Swedish tradition), just like I’ve always wanted. It will take a few days for us to get them engraved, but when we do get them I will, of course, post pictures.

And you all know what this means: I must design and make a wedding dress for myself! How I’ll manage that with my still present tiredness (and school), I’m not sure, but it’ll work out somehow. My biggest problem right now is how I want it to look (Tobias laughed when I said that)….. I’ve got two or three ideas that I can’t really choose between….. I must say, that it’s a very pleasant problem to have :)

Happy!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Giveaway Winner

I’m very tired, so this will be a short post. (Some of you might be interested to know that my constant tiredness have been found to be the result of a pretty bad imbalance in my vitamins, which I take supplements for now. Hopefully I’ll be back to normal soon.) It’s also a little bit late (going by Swedish time here), the batteries in my camera died.

Thank you all who commented on my last post and wrote something about yourselves! It was very interesting for me to learn a little about who reads my blog – the internet is usually very anonymous, and you have no idea about who reads, and what they find interesting. Please keep telling me, I really appreciate it!

Now for the giveaway winner: the slip of paper that came up had Kajsa’s name on it. Congratulations :) If you’d be so kind and post a comment with your name and address (which of course I won’t publish), I’ll send it on to you. I hope you’ll like it.


This was fun, I think I’ll host more giveaways in future.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

100th Post Giveaway

This is my 100th post. Wow. I’ve been very interested in seeing where you, my dear readers, are all located. I’ve had visitors from the USA, Sweden, Germany, Australia, Canada, Poland, Israel, Egypt, the Netherlands, South Korea, China, Pakistan, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Latvia, France, Kenya and Austria, amongst others.

Some of you are my real life friends, others have become my friends over the internet, and some are complete strangers, but you’re all equally welcome and appreciated. To show my appreciation I will have a giveaway. Today I’ve made a wool embroidery, which will be made into a pincushion similar to the one I made a few weeks ago.


It’s free hand embroidered on black wool, in blue, yellow, olive green, and two shades of red. The embroidered square is 7x7 cm. If you are interested, post a comment (if you’d like to say a few words about yourselves that’d be nice), and I will draw a winner next Sunday.

Actually, the reason I’ve not posted for a while is that I wanted to host a giveaway, but didn’t have time to make something suitable until now. A lot is going on in my life, and the past week I haven’t got any sewing done – however, my corded petti is getting close to finished, so I’ll post about that shortly. Then I have a lot of other things I’m working on or planning – so much I want to do, so little time :)

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Halloween

As many of you might have realized by now, I like dressing up, and so, naturally, I love Halloween. This year though, I didn’t plan to go to the church-hosted YSA party in Gothenburgh (more than two hours away), as I’m so tired, and it would be a Friday to Sunday thing – way too long for me right now. But a day or two before the Saturday dress up dance, some of my friends told me they’d only go for the one evening, and then home again, and asked me if I’d care to come. Well, that changed things, and I had to try to find a costume in a hurry.

In the end, I brought my 14th century white linen shift, and dressed up as a ghost, with a nasty looking “vampire bite” (made from fake blood paste from the toy shop, eye-liner, blush, eye shadow, powder and water paint) on my throat. Everyone who asked was told that I had been on a date that went bad some 700 years earlier.


Picture by the talented Daniel Nilsson.

The neat thing about dressing up like a ghost when you’ve been exhausted for weeks is that it’s actually an advantage if you look gaunt and tired...


Picture by D.B.

I guess it was my being in character most of the time (if you can call it that when you’re actually just lacking the energy to keep a smile on your face and a look of interest in your eyes for more than a few minutes at a time...) that nominated me to the prize for scariest costume. I even won (first time in my life I've ever won anything, I think), though I think it was really a tie between me and my friend J. W., the crazy professor.

Mind you – it’s a strange thing, that when I’ve spent weeks on a costume, making sure every detail is right, hardly anyone has noticed it. When I improvise with a days notice, on the other hand, I win. It’s an odd world... But as I plan to make a really nice costume for next year, this will most likely be the only prize I will ever win, but that's all right. I make them for my own pleasure anyway, and that's the important thing :D

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

1840's Cap

Last week I made 60 inches of hem stitching on a thin white cotton fabric. The plan is to use it as frills on an 1840’s cap, but I felt I needed to make a trial run first, so as not to waste all that work on something that wouldn’t look right. For this cap I used fabric cut from an old, worn out blouse. Recycling is nice.

There are a few caps in museums, but they are all fancy caps, made from silk ribbons and blonde lace, and that doesn’t fit my social position. The case is the same if you look at fashion plates of the time. Most paintings and photographs show the frills of the cap framing the face, but I managed to get a couple of side view pictures. Also, they showed women of my class, servants and upper lower/lower middle class women.



Detail of The Bottle, plate II by George Cruikshank, 1847.



Servants Gossiping, 1849.


This is what I came up with. The pattern needs some tweaking before I’m completely satisfied with it, but for a trial run it’s good enough, and perfectly wearable. I might add ties to it though, pretty ones that will be decorative when hanging loose.


The fabric is thin cotton, woven in stripes. The cap is constructed in four pieces, the front, crown, and flounces folded lengthwise to make them double on each side. Piping is sewn in between the front and crown, as it is pretty and also prevents the cap from stretching out of shape.


Drawstrings beginning at the same place as the top of the frills and tying at the nape of the neck makes the cap fit properly. Of course it’s hand sewn – sewing machines wasn’t common in the 1840’s, and even if they were, a cap is too delicate to look good with clumsy machine sewing.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Belle's Blue Dress in Detail

I’ve had a few people asking me how I constructed Belle’s blue provincial dress, so I thought I’d make a post on it. It’s not that difficult, actually.


First the blouse: any pattern could do as a base. Make the sleeves a little shorter than to the wrists, and cuff them. As you can see I haven’t even hemmed the bottom edge yet, but since it won't show…


The most important thing on the blouse is the characteristic collar, which should be folded down in back, and taper into nothing at centre front. This is how it looks, with the centre back folded. It’s sewn in two layers. There’re probably better ways to do the collar, but I was short on time when I made it. Next time I make this costume I'll experiment a little more with it.


The bodice could be made using any tight-fitting dress pattern, just making the neckline square. If you want to drape your own, this is how I did it. My bodice is made up from four pieces; two in front and two in back.


The rough shape of them were cut out in a cheap leftover fabric, and then tried on, pinned and re-pinned until they fit like I wanted them to. All the shaping is in the front-, back-, and side seams, no darts. As most people’s bodies have different shapes, the pattern pieces will probably turn out looking different from mine.


Make sure not to do the neck and arm openings to big at first – just make them big enough to go over your head and to put your arms through, and then draw them on the fabric while wearing it. Don’t make the bodice too long, or it will wrinkle and look untidy. When you are satisfied with the fit you can use this mock up as the lining for the bodice, or save it as a pattern for later use.

I put self fabric piping in all the bodice seams, because it gives a nice finishing touch, and also makes the seams stronger – they also give a slight supporting effect, and prevent some wrinkling.


When sewing the bodice together, I had first basted the fashion fabric and lining together, and sewed them as one layer. With the piping, it made six layers of fabric in each seam (hence the light boning effect). I trimmed down the seam allowenses on the fashion fabric and lining, split and sewed down the piping fabric, to make the piping sit straight, and not "tip" to the sides.


I put piping at the neck, sleeve and waist as well, again for a nice finishing touch. My dress closes by hooks and eyes at centre back, but an invisible zipper could be used as well – I’d put it in a side seam, or it will not be invisible.

The skirt is made as any half circle skirt, lightly gathered and reaching to lower calf - simple as could be. Since the bodice is slightly pointed in front, I had to cut away a corresponding amount of fabric at the centre front of the waist of the skirt.


That’s it, a rough guide on how to make this costume. The apron is simple, a rectangle (straight, gathered or pleated) sewn to a waistband. And don’t forget to wear at least one petticoat. If not, the skirt will look skimpy, and will cling to your legs, which isn’t the right look for this dress. Oh, and a note on fabric choise: avoid anything shiny, polyesterish! It will look cheap and amateur-ish. If you're on a budget (like I was), better use a low price, plain cotton, as that will look so much better.

Hope this helped, and good luck!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

A Real Scare

The floor in my combined living room/bed room creaks. Usually just when you walk on it, and mostly when I’ve been away for a few days.

Last night, in the early morning hours I woke up, from the floor in my room creaking. I had only just thought it strange when it happened again – and again and again, like someone walking slowly across the room, over by the door. My heart almost stopped, and I hardly dared breathe. Slowly, slowly I rose on one elbow, trying to see through the dark (not easy, since my bed is screened the cupboard I store my fabrics in) - nothing. Time is difficult to tell when you’re scared, but it might have been ten or fifteen minutes that I listened, thought hard of what to do, prayed, and gathered courage to do something. In the end I came to the conclusion that since I hadn’t heard anything for a while, there was most likely no one there, and if it was, it was probably a thief, surprised by my waking up, and might be possible to scare of.

So I switched on the light, and got out of bed. No one in that room. I walked into every room, and turned on the lights as I went. They where all empty, the front door was locked, and nothing was missing. I finally decided that it’d probably been the cool night air coming in from the open window that had made the floor set slightly.

Even after I had made sure I was alone, I was shaken enough not to be able to put out the light and go back to sleep for an hour and a half. When I finally did my dreams where affected by the fright, and didn’t give me much rest. Even now, more than eight hours later, I’m a bit skittish and feel like a wrung out cloth.

Being easily scared is very inconvenient.

Friday, 8 October 2010

More Cording

This week I’ve begun my last clinical. I’m at a neonatal unit, and it’s the most fun clinical I’ve had yet. Caring for all these small (in some cases, very, very small) babies and their families is a great blessing, but I pray none of my children will be too premature. The stress of the parents and siblings are enormous, as is the stress of the babies. Interesting as it is, it’s a very new environment for me, which means a lot of concentration to learn as much as possible, and to be attentive to the needs of my little patients and their families. When I come home I usually just crash into bed. I had the day of yesterday, and I slept for eleven hours that night. Wow. Usually I never sleep that long.

With me being so tired all the time, I haven’t got much sewing done (I sound like a broken record, huh?), but I’ve finished the 60th row of cording on my petticoat. I want a few more groups of three cords before the single cords.


I’ve also worked on the back of my regency stays, whip stitching the top fabric and lining together at centre back, and sewn a cord in on each side. Between the cord and back there will also be boning, and on the other side of the cord, eyelets for lacing.

Not a very interesting post, but it’ll have to do as I’m of to the hospital again soon.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Cording This, Cording That

Whew, I’ve had very much to do in school this past week. Bleh. Still not done, I have a few more things to hand in before the weekend is over. On Thursday morning there was a frost, and it tells me to get a move-on with the coat – but it takes a bit of concentration, which I haven’t had for anything but school. Only projects that don’t need too much of my time, brains and energy have been worked on.

My corded petticoat is coming along nicely; I’m working on the 49th row. And, I did find evidence for corded petticoats in Sweden – huzzah! One example was in a book I bought in January (Underkläder – en kulturhistoria (2008), by Britta Hammar & Pernilla Rasmussen), but somehow it had not registered, even though I’ve looked at the picture a few times – it is a pretty small picture, and the corded petti was lying amongst a lot of other underwear, stockings, dresses and toys. It had belonged to a little girl who died in 1855, 4 years old, and a lot of her possessions were later donated to a museum. A search on the digital database of some other museums gave me another one, for a grown up woman. The cording is woven in, of course, but I still think sewing them in is a very good next-best-thing. The fun thing is, that I have grouped my cords in a way very similar to the extant ones, so that at least is period correct.


I also got a sudden stroke of inspiration for (finally – I’ve wanted some for years) making regency stays. I bought a white cotton fabric with woven in checks of a sort of dark brick red in a charity shop a couple of weeks back, and I would like to make a regency dress from it (no, it doesn't look like a kitchen towel in real life - the material is quite fine and sheer) - I hope there is enough material. I must have the right underpinnings first though. Regency dresses, when done right, can be some of the most elegant frocks in history, but if done wrong, you’ll look like a pregnant hippo in a nightgown, which is less elegant…. When I was a slim, almost bony teenager I could have gotten away with short stays, but nowadays I have a more feminine figure, so long stays are essential. I base mine mostly on a pair described, and with the pattern pieces drawn out in small scale, in the same book I referred to above. It’s in Swedish, and full of Swedish examples of underwear from the 18th century up till now, which is not all that common when it comes to fashion history. I also look at the ones from the book Fashion from the Kyoto Institute, and one from another Swedish book (Empirens döttrar – kultur och mode under tidigt 1800-tal (2009), by Anette Kindahl, Katarina Olsson & Ingrid Roos) I recently bought. It’s interesting to see how similar they all are – makes one wonder if the Swedish ones might have been imported. Either way – there’s evidence for them from here, which is the important thing.


They should be made from white or cream cotton satin, but I didn’t have any, and didn’t want to waste the opportunity either – inspiration comes and goes with me. I might make another pair sometime, in cotton satin with the embroidery done in yellow silk like the originals, but for now, a simple cotton fabric embroidered with cotton will have to do; I can look at it as a smart mock-up, and I won’t feel guilty. It’s not like it’ll show anyway – I wonder if not the fabrics might behave differently, though. The stays will have a combination of boning and cording, like the ones in the books. I’ve made the pocket down the front for the busk, with cotton cording down each side, and the channels for boning radiating out from that. I also made the eyelets for securing the busk. I haven’t done the bust gussets yet, since I don’t know what size they’ll have to be – I want to wear the stays and experiment, but for that to work properly, I’ll have to finish the boning and eyelets in the back first, and pin front and back together so I can try it on. So that’s next – starting on the back panels. Eyelets are a bit tedious to sew, but I find I really like cording – it’s fun to do, and it looks nice.
Now - back to my school work.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Another Recomendation

I'm sure many of those of you who, like me, love costume dramas, have noticed that some costumes appear in several productions. There is a website dedicated to finding as many as possible of these recycled movie costumes, and it's called (surprice) Recycled Movie Costumes.

You can do a search by era, and submitt costumes if you know of any that's not listed on their site (I've submitted a couple some time ago). It's great fun, and some costumes have been used far more times than you'd think.

One thing you'll get comfirmed is how truly different looks you get, depending on corsetry, hair and accessories, even when the same outfit is worn - just look at these pictures:

Jennifer Ehle as Elisabeth Bennet in Pride and prejudice (1995).


Jemima Roper as Amanda Price in Lost in Austen (2008).

This could serve as an exellent example for all girls and women who (would) like to wear period clothes in historic settings: no matter how pretty and accurate your outfit is, if you don't do your hair in a period way it'll just look weird. It's all in the details :)

Monday, 27 September 2010

Pincushion

The other evening I suddenly thought I’d like to try out an embroidery technique, known in Sweden as “Skånskt yllebroderi” (Scanian wool embroidery). It was common in the countryside in the county Skåne during the 18th and 19th centuries for covers and cushions. It’s embroidered free-hand on wool fabric (traditionally recycled from old clothing) with wool yarn.



The fabric is usually dark, and the embroidery is done in bright colours, often illustrating flowers, trees, animals and humans. To save material, the stitches are very short on the wrong side. Every woman had her own style, depending on her skill and artistic eye, so there are a lot of different looks to these works of art. Some are downright ugly in my opinion, but others are very charming. They all have the whole surface covered with different kinds of images, and for covers and cushions made for weddings, they also have the initials of the bride and/or groom, and the year embroidered on them.

My first project was a bit more humble than a cover for a bed or a cushion for the seat of a horse drawn wagon – I used a leftover piece from my folk costume skirt and made a small free-hand embroidery of a flower, and then a frame round it. I thought it looked a bit empty, so I added the “stars” or whatever sprinkled in the background. The flower is tolerably traditional, but I’m not so sure about the stars; I don’t care though, I think it looks pretty.

I decided to re-cover my old pincushion with it, since it was looking rather dismal – I have to do that every few years.


I also used this opportunity to put a piece of cardboard in the bottom, to save my fingers from accidental pricks; should have thought about that some years ago...



I like how it turned out very well indeed. Small, quick projects are gratifying.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Winter Coat Fabrics

Two years ago I found a lovely, burgundy wool fabric for a very good price, and bought it to make a winter coat. I cut out most of the pieces for the outer layer, and began sewing them together, and then something or other came in between, and it’s been left hanging since. Now I thought I’d finish it so I can wear it this coming winter, since my old ones really are threadbare. I want rather a deep hood on this coat, but I didn’t have enough fabric, but then last year I found some wool of the same weight, and a shade or two darker than mine, in a charity shop. Yay. I’ll use that for cuffs and other trim. The lining fabric is graphite grey satin, which I think will make a nice contrast.


I’ve made the pattern myself – it’s a favourite style of mine, with the princess seams starting at the shoulder, and I’ve used that style both for coats and dresses in the past. Well, to say I made a pattern is a bit of an overstatement… I used my old coat as a model, and I don’t have the pattern pieces left; at least I can’t find them. That makes it a bit tricky, since I only just bought the lining fabric a month ago and so haven’t got the pieces cut out – oh what fun to cut out the lining without a pattern... Yesterday I started, and by carefully pinning the lining fabric to the outer one, I cut out the two front panels. I must be more careful to save my patterns… not that that would have helped much in this case, since I changed the fit quite a bit once I started to sew. Ah well.

I haven’t cut out the sleeves or the hood yet, I haven’t even made the pattern for them yet. I will have to try to get a move on – it’s getting a bit chilly some days, and before you know it there will be frost.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

So Tired

The last couple of weeks I’ve got increasingly tired, going to bed at unnaturally early hours, and taking naps almost every day – so not like me. I wonder if it’s just the shortening days or something else. Either way it leaves me with a lot less energy and inspiration to work on school or any textile related thing than I’d wish. I can't help it, but I’m feeling a bit listless.

I’ve managed to get a little work done however. I’m working on the 43d row of cording on the petticoat. The group I’m working on now will be as wide as the one at the hem, and then I’ll make groups with fewer cords in them, probably three or four cords/group. It’s very convenient sewing when you can’t seem to work up anything that looks like brainpower to do something more complicated. You just go round and round and round and round….


The Bayeux-inspired embroidery has all that was drawn on it sewn, so now I have to figure out what I want to do on it next. The borders need to be embroidered – the upper one should be simple enough, I’ll just take whatever figures captures my fancy from the original. The lower one is the problem – I could do something similar to the top, but I think I’d prefer to add the events that happened before the major scene. That way I’ll get the whole story, with less work. And then I’ll have to figure out what the text should be, and what language I want it in. I think I’ll stick to Latin as the original, it looks cool. And I think I’ve decided to do more scenes after this one – the question is which ones; the burning bush, perhaps, and then Moses and Aron before Pharao? Decisions, decisions…


And lastly, lo and behold, I have started work on my winter coat again! I haven't done much (almost nothing to tell the truth), but I've got the ball rolling, so it should be easier to just continue. I will post about that separately. Right now there seems to be a good chance I will be very happy with it when finished.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Just a Short Post to Recommend...

... the Casualty 1900's series. Well, I don't think it's on TV anymore (or yet - it hasn't broadcasted here in Sweden anyway), but it's available on DVD.


If you like BBCs costume dramas, and also happens to like series like ER, Chicago Hope etc. you will love this. It's about the lives of the doctors, nurses and patients in London Hospital in 1906, 1907 and 1909. It's based on journals, newspaper cuttings, diaries and so on from the people who worked there, and from the little I know about Edwardian England, and nursing back then, it looks accurate enough. As a lover of history, and an RN myself, this is just perfect. It's recomended from the age of 15 here in Europe, as it's rather grafic in the ghastliness of illnesses, injuries and living conditions of the poor of East End. It's interesting, sad, and yet encouraging.


The problem with good costume dramas is that I get a sudden and strong wish to make clothes from that era - so in future I might make a Sisters uniform from the early 20th century...

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

On Request :)

This post is for the benefit of some ladies from the Sewing Academy, as a short answer to how common Scandinavian women dressed in the mid 19th century. This is not all the information there is – I myself have a lot of unanswered questions, but still: here are the pictures I promised. I won’t include pictures of upper and middle class women, as they dressed pretty much the way women of the same social standing in the United States of that time (I did however notice a slightly higher level of women, even young ones, wearing caps in their portraits, than in the States). I only found Swedish and Danish pictures, and they where hard to come by... First the ones with a really local character.

A Danish painting from 1856, by Christen Dalsgaard, called “Mormoner på besøg hos en tømrer på landet”, meaning ”Mormons visiting a carpenter in the country”. As a mormon myself, I think this is an interesting one :)



Another of Christen Dalsgaard’s paintings, from 1852, called “Ung Jysk bondepiga skriver vennens navn på den duggede rude” - “A young farmgirl from Jylland writing her friend’s name on the dewy window”.


The red sleeves are most likely what is seen of a knitted sweater – similar ones where worn by women in the very south of Sweden, like this, from Torna in the county Skåne (Scania) by J. Kulle, mid 19th century. The painting is called “Söndagsmorgon” – “Sunday morning”.


Or this, by Kilian Zoll, 1840’s: “Majsångare I Skåne” – “Maysingers in Scania”.


Mind, what we refer to as folk costumes today varied extremely much in existance and apperance with country, location, time, economy, age and personal preference, so these pictures are in no way exclusive! I am also horribly biased - Scania is my county, so I have more pictures from there than from anywhere else in Sweden, and I have more Swedish than Danish pictures for the same reason - sorry about that.

Then we have the ones which are more fashionable:

Christen Dalsgaard, Danish, 1858: “Ung pige beder landsbyens gamle postbud besørge et brev” – ”Young girl asking the villages old postman to attend to a letter”.


David Monies, Danish, 1850: “Soldatens hjemkomst til Køpenhavn 9 September 1849” – ”The soldier comes home to Copenhagen 9 September 1849”. Notice the cap. She also wears her apron – was that the common practice, or was she just so delighted to welcome her husband that she didn’t take the time to take it of and put her bonnet on? (I feel so sorry for the poor widow in the background who's husband has not returned....)


And the ones in between:

A Swedish servant, 1860’s. She seems to have a checked dress, with a kerchief round her neck as well as on her head – the one on the head would be the norm for most Swedish women. She also wears an apron.

A.G. Hafström, Sweden, probably late 1860s: “Avskedspredikan för emigranter vid Tullpackhuset” – ”Farewell sermon for emigrants by Tullpackhuset” (in Gothenburg). A lot of kerchiefs and aprons. If that is some kind of outer wear jackets, or in-door basques is difficult to tell… I vote for jackets.



H. Siegumsfelt, Denmark, 1863 – no idea what this painting is called – notice the cap.


Danish couple, 1860’s - she's wearing a cap and apron.


Now, this Swedish countrywoman is thought to have had her picture taken in the 1870’s, but as you can see, her dress have some elements that was in fashion some 20-25 years before. It's also shorter than what is fashionable, to enable her to work.



This is very typical for Swedish countrywomen at this time – you can even se mutton sleeves from the 1830’s a far in as the 1870’s, as in this picture from Scania:


And here’re a few other pictures from Scania, mixing fashion with local tradition (most of them from the 1860’s/early 70’s):





Most women (at the very least the married ones) from the country would have had something on their heads when going out, but not all of them wear them in their portraits. In many areas, hats and bonnets were not for the women of the farming community . Corsets would not have been worn by them either - it would have been considered very vain, and maybe even immoral. Some dresses had boning of cane, to give some support. Multiple petticoats, and maybe quilted petticoats would have supported the skirts. Aprons seams to have been extremely important to these people - you see them in almost all photographs. I'm not sure all of these women are wearing dresses - I think some of them are wearing waist lenght jackets, as an indoor garment.
Also, as we discussed over att the SA, linen was used in underwear, wools in outer clothes - also, dresses with a cotton warp and a wool weft was getting common, kerciefs was made from wool, cotton or silk. Aprons was made from wool and/or cotton, or maybe silk for dressier occasions.
There, I hope you enjoyed what little I have - finding images of "fashionably" dressed farmers wives is not easy. But I think it's fun, since my own ancestors where farmers and would have dressed somewhat similar :)