Thursday 3 June 2010

Folk Costume Bodice

This morning I finished my folk costume bodice. The style is very typical for the south-west corner of the county Skåne, in the very south of Sweden, with its deep front opening (to be laced with a chain through the buckles), the narrow back and shoulder straps and the padded roll to support the skirt. It’s made of silk, lined with unbleached linen. The visible stitching is made with silk threads pulled from the fabric (just because I didn't have the money to buy silk thread at the time), and the lining and roll are sewn with unbleached linen thread. All thread has been waxed for strength. The buckles are also sewn on with the linen thread. The bodice is based on a pattern drafted from an extant bodice.

The bodice could (for the ones who had money enough) be made of silk brocade and trimmed with silk ribbons, but I will as usual keep a lower profile. The buckles might have been made in pewter or silver, sometimes even gilded, all according to wealth. I bought mine second hand, and I’m not sure what they’re made of – they each have two stamped marks on the back, but I have not found any that match them – the fact that I have a problem seeing what the stamps say doesn’t make it easier. Anyway, they do the job.

The stuffed roll at the bottom is sewn in plain in front, gathered at the sides, and again plain in the back, where a seam makes it very small. Not sure why it should be like that, but the original was made that way, so nothing else to be done. When the skirt is worn over the roll, it makes the silhouette very much like the fashionable late 16th century ladies’. It also looks similar to period pictures (1830s) from the area the costume's from, so I suppose I made it right.

A seam is sewn a little bit from the edges, to keep the lining from pulling, just like all the originals I have seen. At the lower front the bodice is closed with three pairs of hooks and eyes that I made from brass wire. The point in front is worn inside the skirt.

The skirt, too, is finished (I think), but it’s too dark now to take pictures of it, so some other day.


  1. I am trying to make myself a dress to wear for midsummer and Santa Lucia. I ordered white dresses for my two daughters from Sweden for Santa Lucia but it would be fun to make them something pretty to wear for midsummer. My grandpa was from Skane and I would like to use some traditional colors. Where can I find some pictures or patterns?

    Your dress looks gorgeous.

  2. Looks great! I love that deep blue color. Can't wait to see the whole outfit together!

  3. Det är så roligt att få se din dräkt "växa fram", jag blir så inspirerad!

  4. Thanks, all of you!

    rhf- blues, greens, blacks and reds seem to have been popular in Skåne, varying a little depending on which part of Skåne you lived in. Pictures for inspiration can be found if you google "skånska folkdräkter", but not all of the pictures that come up are relevant. If you want to be accurate, the best information can usually be found in books, and patterns are sold by small, local buisnesses. Not much help to you, I'm afraid... a costume like this is usually really expensive, hard to find information on, a bit tricky to make (unless you´re used to period sewing techniques), and so a once in a lifetime investment.

    If you just want to make a cute dress inspired by the costumes, then you can just look at the pictures and be inspired by colours, cut and trim.

    Hope that helps!

  5. Strålande! Synd bara att det inte går att få bilderna större

  6. Tack! Jo jag vet, vet inte hur jag ska göra för att man ska kunna förstora dem...


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