Saturday 24 April 2010


Another ghastly school week is gone, with the additional strain of worrying about a friend who’s in a lot of pain and distress right now.

To witness this has been like standing on a bridge and watching someone going closer to the edge, and finally announcing they’re going to jump. All the time you’ve tried cheering them up, but to no avail. Even as they jump you cry “Please, don’t do this!”, but they don’t hear, or won’t listen. I feel like a complete failure as a friend, wondering what I might have said that added to the pain, or what I didn’t say that could have made a difference. At the same time everyone has their own free will, and no matter how much I’d want to, I can’t force them to accept my help.

I pray the Lord will help me to be a better friend to those I know, and that He will strengthen them in their time of need.

Wednesday 14 April 2010


Oh dear, what horrid days of schoolwork I’ve had! The next couple of weeks will most likely be the same, but having handed in an assignment tonight, I think I can take a little time of to post. First, I’ll show the detail picture of the buttoned sleeve of my kirtle.

Also, a week ago I finished the first sleeve on my spedetröja! It took less than a month – wohoo! I started the second one the same day I finished the first, and have got pretty far, I think.

I don’t really have anything else to say right now, what with school taking all of my time – I haven’t met a single person for three whole days! Well, except when I went out to buy food. I also bought a bouquet of tulips, to have something pretty to look at while shut up all day long. I feel like a hermit in the middle of civilization. Still, I’m in my own home, and that is lovely. That’s my silver lining.

Saturday 3 April 2010

Finished Kirtle

I finished the kirtle today, and got some pictures before the batteries in the camera died. They are a bit to over exposed, and I didn't get any good close-ups, I’m afraid. This is the information on the kirtle:

It is made out of 100% mustard yellow wool. It’s sewn together with a running stitch and a backstitch every inch or so, using unbleached, waxed linen thread. The kirtle is completely hand sewn. The seam allowances are folded and sewn down – the fabric is rather thin and frays easily. There’re no shoulder seams, but I did make front and back seams. Gores are sewn into the front, back and side seams from the waist down. It laces up the front with a woollen cord through 47 eyelets. The sleeves have a gore set in the seam that runs up the back of the arm. They are buttoned at the wrists by six self fabric buttons. And here are the pictures:

The kirtle is worn over a linen smock. For being out in public another dress would go over the kirtle. I haven’t decided how I want this dress to look just yet… Perhaps I’ll make it green and sideless.

Friday 2 April 2010

Kirtle Lacing

The day before yesterday I finished the eyelets and the neckline on the kirtle. I tried it on, with one sleeve pinned in, and it looks like it’ll work. Yesterday I made up the sleeves, but for the buttonholes, sewing in the buttons, and attaching the sleeves to the kirtle. I’m working on that today.

I took some step-by-step pictures on how to make the eyelets, in case anyone wants them. There are other pictorials out there, but one more won’t hurt.

First, mark where you want the eyelets to go. Poke a hole with an awl, carefully.

You don’t want the threads to break, if you can help it, you just want them to move over a bit. This will make the eyelet stronger than if you punch a hole in the fabric. I have a bone awl that I found in an old house my family used to live in.

Sew buttonhole stitch around the hole you made. There are finds from different periods where the eyelets where just sewn with simple whipstitches, but I prefer the buttonhole stitch. Also, where the eyelets have been sewn with linen thread, it has usually decomposed, so you can’t tell what stitches where used. You might have to go back and poke the hole open again as you work.

When you’ve finished the sewing, the eyelet will be tiny – poke it wider with the awl. I do this from both sides, it looks best to me. Finish all the eyelets.

Lace the kirtle shut. Spiral lacing is the period thing to do, from the 14th century up to the 19th, so this applies to stays (corsets), kirtles and gowns for later eras as well. Good instructions on spiral lacing can be found here.

And please, use a period cord for the lacing! It looks really sad with a well made garment laced with a poly-satin ribbon…

Hopefully I’ll get the kirtle finished enough for me to take pictures tomorrow.