Wednesday 31 October 2012

Not Much New

At least not much new to post about. I’m currently working on my new winter coat, in delicious wine red wool. The picture does not do it justice at all. If all goes well it’ll be beautiful. Not sure if I’ll get it finished this winter, though….

I’m also sewing on my long neglected regency stays, when working on the coat isn’t doable for some reason. I have the bust gussets sewn in, and am working on all the cording on the front piece. 

I try to get the last boxes unpacked, and enjoy the candles shining in the evening darkness. I love autumn.

Little B is walking around, pushing a chair for support. He understands most of what we say now, and find enjoyment in the praise he gets when doing what we ask him to. He’s a delightful, sweet, clever, loving little person, smothering us with very wet kisses. I’m so happy to be his Mum, and lucky to be a stay at home Mum.

I’m thrilled that Sewing with Babies is being shared! For the moment I can get a few stitches done every now and then if I do my sewing standing up (if I sit down I must be doing something fun, and B will want to be part of it, which is not always possible), or having him in my lap, and explaining what I’m doing (“the needle goes down through the fabric, then up, and SWISH goes the thread! Down, up, SWISH!”).   

Tobias and I are watching the Wartime Farm series, and it’s as delightful as Victorian Farm and Edwardian Farm was. I want to make a down quilt just like the one Ruth made.

And that’s it really. I hope you all have a pleasant autumn, and hopefully I’ll have something interesting to post about soon.

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Sewing with Babies - a Blog Award

I know a lot (most?) of you who read my blog, or whose blogs I read, sew. I also know that many have little children. Being able to find time and energy to pursue ones interest in sewing, while caring for the physical and emotional needs of ones children, is not always easy. Lately I’ve found it increasingly difficult, and sometimes frustrating. To encourage all of you out there who, like me, try to find time, but also try not to feel like failures, nor get upset when not succeeding, here is a blog award just for you!

You all know how this usually works:

- Post the text below, describing the award (you are of course welcome to use either of the images in this post on your own blog)

- Link back to the person who gave you the award.

- Describe what you do to make sewing possible, and still have a happy and content baby.

- Pass on the award to three (or more) sewing and blogging mothers of small children.

Recognizing mothers who try (and now and then fail) to find time to create something beautiful and/or useful with needle and thread, between feedings, nappy changes, laundry, nursery rhymes, and baby kisses.

The ones I want to have this award are:

My Mum, Monica, of Creating This and That. Though no longer having any small children (my youngest brother is eight years old) she’s had eight little ones, and always prioritized our needs before her wishes (be they scrapbooking or sewing). No, I do not deny that having a little time to do what you enjoy now and then is a necessity – but it’s all about balancing whose need is the greatest at any given time. She’s my role model when it comes to being a mother, and a woman and wife too.

Sarah Jane of Romantic History, as she’s been my hero in this particular area for years. Even before I had my baby I was amazed at how many beautiful clothes she managed to produce with three small boys running around the house.

Fellow 14th century reenactor Petra of Drömmen om det Medeltida Livet. The Middle Ages means no machine sewing, so she’s got her work cut out for her, with a little baby wanting her attention.

Amy of ADay in 1862. She creates beautiful 1860’s clothes (and shoes) for her little girl.

I hope you will like my little award (a small award from a small blog), and will pass it forward. We all need a pat on the back now and again!

Monday 1 October 2012

The Return of the Livkjol

Autumn is upon us, and warmer clothing is required. As some of you long time readers might know, I love folk costumes in general, and the ones from my place of birth in particular. Now, I like when you can take an element from period clothing and bring it into ones 21st century wardrobe. I decided to try and see if a livkjol can work today. The livkjol is the main piece of clothing for many country women in Sweden up till the mid 19th century, even longer in some places. It varied a lot in appearance depending on where you lived, always consisting of a bodice with an attached skirt (liv = bodice, kjol = skirt). In the spirit of true local patriotism, I chose to base mine of off the ones close to home. Well, where I lived as a child anyway.

In that part of the country, the west of Skåne (Scania), the bodice and skirt of the livkjol were made from different fabrics, the skirt usually wool, the quality depending on wealth and occasion. The bodices were wool for everyday, and might be for nicer clothes as well, but those who could afford it had bodices in silk, preferably brocade. The bodices on fancier livkjolar were often trimmed with strips of silk in a solid colour. The bodices were closed in front by hooks and eyes, or a chain and buckles in silver or a lesser metal, or simply left open. The skirt was also opened in front, but as most of it was covered by an apron, it didn’t show. All these variations were often dependant on where you lived - a few miles might often make changes in cut and style. You can see a variety of livkjolar from Skåne here.

Now, I wanted a dress that would not be a costume, or a period correct piece of clothing, but a garment that could work today, inspired by a period (and very local) style. Not modern by any means, but not too odd. Silk were out of the question (I have a baby after all), as were too bright colours. I also had to use what was already in my stash. I ended up making a dark brown bodice, trimmed with black strips, and a dark green skirt, all in wool blends.

The bodice is cut in one, and gets some extra shaping from two darts in the front. Darts began coming into use in livkjolar in the mid 19th century, inspired by the current fashion. This picture shows two young girls from the 1870’s in darted livkjolar over knitted sweaters, spedetröjor. Adorable aren’t they? It closes with hooks and eyes. It's is lined with a simple cotton fabric, but back in the day, linen would have been far more common.

The shape of the trim (especially in the back) is typical of some areas in Skåne, and can be seen on the country woman on the left in this picture, Marknad i Lund (Market in Lund) from 1858. It’s made of strips cut on the straight grain, shaped around the curved edges with little stitched down tucks.

The skirt is flat in front (as is often the case in originals), and then pleated with double knife pleats, though I think single ones were more common. I didn’t want a front opening as I won’t wear an apron to cover it, so I made some sort of version of a dogleg closure. While the bodice opens at centre front, the skirt opens under the first pleat to the left, almost invisible. It has a facing in mud coloured cotton at the hem. The skirt is a bit shorter than originals, but I think it works for modern wear.

The greatest deviation I’ll be making is in what I’ll be wearing with the livkjol. It would have been worn over white linen shifts and dark knitted spedetröjor, but I’ll wear it with a bit more modern (mostly store bought) blouses, shirts and sweaters. I did end up having to make the blouse I’m wearing in the pictures, when I remembered that all my pre-pregnancy ones are too small, and will be as long as I nurse. I really tried to sew it using modern techniques, but I have forgotten many of them, and automatically start using period ones…. 

Occupational hazard?