1888s Purple Evening Gown – Photoshoot

Once at the ball, my sister and I took the opportunity to take some photos of her new dress (read about the construction here).
She is wearing her 3-pieced gown on top of her 1860s corset, my old Loster bustle, ruffled bustle petticoat, and stockings. Accessorized with black shoes and glowes, a black velvet bag and crystal necklace.

  Photos taken at Medevi Brunn

1888s Purple Evening Gown – Construction

Last year (about October) I got news of an upcoming late Victorian ball in a beautiful location close to were I live.
The opportunities to attend such events are pretty scarce for me at the moment (with my two small children taking most of my time), so I knew I just had to go.

And then I talked my sister into going as well 🙂

But then arose the small but delicate problem of “What to wear”…
I had a 1880s evening gown that I made and worn in 2014, that would work in a pinch. (And since I just found out I was pregnant (due to give birth merely 3 months before the event), the decision about my gown would just have to wait.)

But my sister had nothing at all to wear, so we started searching for inspiration.
We must have looked at hundreds of fashion plates, but finally decided on this one for our main inspiration.The draping on the bodice and pointed waist would both help to give her body the desired hourglass shape.
And also, who doesn’t love a big as bustle 🙂

I spent quite some time both online, and in actual stores to try to find a patterned fabric that would work for the design.
Finally I had to give it up, and once my sister decided she wanted a purple gown I thankfully already know where to look.I found both the cotton/polyester satin and the polyester chiffon on the bargain rack for les then 40kr/m (4 Usd).
The purple/silver lace was something I grabbed on Sale a few years ago, and never knew what to do with.

I knew this dress would have to be build during a long time, and preferably be finished well ahead of the ball (you know with work, the new baby coming, and the 1,5 year old kid taking my every spare minute), so even before I found the fabric’s I’d started working on the pattern.I used the “Truly Victorian 462 as the base of the bodice, and altered it to fit both my sister and the style we wanted.

The pattern required quite a lot alterations, so to see that I didn’t made any big mistakes, I also made a paper mock-up and tried it on my dressform.  Then I made the usual cotton mock-up, wich had some major fitting issues – like the back/waist lenght, to little fabric accomodating the back/bustle and the neckline being to high and weird.

So I went back to the drafting table, did the alterations and cut a second mock-up. This time the fit was so much better.

Then it was time to cut the fabric.
I used 3 layers to the bodice (outer purple satin, black cotton twill for interlining and regular cotton for lining), basted the 2 outer layers together and stitched the darts.Then I stitched the whole bodice together, added the bias tape for boning channels to all the seams and added the boning (cut and shaped from heavy zip ties). I also did a quick fitting on my sister at this point to see that I was on track.

Then I made and added bias cut piping to all the edges (upper, lower and arm hole), before inserting the lining by hand.

Then it was time for the bust draping.
I found this part really scary, and had no idea of what I was doing, but since I didn’t had any similarly weighted fabric at home to do a test run with, I just took the dive and cut the purple chiffon.I did hesitated a bit about if I should stitch the draping down, and risk it pulling, or to trust it stayed put and nice on its own. In the end I opted to tack parts of it down.

The skirt of the dress is in two pieces with a simple basic straight skirt underneath a draped layer fastened at the front.
I used almost my entire living room experimenting with the skirt drape.left side pinned up. With the train downAnd the train up for dancing

Once I was happy with the shape, I took it all down and copied the left sides drape to the right side to get them exactly the same.Then I hemmed the whole piece, added a small waistband and stitched the draped pleats on permanently.

While testing the second bodice mock-up I also tried the skirts on, to pin the length and pin the hook and bar placements.

The second most scary part on making this dress was to create the sick-sack border at the hem.
After some testing and a lot of thinking I decided to make it by cutting the skirt in sick-sack, using a cardboard template, edging it with contrasting piping and stitch a row of pleats to the bottom after.Here’s my calculation o each “sick.sack” and pleat width – something that of course didn’t keep.

So after some more math (like, how short should the skirt hem be if the sicks-sack was 4 cm and the pleats was to hang down 12 cm…), I finally cut the hem.

Then I made quite a lot of silver piping using store bought bias binding and left over cord.

My first attempt adding the piping to the sick-sack hem in the “regular” way was a disaster. Probably because I couldn’t get the needle as close to the cord that was needed.
So while cursing quite a bit, I ripped it all out and tried again.
This time I decided to stitch it from the outside. So I carefully pinned, snipped and pressed all the corners to get nice and crisp edges, before adding the bias tape.
Using clasp instead of pins, I slowly stitched the piping to the skirt, turning every corner and inner curve by hand, hating every minute of it.The result was far from perfect, but at this time (about 2 weeks before the ball) I just couldn’t stomach to re-do it all again. Hoping nobody would notice the wonky sick-sack once the pleats were on, I move on to pleat 9 m of fabric into 3 m of hem.
Earlier this year, when deciding to make this gown I started looking for an easier way to do the pleats. And while I found the “Magic pleater” it was way to pricey for me with the import taxes and everything, so I just had to bite the bullet and do it all by hand.

Marking, folding, pinning, ironing and taping every pleat took quite some time, and I was so ready to be done.Learning this trick with the masking tape from Isabella of Prior AttireI did however remember to hem the fabric before starting on the pleats – that got to count for something, right?

Once the pleating was done it was time to attach the strip to the skirt.

Then I added some lace to the sides of the skirt for decoration.

I did a final fitting on my sister only a few days before the event, and thankfully everything was in order.

Even the draping looked nice

Lastly I finished upp all the small but time consuming part like, adding hooks and eyes to fasten the skirt to the bodice, adding ties for the train and iron it all before pacing it up for the event the next day… 

The Finished dress:

The facts:

What: A 18880s Evening gown for my sister to wear at “The Officers Ball 2018”

Pattern: Truly Victorian 462 as a base for the bodice, but the rest is just drafted and draped based on images and how I wanted the gown to look.

Fabric: 5 of purple cotton/polyester satin, 1 m of purple polyester chiffong, 0,5 m of black twill for interlining and 0,5 m of black cotton for lining.

Notions: Thread, 6 m of silver bias tape, 9 m of cotton cord for piping, 3 m of lace for decoration, button hole tread for eyelets, 3 m of black cord for lacing, 4 m bis tape for boning channels 14 zip-ties for boning, 0,5 m black cotton ribbon to tie the train, 6 pair of heavy hook and eyes to keep the bodice from riding up.

Time: Way to long…
All and all I think I put about 40 hours of work over the course of 5 months into this gown, so not that much, but to me it never seamed to be finished.

Cost: Since every part of this gown came either from the sales bin or my own left over stash, it was a real cheap project. And I estimate about 500 Sek (50 Usd) all and all.

Final thoughts: I’m fairly happy with it. My sister loves it, and that’s really what counts, but there are things I wished I’d had time to do better.

Handmaid’s tale (photoshoot)

I think no one have missed the awfully good series that is Margater Atwoods “The Handsmaids Tale” – and I say “awfully” because it is So good and yet so horrible when you think about how close such a future might be.
And if you haven’t seen it, Do! you will be moved, and angry, terrified, and totally addicted.

With hate and misogynous thinking creeping back (or maybe it never really disapered to begin with) into our minds.
With les than a week left to the Swedish election for parliament, I actually fear that we are going backward, and instead of learning from history, we are headed head long into Atwoods dystopian future.

So, to show my opposition against the hate and backward thinking of these parties, I wanted to do a “Handmaids tale” photoshoot.

For this shoot I’m wearing My 1550s Kirtle with apron and cap, a bumrol, embroidered shift, mittens and most importantly my red “riding hood” cape.
I also managed to get a few shots with my baby girl E (her clothes are all modern).

“Freedom, like everything else is relative” (The Handmaid’s tale 2017)

“Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it” (The handmaid’s tale 2017)

“Under his eye…”

“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum/ Don’t let the bastards grind you down” (The handmaid’s tale 2017)

“They should never have given us uniforms, if they didn’t want us to be an army” (Handmaid’s tale 2017)

“Ordinary is what you’r used to” (the Handmaid’s tale 2017)

“Better never means better for everyone…It always means worse, for someone.” (“Handsmaid’s tale 2017)

“Stop! Don’t touch my baby girls rights!”

“Praised be, bitch!” (Handmaid’s tale 2017)

 Photos by: Maria Petersson

(HSM 12/2017) A fur trimmed Burgundy Burgundian Gown – Photoshoot

Once my Burgundian gown (finally) was finished, I decided to take some nice wintery photos of it.
But since being pregnant (and feeling “fat – not yet baby belly”) and constantly tired, combined with the planing it takes to get these shoots together, had the snow melted by the time.

The good thing about this dress is that even though I did’n know about the coming baby when I started the gown (last fall) there was no problem what so ever, of fitting in it 🙂
We even got some nice “maternity” photos.

photo: Elin Evaldsdotter

(HSM 12/2017) A fur trimmed Burgundy Burgundian Gown

This gown been long over due (originally planed to enter it to the HSM 2017 nr 12), and since starting it (in early september 2017) I had some serious down time in energy and sewing time.

But this spring I decided I really wanted it finished and of the UFO-pile, so here it is.

Ever since I made my sister her Burgundian gown, I knew I wanted one of my own, so when the challenge “Animal” came my way through the “Historical sew Monthly 2017”, I immediately started plotting my gown.

I used a Burgundy (dark-red/brownish) colored cotton satin, that I got for a steal on a fabric sale about a year ago.

The 5 m I had, was just enough to piece out dress and additional skirt gores.

Since this was to be a quick and “un-necessary” project, made in a not historical accurate fabric I decided to stitch it all on my sewing-machine.

So that’s what I did, overlocking the edges and everything.

I think I spent the whole of 1 hour stitching it together, adding the sleeves and asking my boyfriend to mark the hem.

But then I got stuck – on the fur trimings.

After some searching, both for inspirational pictures and in the fabric stores, I decided on a dark brown faux “wolf” fur, that would work nice with the red and browns in the gown.

But by the time I got the fur into my sewing-room, I realized it would take some serious planing to get it done.
Having a 1,5 year old kid around meant I needed to find at least a couple of hours of  un-interrupted sewing/cutting time…
Yeah, good luck with that.

So there I was, trying to find both the energy, inspiration and time to finish the dress.
Neddles to say the gown went into my UFO pile for a few months.

I dug it out to finish only this past weeks, so that I could wear it on a dance recital late april.
The dance recital didn’t happened, but the dress got finished, so I count it a win anyway.

Against my better judgement I decided to cut the fur like it was a regular fabric – which it clearly is not!
I spent a few hours cursing my lazy as for not bothering to cut the pieces one by one from the backside of the fabric (like I should have), thous ending up with hairs and fur bits EVERYWHERE.Can you say – werewolf 😉

Attaching the fur went pretty easy, only the fur was so thick I had a bit trouble seeing my needle when I hand stitched it on.There is a needle attached to that tread, I promise…

The work payed of, and the effect of the dark fur against the burgundy of the gown is striking.

Testing the almost finished gown to see how it looks.

I’m so happy I stuck to it, and managed to finish it, even though I will probably find fury bits in my sewing-room (and the rest of our apartment) for a few years time…Finally finished

Finished Pictures:

The facts:

What: a 1450s Medieval “Burgundian” gown.

Pattern: Self drafted based on pattern from “The Medieval Tailor assistant”

Fabric: 5 m of cotton sateen and 2 m of faux fur

Notion: Thread

Time: 10 hours (of sewing time)

Cost: About 50 Sek for the fabric and 200 Sek for the fur so about 20Usd total.

Final thoughts: I really like this type of gown. It looks so elegant and beautiful, and since it doesn’t require any particular fitting I can wear it both with and without the baby bump.
Dressed and ready for some photos.

Behind the scenes – updates

This spring I’m initialing some changes to my page.

The first step was the namnchange, which I’m sure you’d noticed by now.

Also I’m going to get better at changing up the “Header” picture, once in a while.
I currently have 10 new ones, that I’m dying to show you…

The second bigger change is going to be the “Shop” section of this page.

I’m currently working on some stock items that would serve as the base for my costuming business
(can you say 18th century Anglaise or Regency Evening gowns).
This will take some time to sort out though, but soon you’d be able to purchase your very own dress/costume right here.

To give you a feel of what’s coming, and of what it takes to get one item up in the shop – here is a quick behind the scenes of the “Fashion through Herstory” headquarter…

My name is Åsa and this is my one* person business Me, writing a blogpost while still wearing a Spencer mock-up I just fitted on myself…

*I do depend greatly on my two sisters (for photoshoots among other things), and my boyfriend for support.
And could not do this without any of them.
And of course my soon to be 2 year old son for all the “Help” he gives me;-)“Look mummy! Your button box fits perfectly on my head…”

If you’d ever sewn anything yourself you know there is quite a lot time and thought in every project.
For me, almost everything starts with drafting a pattern (either from scratch, or combining different ones to a new shape)20180410_120346_resizedThen I cut and stitch the garment. Cutting several garment at the same time to save some time.

If it is intended for someone special I also make a mock-up to check the fit.20180410_131327_resizedTesting a paper mock-up over the right undergarment to see the over all fit.

Adding lace to a 17th century headdress.

Once the garment is finished, I mount it on one of my dressforms to take some Product shots.IMG_8089

Then it’s time to call in the cavalry to get help with the photoshoot.
We usually try to photograph several pieces at once, with multiple dress-changes and a lot of planing (like “who’s wearing that petticoat when?” and “Which hairstyle need to be photographed first?”) behind.
20180417_104557_resized18th century hair for my sister.
I’m also getting pretty used to making crazy hairstyles 😉 
20180417_122326_resizedMaking sure everything fit as it should, and that the boobs are properly pouffed up 😉20180417_122419_resizedMe photographing my sister – once that done it’s her time to take some pics of me/my dress.IMG_8326Among about 300 photos I then select about 10-15 to be edited and uploaded to this page.

So even though I’ve been sewing and photographing for a few months, It’s still going to take some time to get everything up and running in the shop.

The third thing I’m working on for this page is to update the “Portfolio” – both with my new stuff, but mostly to re-arrange and make the page more user friendly.
I’m going to chop it up into more easy to view portions, and take a good look at what I’m preenting here altogether.
NamnlösA new page for early history-Medieval times.

I also plan make a page for “Tutorials” and “Tips & trix” – like “how do you best make those eyelets?” and “You used what?”IMG_1639Please do tell if there is sometinmg particuar you’d like to learn more about.

Finally I’m going to start the cumbersome work of updating pictures and adding sorces to my old blogpost.
(This might be seen as a work in progress for a long time, but I’ve been far to lax with stating sources and saving links to other peoples work, and I really want to remedy that).

I think that was that 🙂

Now back to my sewing and usual posting.

Presenting – Fashion through HERstory

What’s really in a name?

For me, it’s important that a chosen name have some type of meaning, and lately I’ve been thinking more and more about names in general (this might have something to do with the up-coming task of finding the perfect name for my soon to come second child).

I always felt a bit hurried starting this blogg, just wanted to get going sewing and writing, and never really taking the time to find the perfect name.
In the beginning I did felt it was a pretty good name – It did clearly convey what this site is all about (fashions through the history of mankind).
But lately I’ve been growing more and more tired of it.

And with my decision to turn this hobby into a (small) business, the importance of the name once more struck me.

Since I started taking commissions, I’ve have several inquires about making costumes for gentlemen – which I’d kindly to passed down, since both the construction and tailoring of mens clothes are quite different from women’s wear, and nothing I feel confident enough to take on (also, I find it a complete bore…).

Another thing I’ve been thinking a lot about lately are the mening of words, and what we’r really saying underneath, just using our regular wording/vocabulary.
Think about it – I make clothes from all of the “History of Mankind”, but in fact I only want to make women’s wear…

And with the women’s revolution finally making some progress (I know they been working tierdless for about 100 years, and made lots of sufficinet improvments to womens life over the years), like the chance to a female president in US, the “Me-too” movement and with the terms like “Herstory” starting to be more commonly used.
I thought it time to start to favour my own gender in my day to day talk.

So when my boyfriend sudgested I rename my Blogg/brand to “Fashion through Herstory” I emidiatly liked the idea.

So here it is – my new blogg/brand name:
“Fashion through Herstory”

Hope you like it as much as I do 🙂

(I’m currently working on switching the name on both the blogg, facebook and Instagram, but it might take a while until everything is completely fixed. Please let me know if you’r having any trouble with one of my sites).