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

Re-make a pair of bodice (HSM 2/2017)

I tend to think these “make-do/repair/re-make – challenges” are pretty boring. And I never know what to make and feel kind of uninspired by the whole thing.

But then something always happens.

I guess it’s due to my ever growing costume wardrobe, and my inpatients (often pressed by deadlines) to get stuff finished, that I always end up with several entry’s for the “re-make” HSM challenges.

The first one, this time, is the fixing up of my 16th century “Pair of bodice” (corset) that I made as one of my first historic pieces back in 2013.
2013-03-01 14.33.57Mighty proud back then

Since I’ve long been dreaming of expanding my 16th century wardrobe (and just recently got both patterns and a lovely black wool for a robe) I decided it was time to go through the existing pieces to make sure they where up to speed.

2013-02-09 15.45.57 2013, and just starting to ventur into the world of historic costuming

February 2017, and still a novice (tough a bit more knowable)
The corset fit me almost the same as back in 2013, but that was not enough anymore.
It needed to be fixed.

Here is how it looked before I dug my seam-ripper into it.

The first thing I did was to take my measurements, and they tuned out (as I expected) to be the exact same with and without the corset on. I know that the 16th century silhouette don’t call for any sliming of the torso, but a column to get the right look of the garment. But despite that I wanted to minimize my “column” as much as possible – Oh the vanity…

One of the biggest problem in this was the thick (2-3mm) plastic zip-ties I used to completely bone the bodice.
They build on to the outside of the corset to give me the bigger/same size as un-laced.

So they had to go.

Or at least most of them.
After I unripped the bias tape covering the upper edge, I removed every other bone at the front, all bones at the sides and only left a few ones a the back. I also cut the remaining bones down a god cm to make them fit better into the channels.
Cutting down the plastic boning.

Once the bones was gone I faced another problem – now the whole thing was a bit to big…

So I grabbed my seam-ripper, and got to work removing the piecing I added for exactly the same (opposite?) reason when I made the bodice.

Once almost all the upper binding was removed, I also took the opportunity to shorten the shoulder straps.

By now the corset looked like some kind of roadkill, with everything hanging lose and the big pile of boning sticking out. 

 Quality control by my tiny “helper”

Then all that was left was to stitch everything back again.

The finished Pair of bodice:

All the facts:

Challenge: nr 2/2017 – Re-make

What: The re-make of my 16th century “Pair of bodice”

How It fit the challenge: I re-made the pair of bodice to better fit my current skill and body, making it a lot more likely I will actually wear them. I also got a lot leftover boning from the fix-up, that I can use for other projects down the line.

Pattern: None

Fabric/Notions: Thread

How historical accurate: Not at all except the shape. The whole thing is made with machine, in synthetic brocade using both plastic boning and metal eyelets (so sorry you guys…). But it is a clear example of how my knowledge and skill have grown and since they will never be seen, it don’t bother me as much as it probably should. about 3/10.

Time/Cost: About 3 hours and it didn’t cost me a thing (of one thing I gained a few cents with the opportunity to re-use the left over bones).

First worn: Beginning of Mars for photos

Finished thoughts: I’m happy that I now might finally wear them 🙂


And here’s a complimentary “striptease” 🙂

photos by: Elin Evaldsdotter

Overload on beautiful Books

The days after Christmas I treated myself to some costuming books.

And today they arrived!
IMG_496310,5 kg of costuming happiness!

From left to right:

In Fine Style – the Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion
 by Anna Reynolds
IMG_4980IMG_4981I just found this book this winter and I don’t regret for a second my impulse to get it.
Its a real candy book with lots and lots of gorgeous photos of existing garments and paintings with lovely close-ups of details.

Fashion – a History from 18th century to 20th century (part 2 1900s to 2000s)
by Kyoto Institute of Fashion.IMG_4972 IMG_4973This book series is classic for a reason. The beautiful pictures and the sheer size of the volumes are all reason you need to love it.

Fashion – a History from 18th century to 20th century (part 1 1700s to 1900s)
by Kyoto Institute of Fashion.

IMG_4969 IMG_4971If you ever searched the internet for costume inspiration, you’r sure to have encountered several of the pics in this book. They are simply breath taking, and the book is a real treasure to study closely or to just flip through for inspiration.

The Victorian Tailor – Techniques and pattern
by Jason Maclochlainn
IMG_4977 IMG_4979I’ve heard it said that if you only need one book about historic/Victorian tailoring, it is this one.
I can’t wait to really get in dept into this book, and hopes to be able to try some of the techniques in the near future.

The queens servants – Gentlewomen’s dress at the accession of Henry VIII
by Caroline Johnson
IMG_4974 IMG_4975Since I love “The Tudor Tailor” I expect this close-up on women’s servants to be great.
So far I’ve seen some interesting dress styles and lots of information about cut and colors.

Elizabethan Costume – Design and Construction
by Helen Qizhi Huang, Kelsey Hunt and Emily Hoem
IMG_4966 IMG_4967 IMG_4968
Considering I own and love the other three books in this costume series, I’m not that thrilled.
There seems to be some interesting stuff about construction and fabrics, but at a first gimps I’d expected more. Not to say that it won’t grow on me later on.


Now you might excuse me while I disappear in to theses goodies for about a month….

Yellow 16th century Doublet – photoshoot

Yesterday I talked my sister into helping me with yet another photoshoot.

It was really windy outside, and I constantly needed to re-arrange my apron and bonnet. But I think we got some nice shoots anyway.


















IMG_2975Photo: Maria Petersson

And yes, the doublet are a bit to smal for me, and I really need to press the pleats on the peplum down.

A Yellow 16th century Doublet

I’ve been trying to slow things down a bit lately.
The intense stress level at work (planing 3 big theater premiers in 3 weeks), combined with the pressure to whip something new up every fortnight are beginning to take its toll. I’m always tired and have lost some of the joy I’ve used to find in sewing. I realize I need to slow down and let some of the self imposed pressure of my back.

So for the first time I’m actually proud to admit I’m late finishing the HSF nr 17 – Yellow. (and probably will be late with a couple more upcoming challenges this fall).

Anyhow here is the write-up on the challenge.

I had several alternative ideas for this challenge (regency spencer, open robe or pelise just to mention a few), but the moment I found this lovely yellow wool at the medieval fair, I knew exactly what I wanted to make.

A 16th century Doublet.IMG_6562Pattern and design idea from “The Tudor Tailor”.

So I put my Elizabethan corset and bum-roll on my dress-form and started to work on the pattern.
IMG_2307 IMG_2306

And made the mock-up.
IMG_2313 IMG_2321
I needed to take it in a bit at the center back and make some smaller alteration to the collar.

Then I cut the pieces in cotton (for lining) and the yellow wool.IMG_2325

The piece for the peplum was basically a semi circle. IMG_2360

Then I cut and pad stitched wadding to the front pieces.IMG_2426Unfortanly the minimal stitches shows through as small dots on the outside.IMG_2428Close-up of the stitches.

I also put the padding in the sleeves, following the instructions from “The Tudor Tailor”. IMG_2500

Then I started on the interlining for the bodice front.IMG_2430Using white cotton twill, and heavy linen to give it shape.

And did the same for the collar.IMG_2431

I stitched the shoulder rolls, and stuffed them with leftover padding.IMG_2433

Then I basted all the pieces together, and put it on my dress form to get an idea of how it would look.IMG_2471Pretty nice, right.

Time to try it on.
I didn’t like it at all.
Even though it fit pretty good, I felt really boxy and didn’t get the tapered look I was after.

So I decided to get rid of the padding.IMG_2499That meant taking the interlining of and unpicking all the pad-stitching on both bodice and sleeves. I also needed to redo the boning chanels in the interlining.

After that was done everything went pretty smooth.
I stitched the bodice together, added the collar, the boning, put the sleeves in and attached the lining.IMG_2800Pinning the sleeve lining to the arm hole.

Finally I unpicked all the basting thread and stitched on the hook and eyes close to the front edge.IMG_2802
















Just the facts:

Challenge: 17 Yellow.

What: a 16th century women doublet.

Pattern: I draped my own, using “Elizabethan Doublet pattern” from “the Tudor Tailor” as a guide.

Fabric: 1, 4 m of yellow wool, 1,4 m of white cotton for lining, 1,4 of twill and 0,5 m of heavy linen for interlining.

Notions: Thread, 3 m of plastic whalebone, 13 pairs of hooks and eyes.

How historical accurate: So so, the look and material are kind of okey (cotton wasn’t used until later, but I didn’t had any linen to use for the lining), but the wool are pretty accurate. The entire garment ate hand sewn but I’m not sure about the historic techniques so I just winged it.

Time: About 30 hours

Cost: I would say 200 Sek (32 Usd).

First worn: End of September for photos.

Book Review – the Tudor Tailor

As this was one of my first costuming books, I must admit I’m a bit biased to this book.

I bought it about 6 years ago when I first started to get interested in historical costumes. And since I had fallen in love with the beautiful costumes in the movie “The Other Boleyn Girl”, and later “The Tudors” i had decided I needed to make myself one of the dresses.

The attempt was a futile one (which you can read more about here), but it did spark my intress in historical costumes, so I wouldn’t say it was a total waist.

But on to the book:

The Tudor Tailor by Ninya Mikhaila And Jane Malcolm-Davies.



The book includes lots of interesting information about the actual fashions and clothing construction of the 16th century.
The firs 50 pages describes the styles, fabrics and methods used during the 16th hundreds, and gives you a great over view of the different garments and accessories needed to complete the costume.


It also contains lots of patterns for both men (9) and women (12), and have a nice spread of “pore peoples” dress and court dress alike, besides underwear (9), outerwear (6) and headwear (14).



I love the wide range of patterns in the book. which give you an opportunity to design and combine your own costume from the different styles, with the help of the informative research pages. IMG_6558

And every pattern can be altered to several different styles and variations.
Like the the “Henrican Kirtle” who can be made and worn in lots of different ways.IMG_6560

sidan-sol I used the pattern for a front laced kirtle, with straight back, and no sleeves.


As far as I can tell (and I’m in no way an expert) the patterns are good, and represent the Tudor and Elizabethan era in a nice and accurate way. IMG_65672013-02-09 15.46.02My corset‘s made from the “Dorthean bodice” pattern.

The patterns are easy to scale – using either the scanning/printer system, or drawing it up on paper. (I’ve tried both)

IMG_6562This one is my latest project – which I draped insted of scaled.

I also find the instructions, which follows with each pattern, a good way to get help with the accurate way to assemble the clothing.IMG_1912


Although good, the instructions may be a bit to hard to follow, if you’re not used to historic (16th century) clothing constructions.

I had a pretty hard time doing my first “French hood”.IMG_6569I didn’t understand what a lots of the words ment, or how the pieces was supposed to go together.

The second was much easier, even though it ended up a bit to small.CIMG3175

Would I recommend it?


I think this book is wonderful, and should be in ever theater seamstress or historical re-enactors bookshelf.

I personally have had lots of use of it and hopes to someday make all the patterns in the book.