1690s Mantua (HSM 9/2017) – Photoshoot

With the dress finished a good month before, I finally got all the components (photographer, babysitter, day of work and nice weather) together for a photoshoot in early October.

For the location we chose (as so many times before) the park and creak right outside my home, including our parking-lot (super fancy, right? :-D).

I’m wearing the 1690s striped Mantua over the corresponding skirt, my 18th century stays, chemise, 2 small bumpads, quilted petticoat, an regular petticoat, stockings and Kensington shoes.
I’m also wearing a quickly made “Fontage” made from lace and cotton scraps pinned to my 18th century cap, fake curls, a pearl necklace and a peacock-feather fan.
The belt is just a piece of navy velvet ribbon pinned in back and the under sleeves of the chemise is fake, and made from  pieces of cotton voile and lace gathered and tacked to the sleeve cuffs.

Photos by: Maria Petersson

Behind the sceens:Last fix-up in the elevator

1690s Mantua fit for Versailles?(HSM 9/2017) – Construction part 1

The 17th century have long been on my wishlist to explore deeper (I have so far only made one dress from that entire century), and even though it seems to be a relatively forgotten part of costume history (at least if you compare to the ever popular 18th and early 19th century), It seams like it’s grown in popularity in the last year(s).

So when the news hit that there was to be a grand ball dedicated to the 1680s this fall, I knew that 2017 would be the year of the Mantuas.

Unfortuanly I wasn’t fast enough snatching a ticket (with the costs of the ball and a really clingy/mommsy toddler combined, I hesitated to long, and once I decided I was to go, it was to late), but the dress got done anyway and in perfect time for the HSM 9/2017 – Seen on Screan – “Be inspired by period fashions as shown onscreen (film or TV), and recreate your favourite historical costume as a historically accurate period piece.”

The only thing I needed to make the challenge was to find a tv-show/movie that would fitt the bill.
And what would be better then the Tv-show “Versailles” that airs its second season now.
I know the series focus it’s story around 1667 and the young king Louie VIX. But since his reign reaches into the 18th century I figured it wouldn’t be to far fetched to use it as inspiration.

As usual I started my process by doing some research on the topic.


After a quick glance at the existing pattern for this kind of dress (there is about 1 that I know of, and it haven’t gotten the best reviews) I decided to try and draft my own using The 1700s mantua from Waughs “Cut of Womens Clothes” and the great blogpost by Isabella of “A damsel in this dress”.Drafting on the floor.

I started by drafting the papper pattern following the direction and measurments from the book.

Checking the general fit and proportions.

Then I cut and made a mock-up
After some tweaking – like making the whole thing a little bit bigger, it was time to cut the fabric.

And here’s where I hit my first road bump.

I’ve been looking for a suatable fabric (for a good price) for a couple of months but hadn’t found any. So I decided to make do, and use something from my stash.
After some digging I surfaced with tre options: Green, red or striped?

I did a quick survey on my Instagram and got my own instincts re-asured
– Green for the win!

The only trouble was that I only had aprox. 4 m of it, and I the grown usually requires a lot more fabric then that.
But with some resorceful cutting and carefully measuring I was confident I could do it.
Sleeve and back pieces being cut.

Mind, this was around 23 o clock (11pm) and no cutting should EVER take place at that time…
Of course my eagerness to get started on the dress backfired,

And I realized to late, I’d cut two lefts and no rights…
With no possible way to rescue the situation, I had a quick breakdown and went to bed really annoyed and frustrated with myself.

It took a few weeks before I could gather the entusiasm needed to continue the gown.
Because I got upset every time I glanced at the pile of destroyed green fabric and un-cut pattern pieces.

But once I discovered a copper taffeta in my stash witch happened to match perfectly with the stripes in the grey fabric, and which would be perfect for the skirt/petticoat, I was back on track.

It’s hard do se in these pics but one of the stripes matches perfectly with the copper of the taffeta, and the blue/grey fringe is identical in hue to the main fabric/strip in the gown fabric.

Starting with the skirt/petticoat, constructing it as you would an 18th century skirt (using two widhs of fabric pleated to an overlapping waistband).
The only thing that took a bit of time was the decoration, made from two rows of fringe and a strip of grey/blue fabric, that needed to be measured and placed exact right to look good

Unfortuanlly I only gotten 1 of the two fringe trim avalable at the thrift store, and my dream of several rows of fringe fell short of 1 m. 😦
But I figured it wouldn’t be noticable benneth the train anyway (at least I hope so).

The finished skirt:

Click trough for part 2 (comming soon)

City Cultural Festival with Dance Recital

By now it’s been two weeks ago the annual cultural festival in our town.
And just like last year me and my dance team was there to do a little performance.

This year the theme/time period on our dance was “Anything goes” or “All decades unite” to promote the upcoming Ball with the same theme.

I had some trouble deciding on what to wear (such a luxury problem, right), but in the end I decided to wear my new 17th century outfit. Mainly because I (correctly) guessed no one else would be wearing 17th century, and because I really wanted to try it out properly, to decide how I felt about it (stomacher and all)

20150822_121001_resizedMe and Maud

The weather was perfect (maybe even a bit to hot), and the stage had been set up in the perfect spot in the middle of the park, with lots of market booths and activities close by to help draw audience to us.

The performance went well, even though all our memorys was a bit rusty after the summer break.IMG_8204Lots of decdes in one dance: 1780s, Medieval, 1850s, regency and 1660s.

IMG_8205I used my thin fichu to cover my scooping decolletage from both uncomfortable eyes and the scorching sun.

Between the shows we had a short break to watch the other teams dance, and to take a short turn at the market (where we handed out information about our ball)

IMG_8186 IMG_8185Swedish folk dance team

IMG_8176Lindy hopp

IMG_8175The Swedish Polska dancing team.

IMG_8170The historic dance team’s resting in the shade.

IMG_8173Carl and Shakila from my sewing course, sporting medieval and 1850s evening wear.

IMG_8187Maud in er fabulous 18th century Anglaise.

IMG_8189We performed right beside the old cars exhition.

IMG_8191We also meet the mascot for our local Hockey team – I do not envy the poor hot person inside…

Before it was time to go home I got a few minutes to talk (and take some photos) with my childhood dance teacher Katarina.
I joined in her kids folk dance team at the age of 6, continued as assisting dance teacher at age 15, and still frequent the same summer dances, festivals, and barbecues. 11863477_951061591616540_6141235149920294569_n17th century meets Skedevi national costume (summer edition).

IMG_8197I totally adore this woman.

Once home again, my fiancé helped me by taking some photos of my outfit (sans the fichu).

IMG_8215

IMG_8213

After the day ended I can truly say that I really love this costume.
I felt so pretty and stylish in it, the shape it gives me and the way it makes me feel really petite and like an Amazon at the same time is just so great (sorry, can’t describe the felling any better)
But I must admit it was quite a relief to get home, unlace and put on some sweats…
(I’m curently working on some big plans for this costume…)

“Sew 17th century Challenge” – Photoshoot

For the photoshoot I got some help from my friend, modelling my new 17th century outfit.

She wore the 17th century bodice, skirt, coif and fur over my quilted petticoat, accessoriced with a string of pearls and a Violine.
Here are the result:

Gerard_ter_Borch_(II) - The_Concert ca. 1675

IMG_7975

IMG_7973

IMG_8031

IMG_7985

IMG_7992

IMG_7969

IMG_8019

IMG_8094

IMG_8003

IMG_8014

IMG_8044

IMG_8039

IMG_8063

IMG_8064

IMG_8079

IMG_8081

IMG_8086Model: Annika Siljat

“Sew 17th century challenge” – The finished ensamble

And here it is at last, The finished “Sew 17th century challenge” ensemble:
800px-Gerard_ter_Borch_d._J._004Inspiration pic (like you don’t know by now…)

Skirt
IMG_7852

 + Coif (headwear)
IMG_7958

+ Cufs20150802_204328_resized

 + Fur shawl
IMG_7865

 + Bodice (part 1, 2 & 3)
IMG_8127

= the finished ensamble:
IMG_8153

IMG_8154

IMG_8157

IMG_8156

IMG_8159

IMG_8161

IMG_8166

The facts:

What: Reproduction of Gerard Ter Borch’s “The Concert”

Pieces: Skirt, cuffs, coif, fur shawl and bodice

Time: About 60-70 hours

Cost: About 400 Sek (60Usd)

Final thoughts: I think this challenge was great and I loved making all these pieces, and stepping away from my usual time periods.
I’m allready planing some new 17th century outfits.

Sneak a peak from the photoshoot:
IMG_8003Modell: Annica Siljat

“Sew 17th century Challenge” – The Bodice (part 3 – Finishing)

And here comes the final part of the making of my new 17th century bodice. (Part 1 & 2)

12312767024_07604ef369_h

 Once the outer fabric, lining and sleeves where set it was time to deal with the tabs.
(Every stay makers dread)

I started by cutting them open and then I pinned the three layers together, and basted 
IMG_7832 IMG_7816

I ran into some problems when turning the front edges under, and no matter what I did they came out awfulIMG_7829This is seriously my third re-do, and unfortunately the best of my tries.

I had no idea how to fix i and the problem caused me to loose steam (and love) for the project.

After some nights to cool of and think, I figured to just hide it.
So I went trough my stash and found some lovely golden lace, to see if that would do the trick.IMG_7831 IMG_7827
In the end I decided not to use the lace, even though I still think it looks stunning (maybe something for a later date).

Once I excepted the less then perfect front, it was time to start covering the tabs.
IMG_7834
20150801_135414_resizedI used red cotton bias-tape cut to a smaller size.

IMG_7845IMG_7848
Starting to look like something….
But a lot of work remained.

The last thing to do on the bodice was to make all the lacing holes.IMG_7867I use pins to mark the distance before I use my chalk-pen
IMG_7916Practice makes perfect.
Ok, not yet perfect but pretty decent looking eyelets if I may say so myself.

Then the only thing left to do was to try it on a last time…20150804_224828 Crap…

Yup, that’s the sad truth – the bodice I to small, and not “If I lace a bit harder it might work” to small, but “There is no way in hell I can close this sucker” to small.

Luckily my inspiration painting’s only shows the back of the bodice, so hypothetical there is a chance the girls wear a open laced bodice over a stomacher – far fetched I know, but at his point there was no way I would redo it or try to ad to the sides. And logically they must have size shifting back then too, right?

So I will make a stomacher for this bodice before the next wearing, but for now I’m considering it done.

The finished bodice:
IMG_8099

IMG_8101
IMG_8135

IMG_8102

IMG_8112

IMG_8115

IMG_8119

IMG_8120

IMG_8122

IMG_8127

Just the facts:

Challenge: nr 6/HSM15 – Out of your comfort zone

What: A 1660s bodice

How it fit the challenge: This is my first venture into 17th century, and even though I made both bodices and stays before the way this garment combines the two was a new experience for me.

Pattern: “1660s bodice lining” from Waugh’s “Corset and Crinolines”, with some alterations.

Fabric: 1,5 m red polyester “silk”, 1,5m white cotton/linen blend for lining and 1 m un-bleached sturdy linen for interning and foundation.

Notions: Thread, button-hole thread, 15m plastic whalebone for boning,  5m cord for lacing, 60cm white bias-tape for edging the sleeves and 3 m red bias-tape for binding the tabs.

How historical accurate: So so, the bodice is made 50% on machine with all the outside seams made by hand. The fabric is modern but the shape and look of the garment is good for the time period. About 7/10

Time: A lot! probably about 60 hours – I worked on this for most of the summer.

Cost: About 300Sek (45Usd)

First worn: At old town beginning of August for photos, and I’m thinking on using it next weekend for a “all times” dance recital.

Final Thoughts: I’m so happy with the look and feel of it. My only concern is the size – Why do I keep making things to small? And no, I have not gained weight – I’m just constantly over estimate my “squeeze factor”, and underestimate the difference boning and extra fabric layers make to the size.
And if it ever is to be worn again I might have to redo the front, or just slap some trim over it…

“Sew 17th century Challenge” – The Bodice (part 2 – foundation)

Lets continue on with the bodice:
(read the previous posts in this series here: costume analysis, skirt, coif, fur shawl, bodice part 1)

12312767024_07604ef369_h

The first thing to do (once I had a working pattern) was to make the foundation for the bodice.IMG_7433So I cut two of every piece in a sturdy unbleached linen, and basted them togeter.

Then I penned the boning channels (using some of my books as guides).IMG_7435

I stitched all the channels and then attached the pieces to each-other.IMG_7488

Then it was time to ad the boning.IMG_7507I used synthetic whalebone, and cut each piece to match the channels.
The whalebone itself is not as strong as metal or reed, but it is lightweight and in a fully boned bodice like this the thin quality is to prefer (in my opinion)

The one thing that worried me most was the “shrinkage” almost always caused by adding boning.
The thinness of the whalebone was really necessary to keep the difference in size as small as possible (the thicker the bones the bigger the size difference).IMG_7508You can clearly see the difference from left side (boned) to right side (un-boned) in this picture.

Once all the bones was inserted, I put it on for a try.
IMG_7518 IMG_7513

IMG_7524It looks awesome, and with some minor adjustments (like adding a few more bones to the front and back) I was good to go.

I love how beautiful the interior is before being covered up.  IMG_7786

Then it was time to start on the exterior fabric.

After keeping my eyes open in my local fabric store since January, in June, I finally decided to take the 1 hour trip to the next towns fabric store (which is awesome by the way).
And I did not regret it.

Not only did I find lots of delicious taffeta’s and viscose, I also found this perfect dark red synthetic silk. 20150808_121343_resizedIt’s a bit darker in real life

Since the fabric was a bit slippery and thin, I decided to stitch it together using my sewing machine before adding the strengthening and decoration hand finishing on top.
IMG_7789

Then it was time to cover the foundation in red faux silk.
IMG_7802 IMG_7800

I’d accidentally made the outer layer a bit to big at the side seam, and tried to pin it down to fit.
IMG_7798 IMG_7799
After some fiddling I decided to let it be for now, and to take the excess in later if needs be – better to big then to small.
(a very wise choice as it proves later on)

The linen lining was a bit easier to fit into the bodice.
IMG_7812 IMG_7810

Once the main bodice pieces was basted down I started working on the sleeves.
Drafting the pattern using my books as a guide.
IMG_7542

Then I just basted the red fabric to the interning (aka lining), stitched the seam together  and pinned the pleats.
IMG_7805

I pleated the sleeves by hand, and sewed chains of thread to keep the pleats in place.
And finished them of by folding some self fabric trim round the lower edge. IMG_7815The sleeves ready to be set.

Then I set the sleeves to the bodice and finished by binding the arm holes using bias tape.IMG_7833

Next up – the finishing touches