The Start of a war – Downton Marys style – Photoshoot

Last Sunday I took the chance to both see my sister, and to do a little photoshoot of my new striped Lady Mary/”Downton Abby” Dress (read about it here (Part 1) and here (Part 2)) The weather was warm but a bit cloudy, so unfortunately we didn’t get any sunny pictures. I wore my dress with my long line 1910s corset, Autumn garden hat, American Duchess Gibson shoes, stockings, a thin petticoat, and a few bits and pieces like crocheted gloves, antique velvet bag and long pearl necklace. IMG_4754 IMG_4761 IMG_4775 IMG_4773 IMG_4782 IMG_4779 IMG_4780IMG_4791 IMG_4792 IMG_4799 IMG_4803 IMG_4819 IMG_4828 IMG_4850 IMG_4854 IMG_4855 IMG_4861

IMG_4869Photo: Elin Evaldsdottra

The Start of a war – Downton Mary’s Striped Dress (part 2)

I’ve been working on my entry for the HSM15 nr 4 – War & peace for the past week (Part 1), and here are the rest of my viral dress diary:
0x600Lady Mary in one of her signature dresses from the Tv-series “Downton Abby”.

Once the bodice was finished and lined I attached it to the skirt, set the sleeves I once more tried it on to determent the exact placement of the hook and bars for the skirt closure.
I also pinned on the collar to get a better visual of the completed look.
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The fit looks good even though it’s more figure hugging and shaped then the one on Lady Mary.
(I’m pretty sure the actress have a completely different body then mine…)

Then I needed to pause the sewing for a few days over the May 1st celebration, so I put it on the dress form to keep me inspired (and to show of to our long distance friends coming over – don’t tell me you never done that…).
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Once back at sewing, I pinned some narrow lace ribbons to the buttonhole stand and top front piece.20150501_225246Then I spent a few hours (at my in-laws) hand stitching the narrow lace, the collar, the lining, the black velvet ribbon and the hooks and bars to the bodice.20150501_225316

The Finished Dress:IMG_6516












Just the Facts:

Challenge: HSM15 nr 4 – War and Peace

What: A 1914s striped summer dress

How it fit the challenge: WWI started in summer 2014.
My dress is also a re-creation of the dress Lady Mary Crawley wears in the TV-series “Downton Abby”, in the episodes (and at the garden party) it’s  announced that England will join the war.

Pattern: None, I drafted my own with influences from a small sketch in Janet Arnolds “Pattern of Fashion 2”

Fabric: 2,5 m of striped cotton, and 0,5 m white cotton for lining – both leftovers from previous projects.

Notions: Thread, buttonhole tread, 6 buttons, 2 pairs of hooks and eyes, 6 snaps, 0,5 m of narrow lace, 1 m black velvet ribbon, one extra long lace/crocheted collar.

How historical accurate: Not sure. I used modern techniques with lots of hand finishing. The fabric wold have existed in the period, but I think the slim silhouette are a bit to modern. Perhaps 5/10.

Time: About 15-20 hours. Lots of fiddling with both the fit and matching the stripes made this project a bit more time consuming then I expected.

Cost: About 250 Sek (40Usd) all fabric from stash – Bought on sale a few years ago.

First Worn: May 3 for photos.

Final Thoughts: I really like this dress. It came out exactly like I envisioned and I felt really pretty (and posh) in it.
I’m really happy with the decision to make the dress slim and figure hugging (contrary to the original which have a more straight shape) even though it diverts a bit from the fashion of the day.
But there are as always a few thing I would like to fix before wearing it again: The back bodice are still to long (what’s that about?) and the button holes need to be stitched shut about 2 mm each (those buttons needs to remain closed next time around).


IMG_6547Accessorized and ready for a photoshoot.

The Start of a war – Downton Mary’s Striped Dress (Part 1)

When going over the many ways on which I could go for the HSM15 nr 4 – War & Peace, I  remembered a project I’ve been dying to make for quite some time.
The striped dress The character Lady Mary wears in “Downton Abby”.  0x600The time period (1914s) was perfect for this challenge, and when I remember the striped cotton in my stash the decision was made.IMG_6454Thin, structured, white and green cotton fabric – leftovers from my 18th century “Artsy Robe a la Anglaise/Turque“.

I started by doing a dress studie – sketching down the basic look, special details for the pattern and all the materials. 20150502_111150

looking through my costuming book for a way to tackle the pattern drafting I found a sketch of a 1910s, high waisted slim skirt that would be perfect for this dress.20150502_111452Sketch from Janet Arnolds “Pattern of Fashion nr 2”.

I used the basic principle from Arnolds book and drafted the pattern to fit my measurements.IMG_6438

Then I made a mock-up and tried it on over my long line corset.
IMG_6439 IMG_6443
And it was huge.
I’m still amazed of how much ease it must be in my modern pattern temples since I almost always end up with mock-ups about 10 cm to big.

I took it in everywhere about that much.
IMG_6447 IMG_6451
Much better.
But still in need for some extra alterations, like smoothing out the darts and taking out a few cm from the length at the bodice back.IMG_6455Here you can see the way I took out the width at the seams and darts.

Once the pattern was adjusted it was time to cut the fabric.IMG_6459

IMG_6461 IMG_6462
The back bodice being cut on bias and with the stripes carefully matched to he shoulders, sleeves and center back.

Before I started sewing I needed to be sure the collar was long enough to fit the neckline.IMG_6467Perfect match.

I sewed most of the dress on my sewing machine. 20150430_080119Sewing the bodice, skirt, sleeves and lining together but away from each other at this pont.

IMG_6503Making the placket for the skirts closure.

Once all the separate pieces was ready, I basted the front bodice to the sides, the bodice to the skirt and one sleeve to the sleeve-cap. And then I tried it on.
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Pretty good fit. The back is still to long (just to take some more out), and the bodice front was a bit to big.
I decided to take the width out at the bust seam.
Pins to show where to make the new seam line.

When the fit was once more good, I un-picked the basting and marked the button holes. IMG_6500

Then I hand stitched the buttonholes,20150501_195031 and sewed the front pieces to the rest of the bodice (using the new seam-lines).

Once I had the bodice ready, I attached the lining to the neckline,20150430_075631cut he seam allowance, flipped it over and carefully pressed the edge.

Then I made the cuffs for the sleeves, and attached them to the bodice.IMG_6505

20150430_080953Now it is starting to look like something

To be continued…
(Because otherwise this would be an extremely long post)

18th century Red Riding hood

About a month ago I decided I needed to make myself a 18th century cloak/cape

4d7ebb3a5de7f11a4aff68e52445404bLove this picture

I decided to use Baumgarters Cloak pattern from “Costume close-upIMG_5888

IMG_5883Sewing Empire made herself one of these too, and writes a good sumary about her work on her blog.

For fabric I used an old roll of red wool I got for free a few yers ago.   IMG_5870The fabric are realy coarse and I never thougt I would ever be able to use it for anything, particularly not for a garment.

For lining I dug into my scraps bin, and found a dark red linnen leftover from a gown I made several years ago.IMG_5878The amount I had was just enough for the hood.

I didn’t traced the pattern, but measured and cut everything from memory. IMG_5868

Then I did the same with the hood.IMG_5874

The construction of the cape was really simple and straight forward.
The only tricky part was the hood.IMG_5890Picture of back of hood from “Costume close-up”.

In the description it’s said to be pleats giving the “fan” shape, and after some fideling and testing, I figured out how to make them behave as in the picture above.IMG_5893 IMG_5895
From the inside

Once I knew how to do it the lining was really easy to assemble in the same way.IMG_5899Even though the look of the folds in the thinner linen was a bit different.

IMG_6082It is huge, laying on the floor like this.


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Just The Facts:

Challenge: nr 3/2015 – Stashbusting

What: a 18th century wool cape

Pattern: Baumgarters “Costume Close-ups” Cloak pattern

Fabric: 3 m of red wool (upholstery fabric) and 40 cm (scraps) of red linen for lining.

Notions: Thread and one hook and eye.

How historica accurate: So, so. The colour and look of it are right, but I doubt they would have used this type of coarse wool for anything other then isolation. I did handstitch the hole cloak but i used syntetic tread – since thats what I had in my stash. All in all I give it a 6/10.

Time: About 5-8 hours – it went pretty quick and only took me about a day to finish.

Cost: Basicly nothing – The fabric was gifted to me and the rest was all leftovers or old stash.
But if I would have bought everything new I guess 300-400 Sek (40Usd)

How it fits the Challenge: It is made completely from stash fabric and scraps. And since I never thought I’d be able to make something from the wool I’m extra happy that it turned out so lovely.

First Worn: On Feruary 28th, for photos.

Final Thougts: I Love it! I felt so pretty and coosy in it, and only wish I would have reason to wear it all the time.
And since I do have fabric left, I’m are already thinking on making one for my sister.

Stash-busting 18th century Caraco (part 2)

Here comes the finishing steps of making my yellow Caraco jacket (read Part 1).

After the assembling of the bodice, and insertion of the lining to the jacket, it was time for the clouser.
Since it is was a stash-busting challenge, I knew I needed to find some solution in my own bins. And after some searching I did. 20 small buttons.IMG_5043Trying out the layout on the pattern, 10 on the bodice front and 5 each on the sleeves.

Even though hey might have worked as they where, I decided to cover them in self fabric.IMG_5156Cutting small circles to cover the buttons, making sure the purple stripe is centered on all of them.

Then it was time to start on the buttonholes.IMG_5380Markings and buttonholes on the sleeves.

And on to the bodice front.IMG_5400Pinning the edges together to mark the button placement through the buttonholes.

Once the clouser was done, I thought it looked pretty shabby, puckering and not laying flat at all.IMG_5404

Thankfully the problem was adverted once I realized I hadn’t pressed the buttonholes properly.
And once I did they looked so much better.

IMG_5407Hard to tell from this picture, but the difference are really obvious in real life.
Lesson learnt – don’t cheat on the pressing!

Then it was time to attach the sleeves.
I stitched them from the inside and covered the raw edges with a bias tape (also left-over scraps) IMG_5497

Then I finished the jacket by inserting a few plastic bones in the front and back seams, giving it a good press and putting it on the dressform for pictures. IMG_5496The purple lining makes me so happy.















Just the facts:

Challenge: nr 3/2015 Stash-busting

What: A 1780-1790s working class jacket

Pattern: A combination of the “Kofta KM 25.429 (jacket) pattern from “Skräddaren, sömmerskna och modet” (“the Tailor, the Seamstress and the Fashion”) and Nehelenia patterns nr E21 1790s Redingote.

Fabric: 1,5m of yellow/lilac striped cotton, 2 m of purple cotton for lining and interlining.

Notions: Thread (purple and yellow), yellow buttonhole thread, 4 cable ties for boning and 10 buttons.

How historical accurate: As much as I could, and to the best of my abilities. The fabric and colors are plausible, the patterns and construction are accurate and came from good sources. I hand stitched the whole garment using period techniques. The only thing I can think of that not right are the use of plastic boning and polyester thread for the buttonholes. I give it 8/10.

Cost: 10 Sek (1,6 Usd) since almost everything came from stash and was leftovers from previous projects. The only thing I bought was the yellow buttonhole thread.
But if you would buy it all anew I’d say about 250 Sek (36 Usd).

Time: It went pretty fast considering it is all hand sewn. About 10-15 hours I think.

First Worn: on February 28 for photos. I started the jacket with the intention of wearing it to a 18th century Tavern Event in beginning of February. But as it happened I newer went. Hopefully I will get another chance later this spring.

Motivation/ How It fit into the Challenge: Even though it did not use up a lot of fabric, I think the jacket serves the challenge both in using leftover stash fabrics and notions, and in helping me re-discover all the little pieces of left over fabrics I already own.
I also think the garment itself is suitable as the women who wore such jackets would not be splurging on new fabrics.

Final Thoughts: I really loved making this jacket. It was such a joy how fast and easy it came together, and I think it looks adorable. I want to make lots more of these jackets.

IMG_5489Accessorized and ready for more pictures.

Stash-busting 18th century Caraco (part 1)

I found this fashion plate on Pinerest in early January an knew immediately I wanted to make something similar for an 18th century Tavern event I planed to attending in early February (unfortunately life happened and I ended up not going, but at least now I have a costume if the opportunity arises again).

German maid, evidence of patterned jacket worn with solid skirt - kopiaI made the skirt and shortened my apron to match.

Then it was on to the jacket.

In the book “Skräddaren sömmerskan och modet” by Rasmussen, I found the description and pattern for this jacket called a “Kofta” which translates to “a kind of soft jacket”. IMG_5036With it’s short front, tails/peplum at the back and long sleeves, it was perfect!

For pattern I used the “Kofta”-pattern combined with my new favorite 18th century pattern, the “1790s Redingote” from Nehelenia Patterns.IMG_5030

I made a franken-pattern, using parts of this and parts of that to get the shape as I wanted. IMG_5039

Then I cut and made a mock-up.
IMG_5063 IMG_5069
IMG_5061The fit was surprisingly good, and all I needed to do was to lower the neckline a bit (I made the decision to make a wide neckline instead of the high one from the fashion plate), and trim the peplum a bit.

Then it was on to the fabric.
Keeping in with my New years resolution, I decided to go through the stash before heading to the store.
That turned out to be a really good thing, since I found exactly what I needed – A soft yellow cotton with purple stripes in a odd (left over) length, that would be on exactly enough for his project. And a purple cotton lawn I previously used for mock-ups, which would be great for lining and interlining. IMG_5044Then I realized that this project would fit perfectly into the HSM/15 nr 3 – Stashbusting, and did a little happy dance (to my hubby’s surprise).

I cut the pieces one layer at the time, to make sure to line all the stripes perfectly. IMG_5079Laying the first layer up side down on the second layer makes it possible to perfectly match everything.IMG_5082

I basted the whole garment together for a first try on.
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Some minor alterations like shortening the sleeves and lower the neckline a bit more was all that needed to be made.

I stitched the pieces together using period techniques (stitching from the outside),IMG_5148 making sure to line the stripes properly.

IMG_5150From the inside you can see the purple interning and boning channels sewn into the seam allowance.

IMG_5147I love the look of the bodice like this – perhaps I need to make a waistcoat from this pattern.

To be continued…

A Blue 1890s Redingote – photoshoot

We had so much snow this year, with snowfall just about every night for weeks.
But go figures, just when I finished my Redingote, and set a day for the photoshoot, the weather changed and in just a few day everything was gone.

Well, not much to do.
Me and my sister did go ahead and did the photoshoot anyway.

I wore the Redingoat paired with my black riding hat and slightly modified white skirt. I also wore a white fichu and belt, my 18th century corset, quilted petticoat, 2 bumpads, hedgehog wig and black leather gloves.
I was perfectly warm and cosy the whole shoot, and I was surprised how much I liked the whole outfit.














IMG_5732Photo: Maria Petersson

A Blue 18th century Redingote (part 2)

In my last post (part 1) I begun to tell you about my latest entry for the HSM – a blue Redingote.
Here are the rest of it.

Once the lining was inserted I got to work o the lower front edge. It is always a bit tricky to get the button edge right and when the garment are double breasted and have a rounded edge it is even more difficult.IMG_5453But after lots of pining and folding (and some cutting of excess) I managed to get the edge to look like I wanted.

About the buttons (where I left of last time) I decided to cheat, and use hook and eyes.IMG_5516I could not decide on 10 or 8 buttons, so I wanted to postpone the decision to sometimes in the future. Without buttonholes the dress look a bit strange but I can still change my mind and make them at a later point.

I put the jacket on my dress form to get a better view and to pin the skirt on. IMG_550110 buttons and half a skirt.
It would even look great without the skirt as a jacket. Maybe next time (or if I decides I need the skirt fabric for something else…)

I pleated the skirt into 1,5 cm big pleats hiding a lot of excess fabric at the back pleats.IMG_5508

Then I prick stitched the skirt to the bodice.IMG_5521

 The final thing to do was to hem the skirt, and to give it a final pressing.

Finished (lots of pictures):IMG_5555

















Just the facts:

Challenge: Nr 2/2015 – Blue

What: A 18th century Redingote

Pattern: Nehelenia Patterns nr E21 – 1790s Redingote.

Fabric: 4 m of light blue wool, 1 m of white cotton for lining and 0,5 m of thick linen for interlining.

Notions: Thread, Buttonhole thread, buttons (10 big + 4 smaller), 8 hooks and eyes,

How historical Accurate: So so. The fabrics and pattern are pretty good, but I used modern construction techniques and made lots of the work sing my sewing machine and polyester thread.

Time: A lot. I would guess about 15-20 hours since it’s lots of hand stitching in tere.

Cost: ca 400 Sek (ca 65 Usd)

First worn: On February 21 for photos.
But I would love to wear it on an winter event in the future.

An anecdote: This is probably the one garment I’ve been re-starting (mentally if not psychically) the most times, and I’m so happy I finally managed to finish it (and not even hate it).

Final thoughts: I love the pattern, and definitely will be using it as a base for more 18th century gowns. But If I could do it again I would have made the overlapping in front wider to get a more distinct double breasted look.


A Blue 18th century Redingote (Part 1)

I’ve been totally in love with Jens (from “Festive Attyre“) Redingote since I first saw it about a year ago. 8312358697_ce6e37752b I knew at once I need something similar.

The problem was when…

A year ago I put the picture on my “to do in 2014“-list, and there it waited…

I found this fabric on sale last winter, and thought it perfect for this project. IMG_5580
But I had so many other things to make for the HSF14, and when I could have had time I was already longing for spring and thinner clothing.
So I pushed it forward to the HSF14 nr 15 – Outerwear.

I bought this pattern in July determent to get the ball rolling in good time for he challenge. IMG_9316But as work got really busy after summer that didn’t happened.

By then I had a new goal – to make it for the HSF14 nr 22 – Menswear.
Well, I did start working on it in October.

I traced the pattern and cut and stitched the mock-up.
IMG_3929 IMG_3915
IMG_3912I was really surprised of how well it fit straight out of the package.
It’s not usual to get a nice back like that on the first try.

But then life once again caught up with me, and I had to take a break from sewing.
I postponed the 22 challenge completely, deciding to try to finish it on my Christmas leave.

And between working on my two Christmas dresses, I actually got the fabric cut and the interlining basted.IMG_4020My creative chaos. This is how I sitting in my chair watching series while pinning, stitching and sorting the pieces in different piles.

Sometimes around December 26th, I realized I would never finish within 2014 – and I had so much new stuff I wanted to make for 2015.
I made a 18th century hat as a late entry for the menswear challenge, and felt rater like a failure.

But then the Dreamstress revealed the challenges for The HSM15, and there it was – challenge 2/2015 – Blue!
That was exactly what I needed to finally finish the long awaited Redingote.
(even though I got distracted by the much quicker Mars entry).

Anyhow, here is what I’ve been doing on the evenings for the past month.

IMG_4226Stitching the long seams together using my sewing machine.

I decided to make more rounded shape for the corner on the collar instead of the patterns more square one.IMG_4228Shaping the collar.

IMG_4841I also needed to lower the arm hole a bit to keep it riding up my armpit.

A first test on the dress-form
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Once the lining and sleeves was attached, I put it on to try the fit.IMG_5005 I can’t say enough how pleased I an with the sizing on this pattern.
The only thing I needed to change was the length of the sleeve.

The center front marking matched up perfectly. IMG_5050

I then spent a few evenings stitching all the reinforcing/decoration on the collars and cuffs.IMG_5051

Then I stitched the ling down. IMG_5053

I couldn’t find any metal buttons I liked (like the ones Jen have), so I decided on fabric covered ones instead.IMG_4242Covering regular buttons in fabric.

Once the buttons was finished, I needed to decide how to make the buttonholes. I tried a few ideas like, regular hand worked, piped or bound. IMG_4860Testing the hand worked button holes on a scrap piece.

And how to space the buttons
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decisions, decisions…

To be continued…

18th century skirt foundation (A.k.a Panniers of pain)

For the HSM challenge 1/2015 – Foundation, I knew I wanted to make 18th century panniers to go under my in progress robe a la Franchise (more on that on a later note).

And since I already had all the material (fabric, metal boning and bias tape) in my stash I started by looking for patterns.1740 panier waughThis pattern from “Corsets and Crinolines” looked good but seemed to be much bigger then I needed.
And I’ve heard from others who made it that it is in fact huge!

I was thinking something more along the lines of this picture.be103b0e94eebfb2dae8a3a825eb33b6That seems easy enough. So I figured I didn’t need a pattern after all.

So on to the tapemeasure I whent, and started cutting the fabric.IMG_4876A green sort of linen/polyester kind of fabric, here cut in double pieces.

Once all seams was stitched together and felled, I started working on the boning bias tape for the channelsIMG_4884 I marked where I wanted the bones to be, and stitched the bias tape on top of the chalk lines.IMG_4888

Then I made a running stitch and gathered the top to be set in the waistband.IMG_4891

To get the oval shape on the panniers I attached rows of ribbons to be tied horizontal across the hoops.IMG_4933

IMG_4902Inside of the panniers before inserting the boning.

I used my regular go-to metal pipe cleaners for boning. IMG_4903 The shape of the panniers whit the bones are somewhat circular…

And the edges of the top most bones makes a slight worrisome edge.IMG_4904

Finished in one night, yay!

Eh, no….


Once tied together the top hoop made the worst shape ever.

Darn it.
How to solve this?
I posted a quick question on my facebook page and in the HSM facebook group, and over night got lots of great suggestions.

Then I started experimenting.

I removed the diagonal bones at the top.IMG_4916 IMG_4917Better, but a long way from perfect.

Once he bones was removed I noticed a excess of fabric at the top front and back. I played with pinning it into a giant dart thous removing the upper bones ability to push out.IMG_4920 IMG_4925There was lots of width to take out.

But once pinned in darts and tied into place the pannier keeps the desired shape.IMG_4929

The problem was I thought of the whole panniers like a big circle/crinoline tied into shape. But what I failed to grasp was that to keep the top hoop close to the body at front/back and wide at the sides I needed to shape the top of the fabric. – just like in Waughs pattern….

Once decisive on the actions on how to save and finish the panniers I also decided that the pale green color was a bot bland. So I turned it inside out and stitched the darts from the opposite side to give it a ore interesting look (including removing all the ties and re-attached them on the new inside). IMG_4930

The finished panniers: (Yay)IMG_4943










Just the facts:

Challenge: nr 1/2015 – Foundation

What: A pair of 18th century panniers.

Pattern: None, I just measured and cut.

Fabric: 1,5 m of green linen from stash.

Notions: Thread, 7 m of metal boning, 7 m of brown bias-tape and 5 m of white cotton ribbon.

How historical accurate: Not much. The fabric is wrong, the boning is metal and I sewed most of it on my sewing machine. It looks pretty good though.

Time: About 8 hours – 2 of which I worked on correcting the upper hoop.

Cost: I would guess about 100 Sek (16 Usd) but everything came from stash so I’m not sure.

First worn: Only around the house for photos. But I intend to wear it with my up-coming Robe a la Franchise at the first chance I get.

Final thoughts: This was meant as a quick project, and as usual those are the ones which causes most trouble. But thanks to some minor experimenting and tips from the HSM hive mind I managed to complete them without to much bad words.