Monday, November 28, 2016

Picnic in Suomenlinna fortress

My summer vacation was in August, which meant I could attend not only one historical picnic, but two! Noora, Mia and I had decided to do our Gustavian Day event this year in Vaasa again, since it went so well last year, so that was the other event I had decided to attend. I hadn't planned on travelling to Helsinki until very late but I was really happy I could make it since there was not only a picnic to attend but also half of my family lives in Helsinki now, which meant I had the chance to visit them as well during the week I spent there. Anyhow, I will make another post about the Gustavian Day but here are some photos from the picnic in Suomenlinna. 

The Olde Militia of Helsinki and the Fine Citizens of the Town, a group that I'm a member of, has it's 20th anniversary this year, so the picnic was held in celebration of that and it was supposed to be an informal gathering for the members. Dressing in your earliest period costume was encouraged (no matter how unauthentic it may be!), however, I no longer have my first gown, nor would have I had liked to wear it anyhow since I don't have a lot of chances to dress up.

There weren't that many of us on the picnic but it was a pleasant day anyhow! With less people it's (at least for me) easier to engage in conversation, when there's no need to bounce from person to another trying to catch up with everyone.

Mia (aka ohgloomysunday) wore a new outfit, striped jacket and petticoat. 

With the time limitations and sewing a new dress for Gustavian Day, I decided to wear my Williamsburg print gown, which was quite perfect for a summery picnic. 

During the train trip to Helsinki, I also managed to hastily decorate a bergère hat that I hadn't had use for earlier. According to weather forecasts, it was supposed to be cloudy and mildly warm, which would have been perfect for costume wearing, but it turned out to be a hot, sunny day, so the bergère was absolutely much-needed.

We tried to get photos without tourists but it's quite difficult as Suomenlinna is a popular tourist attaction in the summer. 

It was windy... this happened a few times during the day! ;)

And a few photos of different parts of Suomenlinna! I've often posted about events that have taken place on the island but I never shared that many pictures of the lovely surroundings there. The reason for that is that I have only been to Suomenlinna in winter when it's not at all as picturesque as in the summer. The last time I had been there in summer was actually in 2008 so it had been quite a while! 

The first photo is from the ferry, arriving to Suomenlinna. Suomenlinna is actually a group of islands, connected to each other with bridges, and the ferry takes you to the main island, Iso Mustasaari. 

Here's the Ehrensvärd museum, that you perhaps might remember from my earlier post (probably not :P). 

This post is really belated, again, but it seems to be the way blogging is for me now. I still try to make an effort to update this blog when I have the chance, even if I never catch up (wouldn't that be nice)!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

L'Amusette's masquerade ball

As briefly mentioned in my last post, last April the lovely people of L'Amusette baroque dance group hosted a masquerade ball in Haihara manor in Tampere. It has become an annual event, with a different theme each year, and this was the fourth time it was arranged. I've been going every year so I think it's about time I provide a glimpse into it since I haven't done that before! I didn't take that many photos but there were a few of nice ones so I'm going to share them, along with a few of my favorite photos by Markku Arvonen. This year there were a lot of guests, which of course meant there were many costumes to admire, and I'm sorry for not being able to show you all of them! ;)

Let us begin with Hanna reading a chapter from an 18th century journal about travels in Turkey. 

There was also a lecture about coffee, which was a luxury product and prohibited several times for some periods of time in 18th century Sweden and Finland. 

Next we had supper and there was plenty of food, made with period recipes!

Some time after the supper the ball could really begin. Since everyone was so busy dancing, there aren't any photos of that, so I'm going to show you my photos, in no particular order! 

Garth and Päivi.

This year one of the rooms in the manor had been decorated as an oriental boudoir. It turned out to be a great success, and everybody wanted to have their portrait taken in it. And later during the night the boudoir provided a cozy and atmospheric place for casual lounging and chatting with friends! 

Mia in her fabulous robe à la Turque and turban!

And a photo of me pouring some imaginary exotic beverage for her. ;)

Ida, one of the the members of L'Amusette.

Noora and Emilia, both wearing regency dresses in almost matching colors.

I'm loving this view from the boudoir into the ball room.

In case you're interested in hearing more about this ball, I urge you to go to Rhia's blog. I think she did a much better job capturing the atmosphere of this lovely masquerade than I did! 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Williamsburg print gown (aka yet another floral print robe à l'Anglaise)

Can you already tell I'm crazy about cotton prints?

Honestly, after finishing my latest cotton print robe à l'Anglaise I hadn't been planning making yet another floral print gown. There are definitely other projects on my to-do list that I ought to be working on right now. But then Renaissance Fabrics started offering Williamsburg reproduction print cottons and I could not stop myself from getting some 5 yards of this trailing blossoms print in blue because I loved it so much.

This gown was made using Fig Leaf Patterns 101. You can find photos of the original gown, which the pattern is based on, on Pinterest. I simplified the construction a bit so I left the back facing out and decided not to use the large box pleats just because I prefer the look of smaller pleats.

I also decided to close the gown with pins, after using hooks and eyes for the closure method for my center front closing gowns for a few years. I had tried using pins to close gowns a long time ago when I was just starting out with 18th century costume making but I never liked pinning because I thought it was much easier and faster to close a gown with hooks and eyes. However, I found out that pinning hadn't gotten any easier by now. I especially had problems closing the gown at the waist level so that the back would fit closely/tightly enough. I tried stitching tapes to the back of the waist on the inside of the gown to tie in the front in order to keep the back in place but it didn't work out for me, resulting in awful wrinkling of the fabric in the back. So I added lacing plackets to the lining on the front to make pinning easier, as the lacing helps to keep the bodice tight around the body.

There's an extra 1/2 inch on the other side of the center front for adjustability (see photo below). What I'm loving about lacing+pinning is that you can lace yourself into your stays more or less tightly depending on how you feel and that it doesn't matter if you loose or gain a bit of weight over time. 

I first sewed the lacing plackets to the lining only but then started worrying that the linen might stretch due to the pull of the lacing so I decided to stitch through the cotton as well, so that the stitches are visible on the outside. It's not as obvious in the photos as it is in reality. While looking at extant floral cotton gowns, I was really excited to find out that one extant from Met definitely has stitches on the front of the gown so it might be closed in the same manner as mine. 

The plackets have bones in them on both sides of the lacing, in order to and support the eyelets as well as to stop the front from puckering too much .

What I'm not loving so much is that the floral pattern is unintentionally repeated on both sides of the front. Oh well. I never try to match my prints on seams as it wasn't done as economical cutting was usually more important for such cotton or linen gowns

Plus, of course you want to show off your beautiful seaming, especially in the back! 

The back is actually constructed of only two pieces and the seams next to center back seam are achieved with tucks. The lining is without them. 

The gown is worn with my 1770s/1780s underwear

If you're thinking about purchasing this pattern, I say go for it. It comes with a wonderful instructions booklet which I found to be very comprehensive, with everything from information, photos and research about the original gown to general sewing instructions, fitting tips, construction etc. I would imagine this would even be great as your first 18th century gown in case you're just starting out 18th century costume making. 

Also, I think this dress would work the best with a pair of stays like this, without a dramatic difference between waist and bust measurements. I wear a more curvy type of 1780s stays with this dress so I had to add width to the pattern on the front of the bust. However, there are instructions for making such alterations to the pattern in the booklet, so of course you can wear any type of stays you like, but I thought I'd mention that anyhow.

The only suggestion I have is to make the sleeves smaller than in the pattern, since I found them to be really roomy, especially for a period when sleeves are more tight-fitting than earlier.  And I'm a person with a large arms, often resulting in having to cut the sleeves in the next size by comparison to the bodice size. A nifty thing about the sleeves is that there's a triangle piece under the arm, which allows for movement so this is especially great in case you're going to dance or work while wearing the dress.

I've already had two chances to wear this gown. Here's a teaser of how it looks when worn, until I get around doing a proper photoshoot and posting about it... This photo was taken at L'Amusette's spring ball that had an oriental theme.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

1880s/1890s corset from Atelier Sylphe pattern

A couple of years ago I made a short foray from 18th century costume making into Victorian corset making. While I love the result, the corset unfortunately turned out a bit too large so I never got around posting about it or making anything else from this period. However, a while back one of my friends allowed me to take photos of the corset while she tried it on so I finally get to show it to you.

The pattern for this corset is the "ref P" style from Atelier Sylphe. I made only a couple of alterations to the pattern by taking it in at the waist and hips but as it turned out I didn't take it in enough at the waist.

The corset is made out of two layers, one in white heavy weight cotton and the other in blue cotton twill. Would have loved to make this out of blue silk satin, like my favorite extant corset from this period (from The Corset: Fashioning the Body exhibit), but I wasn't able to buy that locally so it didn't happen. I knew the corset might not fit, as I didn't make a mock-up, so I was entirely happy with this less expensive material. The boning materials include flat steel and large cable ties. 

The flossing in the front was inspired by this corset from the Kyoto Costume Institute.

I'm definitely going to make another version of this corset sometime in the future since it's such a nice pattern and I want a gown from this period as well, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. Next time I probably wont do contrasting stitching, though, as all less than perfect stitching will be less obvious that way! ;) Also, I really want to use spiral steel as boning material next time since I believe it would accommodate the curves of the corset better than the flat steel that doesn't cup the breasts in a rounded way but sort of flattens and pushes them up here, if you can understand what I mean. 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Tutorial stays - photos

I know, I know. Showing a pair of stays on a mannequin isn't as ideal as showing them on a body but I thought these photos would be better than no photos at all. 

You can see shoulders of the mannequin are too small for the stays and so is the bust too low but you can still get an idea of the shape these stays create. For comparison, the pattern for these stays was modified from the same pattern as my first 1780s stays so the shape pretty similar to them.

The boning pattern is a mixture from three extant stays. Unfortunately, I could no longer find the link to the stays that the front panels were based on but the side panels were inspired by this pair of stays and the back by this

I don't think I have much else to say. After all, the construction was already shown in the tutorial. ;)