måndag 2 juli 2018

Jacket for work

I made a jacket for work. It is based on my most commonly used pattern: Truly Victorian 460, 1885 bodice. By now, I have adapted that pattern to fit me, so I did not want to redo all that work that for pattern for a fitted modern jacket. I just made it smaller in the low back, where the bustle normally is.

On the back, I made a griffin using hand braided soutache braid. Some of you might recognize the logo of the truck company Scania. Yes, I do like my new work...

It took some time to sew: since I wanted as sleek and minimalistic look as possible, I made most of the finishing by hand, to avoid visible seams.

Now I look forward to wearing it for work tomorrow!

torsdag 21 juni 2018

Bow-tie blouse

A while ago, I made a bow-tie blouse. Swedish readers may recognize why, but here I just say that for some days, it was a feminist statement to wear a bow-tie blouse. I made the blouse quickly and improvised in an evening, just to be able to wear it as a manifestation. I did not even bother to serge the fabric edges, as it did not seem to be fraying. It is not a type of garment I normally wear, so I was quite surprised when it turned out both that I really liked it and that it was very comfortable. The fabric is from my stash. Apparently,  the slightly stretchy polyester fabric worked better for a loose modern blouse than for the 1890 dress - who could have guessed! The pattern is my own.

tisdag 10 april 2018

First International Random Turn of the century Meetup

Last Saturday, I went to the First International Random Turn of the century Meetup. Or was it the Swedish-Russian Costumed Small-town Walk-and-talk? Or just the smallest meeting you could have without talking to yourself (which I often do, but that is not the point here!)?

But let me start from the beginning. Since some weeks ago, I had gotten desperate for a costuming event. As almost all costumed events around seems to be in the late spring or summer, I had to fix it myself. I decided to just ask in the fb group for Svenska 1800-talssällskapet (Swedish 19th century society) if someone wanted to dress up and come to Nyköping and have fika (coffee and sweets). Luckily for me, Daria Romanova answered, and we arranged to meet last Saturday.

We started at a nice Caffè, and soon discovered that we had lots to talk about.

Except for nice company and very sweet sweets, they also had very very large tea cup - my cup was so large that it took me a while to realize it was a tea cup and not some bowl put on my tray for a mysterious reason... But I guess it goes well with my quite large hat.

We then took a walk, on the look for beautiful houses. Daria lives in St Petersburg but are moving to Stockholm, so I was honored to show her a small Swedish city. (But I guess most Swedish cities are small, if I remember right St Petersburg in itself have a larger population than all of Sweden.) We found nice houses, cold wind, and got quite a bit of attention. Nyköping is proud of being a very old city, and tend to focus on the medieval times, when King Birger imprisoned his brothers Duke Magnus and Duke Valdemar and threw away the key. I definitely think our small "reenactment" was more civilized. This also means that the people of Nyköping probably see some 14th century dresses in the summer, but very few 1905 and 1910 ones in April.

The day passed quickly and we hardly had time to go home to me and look in some costuming books.

All in all, I am glad that I asked, and that I dared to meet up with a stranger, although it was a stranger with the same interest. Costume event does not need to be large or have lots of things planned to be fun! Have you made or been to a small informal meeting? How was it? Please comment and tell!

Also, check out Darias work on Instagram, nickname Romanova_art  - she is a very skilled costumer!

torsdag 12 oktober 2017

Sewing plans (slightly on hold)

I would like more nerdy but useful everyday clothing like this star trek jacket I made earlier. Please ignore slightly overdone attempt at smiling for the camera.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have not been doing any sewing lately, nor have I been thinking about sewing. My main sewing plan when I get my sewing room unpacked is to make some modern blouses that I need. I would like to make at least one of the more romantic kind, a white blouse with high neck and lace insets. Hopefully this will be useful for both everyday wear, paired with jeans, and steampunk when pared with a skirt and lots of accessories. I would also like to at least one inspired by futuristic wear from sci-fi. Marked shoulders, angled and piped seams, perhaps an overlapping front. And high neck :-) And perhaps one more nerdy jacket as well - the star trek jacket has become quite a favorite of mine. Let's just see if all this modern and useful is going to happen - I vaguely recall saying "I should do some modern sewing" every now and then for the last ten years...

"Some" unpacking left to do before I get to sew...
Sewing machine - I know you are hiding in there!

And yes - another reason to look forward to the unpacking of my sewing room is the fact that I bought a new sewing machine a month ago! I finally decided to replace my 40 year old Husquarna 2000. I know they are considered very reliable and tough, and I have been telling myself that I don't need any of the functions that a modern machine could give me, but when it needed professional repair for the second time in a year I decided that automatic button holes, up/down needle stop, built-in thread cutter and better light actually would be very nice. I did not go too far however - my new Janome DC4030 is indeed new, but of a model that have been produced for a number years. And it is electronic, but not very computerized - I want buttons on my sewing machine, not a touch screen, WiFi and the potential for software malfunctions! Maybe I am a bit conservative for my age in that regard? I have only tried it very briefly before I put it back in its box for the move, but I really liked what I saw (and felt and heard - quite smooth and definitely less noisy). So now I only have to fix the floor, walls and roof in the room, before I can start finding all the fabric I used to cushion frail things with when packing... Somehow I get the feeling it might be a while until I have to think about modern vs historical sewing! 

torsdag 5 oktober 2017

Sewing on a train

Since SilwerSteam a month ago, I have not had time to even think about sewing. I have been busy getting a house, preparing for our move to another town, and have also changed to a new job (which is great this far). Also new for me is that I will be commuting 40 min in each direction by train. That is considerably longer than the 7 min bike ride I was used to. The positive thing is that I think I will enjoy hand sewing things on the train ride, and if that proves to be true, I will get quite a lot of time for sewing each week. I just have to unpack my sewing room and come up with some project that is suitable. So far, "suitable" means 

-Not too likely to make me stab person on the next seat

[picture me sewing, very concentrated, waving wildly with the needle, unaware that the person next to me desperatly try to lean as far away as possible]

 -Not requiring me to get indecent trying on a toile (On second thought - no trying on at all!)
 -Not too many pieces that can be dropped on floor or lost 

[picture me, hair in disorder, triumphantly crawling out from under someone else's seat holding a tiny but crucial piece of fabric ]

Brain-dead-ness (yes that is a word - I just used it!) 
 -not needing too much thought (sewing after work means sewing with tired brain!

[picture me as a zombie - hair in even more disorder, pale and staring, mumbling and moaning, and contently embroidering brains on a tea warmer ]

Currently, I don't have much on my want to do list, and nothing that fills these criteria. I guess knitting would be a classic on the train, so maybe I should try that. As long as I stick to very simple projects - I would prefer to not end up shouting "shut up, I'm counting!!" to the loudspeaker on the train announcing that the next station is the one where I live.

Also, I realize that nalbinding (?, nålbindning in Swedish) should be even more perfect on the train than knitting. Only a single short and blunt needle. I think I would need to actually poke someone in the eye with in order to do any harm, so the safety criteria should be well passed. Also, just one strand of yarn, and it can not even unravel, as in knitting. Alas I have no desire whatsoever to make warm and sturdy naahbound mittens. I guess that would be too useful... 

As I write this, on a boringly delayed train, I realize that blogging is also suitable. Maybe you should expect more posts and more words but considerably less actual content per post in the future?

fredag 8 september 2017

SilwerSteam - Nordic Steampunk Faire 2017

Last weekend, I was to SilwerSteam - Nordic Steampunk Faire 2017, and had a really great time! Wonderful location, nice people, fabulous costumes, and lots of interesting and enjoyable things to do.

I had offered to hold some kind of "get to know people" event, and that was one of the first things that happened on Friday evening. At 18:00 when it was supposed to start, there was just me, a friend and one other participant. Soon however I had "caught" about 10-15 people - by having the mingle outside the main entry and asking everyone arriving if they wanted to join us! Being a bit nervous (this was the first time I did this kind of thing), I don't remember so much of what I talked to people about, but I hope people had a good time!

After that, I think I just walked around, mostly looking costumes and the venue. In the evening, we had a steam pub all to ourselves. 
My costume for Friday was the Ghost Detection box, or more formally, the work-wear of an ectoplasmic residue detector workperson. I had made a broader tie and a softer hairdo than last time, which I think worked better with the overall look.

Saturday morning started off with a a wind orchestra playing outside of the venue. For me, who loves marches, it was quite emotional to hear two of my favourite marches being played! Great start of the day.

Then, I joined Director Munktell for a guided tour of the museum showing some of his inventions.
Later, there was people to talk to, and photos to take, and being photographed. I also went to a lecture on using LED in costumes, which turned out to be a lecture on programming the Arduino microcontroller to make it control a programmable LED strip. In that way, you can get lights that blinks and shifts color however you want. For me, it was very inspiring and seemed straightforward to do if you have some kind of experience in programming.

Then, on to the costume contest. I don't have any pictures of it as I was a part of it, but it was very fun to take part and to see all the marvellous costumes. And well arranged - we go to walk a round in the old engine hall, while the speaker told the audience about our costumes. There even was smoke when each of us was announced and entered stage - made me feel like a star!

My costume for Saturday day was the newly re-made forrest/mechanical dress. Here with Aurora in the engine hall, with all steam engines running and smoke coming up just in time for out photo.
 And more pictures:

A uniform and a backpack!

Karin the mechanic

I think this is Alistair in Wonderland.

In the evening, I managed to eat too little and get a bit low, but I got get a "uniform picture" with  Henrik (Pilerud Cosplay) and Martyn. I definitly wouldn't mind seeing more steampunks wearing uniforms, and I think another uniform might be my next steampunk sewing project.

Did not take many pictures on Saturday evening, but it was nice to meet Lykke and Marianne again that I first met last year in Gothenburg. Also - that riding habit!
 On Sunday, my parents joined me.
Proud daughter with parents newly introduced to steampunk.

And the chemist even found a lab!

There was live music, so in a few minutes, I will be waltzing with Y. In steampunk costume, in the engine hall, to live music - not something I get a chance to do everyday.
The Sunday ended with the finals of the tea duelling, and the announcement of the winners of the teapot racing and the costume contest. I am most honoured to be one of the costume contest winners, in the company of such talented costumers.
My mother made it to the Tea duelling semi final (wearing the newly purchased hat - of course a steampunk need a proper hat!) ...

..and final! After a thrilling contest, the victory went to the Norwegian gentleman.
But then, everything has to end. Luckily for me, there was other steampunk enthusiasts heading the same way as I, so I got company on the train, making the fun ended less abruptly. And on the way, we had time to talk both steampunk, space based navigation (as in GPS signals) and the perils of inventing too good Artificial Intelligence. A worthy end of a marvelous weekend!

Do you have a blog post about silwersteam, or a picture collection that is not found via facebook? Please comment and give us a link!

torsdag 24 augusti 2017

"Pro tip": Remaking and adding to costumes

Some days ago, the prompt for CostumeBlogWritingMonth was "Pro tip". I definitly am not a pro in costuming, but if I was to share a tip, the first half of it would be to not be afraid to change or add to your existing costumes. That ties in closely with the second half, "if possible, wear a new costume to a smaller event before The Big Event". My idea is that having a smaller occation to wear a new costume forces you to finish it well ahead of the big one. Also, you get a chance to wear and try the new costume in a setting that is more relaxed, and have time to change those things you did not like, in order to look the best at The Big Event. Details that looked good in the sewing room can feel like they look a bit odd on photos, or maybe you just realize you would prefer a different look. 
Here, I do not talk about fixing a dress that turned out wrong, when the fabric was wrong or the fit way off - in those cases I prefer to just go on to new projects that I feel more entusiastic about. Here I talk about the cases where you feel like the dress is just ok or feel like "meh, good I guess", but you feel that it could become great if it looked a bit different. You like it, just not as much as you could do. In those later cases, I think it is well worth the effort of redoing the thing you are not happy with, or remodelling an older dress.
The first picture is of my first 1880's dress. Over time, it became too small, and I found it a bit on the boring side, being so plain. THerefor I added lots more decoration to the hat, and inserted a fake vest and blouse.

Before and after remaking.
This over-skirt in the next example looked good on the draping stand, but I was not happy with how it looked in the real World Pictures. Adding red and gold detailing and using with for the "uniform " bodices worked better.
Over-skirt, Before and after.
 This steampunk dress have been blogged quite a lot, as it is this year's Big Project for me. Here, I knew already  before the event that I was not happy with the brown half of the bodice, but convinced myself that it was okay and that I should just get it finished, not be a perfectionist. After the event I liked the dress but still not the brown half, so I decied to spend some hours remaking the dress. I am much happier now. I am also adding and changing the trim on the hat a bit, and have added a small collar to the bolero, as I thought it would be more flattering to my long neck (especially when wearing  a tall hat).  

Steampunk dress and bolero- Before and after

The next dress is not really adapted or added to, but has to do with not being too sentimental about m costumes. It is my first "medieval" dress, and I loved it. In, like 2004. Now I would never wear it since I have become more interested in historical accuracy, but the fabric is a very nice wool. I picked it apart and made a dress from The Tudor Tailor. Which is turn is in the process of being remade again, as the front had a tendncy to buckle in a very non-flattering and uncomfortable way. (An example of lying pictures, as the front looks perfectly smooth in this picture - believe me, this in not how it looked most of the time!).
"Medieval" dress - fabric reused for a Tudor dress.
Probably, adapting or changing part of a costume is easier for fashions like women's 1880's dress, which is often heavily decorated and made of separate bodice, skirt and over-skirt, than for a menswear suit, or a more plain gown, but I believe there are often some things that can be changed if you are not happy.
This was some example of the costumes I have changed or remade. Have you remade /part of / a costume after wearing it? Did you like the outcome? Please comment and tell!