(no subject)

I haven't done a proper update for ages! It just that I've been extremely busy with work and sewing and studying and etc. However, I thought that this could be a good time to show a little something I did back on August.

My bf and I decided to attend a medieval handcraft market in the end of August, but the problem was, that neither of us really had anything to wear. The event was set in 1400's and while I just wanted something new to wear, bf didn't own anything but one quite badly made viking outfit. I may have also promised to sew him a 14th century outfit about a year ago, but really, that is way beyond the point here...

So anyway, I didn't get a good night's sleep in several weeks, and there are still some minor things I need to do with our otfits, like do the buttons on bf's sleeves and finish all the seams in my dress, but all in all, I think we looked rather dashing.

To be totally honest, all I had to do for this event was the cotehardie and the dress. I had made bf's hood last summer, while the hoses, braies and linen tunic were made earlier this year. My dress was also partly sewn couple of year ago and never finished, but it was still quite a lot of work, and I needed almost two weeks sleep before I started to feel human again. I'm apparently getting too old for these sewing all-nighters...

All the clothes expect my linen shift, which is 7 years old and machine made, but fitted perfectly with the dress, are hand sewn. I also made the reed hat myself. In addition to that, I'm wearing my Birgitta cap, but of course forgot to take a picture of it.


A photo meme

Take a picture of yourself right now.
Don't change your clothes, don't fix your hair - just take a picture.
Post that picture with NO editing.
Post these instructions with the picture.

I've just woken up about an hour ago, and don't feel like going to my German class at all...
  • Current Mood
    tired tired
  • Tags

The cap of St. Birgitta

I've been spending the last three weeks sewing the cap of St. Birgitta, as pictured in in the article by Camilla Luise Dahl and Isis  in Medieval Clothing and Textiles 4. Earlier, the cap of St. Birgitta was considered to be alike with the men's coifs,  but Dahl and Sturtewagen argue quite strongly, that the cap is actually similar to women's headwear seen often in period artwork from 13th to 14th centuries for example in Maciejowski Bible and Tacuinum Sanitatis. This was very exiting, especially since I've seen only one interpretation of this model before, and it differs quite a lot with the cap attributed to St. Birgitta. Personally I like Camilla's and Isis' interpretation more, the other one just doesn't feel medieval to me.

Anyway, I really loved the article and got very exited about the cap, especially once I had a change to talk with Camilla at NESAT X.  Luckily, I was able to sew that cap at work, so I didn't have to spend my free time on it. I still counted I used over 70 hours for this project ( I did have to redo some parts though). Here's me sewing the cap at the sunny Seurasaari (I just can't resist).

The cap has a very simple construction, it's based on two rectangles with the upper corner of both pieces cut to the shape of the head. The pieces are joined together by using interlaced herringbone stitches with a separate weaving thread intertwining with the stitches and forming an embroidered midsection. The lower edge is then gathered to small pleats and stitched to the front side edge in order to get the pleats lie horizontally. The cap is then edged with an decorative border which also forms the band that is used to tie the cap in place.

The Birgitta cap is made of z-spun linen with the thread count of 32/cm, where as my linen had only 16 threads per centimetre. I used basic linen thread by Gutterman for the seams, and 35/3 linen thread for the embroidery. Silk thread was used to them the the curved edges.

The authors think the cap was originally used by a woman with a head circumference of about 51 cm. Since my head is 3 cm wider, I added 3 centimetres to the measurements, hoping to achieve the correct fit. However, the carrying around and three weeks of construction took their toll, and I had to cut the frayed edges off, resulting that the cap ended up being only a little bigger than the original, and hence a little too small for me.

The embroidered midsection took the longest time to work, and I actually had to redo it completely, when I noticed that I just couldn't get a even result without attaching some kind of interfacing to the halves. Even after doing this, I noticed that I sometimes pulled the threads too tight, and my midsection ended up being only 0,5 cm wide, when in the original the gap between the halves was from 0,8 cm to 1,2 cm.

The other tricky part on the embroidered middle section were the beginning and the ending of the section, where the network of herringbone stitches were incomplete. In the upper end the problem was solved by placing the border on top of the uneven embroidery, but on the lover edge I had to stitch the extra thread on the wrong side. To do this, one can not darn in the threads used in the herringbone stitch, before the whole embroidery is complete.


I secured the pleating from the inside with two rows of back stitch. The lower row was hidden under the decorative border, and I unpicked the second row after the attaching the border.

The only thing I did differently was the attaching of the decorative border. Instead of fastening it with hemming stitches from the right side, I used back stitch on the inside. I figured this would create a bit more neat result, and in case i ever wanted, I could still add the hemming.

The decorative border also came out little differently than the original, because of the different thread count. The original border is only 1 cm wide, where as mine is 1,3 cm wide. The embroidery was 24 threads wide, and in the original, it fitted well into one centimetre (32/cm), but my fabric (16/cm) needed a little more space. In the original, the decorative border and the band are both 1 cm wide fro the most part, so I decided to make my band a 1,3 cm wide to match the border.

Here are some pictures of the completed cap.


And here is the cap on me.


I love my summer job!

This summer I'm working as a museum guide at the Seurasaari open-air museum in Helsinki. My work is basically to guard the museum houses and tell people about them. I get to do all kind of handicrafts all summer and enjoy the weather. Plus I have really nice outfit, a traditional Finnish folk costume (not a canonized national costume). I just had to take some pictures today.



I'm weaving a reed band on the upper pictures, and the pattern is taken from a horse's leash from the Ivars farmstead (from the western coastal side of Finland) seen at the back in the last picture. The nice view and the spinning wheel are from the Kurssi farmstead (from same area as Ivars, ie. the Southern Ostrobothnia).
I've already learned to spin with a spindle, to tie fransus and today I made a bracelet using a birch bark. I'm quite proud of myself and very exited.

  • Current Mood
    happy happy
  • Tags

Beeeautiful dolls!

mielikkik gave me a link to an astonishing doll maker Maria Jose Santos a while back, and when I just checked her site, I noticed that she had done these lovely Marie Antoinette dolls:


She has also made an spectacular version of one of the gown seen in the Kyoto Costume Institute's Fashion:

And just to pimp the gorgeousness, here are my favourites, Erté dress, the goddess Diana, and Odile & Odette :


I'm so lame!

My friend and my sister are coming here today for sleepover with lots of food and romantic comedies. However, I would much rather be by myself, cleaning the house and shortening three pair of pants I bought couple of weeks ago. What's wrong with me?

The gown of St. Elizabeth of Thuringia

I decided to try to cheer myself by writing a little bit about my portfolio work for the craft science as a minority subject. I'm actually quite proud of it, considering how little time I had to do it. Of course, I didn't get in, but that's quite alright since they only accept two students per year.

Sooo, I decided to do the gown of St. Elizabeth of Thuringia. I had all kinds of fine words written in my portfolio about the aims and objectives of this project, but I won't go too deep into those here. The most important part of it was that I was not in any way attempting to do a reconstruction or a copy, in stead I would call my dress an adaptation of the original. This because I could never meet the standards set on an reconstruction, but also because I simply didn't have enough information about the dress to do a copy, even if that would have been my aim.

Here is the pattern of the dress and the tools and materials I used:


I used gorgeous light green wool tabby  that I had bought a few months earlier. It isn't 100% wool, but looks and feels quite nice. I used white linen thread for the seams and green silk thread for attaching the woollen braid, and bronze and brass needles for sewing. I used running stitch for the long seams, backed up with few back stitches here and there, and I used back stitch for the most parts of the sleeves, since there would be more strain. I finished the seams with overcast stitches. The neckline is finsihed the same way as in [info]mielikkik's dress, pictured here. The hem is finished with hem stitches, but I'm planning on doing there a tablet woven piped edge later on.

I followed the pattern, but adjusted it to fit my measurements, result being that the proportions of my dress are a bit different than in the original, as you can see from these two pictures of the original dress and my version. I think they look quite the same, but my fabric drapes differently, and the original looks a little fuller.


Here you can see comparisons between my dress and two German statues from Magdeburg (c. 1250) and Starbourg (after 1277). I look quite horrible and tired in these pictures, but they're the only ones I got.


I reeeeally like the way this dress came out, and I absolutely fell in love with this pattern. The dress drapes beautifully because of the wide side gores and no centre gores and it creates very lovely profile.