HANDCRAFTED HISTORY


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Sewing machine school- part 1

The sewing machine is a tricksy being, with a mind of its own. On the paper it promise to make whatever your heart desire, but home alone it tend to do as it pleases… Happened to you? It does not have to be like that!

In my Sewing Machine School I will give you all my best tips for making friends with the sewing machine. As a sewing crafts teacher I have great experience with dealing with struggling pupils… And struggling machines too.

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in the beginning:

  • Before sewing, make sure the machine is correctly threaded. It is easy to miss a part, get a loop or lose the tension. Use the instruction manual if you are unsure, or even better-check out youtube to find a video on your model! Older models may be available on internet as free pdfs, or check in with the sewing machine store.
  • To check the tension of the threads, pull carefully at the top and bottom threads. They should be moving but with a slight resistance. If everything seems fine, try sewing on a scrap bit of cotton fabric. Fine? Then try out a scrap bit of the fabric you intend to work on. Check to see if you need to make adjustments in the stitching length, or the presser.

A short note about caring:

It is very important to take care of your sewing machine! Wipe it down and clean it after each project. A can of compressed air is perfect for blowing away dust inside the machine, and a small brush can be used to remove threads etc.

You can also grease your machine with a special sewing machine oil, to make it run smoothly for longer periods of time, between the paid services. Do this after each sewing project or sewing period, and you will have a machine that runs smoothly. (Note; it is very important to use sewing machine oil, and to only apply small drops of it in order to not stain your fabrics after. If you are unsure if you might have applied to much, sew in a scrap fabric piece first.

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Change the needle after each big project (like a dress) or if you have accidentally pulled your fabric so the needle touched the machine going down. A sharp needle will make the seem prettier, more even and make the sewing easier.

While working:

Always start with a scrap bit of fabric to check the stitches and the tension. The threads should lock with each other in the middle of the fabric. If not, try adjusting the tension of the upper thread first.

Adjust the presser according to the fabric. Thick woolen fabric needs a lighter presser than thin silks. If the presser is to hard, your upper fabric will be pressed forward during sewing. If you have a problem with the fabric pieces always ending up different in lenght at the end of the seam, this could be your problem.

The feeder teeth underneath your fabric moves the fabric during sewing, but some machines also have an upper feeder that you can attach to the presser. Check to see if your machine have one, or if you can buy one. This is a very good device as it helps get the fabric even during longer seams. (If you dont have one, pinning the fabric pieces before sewing helps really nice too)

Use a needle fitting for your project. Thinner needles for fine linen and silks, a bit sturdier for wools.

Are you unsure about thick layers or sharp corners? You can always sew “by hand” on your machine. Instead of using the pedal, use the wheel on your right side, pulling it towards you. This makes the machine go very slowly and you will have plenty of time to check were you go and if the needle can take all the layers without breaking. Once past the hard part, just use the pedal again!

Be attentive to the sound of your machine. It should run smoothly and even, if everything is ok. When you have learn your machine, you will quickly discover if anything is amiss.

If sewing together two pieces for a dress (like a straight panel and a diagonally cut gore) always put the part that stretches the most (gore) under the other part. This will lessen the risk of the parts stretching out uneven, and make the seam a bit nicer.

To turn in a corner: Stop were you want to turn, and lift your fot from the pedal. Move the needle down into the fabric with the wheel, lift the presser and adjust the fabric to the new direction. Let down the presser, and continue forward with the pedal. The needle hold your fabric in place while turning and make sure the seam continue nicely.

This was my first part, and whenever I have the time I try to translate more sewing tip for you. Do you like it? Consider supporting me by Patreon, to make it possible for me to create more free tutorials!

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Memories from Visby

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Greetings from Visby Medieval Week! Me and love traveled here with our friend Lali, shared an apartment and had a wonderful week with friends, ice-cream, new experiences, shows and music!

I spent most of my time at Kaptielhusgården, holding workshops in tablet weaving and pattern construction. Look at this amazing place! I never get tired being here and enjoy the feeling. During the mornings everything is more calm, but still buzzing with interesting classes and mealpreps in the kitchen.

I didn’t take any photos from my workshops this year, I always get so absorbed with talking and is more likely to forget the time… Also, this year was unbelievable hot and I actually got a heat stroke during one of my workshops. Phew!

The evening was better, and the last day cooler weather came over the sea, rolling in with thunder and rain. We celebrated by going to Kapitelhusgården for a drink (yes, back to work on my one free day)

We went to the marketplace, climbed the city to get the View, walked by the church St. Maria (and took the Stairs twice a day) visited Arkadias great show, and had a Good Time!

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And went for strolls in the botanical gardens, one of our favourite spots! A nice lady took this photo of us, love is wearing his wedding outfit, inspired from 15th c Italy, and I have a German 15th c outfit that is still on the try-sew-retry stage. Not completely happy with the folds and the neckline, but I have a new plan for it…

Last, I wanted to say Thank you! to everyone who stopped to say hi, or had a chat with me- it is so nice to meet readers old and new and make new friends!


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The Medieval Wedding Dress; the silk dress

I am sooo behind writing about my different projects. I kind of have a bad conscience about it too, and I really try to work through all of my drafts, notes and old photos. I guess it has been quite the autumn and winter here, I really never post about those parts of life, but I like everyone else have tough periods in life. Life, dead and bills happens to everyone, as the saying goes. I am not going to talk about that today; I am going to show you my wedding dresses!

I made three different layers for the wedding outfit. A linen shift, a cream-white silk dress and the velvet silk over dress. The linen shift is made tight fitted, with thin shoulder straps and a supportive body, and then a loose skirt. Over that I also wore a linen petticoat with a strengthened hemline. It never shows, but it adds important stability to the cream silk dress so the skirt drapes the correct way.

Over these I have the silk dress, cream-white and lined on the inside with a really thin wool muslin fabric. The silk fabric is a taffeta, and even if that quality is a lot sturdier than other silks, it still needed to be lined for a better draping skirt and a smoother upper body. Here you can see some of the effect the petticoat has; making the dress skirt stand out a bit instead of hanging down. The taffeta also helps a lot.

The sleeves are unlined, instead I have the thin silk sleeves that is shown underneath. I didn’t want another layer underneath the silk dress, so the thin silk sleeves are just lose sleeves, attached by the arm hole on the dress. The lacing is made with silk thread, the same as I did the lacing holes with, and also the white freshwaterpearl belt. Around the wrist small pearls are fastened, kind of like a bracelet but easier to wear.

For these dresses I made full mockups in cotton fabric to get a feeling for the pattern drafting and models. Usually I like to improvise a bit, but now I somehow was patience herself while drafting… The skirts in both dresses are based on a full circle of fabric, that is what gives the dresses that magical drape and the deep folds in the fabrics. The mock-up was then taken apart and used as a pattern, here is half the skirt on the cream silk. Yeah, I actually cut out my fancy white silk dress on the floor, with heaps of fabrics laying everywhere. Creativity, you know…

More fabric, this is the other half of the skirt.

To prevent the silk fabric from fraying I sew all edges with a overlock. You can use a zigzag as well, but it is good to prep them in some way. I would have liked to sew all our garments by hand, but neither time nor my fingers allowed for it, so edges and some inside seams were made with sewing machines. The overlock really was my best friend when it came to the fraying silk fabrics.

I also reinforced the hemline of the dress with a thin fabric strip. This was pinned around the hem, and then sewn with a machine stitch. After that the lining was added so the strip was hidden on the inside between outer and inner fabrics.

Here is a nice close up on the silk lucet cords, the lacing holes and the matching silk belt with freshwater pearls. I really liked how the cream-colored fabric, the silk thread and the pearls matched each other

   

The dress has a waist seam, so it really is a circular skirt, a regular body with side seams/side lacing and set in sleeves, all in all a simple dress. Here you can see the waist line, the seam done by hand to get a good drape of the skirt and because the different layers of fabrics really liked to slip against each other.

A good view of the laced up sleeves from the side

And a view from the back, while walking in to get married.

This actually became quite the long blog post, so I’ll get back to you with the velvet over dress in a post of its own!

 


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Lästips; handbok i 1400talsdräkt för män

Because the book is in Swedish; so will this blogpost be. It is about a new book about the late 15th century clothing for men.

Jag fick hem en helt ny bok, skriven på svenska, som handlar om den sena 1400talsdräkten för män. Det är så fantastiskt roligt att en sådan här bok görs, på svenska, av skickliga medeltidsmänniskor, med syfte att underlätta för andra att förstå och skapa 1400tal. Förutom att det är en lätt väg till kunskap så är det också ett tecken i tiden på att medeltida återskapande av olika slag blir större och större i Sverige!

Boken har en lättöverskådlig layout, enkel och tydlig text, och stycken som efter en snabb genomgång ger dig koll på dräkten. Det är den typen av bok jag skulle börja med att skaffa om jag ville göra 1400tal, eller ge till en nybörjare som vet *ingenting* men gärna vill vara med. Jag gillar att den tar upp en historisk överblick och talar om formspråk, för att därefter ge förslag på plagg som tillhör perioden. Det finns inga mönster eller steg för steg instruktioner för plaggen, sådana finns istället att köpa via reconstructing history eller görs själv med hjälp av en mönsterkonstruktionskurs eller Tailors assistant. Är du en sådan som vill forska vidare själv, så gräver du i referenslistorna som innehåller både bilder och litteratur. Det är helt enkelt en handbok riktad till återskapare som vill börja med perioden- så himla smart och häftigt!

Anna, som är en av två författare, har jag träffat flera gånger på event och hon är en skicklig hantverkare och återskapare, som också bloggar om mycket 1400tal (Willhelm känner jag inte än, men ring mig så tar vi en fika och nördar 1400tal!) Boken innehåller, förutom referenslistor, också massor av bilder från perioden. Bredvid varje avsnitt om plagg/material osv hittar du alltså både historiska referenser, bilder, skisser och materialförslag från ett modernt perspektiv. Mycket bekvämt med andra ord, eftersom mycket arbete som du behöver för att kunna återskapa dräkt redan är gjort i boken.

Rikard och Helena från Handelsgillet är också delägare i Chronocopia som ger ut boken, och arbetar (förutom att sälja material och produkter) med att sprida kunskap om återskapande. I boken finns det en del produkter från deras shop, vilket kanske kan ses som reklam- eller ett praktiskt sätt att få tag på bra material att fota för att belysa tygfärger, material och vad man kan hitta för att praktiskt återskapa perioden. Jag tycker att det är ett bra initiativ, jag vet att de gör mycket efterforskningar kring färger och val av material de köper in för att allt ska vara historiskt, och här är deras shop Handelsgillet för dig som vill hitta material från boken (den tunna kyperten som syns har jag använt till flera av mina dräkter).

Nästa bok behandlar kvinnodräkten- gissa vem som ska klicka hem den också…

 

 


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November update

A post about shopping, giving discounts and what I am up to now.

Today it is black Friday, and you are apparently supposed to buy lots and lots of things and all companies are having lots of sales, special offers and the like. Not me. Why?

As a small business runner, I have discovered lots of thing about selling and producing things, and about the market in general, so to speak. One of the things I have learned, is that to have sales and discounts on things, you will have to either 1. earn less (not an option for big companies) or 2. earn the money in other ways. So if your favourite store or brand have large discounts and sales all the time, it means that it isn’t really a discount but the regular price – the price they want for the product to sell it with profit. All the other times when they sell on full price is just an extra income; more profit for each product. It really is very logical; why should a professional company sell things that they do not profit on?

This means, for me to have regular sales, I would have to rise my prices with about 20%, and then sit back and enjoy every time a customer bought a piece on full price. But that doesn’t feel very honest. So every time I do offer something on sale the cut goes on my income; it basically means I have been working hours for free. Sometimes I take that cut; to sell items that has been in stock for some times, or to give a close friend or a regular some discount. But I will most certainly not do it because it’s a shopping day, on which people are supposed to buy things just because…

working at home is fun, but also tiring when the work spreads through the whole house

With second-hand things it is a bit different. I often sell items after just a couple of uses, and that is mainly because they are experiments on new materials, technics or garments that I really wanted to make, but maybe not needed. Also, some items is getting sold because they don’t fit, or don’t get used enough. These items I do not sell as a part of my business main income- but to give myself space and income for a new project to take place. For me it is really important to not just make pieces on order, but allow myself to get inspired and creative in order to grow as a tailor and seamstress. For this reasons, you can often find barely used garments for a much better price at my facebook page.

This time of year is a bit slow for reenactment business, and I finished my last orders a couple of days ago. So now I am writing on new blogposts, working on new tutorials, reading books and sewing some new things for myself and the shop. Like this hood; just a small piece that turned out quite lovely, and is going up on the fb page for sale.

Do you want a special item made for yourself, as a Christmas gift or for next years season? Now is an excellent time to order; by late spring I usually have quite a delivery time if not fully booked. Hope you are having a nice weekend- with more snow than drizzling rain.


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Hur du använder ett modernt mönster

This post is in Swedish, since I made a sketch for it really long ago, but never came around to finish it. It is about how to use modern patterns in an easy way, and some good (swedish) clothing patterns that I like.

Har du precis köpt ett fint nytt mönster, kommer hem, packar upp det och inser att du nog är världens mest ointelligenta person? Jag tror vi alla varit där, men att tyda köpesmönster så som Burda behöver inte vara omöjligt svårt.

Tips:

  1. Bestäm dig för vilken modell du vill göra och vilken storlek du har. Kontrollmät på din egen kropp och anteckna om dina mått inte verkar stämma med mönstrets (mönstret är trots allt bara gjort för en modellkropp och sen beräknad i olika storlekar).
  2. Du får klippa, rita och kludda på ditt mönster. Jag lovar! Klipp ut de instruktioner du vill ha (om möjligt) så slipper du råka läsa spanska tips mitt i allt… Tejpa ihop viktiga texter med varandra. Markera med en penna de ord och ställen som du tror är viktiga.

  1. Inte allt på en gång. Mystiska teckningar och instruktioner du inte förstår? Det är inte meningen att du ska förstå allt på en gång! Börja från steg ett och arbeta dig igenom beskrivningen så kommer det vara mer logiskt när du kommer fram till punkten och har ditt arbete i handen.
  2. Fuska. Inte sugen på att lära dig sy passpoalfickor just nu? Hoppa över dem då och sy det du är sugen på. Personlig design kallas det att göra mönsterändringar.
  3. Mönsterpappret från helvetet. Sömnadsindustrin vill gärna att det ska vara så svårt som möjligt att sy, eller så är alla mönsterutvecklare snåla- jag vet inte. Grejjen är att mönsterarken är gjorda i världens tunnaste skräpkvalité, och om du frågar på tygaffären så kommer de sälja dig en rulle mönsterpapper i samma tunna skräpkvalité. Gå inte på det! Köp istället byggplast, sådant som du har för att skydda golvet när du målar väggar, eller köp non-woven mönsterpapper som är lite mer som ett tunt tyg i kvalitén. Bägge är genomskinliga, går bra att rita på men går inte sönder lika lätt som vanligt mönsterpapper. Nu kan du rita av alla delar du behöver på bättre material, och skratta medan du gör det.
  4. Svårt att veta vilken linje du ska följa? Fram med en markeringspenna igen! En glad röd linje längs med alla rätta linjer i din storlek på originalmönsterarket kan verka tråkigt att göra, men gör det så himla mycket lättare att rita av bitarna sedan. Lätt är rätt.

Sist men inte minst; välj vilka märken du köper dina mönster ifrån. Vissa märken kan vara svårare att förstå än andra, och vara gjorda med olika standardmått (ja, det finns olika) beroende på var de är producerade. Ett av mina favoritmärken är Svenska Mönster, vars ägare Stina jag träffade på en Symässa. Svenska Mönster har storlekar anpassade efter svensk (europeisk) standard, lätta mönster och beskrivningar på svenska som är enkla att följa. Men framför allt är grundaren en sån himla cool kvinna som gör allt själv, driver sitt företag på svensk mark och är både kunnig och trevlig. Jag rekommenderar!

I bilderna ovan har jag använt ett mönster från Burda som exempel, de är internationella men har svenska översättningar på sina mönster, och ett enormt utbud. Det finns också många små mönsterutvecklare som säljer via internetbutiker på tex Etsy, och där kan du hitta formgivare och designers som utgår från speciella mått, kroppsformer, stilar, nivåer på sömnadskunskaper… Allt du kan tänka dig, och sjukt mycket mer.

Spara

Spara

Spara


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Hi! I am Linda

  Hi handcrafters!

I do realise I’ve been going on with this blog now for quite a while, without giving you the chance to really get to know me. As new readers find they way here (welcome!) I really think it is time to do a better presentation.

What is Handcrafted History?

Handcrafted History is my own, one person company, my full time commitment and my dream coming true of working with the things I love most. From the beginning I called my blog and business “Hantverkat” which means “Handcrafted” but as I started translating my content and write in English, I realised I needed a better sounding name; easy for you non-Swedish readers to find.

Who am I?

My name is Linda, I am from North Sweden (from a town called Luleå) and is a woman trying my best to find balance in a life (like everybody else really) with work, free time, dreams, commitments, love, bills to pay and animals to care for. I have a horse named Rocken, bunnies and a husband whom I married in the summer of 2017.

Rocken in his winter coat, by the river

I’ve been interested in all things medieval, viking, fantasy and adventurous for as long as I can remember; but my first historic adventure was a larp I attended at age 16. Since then, I have studied arts and handcrafts, achieved a master in arts and teaching, and working as a teacher in these subjects for several years, finally realising there might be a way to combine paid work with dreams of how my life could be.

All in all, I try to live my life the way I really want to live it, as the person I really want to be, at the same time affording my bills and the food on the table. Working as your own is really a lot of long hours, the pay is not always good, but there is love and freedom that makes it worth your while, if you are ready to really go for it and not afraid to evolve yourself in areas you did not even know existed.

Were do I live?

I live in the middle of Sweden, by the Baltic Sea just outside a town called Sundsvall. Me and love have a small house, a garden with berries and different kinds of gardening projects, and bunnies digging holes everywhere if not watched. I run my company from home, partly because I like it that way, but also for keeping expenses low.

The viking age rune stone closest to my home, pass it almost every day by car.

What’s the blog about? What will you find here?

Mostly, medieval and viking age stuff; outfits, patterns, tutorials and lots of inspiration for your own handcrafting and adventuring. Occasionally, modern sewing tips find their way here, as well as everyday happenings and personal stuff. But mostly, sewing. If you click on the “Tutorial” page you’ll find all my free tutorials there. If you want to buy ready-made things, or order clothes for yourself, click on “Order your clothes” to learn more, or send me an email if you are non-Swede and wants information in english.

Why am I blogging?

I started blogging some ten years ago, with different blogs about art, handcraft and larping. For a short period I also tried out that lifestyle thing- but really, it was not for me. Some years back I landed with Hantverkat which mainly was about handcrafting, arts and historic adventures. I have always loved to write, take photos and tell stories about what I have done, as well as teaching others about handcrafting.

My Handcrafted History blog is a way of being creative, educational, artistic and running my business, all in the same place!

How can you support the blog (without monetary contribution)?

Did you know, that if each reader would contribute with a dollar/month I could go on making you online tutorials as my full-time work. That would be like 2-3 tutorials for free each week!

But, as they say, free is always good (or in Swedish “gratis är gott”) so if you like the blog and what you see here; go to my facebook page and give it your like/follow me. If you have tried the tutorials or attended one of my workshops, it would be wonderful if you could give me a review there. I also get very happy if you share things you like with your friends.

Don’t use facebook? A comment on the blog makes me a very happy person too, or you could tell a friend about Handcrafted History =)

Why? Because the more activity on social channels the more new people will find their way here to read, order clothes or book a workshop. That means money for me, and when I have food on the table I always feel inspired to do more free tutorials! Yeay! (Due to how facebook and other medias work, more likes and interactions also leads to more visibility for more persons.)

If you feel that a small monetary contribution would be in your taste; I am working on an easy way to make that possible during 2017.

Living close to the forest

Other Media Channels

Apart from my blog, I also have an Instagram: #handcraftedhistory

Etsy shop: Handcrafted Histories

Facebook page/shop: Handcrafted History

Pinterest: Handcraftedhist

Mail: linda.handcraftedhistory @ gmail.com

 

So, that was a bit about me! It would be so much fun to know You a little more; please comment and tell me were you are from, what you like to sew and if you have a blog on your own!

Spara

Spara


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Medieval wedding outfits

Working on my wedding outfit and thinking about all the accessories. Belt, purse, hose or socks, shoes, jewelry, hair-do. There really is a lot of choises, we have decided to not go all historical on this wedding, but I still want to keep the outfits based on historical paintings and finds. The most modern things will be my hair and makeup, since I wont be shaving my forehead and eyebrows…

A couple of days ago I finished weaving my silk belt, started half past nine in the evening… One should not calculate new projects during the evenings when one is tired. Lenght of belt; perfect. Threads left to weave; about 0,5 cm. I could tell you that this was all intentional because I’m such a bad-ass at weaving. But the truth is that I miscalculated and should have added an additional 10% of shrinkage to the varp threads. But, everything went well.

I have also finished of the belt with freshwater pearls and a strip of silk on the back, to make the belt more durable and stiffer. Bronze clasps is going on the ends, and then it’s all finished! I also made som pearl hangings to finish of the cords at my dress.

I have actually finished most of my outfit by now, with over a week left to the wedding. Of course I wont show you the whole outfit before midsummer’s day- that would be cheating. But undershift with extra skirt is all ready, as silk dress, overdress and most of the acessories. The shoes are already ordered from one of my favourite shoemakers; Stefan Eriksson and will be based on 15th century finds.

For hose, I have asked my grandmother to knit me some. It’s not historically accurate, but she really makes the best socks and I wanted to wear something she made since she is something of an idol on the handcraft area.

Also, I have found the perfect (ok, it’s a bit early in the history for pearl necklaces but it’s a wedding…) necklace to wear with the dress. Bought it at Double Wars SCA event. It is the one at the bottom on the picture.

Now, I´m up before 6 in the morning to have some internet time with a morning coffee, and then I will continue with love’s silk doublet, which he teared apart when trying it on. (“I hardly stretched my arms at all” he claimed when the arm seams at the back stretched apart and I got several hours of extra work trying to mend the extreme flimsy silk fabric. I don’t believe him…)

 


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Medieval wedding dress

I’m in the process of making my wedding dresses, which will be from the late 15th century.

Of course I want a nice looking wedding dress, but at the same time I want to be able to wear the dress on more occasions than the wedding. So I wont be having a pure white dress, since that is really unpractical. Instead, I have bought some lovely green (yes, I know I already have that green shade on several garments…) wool, a darker green velvet and a creme coloured silk fabric. This combination will be the wedding dresses, but it’s hard to decide exactly want I want to do.

But I have started with the basic dress in the creamy silk (or is it more like ivory perhaps?) cutting out the skirt and drafting the pattern. Now I have a bunch of orders to tend to, but after that I’m planning to sew wedding clothes only for a couple of weeks!

I also plan to make H a new outfit fot the wedding. We will match, of course, so I’m looking at the late 15th century and planning a doublet in silk (see below), hose in black wool, and an outer garment made of the same green wool that I bought for myself. The shirt will be in white linen or silk.

Anyway; I’ve made a pinterest folder with some inspiration and the different fabrics I’ve bought; https://www.pinterest.se/handcraftedhist/medieval-wedding-ideas/

If you have any input on design or practicality- feel free to send me a note here or on facebook!

Spara


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To the Spring Crown Tournament!

Yesterday a snow storm svept in over my hometown, so everything is covered by a layer of snow. Pretty nice, yes- but I’m so longing for spring!

This week I only have time for a very short update, since I’m packing for our local SCA group’s big event the Spring Crown Tournament. It will be one of the biggest SCA events here in the northen half of Sweden (since like, ever) and will probably be a lot fun. Counting over 200 participants, a lot of activities, a tournament and some nice feasts we will have a full weekend. The event is mostly fun, of course, but also a bit of work for me. I’m planning to hold a workshop in rosaries and how to make them, and am also packing my shop to go along.

The truth is that I have a lot of handcraft materials and medieval + viking stuff at home in my basement that is not available on my webshops. Instead I’m bringing them to different markets and events to sell- because it is fun but mostly because keeping a webshop is a lot of work for quite a wee bit of money.

So I’m packing and packing, and since H is at work I got the honour of packing the car to. Really. I’m not much good at packing cars, I think I’ll have to practise some tetris moves if this is going to work in the future… But the event will be really fun, and my friend K will help me with keeping the shop during the weekend. I’ll come back to you with lots of photos and a raport of the event afterward, hope you will have a nice weekend!