Handcrafted History

Historical and modern handcraft mixed with adventures


Leave a comment

Sewing in velvet- a guide

Today I am sharing my best tips for making garments in velvet!

Velvet has a beautiful shine to it, with highlights rather than shadows. This can be seen in paintings, where the clothing is pictured with highlighted areas rather than darker folds. Like this; (though this may also be woolen cloth, but it goes for illustrating highlights in fabric)

  • The choise of material is important. On the market today, you can find different kinds of velvets, in both high and low quality. The original velvet fabric was made of silk, insanely expensive, and probably also sensitive for wear and washing. To buy a good silk velvet for your project is of course historically accurate, but also very expensive, and you will have a garment that is sensitive. But the look and shine of the fabric will be outstanding.
  • Cheating? For a silk velvet look, you could instead choose velvet made of viscose, rayon or a mix of synthetic fibres. This fabric is a lot cheaper, more durable, and is (depending on the quality and materials) close to how silk velvet looks. Avoid fabrics made of pure polyester, since these will be warm and uncomfortable to wear; a mix based of viscose is often the best. You could also go for cotton or cotton mixed velvet, the look is a bit more matte than silk velvet but black is quite close in appearance. The good thing with cotton velvet is that it is made of natural fibres so it is easy to wash, feels good to wear and is durable and fire safe (it will not melt on your other clothes if you are unlucky) as well as cheap. As an example; my wedding gown made of silk blended velvet costs 4 times more than a medium cotton velvet.
  • Ironing velvet fabric is often unnecessary, instead just hang it out. If you need to press seams or iron out stubborn folds, you need to iron the fabric on its wrong side, with a cotton cloth over and a bath towel underneath. This will protect the fabric, and the towelling (in swedish; frotté) fabric with its pile will act as a soft bottom so the velvet pile doesn’t get flat and pressed down. Iron gently, and always try it out on a spare bit first.
  • Hang it before hemming; to make the skirt hem as even as possible; hang the dress on a doll for a couple of days to let the fabric hang out, then pin/mark the hemline and cut it. The skirt on my velvet over dress is cut in a half circular piece (almost) making the fabric drape nicely, but also hanging out uneven in the hem. Look at this picture- this is the dress skirt before cutting the hem, it differs over 10 cm!
  • The pile is what makes the velvet special, and it is important to take care not to crush or flatten it out. When ironing; do so gently. When machine sewing, choose a foot/presser that is narrower, and loosen the pressure on the machine a bit if possible. Or sew the fabric together on an overlock machine or by hand. When cutting out your pieces, don’t step on or lean on the fabric, as this may crush the pile unevenly.
  • Baste- don’t pin! Silk velvet is quite sensitive, the pins might rip threads from the fabric so basting with loose stitches is a safer way to go. If sewing in other materials, it is still better to baste because the pile of the velvet, when put together with another fabric, tend to “walk” over the surface no matter how much you pin it.

A picture from our wedding day, the velvet dress looking all nice and innocent, not at all like me and the dress really hated each other while making it…


Leave a comment

Some of the clothes I’ve made this year

Sometimes I get the feeling that I never get anything done, or that I haven’t made a piece for sale in like, forever. So I made a list of some of the things I have done this year, both for customers and for myself and love, and then I felt that yes- maybe I have been quite productive after all!

In the beginning of the year, I think I accidentally started this Herjolfnes recreation, all hand stitched.

I made our wedding outfits for our Midsummer wedding:


Supporting linen dress, white silk dress, velvet over dress, purse, belts and for love; silk shirt, silk brocade doublet and under west, woolen hose, bag and belt. Also, I remember sewing some tunics and dresses for our families for the wedding.

Did I sew this houppelande also, or did I finish it the year before? It is also all hand stitched, on wool, silk and rabbit fur.

During autumn, I apparently needed to redo my apron dress, make a whole new viking coat by hand and put it all together to a new outfit, along with some tablet woven bands.

   Also, some commissions took place, like this coat…

… as well as a number of hoods, shirts and tunics (here’s some of them along with the silk cotehardie)

I also remember some viking hedeby trousers (baggy pants)- four of them i think.

InstagramCapture_38ac78d7-caef-4b53-b49a-c493692d90f5

As well as some hand sewn viking clothing…

20171120_104600

I updated my shop and market stall during the spring with cloths, small flags and my own logo hand painted on a linen fabric.

  Made a whole bunch of veils in linen and thin wool for different outfits;

I studied 16th century tailoring manuscripts and sewed two jackets for women, in wool fabric (one for my friend Linnea and one for myself)

Oh, and rosaries were totally a thing- I have read a lot about them, made a whole bunch of drawings, some pieces for sale and a folder about how to do them yourself, as well as holding some workshop on the subject.

This is far from everything I have made, and some pieces have not even made it to being properly photographed though I have been wearing them on several occasions.  Also, quite a few items and commissions also are just on fb or my Instagram accounts, otherwise this post would be far to long.

All in all, I think I have; 1. made quite some things and 2. need to be even better at documenting them and writing about them here on the blog.


2 Comments

A summer update (medieval wedding)

Since I’m still waiting for the photos from our Midsummer wedding, more posts about that will have to wait to. But we had a really great time, we got married all safe and good and had an awesome party, with all of our friends and family attending in medieval/viking clothing and helping us creating the most wonderful weekend. I did receive one photo of us from our photographer Minna, so I want to share that with you;

Our wedding outfits are inspired by Italian 15th century fashion. My hair is a modern take, but with the elaborate hairstyles of Italian early renaissance women in mind. The clothing really took some time to finish, and oh my, there was quite some problems involved…. But more of that later (when I can lay my hands on more pictures of details and such)

Now, it’s the beginning of July, and most of my friends post updates from their vacation. For me, July is a fully booked working month with lots of events, markets, workshops- lots of fun! Next week, I’m of to Skellefteå’s medieval days to hold a lecture, and some workshops. Me and B also will have a market stall to sell some goods. The week after that, I’m working on Hägnan’s medieval days in Luleå (my hometown) as a coordinator for the handcrafters (and selling my wares to) and after that, home a couple of days to rest and do laundry, and then Saltvik’s viking market is next.

Then, it’s time for The medieval week in Visby, and since love didn’t have any vacation to spend on Visby this year, I’ll be going with some dear friends, and we have booked an apartment to stay the week. So, for the first time ever, I’ll be sleeping indoors- which will be very good for getting good rest I think. Previous years, I have always got sick during the week, and it’s really a bother to hold workshops when you have the flu or a food poisoning…

Anyway, I’m holding workshops on Kapitelhusgården this year to- and now they have the workshops and lectures up for you to reserve a place on! Just follow the above link to se all their interesting workshops and such. Many of my workshops tend to get full before the week even start when pre-booking is available, so be sure to get a place beforehand! If you would like to attend one of my workshops, I can offer:

Gör en toile- medeltida mönsterkonstruktion (the drafting of a personal pattern on your body)

Mönsterkonstruktion av ärmar (patternmaking for sleeves)

Brickbandsvävning med mönster (tablet weaving with patterndrafting)

Medeltida brickbandsvävning (tablet weaving with fast warping and simple patterns)

Medeltida sömnadstekniker -fortsättningskurs (medieval seams and handcrafts for non beginners)

All this courses will be held in swedish, but on the workshop about seams and handcrafts I will have time for fast translation for those who would like to attend and are english speakers. During the weaving and pattern workshop, I will not have time to translate and many of the participants won’t be able to follow english instructions only- so that is the reason the workshops are in swedish.

So, that was some of my summer. More updates will follow, and of course I will keep you updated from the different events. Check out my instagram #handcraftedhistory to follow my everyday work, and my facebookpage Handcraftedhistory for updates, offers and pictures.

Spara


Leave a comment

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…)

 


3 Comments

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


2 Comments

Medieval wedding

We are getting married!

And, to make it all more fun, it will of course be a medieval wedding!

Now, when the invitations are out, I can finally write about it. Some friends think we have been a bit secret about the whole thing, but the fact is that we wanted to wait until we had date and place booked before we told everyone. That, and the fact that we are a bit lazy getting things done. I really am a deadline person- I work best when the time to wrap things up is upon me.

So, this summer we will have a medieval wedding with friends and family. I’m starting to feel quite exciting about the whole thing, but also I’ve realised there’s a lot of planning involved with a wedding (good thing that I have a background as a larp and medieval event organizier). Of course, H is also doing his share, but fortunately we are interested in different details of the wedding. As you have already guessed, I’m sewing our clothes, while H is more interested in the weddingcake or thinking about what kind of drinks we should have- fine with me!

Since both our families aren’t that into medieval things we decided to keep it all quite simple- medieval inspired foods, drinks and games, and a plea to our guest to dress for the occasion to the best of their effort. I also have planned to make some sets of clothes for family members that aren’t that into medieval clothing…

Naturally, the wedding will take some time and energy to plan, which means that the blog (mostly tutorials) will have to take a step back for some time- but I won’t abandon you. There will still be updates from events, photos of new garments and of course some more wedding-themed writing. So stay tuned!