31 Jan 2014

Meet my friend!

Althoug I hadn´t planned to actively updtae this blog much, I felt I had to stop by and give a shout-out to my very, very talented friend miss E. who just launched her own blog (waaay overdue, if you ask me ;) ).

This young lady is crazy talented and I'm lucky anough to know her in person since we frequent the same historical events here in Sweden. I have repeatedly used her photos from events in my blog posts since she's very active with the camera, which I'm grateful for!

Here is a picture I took of her and our mutual friend miss G. at the grand Oscarian ball here in Stockholm last week,

but if you head over to Anno 1776 you'll see more and better pictures from this fantastic event (and yours truly will be present in one of them, although from the back!), not least of this young lady's fantastic version of a very famous Worth gown.

Have fun!

23 Sep 2013

Moving along...

Well, I think the time has come to realize that this blog is pretty much defunct and should be regarded as some sort of archive rather than an actual blog!

I still read many costuming blogs (and I would like to find more, so let me know if you think I should follow you!) and I still make costumes, but a blog doesn't seem to be the best way of documenting those processes for me.

So I became the last person on Earth to get Instagram a few days ago! I will try to use it mainly as a mean to document my sewing, costumes and relevant events related to those (and the occasional cat, of course) and being very new to Instagram I would love to find other costumers to follow there!

I hope to see you at Instagram in the future!

Mme_b on Instagram!

P.S. I'm also spending way too much time in the endless abyss that is Pinterest!

6 Aug 2012

Portraits of me!

Oh my - I have had my portrait taken for the first time in... say, 15 years or so?

Portraits taken by a professional photographer, that is!

It all started a couple of months ago, when a photographer by the name of Theres Beswick of Pippihuset Studio asked for volunteers for a project on Gustaf Skål's Facebook group page (she wanted models in 18th century attire).

She described the project on her blog, and it immediately caught my attention.

Long story short - we got in touch, and I went to her lovely studio one rainy day and watched the magic happen..!

Theres's method for taking these portraits (mine was only one of many for a future series of this kind of portrait) was fascinating. The frame is a projection on a brown canvas with a wrinkled, cracked surface, which I stepped into and stood absolutely still for a few seconds while Therese "painted" me with a flash light. The picture was then taken with self timer and a long exposure.

The results are below - no Photshop whatsoever involved!

© Theres Beswick, Pippihuset

© Theres Beswick, Pippihuset

I'm not very photogenic but I think these turned out very well - thanks to Theres, of course! She has graciously allowed me to share these two here, for which I am truly grateful.

And attention, costumers in Stockholm: Theres is still looking for models, especially men in 18th century costume, so get in touch with her if you are so inclined!

26 Jul 2012

1912 Jubilee Marathon

July 14 was not only National Day of France, but also the date for Stockholm Jubilee Marathon - exactly 100 years since the Marathon of the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm (I do believe there's something similar going on in London right now..? That's about how interested I am in the Olympics!).

While a Marathon usually isn't my cup of tea (not as a spectator and definitely not as a participant!), I and about 20 other enthusiasts volunteered as 1912 spectators to give the Marathon a bit of historic colour - fun!

Not arrested! The police asked to have their pictures taken with us..! My step daughter Ellinor and me, 4th and 5th from left.
Inside the Stockholm Stadium, built for the Summer Olympics in 1912 - many great hats were seen!
The stadium in 1912 (image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).
And we made headlines!
Well... Not exactly, but we made it into two newspapers:


Not bad at all (except for the fact that my hair had collapsed at this point - windy day - but there we are)!

My gown and Ellinors things were made on a minimal budget - almost everything was made from things we already had. My gown, for example - a tablecloth. Ellinors skirt - a wool scrap for a spencer that never came to be. My hat was bought a long time ago and was intended for 18th century purposes, and still is - it's a good thing hat trim is easily added and removed!

The following pictures are (as usual) borrowed from the amazing Caroline E.:
Near the finish line...

NOT picking my nose! I think?
My gown was rather rushed and there are things I should have worked more on - the overdress should've been more attached to the foundation dress to prevent flaring, for example...

...as you can see here:
Then again, I wasn't aiming at 100% historical accuracy anyway. As I mentioned, the gown was made from a tablecloth (I'm moving up from curtains!) so it was more a case of: "What kind of gown can I make from this tablecloth?" than "What kind of gown do I want to make?".

After a long but fun day we were treated to dinner and drinks. My feet were very, very sore - but it's usually worth it, isn't it?


18 Jul 2012

An (almost) finished gown..!

Do you remember the 1790s gown I never finished back in February? The one that didn't get any sleeves (if you do remember - wow!)?

Well, I'm happy to tell you that it has sleeves now. In a completely different fabric, of course, since the problem was that I hadn't accounted for sleeves with the original fabric.

Anyway, the finished sleeves are made up with sheer cotton so it doesn't look to bad with the gown after all!

I asked my husband to take some pictures from our balcony one evening - please forgive the messy hair!

Our English park is lovely this time of the year...

Am I acting natural enough?

Oooh, a daisy!

No full-front picture? you ask.

Sorry - that's just my vanity speaking, I simply looked too dorky in those! I hope to have better pictures taken when I finally wear this gown to an event.

Aaaand that's also when I - hopefully - have made the final touches on the poor thing. I simply must finish my things under a deadline, it seems.

What to do: You can hint a piece of ugly, pink ribbon in the first picture - it has to be replaced with something... white. I also have to add a closure, with a thread button and loop, perhaps. I had planned to pin the gown shut but it's to much stress on the very sheer fabric.

Oh, one last picture! I thought the sleeves looked a little boring, so I did this on the hem:
Mad embroidery skills, I tell you!




16 Jul 2012

Sala silver mine

Hello, all! I hope you're enjoying Summer, wherever you are.

I know I have been absent but I promise I haven't completely fallen off the edge of the world, and I have the pictures to prove it!

Johanna, Martin and Isis's Jan


I spent June 29-July 1 in the old mining district just outside the tiny town of Sala.

Sala silver mine was in use for hundreds of years and is today a fascinating monument to the ingenious work and unbelievably hard labour that filled Sweden's coffers for a very long time.

The "bucket" in which the 17th century king Karl XI travelled down into one of the mines...


Gustafs Skål and its members were invited to celebrate the mine's 18th century heritage during a small festival and our main duty was to look nice and smile for a lot of cameras (a job I'd love to have full time!).

Market place


I had a terrific time and the weekend just went by like the wind.

By way of thanks for our participation, Gustafs Skål (and a lot of other volunteers) were treated to a party deep down in one of the mine shafts - 155 meters under ground, to be precise! It was a very interesting experience - a little scary, and a little fascinating. Dark, damp and chilly - I can't even imagine what life would have been for a miner back then!

Head over to Isis blogg for some great (and some hilarious!) photos from inside the mine!

I made a new jacket to wear for this event but I lack pictures of it, so I borrowed the few below from m:lle Caroline, the ever so reliable photographer!

Not the most detailed picture, no.
I based it on the "swallow's tail" jacket from "Costume close-up" but I had just the tiniest piece of a fabric remnant to play with, so I wasn't completely true to the pattern and construction.


That's me to the left! Thank you, Caroline!
I laced it in front over a stomacher, but managed to place the eyelets very awkwardly and not at all evenly spaced - something I didn't notice until after a pretty long time! I don't feel very happy about this, especially since I can't get more of the fabric, but there isn't much I can do about it now.


Here is a bad mobile phone picture of the lovely fabric:
It was a flea market find at its origins are unknown to me.


Again: enjoy summer, everyone! I'll be back with some costume-related posts sooner than you know!

23 Feb 2012

Léonard Defrance

One of the perks with being rather uneducated about The Arts is that you constantly stumble upon artists you'd never heard of. This happened today, to me. And it was awesome.

Defrance (1735-1805) was a Belgian painter and according to what I could find through an Google image search, he was very fond of painting ordinary people in ordinary and sometimes less than graceful situations. Things that I love!

These paintings seem to be the more known of his work, since I got many versions of them in my search results. The resolution is not always great, but here we go:

Men Fighting. Hermitage Museum

Women fighting.  Hermitage Museum   

Fish market. Some oil painting on demand site. Totally copyrighted.



Interior of a forge. Artnet
Recruting officer in a public house. Artnet
The breakfast. Hermitage Museum
Visiting the printers. Musée de Grenoble




And my absolute favourite...
The rope dancer The Met

Follow the link and zoom in! Look at her little outfit! Who's going to make it? It won't be me, I'm afraid - don't have the legs for it.