31 Mar 2009

Riddarholmskyrkan last Saturday. A very nice event. It was a very cold night, though, and I almost was glad that the program inside the church was shortened because it was freezing in there! A really wet kind of chill, mostly because the church isn't used for regular church activities (and maybe because of all the spooky crypts and catacombs beneath...). Clearly, my new wool cape wasn't warm enough for a winter night like this.

As we entered the church around 8PM, a woman sang Bach very beautifully and it really added to the solemn atmosphere inside the dimly lit room. Everyone was so smartly dressed in mourning attire, or at least very dark colours, and I really wish I could show some photographical evidence, but I can't since 1) Photographing wasn't allowed in the church and 2) because my crappy camera would only have produced bad, flashy pictures.

I don't know who took these pictures so I don't know whom to credit, but here's one picture of me, looking like my own, stupid self, outside the church:

Afterwards, we went to a tavern in Old Town near the church. We were seated in a medieval vault downstairs (since Old Town is the oldest part of Stockholm, there are many cellars like that and, fortunately, many of them are used as pubs and restaurants today. Atmosphere before fire safety!).

Another picture of me. It looks like someone just made a joke; everyone's laughing but me, since I'm still trying to figure out what's going on.

A few drinks and a good time with nice people quickly made me warm again and the time passed way too fast! Luckily, there's only a couple of weeks left to the next event I'm going to attend: Ball at Nyckelviken (a 18th century house outside Stckholm) on April 18th!

So now I have to finish the IKEA robe, how sucky it may be, because I really don't have time to start and finish anything else. I should have been working on it yesterday; instead, I started to style a wig I'm planning to wear with the robe. I still don't know how this project is going to turn out. If it's going well, I'll post pictures later - if it's going to hell, just forget I mentioned it.

28 Mar 2009

All wrapped up

Me and my stepdaughter made us a duct tape double each yesterday. And it was so much fun!

It didn't take as long as I thought it would and it wasn't very hard standing still during the process. With "Pride and Prejudice" running on DVD in the background, it all turned out to be a quite enjoyable experience.

I won't write any step-by-step instructions because those already exists, and way better than anything I could produce. See, for example, here and here and here.

My stepdaughter is very petite and I'm... well, not, and we used up two rolls of tape - altogether 100 meters! My double ended up a bit larger than I am, about two centimetres extra in waist and bust, but overall I'm very happy with how it turned out and I think it will be of great value during future fittings. And as I said, very fun to make! It would make for a great "party" with a bunch of friends (who would actually want and need a duct tape dummy, of course).

And some pictures that I probably will regret posting, but here we go:

I have about one layer of tape on my body here. And loving it! As you can tell.

Two layers. Warning! This be my seductive look. Don't view this picture too long if you're easily aroused.

The finished product, not yet completely stuffed because I didn't buy enough stuff to stuff it with.

27 Mar 2009

There IS a museum for everything! If only on the internet.

I stumbled upon The German Hosiery Museum before going to work today. Who would have guessed!

The museum only exists in this virtual form, as far as I can tell. There are mentions about plans regarding a physical museum, but the "News" section hasn't been updated since -03... And in these days on financial mayhem, I suppose it must be hard finding sponsors for a museum on hosiery, so virtual museum it is.

But who am I to complain? They even have a section on 18th century hosiery. Jump right there, if you wish!

25 Mar 2009


While googling on 18th century pocket books, I struck a vein of gold right on the first page of search results.

Interweave Press offers diagrams and instructions for a folding pocket book with optional Irish stitching for the exterior.

I don't know when I'll find the time to make on of these, but I hope it'll be soon because I really need something neat to carry around all my monies, mobile phone, ID (and all those other things an 18th century lady couldn't leave the house without) in.

And some inspirational images on extant 18th century pocketbooks:Your's for $1,900 on Vintage Textile!

Another beautiful example from Vintage Textile

From Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

19 Mar 2009

Make a list. Check!

As I mentioned here, I was going to attending a church service commemorating the death of king Gustaf III on March 28 (it's then 217 years since the king passed, minus one day).

But now the minister who was going to give the sermon has gotten ill and won't make it, unfortunately. Instead of completely cancelling the event, we will go to the church and put down some flowers. A transcript from the original protocol regarding the king's demise will be read and there will be some music. And then we'll drink to the king at a tavern nearby! Not bad at all (if you know Swedish, you can read about this event at Slottsfrun).

I had no clothes suitable for an event like this (everything's too bright and cheerful) so I made the silk dupioni jacket for a start. But as I went on, I realized that I also needed a few other new things and "a few" soon became "several", "many" and "let's just make a completely new wardrobeZOMG!".

But for once I had plenty of time (there's even I chance I won't have to sew hysterically with a watch in one hand on the day of the event. I might even rush off without pins and loose threads everywhere. Who knows?) and a quick check confirms that the most vital parts of the ensemble are finished or very close to being finished.

List? Why yes!

  • Jacket - Is finished. Like, REALLY finished. Not one stitch off.
  • Petticoat - Is finished. As above. RLY!
  • New, smaller and cuter pocket hoops - Quite finsihed, I just need to replace the plastic failboning with something sturdier.
  • New cap - Finished it yesterday! I had to remove the self-fabric ruffle from the band and replace it with some lovely lace to make it look less like a Victorian baby bonnet which isn't flattering for any face, least mine. Now I don't look incredibly stupid wearing it!
  • Fischu - Finished. It was my first experiment with rolled hems, which worked out much better than I anticipated (but my fingers felt sore after the first 5,000 stitches).
  • Hat - Nearly finished. Must fasten the trim around the crown. I don't know why this has taken me a month. I'll do it tonight, this I promise myself.
  • Shoes - Haven't touched them yet. I bought these quite accurate-looking shoes for practically nothing in a thrift store in January and my plan is to add fake latchets and buckles. Somehow.
  • Mitts - Half-finished. The lovely grey silk taffeta I had wasn't enough for outer fabric and lining and I feel that these mitts really must be lined. I'm not sure what to do yet because I'm so freaking broke right now!
  • Necklace - I butchered a very ugly fake pearl necklace and all that is left to do is to add ribbon to tie it 'round the neck with.
(Hmm, this weekend will be busy so maybe I should start to feel a little bit stressed soon. Just not right now.)

Whaddyaknow: I also have long-term plans for this year and since you all DIE to know about them, here goes:

  • Striped polonaise -If you lurk the costumers' diaries at LJ, striped polonaise's seem to be all the rage this year and I too wanna hang out with the cool kids! I have a pink-on-pink striped fabric that is very much destined to become a polonaise for parties in the summer (which is quite funny, since I've never owned a piece of clothing in pink in my whole life. I'm so making this polonaise into a little girl's dream-dress! Think lots of trims and frills!)
  • Pet-en-l'air - Maybe, if what I have of the yellow fabric mentioned here is enough . If not so, i'll make a jacket of some kind. In either case, I'll need a...
  • Black silk taffeta petticoat to go with it.
  • Janet Arnold caraco - I have an Indienne-type printed cotton that I'd like to turn into a caraco à la Patterns of Fashion. A low-priority project.
  • Finish the IKEA Robe á la Francaise That Guards The Gates Of Hell (will be referred to as "the IKEA robe" in the future) - Oh my, I don't know where to start. But you got it right, it is a robe á la Francaise, made from an IKEA fabric. But that's not the only reason why it sucks, I think the main reason is that I suck. I should have known better than even thinking about pulling off a project like this in the first place, but here we are and I will complete the whole thing, even if it kills me in the process. Even if I get killed for wearing it.
  • New stays - This should be first on the list really. My current stays are OK but I learned much from the process of making them and if I made a new pair today, they'd turn out much better. I've also lost some weight since I made my current stays and the "gap in the back" is almost non-existant now, even though I managed to take a few seams in. All I need is the motivation to start this huge project. That, and time. Please? Send me your spare time.
  • ca 1810 daydress - Because I've needed one all of my life.
  • Masquerade gown from Russian painting - BIG "maybe" on this one

It seems I'm going to be busy this year, doesn't it? I'll be one happy camper if I manage to not only start but also finish half of the things on that list! Stay tuned...

17 Mar 2009

Sluga Gosudarev/The Sovereign's Servant (2007)

Yeah. Let me be the first to admit that I've been a lazy, lazy blogger lately. I can also add that I've been a lazy seamstress, a lazy housekeeper and... well, just plain lazy. All I have to show for the last weeks is a new spark in the relationship between me and Age of Empires III. Old love never dies.

I have to try to blame the long, dark winter that's been going on for way too long for my fatigue and apathy of lately. Did someone ever tell you that winter sucks?


The snow has been melting away during the last couple of days and it's getting lighter and lighter all the time. And I even spotted the first snowdrops of the season last weekend so I'm sure my spirits will return together with the much longed for spring!


This week's choice on DVD: Sluga Gosudarev/The Sovereign's Servant (the Swedish title was "The Battle of Poltava" Call it whatever you want).

1709. At the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV, two men are being sent into exile after a duel that displeases the king quite much. One is sent to king Karl XII of Sweden, the other to Czar Peter I of Russia, surely to be caught and killed in the next upcoming battle. Meanwhile, a haunting and mysterious Black Rider is making brave officers soiling themselves with fear as he's running around the countryside killing couriers and stealing intelligence. WHO IS HE?

I must admit it: this could be the first Russian movie I've ever seen in my whole life. I'm not 100% sure but I think so. So that was one of the refreshing views this film offered me: I LOVE to hear Russian (although it always make me regret that I dropped out of that Russian language class back in -03).

One other refreshing view was that, well, since this film is from a Russian POV, the Swedes were the Bad Guys here, burning innocent villages, raping young maidens and pillaging orphanages as they slowly marched to the battleground.

Don't get me wrong here - I do know that all those things happened, as they have always done in times of war, when man gets the opportunity to show his very worst-natured side. It's just that those things rarely are being mentioned in the history books - unless it's about The Other Side! So, yes, I would say it was refreshing (if you could use that word about murders of innocent civilians, but I hope you get my point...)

I rarely watch battle-type movies but I liked this one, without loving it.

The photage was very good, the battle scenes were impressive and we got us some supspense now and then. Much of the violence was realistic without being unnecessary gory. And fencing scenes, too!

There were historical inaccuracies here and there, but remember: you should watch this film as one of those old Hollywood swashbuckling movies, rather than a semi-documentary historical film. That will definitely help it, and make the experience more enjoyable for you.

Not a movie I'll remember as long as I live, but well worth watching when there's nothing better to do.


"We promise! We're not girls! The convent is in that direction!"

"A mental disorder. I haz one!"

Swedes. Being unwelcome tourists everywhere since the Thirty Years' War

were in ur base, s00n 2 be killed by ur d00dz LOL

"Drat! I need more cannon fodder... Er, I mean: Brave Young Men!
Ahh..! Screw this! I'm going to Turkey. They have dolma. And gorgeous boys."

dis battl. not goin so grate ackshully :(

Today, 2009, it's exactly 300 years since the battle of Poltava. Where the Swedes got their butts kicked so badly that their king had to run off to Turkey to lick his wounds. For five years. They had dolma. And dark-eyed young boys (he was eventually thrown out though).

It is also 200 years since the war where Sweden lost the territory of Finland (yep, it was the Russians that kicked butt that time as well). The Swedish king, Gustav IV Adolf, didn't get happy days in the Turkish sun, though. He lost his kingdom and his crown and was to wander around Europe as the sad colonel Gustafsson for the rest of his life.

The moral? Sweden should never fare war in a year ending with -09!

2 Mar 2009

Clarissa (1996)

I was looking high and low for this movie a couple of months ago but it seemed impossible to get it on DVD by then. So when I found it in a local store at a bargain price last week, I didn't have to think twice before buying it. A costume movie (mini series actually, if you're nitpicking) set in the 18th century, that you haven't already seen, is like Christmas and your birthday together!

The film is based on Samuel Richardson's novel Clarissa, or, the History of a Young Lady from 1748. I haven't read the novel (some time long ago I read Pamela. Well, most of it at least) so I judged the film on it's own merits, and I thought it did really well.

The heroine of the film is, as you might have guessed, Clarissa (Saskia Wickham), a young and rich woman known for her virtue.
When Clarissa is being forced into a marriage to this by her rather nasty excuse for a family, she gets so desperate that she runs off with Richard Sharpe Robert Lovelace (Sean Bean), a notorious rake and libertine who gladly anticipates the challenge to seduce a woman so known for her high morals and virtues (sounds a little like like Les Liaisons dangereuses, no?).

But could Clarissa actually be able to reform Sharpe Lovelace in the end, or will he drag her down with him? You get no spoilers from me - go and see it for yourself. I would recommend it.

Yes, I liked this flick. I liked the script and the acting and you could tell the team had a pretty good budget for this production - there were quite a few outdoors scenes with lots of bit players which adds such a nice detail to a period movie.

That also brings us to the costume department, and there I'm afraid I was a little bit disappointed.
As in many other period movies, we see a too great diversion in styles to make it look convincing (we learn in the end of the film that it was set in 1749, which I couldn't buy). The costume designer also had a big thing for gowns laced in the back, another typical miss in this kind of film. And bows. Lots of them. Everywhere.

But altogether there was not a complete lack of eye-candy (many yummy accessories for example), and since we're not exactly spoiled with 18th century costume dramas these days, I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth!

Clarissa gets a 4/5 from me. It was also nominated for 5 BAFTA:s, whichever is more qualifying.

You can haz pickshers nao!

Isn't that Mrs Hurst, née Bingley, from P&P in the middle? What are you doing in a disguised brothel, mrs Hurst?