29 Sept 2009

'tis all a matter of priorities...

Yeah. I could, theoretically...

...talk about the joy that was the 1809 ball and even upload the only decent picture I took, or...

...show off my - finally - finished shift, or...

...my (zomg!) new pair of stays that I actually like, or...

...describe the ruthless butchering of the wretched IKEA robe that is in the process of becoming a pet-en-l'air...

I could do all that, as a matter of fact...

...but all I really want to do is lolPitts!
(With a humble dedication to Elyse)

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I really think this can become the new Internet craze! Someone, maybe me, should register lolpitt.com before it's too late.

But until then: send all your lolpitts to me and wish for my speedy recovery from the trauma that is Post-Vacation Insanity-Blues (PVIB).

17 Sept 2009

WARNING: Sillyness Ahead!

Being very tired and without inspiration for sewing, I spent most of the evening in front of ye olde laptop. I soon got addicted to funniest little web page that I read about in today's Metro.
It deserves the Nobel prize for awesomeness.

You upload a portrait photo of your choice, wait a while, and watch the magic: A portrait in motion!

I naturally started out with a picture of me, as seen below, but I soon realised how much funnier it would be to try with portraits of some of our most loved18th century celebrities instead. Said and done!

The results? From really freaky to quite hilarious. Judge for yourselves:

Just little me

Gustaf III of Sweden. What's not to love?

Carl "Freaky Eyes" von Linné

Poor Marie Antoinette. This could be more flattering, I suppose.

Why so serious, George? You're on film!

I think I like this one best: Charles James Fox

Now go and make your own: http://labs.mppark.jp/hige

15 Sept 2009

Getting ready for the ball

I can't believe it!

The 1809 ball at Kristinehov is on Friday...

...and I've almost finished all of my stuff!

This is such an anomaly and I'm sure I'll end up paying dearly for this huge offence to the mighty power that is "Desperate-Sewing-Madness-Night-Before-Event".

So what is this total regency n00b's plan?

As we all know, a picture is worth a thousand words, maybe more, so I give you a lot of pictures and I'll throw in a few words with the bargain as well:


I was going to buy plain, old white ballerinas when I found these. It was love at first site (at least in my case. I think the shoes have undetermined feelings due to a bad break-up recently):

"So were Indian/Pakistani Khussa with sequins and stuff all the rage around 1809?" you ask. I say: "Yes. Yes, it was."

Which is, of course, a lie. But I couldn't help myself. I love them. Besides, my camera, which has a face recognition feature, clearly sees a face on the toe. They smell a little like horse, but I like horses. I'll add ribbons to tie around my ankles to make sure they stay on.


Just... Just ignore my attempt at bead work. I was feeling a bit over-achieving at the time but what is done is done. Making tassels was fun, though!


I bought a typical Asian gift shop cheapo sandalwood fan that I planned to spice up.

So I sprayed it with white paint, because white paint is almost impossible to tell from ivory, and will add a ribbon in lieu of the original nylon string. Meh. At least I have a fan.

But while on the subject: I found another cheapo Chinese fan today at my lunch break.

It will need a lot of help but I think it has potential. But that's for much later.


I'm not 100% sure about what to do with my hair, besides that I'm going to curl it.

I tested my husband's grandmother's old curling iron tonight and I think it's a winner!

I heated it on the stove, like I believe she did in the 30's, and if it was good enough for her hair, it's good enough for mine.


"But the gown!" you cry: "What about the gown?"

Oh, there is a gown all right, buuut I'll wait with pictures until I'm all dolled up and ready for The Big Night so I can do it justice.

But I'm a generous person at heart so I'll give you two pictures of the sleeve, which is what actually makes this gown.

Sorry for the crap quality. My camera died so I had to use my phone.

The concept is stolen from a gown in a Swedish museum. The original also has bobbin lace at the bottom and I found a piece of lace in my stash that was exactly the length needed. Like millimetre exact! I thought that was cool because I got the lace from a plastic bag of mixed ribbons from a thrift store, and I actually bought the bag only because of another lace in it, and I had to buy the whole bag, so... Yeah, whatever.

And now I must end this post with a very important message from my cat and sewing friend Börjesson:

Börjesson has entered the "Cutest Sewing Critter" competition over at the Dreamestress's and is quite willing to bribe you for votes in his favour. Name your price!

Here he is helping me with the breeches pattern I mentioned in my last post. Börjesson insists that the best way of getting familiar with a new pattern is to feel it. This is most efficiently achieved by spreading out your body on top of the pattern for an hour or two. Börjesson shares this tip with you for nothing in return!

And now he' wants me to return to the joy that is finger torture and binding stays. I'll try to find an excuse, like I have done for the greater part of the evening.

11 Sept 2009

A man and his clothes

I have probably hinted here and there about making clothes for my husband. I think it's about time I presented the project, so at least I know what I have gotten myself into... I haven't sewed for anyone else but myself before and I can already tell that it's a completely different challenge. Mostly because you must nag about fittings here and fittings there to the victim all the time, which isn't always appreciated.

Anyhoo, the inspiration for my husband's outfit comes from this three-piece suit, worn by king Gustaf III in 1777 when he visited his cousin and neighbour, Catherine the Great.

It is merely for inspiration; I don't plan to recreate the clothes in any way.

So far, I have almost completed a waistcoat in silk taffeta. Here it lies on our rug, probably trembling with fear from the treatment it got when I worked on the five thousand buttonholes* (remove -on from the word, and we're much closer to the truth...).

The pocket flaps isn't attached yet and there are no pockets. Other than that, it's finished. It's more eggshell than snow white but my camera is worthless.

That leaves me with... Let's see:

1 shirt. I have already scrapped one shirt with one sleeve because it sucked. I think I'll leave the shirt to last.

1 pair of breeches. I purchased this pattern for drop front breeches from Eagle's View because I had read good reviews on it but I haven' touched it as of yet. If you don't count that time I opened the envelope, looked at all the lines and strange marks, quickly stuffed everything back and spent the rest of the evening under the kitchen table rocking back and forth. Breeches = scary stuff.

1 coat. The only good thing about the scariness degree of the breeches is that I still haven't realised how scary the prospect of making a well-fitting coat is. A coat must fit perfectly, it's pretty useless and a waste of fabric if it doesn't. I don't have a commercial pattern for this, I was thinking of using the 1770's frock coat pattern from "Cut of Men's Clothes". I see maaaany mock-ups in my crystal ball...

1 stock. This shouldn't be too much of a problem, I think.

I have this striped silk in design for the breeches and the coat.

Beige and brown - nice and earthy, and it also leaves me with a greater possibility of talking my husband into actually wearing the clothes! I love the more bright and what we may call feminine colours in 18th c male clothing but it's not worth the risk in this case.

There will be no embroidery or other embellishments; partly because my husband would disapprove, and partly because my embroidery skills are non-existent.

I will set the deadline to May 2011, I think. I agree, it's a little soon, but I was always the over-ambitious type, ya know. I think I'll make it.

*That's how much I love you, dear husband! Even if you probably prefer me showing it in other ways.

Gustaf III's clothes are described in the book "Kläder för tid och evighet" by Lena Rangström


Ladies and gentlemen, I can now reveal to you the source from where the hair team on "Amadeus" got their wigs (at a huge discount):

Possibly also where the costume folks at "Valmont" looked for ready-mades. They were too expensive, though.


10 Sept 2009

Let's go for a walk

Yesterday was 09/09/09 and my mother would have turned 53 had she still been with us.

But she isn't so I went to her resting place at Järfälla churchyard to leave a little flower and spend a part of what might be the very last summer day of the year in her company.

A 10-minute ride with commuter train took me to Barkarby, a sleepy and desolate suburb of no consequence other than being only a few kilometers from the place where I grew up, and my eye first met with a hideous conference hotel with the name of "Welcome" (they obviously left out "...to the seventies" by mistake), but by walking for only a few minutes, I suddenly found myself in the middle of a square with two lovely old buildings.

The yellow house is the old municipal building, first raised in 1719. Today the house is let for parties, weddings and such. Next to it is the inn, of an even older date and once obliged by law to supply travelers with horses, food and shelter. You can still get a (pricey) meal there today.

The restaurant calls itself Lasse-Maja* after the notorious thief that dressed in women's clothing (partly as a disguise and partly because of preference) and continuously escaped from the clutches of the law (and prison) until he finally got caught and sentenced to life time imprisonment after robbing the church (which we soon will visit) in 1812. He was was tried in the yellow building and flogged on the square. He wrote his best-selling memoirs in prison and was eventually released to a few years as a living legend and celebrity until he died in 1845.

*His real name was Lars Molin. Lasse-Maja was a humorous nickname because Lasse is male and Maja female.

My walk continued past this little block of houses:

They were built in 1998 but blend in so nicely with the historic buildings nearby; I think of townhouses of undetermined origin and heartily approve.

But then, as a contrast that just have to be on purpose, right next to the church, I came upon these houses...

Let's play: When were these houses built?

1. 1968
X. 1974
2. 1980

Gotcha! All answers were wrong! They were built in 2008. And people live there.

Luckily, I had reached my goal and headed for the church.

The weather was so extremely nice and I felt as if summer had just begun rather than the opposite: the trees were all still green, the flowers bloomed and the sun shone upon the grass and...

...the pyramid.

Right. No cemetery is complete without its pyramid. Or so thought countess Anna Sofia Gyllenborg, who chose to raise this monument as a last resting place for her and her husband, Olof Adlerberg, in 1757. An underground passage connects the pyramid to the chancel. The couple also donated valuable silver to the church (little knowing it would be the fall of Lasse-Maja sixty years later).

The church itself was first erected in the 1100s but got its current look in the 15th century. The baptismal font, still used today, is from the earlier church though, which makes it older than Stockholm! Both me and my sister were baptised here, probably our mother too.

Her grave is situated close to the western wall and the place has changed a lot since we buried her in June 2004. Then there were only a few graves here and there besides hers, and today the place is completely filled.

One thing was a little strange: The plot on her left soon got occupied, but not the one to her right. More and more plots were taken, but the one to the right was still vacant, month after month that turned into years... Then my step father suddenly got very ill and died. It wasn't very hard to determine where he was going to lie.

Now, on a more personal note: my mother used to talk about where and how she wanted to be buried, how she wanted her funeral to be and so on, long before she knew she was ill. I used to be angry with her because I hated to think that she was going to die one day, but later I was very grateful.

Even in the shock and grief that followed her death, I smiled when my sister and I arranged the details according to her wishes (which she of course only had mentioned knowing they would make the oh-so-hard but oh-so-necessary arrangements easier on us. I just didn't realise it then).

She even told us how she wanted her grave marker to look!

She wanted an old-fashioned iron cross that was typical in parts of this country for several hundred years. They varied from smithy to smithy, but usually had more than one bar, and hanging ornaments. The most common was stylised leaves but my mother - always a hippie at heart! - told us she wanted stars and moons!

So starts and moons she got. I found a smithy in the province of Värmland (where my mother had her roots) that has made these crosses for three generations with traditional methods.

We are very happy with it and it amuses me to notice that my mother became a trend setter even after her death. Five years ago there was not one cross of this type on the graveyard; now I see a new one every time I visit.

It's with mixed feelings I go to my mother's grave, but today - thanks to the wonderful, wonderful weather - I felt pretty good.

And then I went to see my sister, who was very happy to see me!

Now, go and hug a dear one and I promise a sewing-related post will appear at this space tomorrow!