18th Century · Bunad · Recreation

Are you there, blog? It’s me, Maren…

So, as has been proved time and time again, I’m a terrible blogger. When I last published anything, almost a year ago, I wrote “There might also be some exciting stuff happening soon, that I can’t really tell you about yet… but it will involve a lot more and more high quality content!”

That exciting stuff was a joint blog with four of my friends. However, life happened for all of us, and we never really got going, so now I am back here, and ready to serve you costume nerdiness on a (hopefully) weekly basis!

One of the many things I’ve done lately was to don late Victorian attire and visit Bath Fashion Museum!

Instead of doing my usual “Oh my girdle, I am so sorry I have been awful, here is a massive post of all the things I’ve done since we spoke last” mammoth post (and yes, I am ashamed that I can write “usual”), I thought I’d split them up and do some #ThrowbackThursdays instead. I understand that’s what the kidz do these days (#OldBeforeMyTime #TryingReallyHardToStayHipAndCool).

Seeing as it’s Norway’s National Costitution Day tomorrow (17th May), the day when all Norwegians dig out their more or less 18th century inspired attire and have champagne for breakfast, parade through the streets waving flags and eating ice cream, and generally have a good time, I thought I should start off with a small throwback to my definitely largest project this year: My reconstructed 18th Century Bunad or national costume.

We began a year and a half ago, and if any of you follow my instagram you will have seen pictures of the process (and if you don’t – why not? Follow me on instagram! I’m nice, I promise! See the links to the right!). And what a process! I had a hope, for the longest time, of having a wearable outfit by now, but I have had the busiest April/early May, so that hope dwindled long ago… My next self-set deadline is mid-September…

To recap: My colleague (PhD. Cultural History Bjørn Sverre Hol Haugen), and the wonderful craftspeople Anny Strand and Joar Vaagø who create beautiful things through their business Bunadtilvirkerne, have recreated a costume from my region (the Southern part of the Norwegian county Hedmark). All garments are copies of preserved garments from the are, dating from the second half on the 18th Century. All materials are copies of materials that would/could have been used in the are during the same period. Everything is hand stitched, using historically accurat techniques. And it is SO. MUCH. WORK.

But it is SO. MUCH. FUN!

We are making a white linen chemise, wool petticoat, wool skirt, wool stays lined with linen, wool jacket lined with linen, cotton apron, silk bonnet, and a silk or velvet pocket bag.

So far, I’ve made the chemise, only lacking buttonholes for the sleeves, and the string for the neckopening.

The layout of most of the chemise, complete with bad quality, my assistant cat and background balloons…
The sleeve cuffs have embroidery, otherwise the chemise is simple and plain.

I have made the petticoat, it’s sewn from rust red wool of a slightly scratchy wool of a somewhat homespun quality.

Lookit them need little folds! So satisfactory to work with!

I’ve made the apron, of a GORGEOUS printed cotton!

… the red arrows are not included in the print. They just show which way the folds go.

And then came the stays… I love the stays. They’re beautiul. I love them so much. Made from a handwoven wool fabric with wide green, yellow and red stripes. So amazingly pretty! The panels are sewn together using a stitch called “spilsaum” (remind me to make a spilsaum-tutorial one day. It’s remarkably simple, great fun and makes for the most amazing seams!), and then are stiffened by row upon row upon row of backstitches going through both the wool and the linen lining. And it takes TIME. I have no idea how many meters of backstitching goes into it, but I will definitely measure when I’m done! They are also going to be bound with leather and laced up the front.

From the cutting of the stays. One of the reasons why the stays have taken so long, is that we measured and cut them in January or early February, and by April, I was somewhat diminished… (all the Christmas food had worn off, I guess!)
Challenge: Sew straight lines while on a boat and drinking sparkling wine! It can be done!

The fabric choice is inspired by these genuine 18th Century stays, currently in the Maihaugen Collection, while the pattern and backstitch placement is taken from this one.

How the petticoat and the stays will look together!

I have also started my skirt, and I’m done with the hem, but have yet to fold it into a waistband. It’s made from the most amazing green wool, so shiny you’d think it’s silk!

The many, many, many basting stitches on the hem!

We’ll probably start the jacket in the autumn, as well as bonnets and pocket bags. I can hardly wait to get it done!

That’s it for now, next week will probably also be a #TBT-post, about a VERY different sort of 18th Century project… Until then: may your stitches be small and your rippers sharp!

Happy 17th May! Tillykke med dagen! Hurra for 17. mai!

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