tisdag 10 april 2012

It´s all in the details

This Easter I got an offer I couldn´t refuse... Me and my friend Tece got invited to hold classes in 15th century clothing for the Hollola medieval society in Finland. All expenses paid and a possibility to hang out with really nice people.

So, we took the ferry to Turku were we got picked up by Saara and Temmu who drove us to Lahti, where we stayed at Mervi and Riku in their "sensual house". Just look at the sight of the kitchen when we arrived! Full of nice people having coffee, laughing and weaving.
Mervi was anxious to get started and soon we had three lovely ladies started on making their pleated swiss veils and getting fitted for their 15th-century dresses.

Mervi was real quick and soon had a number of pleats done and then we started experimenting with veils and folds and whatever fabrics we could get a hold of. Since I´ve shown in an old handout that there´s no way you can do wrong with a 15th century veil style, we tried with kitchen towels on top and even got a very elaborate look from a smocked apron.

We also got fed extremly well and really enjoyed this long friday in Mervis kitchen. After a while we realised we had spent 8 hours there just fooling around.

Kitchen towels may sound really quirky but there are images that really looks like they grabbed a bunch of whatever they found in the linen cabinet and pinned it on top. Fabric with red or blue stripes are common and they do look like classic kitchen towels.

The smocked apron made a very nice look as well, similar to the variations that look like the missing link between swiss veil and the vulsthaube. Frills can be seen in some depictions as well.

However we got real tired and went to bed in order to be in full working order the next morning when the real challenge started. In a day and a half we had to get 20 women fitted and inspired to do all kinds of accessories for 15th century fashion. We learned that one of the women had the idea that they should all do 15th century clothing for their yearly festival in Hollola, since the church was 15th century.

Me and Tece has held the show "It´s all in the details" a couple of times already, where we show how you can manage any number of styles with just one little black shortsleeved and frontlaced dress. We started the powerpoint and then dressed Tece from hemd to the kitchen maid and all the way to court garb just changing the accessories.

After the show we started everybody on making their own veils and soon the room was filled with sewing women of all ages. This turned out to be the saviour of the day, now everybody had something to begin with while waiting for their turn to get fitted. We forced them to first try either mine or Tece´s dress in order to see what pattern to start out with. They all then copied either mine or Tece´s bodice pattern, adding a number of centimeters of width for fitting. Then the fitting frenzy began! I would never have imagined that it was possible to do that many fittings in such a short time. Fifteen fittings done on saturday and the remaining five on sunday.

My blue dress soon got popular and it sometimes fitted like a glove!

The room filled with action and creativity, everywere women where trying out clothes, cutting fabric and looking in books and the powerpoint with hundred or more images of 15th century paintings.

We did manage a short break and took a walk around the beutiful 15th century church.

When it was time to leave on sunday afternoon we had managed to fit 22 lovely ladies into tight fitting bodices. And they where in the age span between 20 and 70! I really look forward to seeing pictures of their dresses progressing.

And for those interested, read Mervis blog Hibeernatiopesäke as well!

söndag 1 april 2012

Embroidery for the masses!

This weekend has been a joyful and inspiring one. My home barony of Styringheim hosted an embroidery event for all interested in historical embroidery. We were 12 people that gathered on saturday morning, shared some breakfast and then the four teachers each gave a short introduction to their embroidery techniques before the actual workshops begun.

First out was Helwigs blackwork, and for the likes of me that hates counted embroidery this was an epiphany! It suddenly got comprehensable and I actually got quite far on a small acorn border on rather coarse linen with easily visible thread count and some lovely orange hand dyed silk that I bought a couple of years ago.

After this I did my bayeux stitch introduction and the ladies seemed to enjoy the fact that it is an easy way to fill surfaces with colour and texture.

Lia got us all to appreciate the fine elisabethan couched embroidery and we saw acorns, seashells and flowers take shape. It reminded a lot of naalbinding but with a very fine needle and silk thread.

We had lunch and dinner as well in splendid company and continued on sunday with patterned darning embroidery that Åsa has made wonders with on pillows after originals now stored at the County Museum of Gotland.

So now I have, on top of all old projects, three new embroidery projects and a bunch of ideas for stuff I want to make for my self.