Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Lübeck: Dancing in Houppelandes and general merriment

Last weekend, Lübeck in Northern Germany hosted this year's International Hanseatic Day to celebrate the common history of hanseatic cities all across Europe. The original Hanseatic League started out in the 13th century as an association of merchants which then developed into a league of cities. By the 17th century, it had lost its significance, but since the 1980s the idea has been revived - nowadays the league's aim is to form new ties of friendship and collaboration between member cities and promote European unity.

As citizens of another member of the league, we performed ten dances that originate in the times of the original Hanseatic League, accompanied by the wonderful "Lüneburger Stadtpfeiferey", a woodwind group.

We worked up quite a sweat since the weather was extremely nice, but it was great fun and afterwards, Tobi & I explored the Hansa Market with stalls from 120 cities and the medieval & renaissance camp site near the cathedral.

Comparing fashions at the stall from Viljandi (Estonia), where the next event will be held.

Later that night, the plague struck...

Some details:
My new poulaines (machine sewn out of leather I had lying around to test the fit, which was a good idea since they're a tad wide)

My new veil from behind, now finished with a hand rolled hem instead of hasty machine tacking.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Masked ball & new medieval veil & houppelande changes

While the pannier is currently on ice until I've decided if I like the size (and until the more pressing projects are done, to be honest), I've got some photos to share.

First there was a Venetian carnevale style masked ball for which I threw together a "Victorian Vampire" costume out of my normal & costume closets and made a mask. It's great fun to dance the waltz in a bustle!

Then some friends and I went to a ren faire/ medieval market thing and I made some changes to the green houppelande. I had been given an old fur stole by someone from my historical dance troupe, so now the trim is a dark brown. I also wanted a "brode harnysed girdille" and because my friends ran late, I made one out of scraps. Eventually, I want to exchange it for a tablet woven silk one, but I'd need to learn tablet weaving first...
(There aren't many photos of me, so this is rather bad - sorry)

The veil is a take on a painting by Rogier van der Weyden and I was quite happy when a lady walked up to me and told me she thought it was great.

I was wonderfully warm thanks to the woolen dress, hose, and my new pattens (of which I forgot to take a picture) - that made my boyfriend quite happy, because it meant he could steal my cloak. Now he's finally convinced I was right when I told him he needed pattens, too. This is him, with his chaperon that didn't like the wind:

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pannier planning & steampunk adventures

I've been getting some real life sewing done (a dress I wore to my boyfriend's grandmother's 80th birthday, a hand puppet for my goddaughter, some much needed alterations) but neglected costuming for a bit, thinking I had to buy new fabric for the big panniers...
Then I sat down and sketched, based on my waist size (an idea I got from this post by Lauren of This is what I came up with:

Turns out the linen in my stash is enough... so I'm fresh out of excuses.

Some costuming has been going on despite the sewing pause: Last weekend, some friends and I went to a museum to see Germany's first steampunk exhibit. It was quite nice and an occasion to dress up is always welcome.
I wore my hair in a simple braided updo and dressed in a rather severe style in black and white with no drapery. The bustle and skirt are by me, the blouse is a second hand folk costume one.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Green Houppelande

Yesterday a protestant monastery nearby held a public event centered around medieval culture including lute music, readings - and us dancing! I finished my green overdress in time and wore it with a stuffed roll hat in green (albeit cotton) velvet.

I had made the hat before getting the fabric for the houppelande when I was planning on red wool, so I'm going to make a new one that isn't quite so matchy-matchy.

But now on to some pictures (click on them for a bigger version):

I love the pleats at the waist!
I'm going to taper the sleeves a bit towards the end, as the fullness proved to be a bit annoying, and am planning on adding fur to them as well. The slight train is hard to manoeuver in some dances, but I love it too much, so I'm keeping it.

This was my inspiration board for the overdress (from back when I hadn't settled on the exact date, so there are a few late examples in the mix):

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Court ensembles project

It's official! I'm participating in Kendra's Court Ensembles Project  and this is going to be the beauty I'm trying to recreate:

It's british and a bit on the late side, so it's much more "normal" looking, but that's part of the appeal for me - it's something I probably wouldn't have done otherwise, but I could totally wear it to a few local events. (Costume College is just too far away for me, at least for the next two years)

So now I'm looking for the right fabric - it's a silk satin according to the V&A, but I'm thinking about using silk taffeta instead, because the satins I've seen so far didn't appeal to me and at almost double the price of taffeta they'd better at least look prettier. From what I've read so far, taffeta would have been alright - if anyone knows better, please tell me!

First of all, I'll need proper panniers, so far I've only made pocket hoops and a bum pad. I'm thinking about using the diagram from Corsets and Crinolines and altering it, as it's more flared.

In the meantime, the mid-15th century has me in its grip, as I'm off sick for the week and using the time spent on the sofa to hand-sew an overdress. Sewing large amounts of woolen fabric is just really cozy.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A little view back

I thought I'd share some photos of old costumes, as it's still really empty around here.

I'm in a group that meets every week to practice dances across the centuries - mostly just for fun, but some weeks ago we had a performance at a summer party a home for the elderly in the region held.
I'm in my underpetticoat in these pictures - I had finished the white petticoat with ruffles I should have worn to fit in with my group the night before, but put it on a hanger after ironing... and then forgot the hanger in the living room. Oh well...
My hair looked less patchy in real life, I swear! I really didn't want to wear the nylon wigs the rest wears, but there was some fear I might stick out with my dark hair, so I didn't just powder it a little like usual, but sprayed the heck out of it.

The dress is made from Ikea bedsheets (I was on a budget and like the flowers) using the J.P. Ryan Anglaise pattern.

I also painted a fan, following this one from the Met quite closely but used dancing figures adapted from "Le Bal Paré" by Antoine Jean Duclos for the scene in the middle.

Edit: Here's another photo of the same combination with just a bum pad...

...and a rather bad one (sorry) with the white skirt, with a makeshift quilted petticoat underneath.

And for something completely different: A dress based on 15th century Burgundian clothing (except for the shift's neckline which isn't correct). I love the reproduction thimble, even if I'm holding it in a weird way in the photo.
The dress was an adventure because I persuaded my boyfriend to help me drape a mockup directly on my body. It worked fine in the end, though. He's a gem. (Did I mention he also does my hair for 18th century purposes?)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Hello World

It has taken me quite a few years of lurking, but I'm finally going to blog about the costumes on which I spend a lot of my free time...

There's a sew-along of sorts initiated by Kendra Van Cleave that I just couldn't miss: The 18th century Court Ensembles Project. I hope my favourite gown isn't taken yet, as I'm really excited about it.

So hopefully I can share my progress and work on my goal of making costumes that look like a painting sprung to life.