Taking a Turn Around Hjo, Redux

Our trip to Sweden gave me an opportunity really put my 1890s wardrobe through its paces and it was a total success. The weather and location were perfect and it all came together nicely.


Enjoying a twirl outside a gorgeous 1898 Swedish country house and hoping it doesn’t rain! I had fun today wearing (finally) my new 90s gown with all the restored extant embroidery. We come home to the US on Monday, then I can post the photos from the original museum gown before it was restored and answer questions like: “how did you get your sleeves to stay that big” and other fun thoughts one learns along the way. It’s fun to wear history when one can, but it’s a piece that will require gentle care. The hat is a deaccsession museum piece…another piece that requires gentle handling. The parasol I recovered in silk, then used one of my original lace covers.

NOTE: The video actually plays with the correct side up.



On Year Ago In Sweden…

One year ago we were spending our Labor Day weekend in Hjo, Sweden and the end of Summer there is definitely different from Southern California! 😉


Adjusting epaulets and hats turning into sails, Sweden’s Summer is not like what we have in LA…more hairpins, please!



Adventures In Restoration: The 1896 Dress Restoration & Recreation Project, Part 2

The process of creating a pattern off a disintegrating original dress was not a quick one and in reality, it originally got its start back in 2011. At the time, our only goal was to create a pattern and ultimately recreate the dress in a new, somewhat re-imagined form. At the same time, I was focused more in restoring the hat that had accompanied the dress- it was in more usable condition and wasn’t a complete write-off and that took a lot of our time. It wasn’t until 2019 with the our traveling to an 1890s-themed dance in Hjo, Sweden that the spur was given to bring the patterns we had drafted into a finished 1896 day dress. Fashion creation doesn’t always follow a straight path but in the end, we arrived at our destination with a felling of accomplishment. 🙂


Now that I was able to take a pattern of the original dress as discussed in our last post, we now move on to creating the reconstruction. Here’s the fashion plate for my silhouette inspiration along with what I ultimately made. Check out that amazing hem sweep!

Once I finally whittled down the components, it became easier to make a plan. Of course I chose one of the most difficult shades ever to match…but it came together. 🙂

Now, to take a step back…just in case you thought this process was glamorous…I was able to find a silk taffeta in a lilac that harmonized with the embroidery, so I decided to use that. I had dyed a piece of silk previously that matched the color perfectly, but I felt it was too matchy-matchy. The striae silk gave the gown depth. Cuffs and skirt trim is silk moire taffeta, that made everything “Zing.”

Nothing reads “1890s like Gigot sleeves…

Balancing the poufs in those amazing sleeves…there are boned sleeve supports and tartalan underneath, like little crinolines.
SCIENCE!

All the antique lace and trim has to be hand stitched, but it’s a lovely way to bond with this dress.

Hand finishing the dog leg opening at the waist and slipping in a gorgeous Art Nouveau buckle that I purchased from Elizabeth Emerson Designs. See how the sleeves are “deflated” without the sleeve supports? Sad little sleeves… 🙂

Hand slipping the skirt facings closed. And voila, the final product…Enjoying my “Anne of Green Gables” moment of puffed Gigot sleeves:

And now some pictures of the dress in action:

Sideways hug, so as not to smash my fashionable sleeves.
I forgot to bring the beautiful pleated organza frill for my neckline, so the next time I wear this…it will look so much nicer. But here we are, in Hjo, Sweden…one of the most beautiful places on earth. Counting our blessings and appreciating every minute spent with old and new friends

Sideways hug, so as not to smash my fashionable sleeves. I forgot to bring the beautiful pleated organza frill for my neckline, so the next time I wear this…it will look so much nicer. But here we are, in Hjo, Sweden…one of the most beautiful places on earth. Counting our blessings and appreciating every minute spent with old and new friends. 🙂

Now you can see how the gown nearly stands on it’s own…the parasol has a lovely original lace cover, just enough to allow sunshine through but offer protection.

How did I get that shape? It’s not just corsetry…it’s sleeve supports, hip padding, and proper petticoats. The breeze helps. 

My favorite image from the event, I love how the gown is in flight with the breeze! 

Taking A Turn Around Hjo…

Enjoying a twirl outside a gorgeous 1898 Swedish country house and hoping it doesn’t rain! I had fun today wearing (finally) my new 90s gown with all the restored extant embroidery. We come home to the US on Monday, then I can post the photos from the original museum gown before it was restored and answer questions like: “how did you get your sleeves to stay that big” and other fun thoughts one learns along the way. It’s fun to wear history when one can, but it’s a piece that will require gentle care. The hat is a deaccsession museum piece…another piece that requires gentle handling. The parasol I recovered in silk, then used one of my original lace covers.

NOTE: The video actually plays with the correct side up.

And Now For A New Belle Epoch Ball Gown…

Inspired by Sargent’s portraits, my newest Belle Epoque gown has a gorgeous suite of extant lace and net. The simplest designs mask the most difficult techniques…but this dress dances divinely. Seed pearl choker from Elizabeth Emerson Designs, earrings from Dames A La Mode, gown of course is yours truly…more images to come.