Herjofsnes challenge No. 39

Herjofsnes challenge No. 39 - 2

Earlier this year, Elina at Neulakko started the Herjolfsnes challenge on Facebook after a bunch of us realised that we all bought the same fabric with the intention that it would become a garment based on the extant garments from Herjolfsnes, Greenland. With the books “Woven into the earth” and/or “Medieval Garments Reconstructed” as a base and help.

Herjofsnes challenge No. 39 - 3
Herjofsnes challenge No. 39 - 4

I decided to make a no. 39 based on the fact that there was no strange seams, no singling or tablet weaving involved. I wanted to take the “easy way out” as I always seem to make things harder and more complicated. I need to exercise simplicity.
Also I really wanted to make a short sleeved overdress and the double pointed gore in front and back is so pretty.

Herjofsnes challenge No. 39 - 8

The fabric is a white/gray wool twill fabric from Medeltidssmode.se it is a bit fluffy but not to thick. It was very nice to work with and for this dress I decided to not use any measuring while sewing. Trying to get over my tailor training of exact measurement but trust my eyes.

Herjofsnes challenge No. 39 - 1

Herjofsnes challenge No. 39 - 13

The dress is sewn with wool tread using only running stitches as the original. All the seams are sewn to the dress with overcast stitches.

Herjofsnes challenge No. 39 - 10

Both in the neckline, hem and sleeves 1cm is folded in and cast down. The extant gown have no filler threads mentioned at all so I decided not to use any either.

Herjofsnes challenge No. 39 - 11

There is two rows of stab stitching at the neckline and sleeves and in the bottom hem there is one row of stab stitches. I also stab stitched the top part of the front and back gore as the original. It is a good way of defining and making a durable edge. Locking the seam allowances down and helps from stretching.

Herjofsnes challenge No. 39 - 12

Herjofsnes challenge No. 39 - 14

Herjofsnes challenge No. 39 - 15

Herjofsnes challenge No. 39 - 9

Herjofsnes challenge No. 39 - 6

The neckline have two pairs of eyelets, the text does not mention anything about what the were sewn with but as all the other seams are sewn with wool, I used that for the eyelets as well.

Herjofsnes challenge No. 39 - 5

Herjofsnes challenge No. 39 - 7

making your own medieval dress pins

Dress pins
Dress pins are a must have for the person wearing veils and wimples and so. But they are surprisingly expensive for what they are. I do understand why but still, I am a student and sometimes it is hard on the wallet to pay around four to five Euro for one single dress pin.

A metal working friend of mine said “well do them yourself, they are really not that hard to make”. But I did not really believe her, nothing is hard when you already have the skills of the material.
But when cleaning my worktable I found a piece of silver wire I bought a few year ago to wire wrap some jewellery and I thought that I can try it anyway. You can not really do anything worse then failing and if you do you don not have to tell anyone that you even tried.

But really, they ARE NOT that hard to make. It took me around 20 minutes to complete my first two needles, they are not all that pretty, but they are not ugly and works perfectly. And they cost me virtually nothing at all and are in fancy real silver.

A popular type of pin heads are the wire wrap and there are a lot of extant medieval pins found with this type of heads.

Dress pins - 1
I started with a piece of wire, it is quite soft at the moment but don’t worry, we will harden it later.

Dress pins - 2
Using a round nose pliers I started to make the wire wrap.

Dress pins - 3
Keep twisting the loose tail around.

Dress pins - 4
Here are my tools, the small pilers are a bit to small to be easy to use, but I got them ages ago and they were dirt cheap. The big one is just a ordinary wire cutter.

Dress pins - 5
Work your heads and try to make them look even and nice. When you have finished the wrap, cut the remaining tail of.

Dress pins - 6
I make two pins at the same time, to save time.

Dress pins - 7
On my tiny anvil I hammer the thread with a hammer. Any hard surface will work, but there can be marks on it after so use nothing to fancy. The hammer is just an ordinary builders hammer nothing fancy at all. We hammer the thread to make it harder, as it first was to soft to be able to use as pins.

Dress pins - 8
I try to hammer the thread all around, it will become a bit flat but we will sand it later so no worries.

Dress pins - 9
Sand it down with a piece of fine sand paper.

Dress pins - 10
Then cut the pin in two, try to cut at an angle. This will save you time later.

Dress pins - 11
When just cut the end are a bit to blunt to be used as they are.

Dress pins - 12
I use a file to file the ends to sharp points.

Dress pins - 13
See the difference.

Dress pins - 14
And that was that, they are now ready to be used as dress pins.


So one is supposed to summon up the year that have passed and here comes my 2009

necklacesembroidered pendantsblack on black pincushionpair of stays2009-01-09 pocket hoops
I came up with a new version of my burned books necklace, did some embroidery. I started on a pair of stays and pocket hoops but it took me quite some time to finish them up.

casualsteam  shirt 1the finished jacket frontmy birthday cakegates print - under "construction"gray wool dress - front18th century pair of stays almost done
I made a steampunk inspired shirt, finished my striped jacket, became 21 and therefore made a cake, posted my panties tutorial, printed on fabric, made a gray wool dress and thought that I would finish the pair of stays soon. (it is not done yet ;))

summer dress finishednew dressbutton corset - details backPhotobucketnew necklace designblack warpcoin purses and a bow
I started march out with making a summer dress, then I made another dress to, I had a mini photo shoot all by myself on my balcony, I covered a corset in vintage buttons, I posted my “Victorian skirt” tutorial, I made more pretty necklaces, I wrote about the school I studied at and I also made some bows and purses.

finished rag rugcollectionre:design24 setup 5weaving damask - closeup on pattern
I made a rag rug, my sister turned 13 so I made her a cake, I was busy working with a final collection in school, I entered a competition and won my own sewing machine and I started to weave damask a technique that I totally loved.

button corset 2 - back
May was a bad month for me, my father passed away and that made me tired and I had no energy, to be able to keep the school work up I did not tell my teachers or classmates about it either, I had no time for being sad or being treated different since we were at the end of the term. I did some some things this month, I posted a tutorial on how I sew my corsets which is the thing that is most visited post in my entire blog and I covered a second corset with buttons.

swim dressfashion showorganic cotton jersey balloon dressdamask weave nr2empire waist balloon dressdamask dresscherries dresscarpetbagpanniers
This month was mostly about dresses! I made a swim dress, we had a fashion show in school, I made a organic cotton jersey dress, I started on a new damask fabric, I made a dress for my fathers funeral, I made a dress out of the damask fabric I made, I made a dress with cherries on it, I made a carpet bag and I finally got around to taking pictures of the finished panniers.

sewing a balloon skirtsteampunk heart - beside a pocket watch movement
I worked all of July so there was not really a creative month for me but I managed to make a tutorial on how to make a balloon skirt, drafted my first corset pattern for someone else then me and I also made steampunk hearts.

I did not make anything this month, but I moved and started a new school.

This month I did not make anything either, I felt bad about it and made a tutorial on how to make a pencil skirt and a tutorial for a really simple skirt.

six by six -  furrosa - finishedgreen dress - onstriped corsetleatherworking - iron on transfer and d-ringsleather colour sampleswool balloon dress - mirror picturemoose apron - frontruffle skirtanother woll dress in the makingbook binding
My new school started in the end of august but I ha no time blogging about stuff until October, crazy crazy but fun fun! I tried out hands on new machines, made a leather rose, I made a green dress, I started on and almost finished a striped corset, I learned leather working techniques and how to colour leather, I made a wool balloon dress that became my definite favourite this year, I made a apron out of moose leather, I started some projects I never finished as this ruffle petticoat and this wool dress and I tried my hands on book binding.

scrapswool balloon dress - close up
Busy in school making stuff I had no time for blogging but I managed to post about how to turn leather scraps into useful things, I also translated my corset sewing tutorial to Swedish and made a peter pan collar drafting tutorial.

Xena outfit - on dollChristmas chocolateChristmas wrappingknäckcray dupion corset - lacingpaper model - straight onChristmas dress - closeupstriped corset - onmanipulation fabric - honeycomb smocksmocking leather - in progress on dollCordula B.-Morich
In December I made a lot of stuff but I have not posted about all I made yet. I did make a Xena outfit for a costume party at school, I did a lot of Christmas related stuff, chocolate, gift wrapping and “knäck”. I also made a gray dupion corset. built stuff out of cardboard, a Christmas dress, I finished the striped corset, I smocked a lot of fabric, and some leather to and then I also bought a kick ass pitcher that costed so much more then I could actually afford as a poor student.

book binding

We had a short course in bookbinding, learning the basic techniques to be able to make nice portfolios and such.
We did a lot of test things but I made one thing that was fully finished, a scetch book.

The base of it all is thick cardboard
book binding

I found this really nice picture of gentlemen in a magazine, a commercial for a store with the slogan “different men is equally handsome”
book binding - front

The book is folded up and there is a normal sketching pad.
book binding - inside

There is a LOT of papers in it
book binding - lots of papers

There are book binders screws so that you can remove and refill papers.
book binding - book screws

A old gentlemen on the back to, a different version of the commercial “different men is equally handsome”
book binding - back

I love it that it look like a “real” book when it is closed.
book binding - lika a real book

steampunk hearts

Oh man, have I been busy? Sad enough it have been busy with working and not busy with nice craft things.
steampunk heart

But now I have had two free days and thought that I would do something with a idea I have had quite some time. I designed some prints for school back in February, mostly I made repeating prints, but I also made some prints that were not supposed to be repeated. One of them was a steampunk heart, the placement of the parts are base on real pocket watches. If you were to make a real pocket watch which was heart shaped, this is a possible placement of those parts.

steampunk heart - t-shirt
It is great as a print, but I saw the possibilities of making it into a jewelry to.

So last night I decided to try it out, making them as brooches this time. They are made out of paper clay that is painted and and then I have put real cogs and screws into them.
They were tricky to make since the paper clay is quite brittle when it is thin, but after a lot of filing, carving and sand papering I could paint it and assemble the pieces.

steampunk heart - big
steampunk heart - small
I like the smaller one best, since it is more of the size I was after. The size of a ordinary pocket watch movement, but since it is smaller it is harder to make, so I started with making the larger one.

steampunk heart - beside a pocket watch movement
Both of them are for sale for 77$ if you are interested in one please email me on coolacatta(at)hotmail.com since my etsy shop is on vacation mode, all my other jewelry is out on a little trip without me at the moment.

what is hapening atm

Oh my, have I been busy, yes. But well I am ALWAYS busy. I’m doing a damask weave right now, and there is a lot of preparing work involved in the process. And I have also finished my “Six little black dresses” a project we were given in our design class. “Make a collection of 4-5 garments” was the assignment.


I kind of took it to overkill since I made six dresses, and also made 1:4 of life size mannequins and dresses. I also tried my hand on bookbinding for the first time making a book. If you wish to see the full collection please visit my “bilddagbok” (picture diary, it is in Swedish, but there is not a whole lot of text anyway) I am really pleased with it all, it all turned out as I wished.


new necklace design

These will be up on etsy soon, so grab one before they are sold, just email me at coolacatta(at)hotmail.com if you are interested. They come with a silver plated chain in the length of your choice and are 200 SEK + 12 SEK in shipping (31 dollars + shipping 4 dollars).

new neclace design - on

dress makers dummies

dress makers dummies
I have made some dress makers dummies in 1/4 of life size. First I made a body out of paper clay after a measurements chart for a size 38 C (European size) when it was dry I covered it first in saran wrap. This was really stupid since this made my mold all bumpy inside :/ If you are not going to use the body for anything I would lacquer the paper clay body and then put a thin layer of paper clay over that and then put out papier mache over that when it is all dried.
Then I covered it all with papier mache to make it all stable. When it was all dried I cut the papier mache in two parts so that I had a front and a back and then I painted it all with liquid latex.

When dry I duck taped the two parts together and than it was just to pour the plaster into the mold and wait for it to dry, I also put a old wine cork that I had duck taped in the bottom of the dummy, to make a hole for a “foot” to be attached to the dummy to make it actually stand up.

When the plaster have cured one just take away the duck tape and the cork and pop the dummy out of the mold. The you clean up the seams with a knife and put it somewhere to cool down. The plaster can become quite hot when it is curing.

Since my dummies ended up bumpy I also sewed fabric cover for them. Now all they need is feet and then they are totally finished. The good thing with having a mold is that one easy can make lots of identical things.

printing on velvet

chandelier print in gold
I tried out printing on velvet yesterday, and it turned out really great, I only needed one layer of colour and the gold vent really well with the black, I’m thinking of making a black velvet skirt with these chandeliers on,
chandelier print in gold - finished

my bjd is on the move

I am making a bjd with the proportions of a woman size 38 (European size) and the I am working with measurements that are is 1:4 of “life size” so I will end up with a doll that is approximately 41cm tall (16.1 inch) I am striving for making a body that is proportionate with a real woman’s body, it will probably end up as a curvier size 38 than my measurement guides calls for I like curves.

The reason that I am going after a measurement guide for “real people” is that I am studying textile and fashion design and we draw patterns both in full size (after our own measurements) and for 1:4 of a size 38 (European size) and this way It would be dead easy for me to make clothing for my doll being used to making patterns for this size already, and I feel that this size of doll is manageable, not to big and not to small.

This is also the reason why my body have hips and arm stumps on it, I am making a couple of mannequins to show of my collection that I am making in 1:4 scale and those need hips and stumps to make the garments hang as they should.


So I started the whole project with making the body part, I have a Styrofoam core and then paper clay over that. The measurements are right but it is suffering of really bad case of two different breast sizes That is kind of fixed after I took the pictures. There is still a lot of work on it, and a lot of sanding to do, but this is what it looks like so far.
I do not have a sketch of how I want the body to look like, I like the process of things growing into them self and since I have my measurements to rely on I now how long the legs should be and so on.

For the head I did make a sketch, I have worked after a picture, so to make it more doll like it will end up with bigger eyes that this sketch, but as I have said I like things to grow into them self. The head is really rough at the moment, I just wanted to get some shapes up and the profile to be ok.