Svenska Folkdräkter

cover

Thank you all so much for the wealth of information you provided in your comments on the last post. I am now happily at the trip-planning stage, and am really looking forward to visiting Sweden in the early Summer. And as if to provide a colourful antidote to this January’s rather relentless grey, today this book arrived, which I have spent the morning enjoying. It is a 1949 English translation of a book published by the Nordiska Museet, documenting traditional working-class Swedish “costume” by district and parish. Ingemar Tunander’s illustrations are really beautiful, and one must be circumspect about the effect such illustrations have of fixing “costume” in time, as if it were somehow static and unchanging, but the book’s commentary is interesting in acknowledging this, and in its remarks about the influence of modern economic and fashionable changes on what was regarded “traditional” dress. The book has certainly given me lots to think about. Some of the knitwear is spectacular, even in illustration, and I’m particularly interested in the over-apron reticules which closely resemble British women’s pockets. Ah, roll on Summer, and a visit to the Nordiska Museet.

Details:
Anna Maja Nylen, Swedish Peasant Costumes, illst. Ingemar Tunander; trans. William Cameron (Nordiska Museet, 1949)

narke

halsingland

smaland

dalarna

sodermanland

halland

not a onesie?

notaonesie

I purchased this boiler suit from LHD Marine supplies in Lerwick a while ago and have been wearing it pretty much constantly for the past three weeks. We have not had a washing machine; I have been spending most of my time decorating, and for both reasons it has formed a useful uniform. For some reason I feel very happy wearing it. Perhaps this is because the boiler suit makes me feel as if I am getting things done, and indeed, I actually AM. Last time I was in Shetland I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine about these garments, which, given the amount of serious sea and land work that goes on there, are pretty ubiquitous. I was told that many Shetland men have boiler suits of ascending value, and keep one for “best”. I am seriously considering doing the same.

boilersuit

My “thing” for boiler suits is of some long standing, as I recall that, for my twelfth birthday I asked my Mum to sew me one, which she kindly did. This stupendous 1980s garment was pale pink, and featured turn ups and giant batwing sleeves. I have no photographs of me wearing it, but given that I also had a terrible perm at the time, I fear that I must have looked like a small, pastel-clad circus entertainer. I proudly wore the pink boiler suit for the first party I was allowed to hold without the presence of my parents. My only recollection of this momentous event is that Christopher Hodgkinson played frisbee with some mini tacos, firing them into next door’s yard, where, after the effects of evening rain, they expanded to form a soggy snack-based crazy paving. There were words, but not of the serious kind.

My affection for my boiler suit leads me to question my horrified reaction to the animal-print onesies that are the evening-wear of choice of many Edinburgh youths, as well as to the fleecy “leisure” suits that are sold for festering on the sofa. All these garments say to me is “fire hazard” and “adult baby”, neither of which are positive associations. Or perhaps I am merely late to the boiler-suit party as onesies of all kinds were certainly the thing a couple of seasons ago. I recall I saw an entirely functional-looking navy boiler suit on sale for £350 last year at YMC. All I can say is that you can get a boy’s age 9-10 32″ boiler suit from LHD Marine supplies for £15 and it will do you just fine. Do you have a boiler suit? Or do you, as I, arbitrarily divide different kinds of all-in-ones into categories of acceptability? I am interested to hear about your relationship to these garments.

This digression comes to you from upstairs, where I have finished the woodwork and am about to start painting the walls. Below me, the kitchen is actually IN, with its (gulp) oak surfaces and exciting appliances (including a dishwasher, which I have never previously possessed – the novelty!). But the plaster is still wet, and the walls have yet to be painted and tiled. This will happen in a couple of weeks and then I promise there will be pictures. In any case, I hope to have my studio painted and completed over the next couple of days and be back at my desk by Friday, so if you’ve been waiting for an email response from me I’ll be beginning to catch up then.

V8468

yoke

. . . is the pattern number of my new dress. It is an ‘easy’ vogue pattern, and, having worked myself up (or perhaps down?) into the the zen-like state that I must be in to cut out fabric and sew at the machine, I knocked it up over a few hours yesterday. I used some remnants of hedgehog fabric, the remainder of the liberty tana lawn I used to line these ties with a while ago, and just over a metre of linen for the dress’s main section. I was pleased I actually managed to get a front and two backs out of that length of fabric, as it was touch and go when laying out the pattern pieces. In this instance, it is clearly good to be short. I didn’t include the pattern’s pocket-flaps (without pockets!), but added my own patch pockets instead.

pocket

. . .with buttons from Duttons. I think the fabric of the dress is brown, but Tom and my knitting buddies say it is green. I’ve always had a bit of an issue with colours on that olive-grey-brown boundary. Anyway, I’ve been wanting to experiment with some home-sewn summer clothes that are good for walking in, and this was the prototype garment. This dress seems designed for maximum ease of movement. There’s enough space in it for striding along at speed, but, it does not flap about. I can happily confirm this last, as, to test its walk-ability this morning, I ascended a small hill.

dress1

Here I am at the top of North Berwick Law. That white blob behind me out at sea is the Bass Rock, home to seventeenth-century prisoners and twenty-first century gannets. Tom had to move about a bit to get the right angle, as on a few earlier shots I appeared to be wearing the bass rock like a jolly hat. And in this next pic, the wall and I seem to have more or less the same palate.

dress2
interesting.

Anyway, I would recommend this pattern both for straightforward sewing and ease of movement. I like the cut and fit and it has some neat, simple finishing details (yoke facing catches all edges &c). And whatever colour that linen actually is, I like it too. And very lucky that I already had a cardigan in exactly the same indeterminate shade . . .

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,458 other followers