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Swedish Edwardian Teacher


Swedish Teacher: side Swedish Teacher
Swedish Teacher: corset and combination Swedish Teacher: corset cover and old petticoat Swedish Teacher


YWU comp logo improver RLast year, I received some vintage underpinnings that my parents had found in an old coffin, stored in the attic of the family farmhouse. Amongst these clothes, there were a corset, drawers and a petticoat. The same summer, I also got a vintage sewing machine, of the same age, but from my husband’s family.

When the theme for this competition was announced, I decided to sew clothes matching my heirloom, on my vintage machine. I wanted to create something that might actually havebeen worn by my relative, who owned these clothes, if she had had my taste and interests. Further, I wanted to find an occupation for this fictional Edwardian self, where my eagerness to learn could be matched with staying on the farm. After some research, I decided to go for a country teacher (I have teachers on both of my parents' sides of the family), as this was the primary occupation for ambitious Swedish women of the time, who wanted to study and work. As education is the most powerful weapon against war, I consider this as my contribution against the Great War!

The income of country teachers was modest. Swedish literature from this time praises the woman who knows how to dress beautifully without following the fashion too anxiously, and who knows how to keep her clothes in a fine condition. Thus, I can confidently argue for combining the differently dated parts of the costume with each other.

Unfortunately, I was not able to move the sewing machine to my Danish home, so instead of historically accurate techniques, I used my modern machine and all its advantages. My first project was to recreate the corset, which is supposedly dated to 1908. I ordered the materials needed from England, but forgot the suspender end grips. Last week I received this from a friend, who had inherited them from an old relative. I had already sewn a Victorian chemise and drawers, so now I wanted to make something else and decided upon a combination of chemise and drawers (1913). I translated the lovely, expensive versions I had seen at museum pages, into something affordable for a farmer’s daughter. Except for the green ribbon, I solely used inherited materials, from bed sheet and laces removed from pillow cases, down to the thread and buttons.

After having finished the corset and combination, I had no inspiration left for the corset cover and petticoat. Therefore, I made a simple combined corset cover and chemise (1910-12). In the picture, I wear the corset cover under my inherited petticoat. For Sunday wear, my fictional self would wear my previously sewn woollen skirt and machine embroidered cotton blouse (about 1910). The fun part was creating the clothes that the teacher would wear for work. She should look neat and respectable, at the same time as the clothes should be practical and at least a bit modern. After some research, I decided to sew a shirtwaist with pin tucks (about 1910) to combine with a modern skirt (1914). Three days ago, I was worried that I had failed completely, as my husband looked skeptically at my half finished costume, but when the costume was finally finished, both he and I were pleased to see it was all I had planned for my costume to be.

Dress Diary

  What an amazing find, and how exciting to use it as inspiration for your outfit from the skin out. Lovely results!  
  Thank you, Jennie! I feel very privileged to inherit such treasures and it was fortunate that this theme was picked this year. Otherwise, I don't think that I would have taken on such a project. lol  
  I agree! I love the idea of recreating an outfit that could well have been worn by an actual person, and one of your family members, too. Beautiful work (love the shirtwaist), well done!!  
  Thank you, Historica! It's so nice to hear someone appreciating one's work. Haha, I had a real struggle with that shirtwaist, so I am very happy that you like it!tongue  
  Very nice! I love the style of the black skirt you're wearing in the first pictures! If you don't mind me asking, did you use a particular pattern for it? :) What a special story about your use of many family items!  
  Thank you, Maggie! I'm sorry for not answering earlier. I recieved an email with your comment, but when I went to this page to answer, I could not see it here, so I supposed that the comment was deleted. I considered to find your email adress and answer thus, but I didn't want you to think that you had got yourself a stalker. tongue

Anyway... I don't mind. On the contrary I'm very happy that you ask! I didn't use a pattern, but was inspired by pictures from fashion magazines. The two pictures that inspired me most, are included in my "http://blog.susannaart.se/#post18", at the top and in the middle.
  You did a lovely job of making something simple but elegant.  
  Thank you, McBurbage! That was what I aimed for, so I'm glad to hear this from you! smile  
  I love it when someone takes the time and care to create a whole outfit, from the foundations up. You've put so much incredible work into each piece of this ensemble and the final result looks stunning, because every little detail is right and the fit is perfect. You really do look like you've just walked out of a picture...  
  Thank you so much, Polly! I'm so happy for your wonderful, encouraging feedback! *walking on clouds*  

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