It’s been a long time since I have had the time or a reason to update. But in the last week two things have happened and one of them is that I finally started and finished up my Swedish court gown, or “svenska nationella dräkten”. This courtwear was invoked by Gustav III (1746-1792) in 1778, some said because he was tired of the ladies-in-waiting always nagging on each other over their clothing, but it most likely had more to do with his wish to rule over his court just as much as the country, to be able to decide for the people what they could ware. Most of the court was displeased of course, the clothes was neither fashionable nor especially pleasing to the eye at the time. But Gustav himself loved them and their “historical touch” (Gustav was a bit of a reenactor himself of his time, loved to dress up as an “medieval knight” and have tournaments in his backyard…)
How it looked in 1778 and through the 1780s. Weirdly, after Gustavs death in 1792 it didn’t disappear as one would have thought since it was so disliked, but instead was used as a Swedish court symbol at weddings, coronations and in official paintings, but more modelled to fit the fashion at the time. And as this it was used at special occasions, and not constantly by all at court as it first did, up to this day and age actually. Queen Silvia has worn one type of the dress in the 1980s I think it was.
Anyways, I have for a long time wanted to do at least one of the many designs from 1778 to the 1840s, after that I find it a bit dull, and I decided to start with the simplest and cheapest one, if you consider need of material, and that is the one from around 1810. I chose to pick most of my inspiration from these two portraits of Désirée(1777-1860), queen consort of Sweden and Norway. The left one from 1812, the right one dates from 1811.The original dress is probably closed in the back, but mine has a drop-front to make it easier for me to dress myself and is made of silk and cotton. The main fabric in my dress is silk velvet, and then the bodice is lined with black plain cotton. The sleeves are in three layers of fabric, lining in white cotton with a middle layer of white silk taffeta, and then a silk organza-like fabric that was a shawl before I cut it up for this. The grate on the sleeves is made of velvet ribbon and then I sewed on some glass pearls for decoration just as it seems to be in one of the portraits, since I found the dress a bit too plain without them.
The dress is mostly hand sewn, except for the long straight seams in the skirt and to attach the bodice pieces with each other.
I hope I will get the chance to wear this at some event soon, because I really like how it turned out and feel really pretty walking around in it although I have gained quite a lot of weight because of medicine and stress in the last year which has made me less up for costume making since I never know how long I will be able to wear things. Until an event appears the apartment will have to do though, but it has become quite the oasis for me and Peter since we started to refurnish it with old things, both inherited and bought!