Three bodices lying in the snow near the city of Lillehammer, waiting – well, what are they waiting for? They are waiting for a dress! I have woven three new folk costume dress fabrics in cooperation with folk costume tailor Mona Løkting of Staslig – Håndverk & tradisjon, inspired by old folk costumes in the museum archive. If you wonder how some of the originals looked like, check out this blog post.
One of the challenges we met with was that the yarns we use now are different from the yarns used in the old costumes. 150 Years ago fabrics were woven at home, on the farm, most often with homespun yarn from the farms own sheep flock.
Moreover, many sheep breeds we keep now, did not exist in those days, but are a product of the industrialized agriculture, promoted by the government after the last war. And yes, the sheep breed is very important, because the wool quality and properties differ a lot between sheep breeds.
The oldest dresses in the museum had a woolen warp and so do our fabrics. As weft we picked yarn from the old Norwegian short tail landrace, a sheep breed which has lived in Norway since the iron age. It’s wool is robust and has a fine lustre. In the old days, folk costumes were everyday clothes, clothing was expensive and it was very important that a garment could last for many years.
I simply love this! Can you spot it? There is a weaving mistake in the dress at the museum. Weavers made mistakes 150 years ago, as we do today.
I almost cannot wait to see the finished folk costumes! Mona has already posted a photo of a dress in the making on her Instagram account, and it looks simply gorgeous! You can find her at @staslig_bunad.
If you should pick a fabric for your folk costume, which one would you choose?