Christmas outing

Last Sunday, ten days before Christmas, the Filmstaden arranged their annual Christmas market. I was there. Perhaps you wonder why?

Regencygentleman aka Mr Tigercrona

Filmstaden is the old studio where Swedish films were produced from 1920-1970. Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman began their careers here. The film industry moved elsewhere in the late 1960s and today a foundation is taking care of the few surviving buildings. They arrange guided tours, screening, talks on film history, etc. There is still a movie theatre, and a nice café and two restaurants. Below is the famous gate, gatehouse and the smaller studio.

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A famous film from the early days is The Saga of Gosta Berling, based on a novel from 1891.Greta_Garbo_in_Gösta_Berlings_Saga_1924

It was filmed here in 1924 starring a young Greta Garbo. The dramatic story is set in the 1820s in the western part of the country, near Norway, where lavish country houses and manors are tucked away in the dark woods. A defrocked but dashing clergyman (!) causes great commotion among the local gentry, especially the ladies. The film was a huge success and Ms Garbo left for Hollywood. Watch a clip here:

Back to us. The organizer wanted to highlight the film and invited us to help create the right atmosphere. Regency/Empire-era christmas fairs don´t happen very often in Sweden, so naturally I wanted to be there. I met up with Helena, who creates costumes from different eras. She was very elegant in a green pelisse with matching beret. Our base was a gorgeous sleigh which offered a good backdrop for photographing. Alas, the horse was as fake as the snow… But there were real horses too, and an open carriage, for those who wanted to take a tour. We got many questions about our clothes. We costumers like that, don´t we? The Swedish public was as always ever so ignorant about fashions from this era. But when you say “Jane Austen” they get it.

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Photo: Regencygentleman

Miss Helena and the horse in front of one of the studio buildings.

 

Photo: Regencygentleman

Later on we got some assistance from two gentlemen, Osmo and Peter Alexander. Here they´ve just enjoyed coffee and waffles in the gate house-turned-café.

 

Regencygentleman aka Mr Tigercrona

Tailcoat, breeches and top boots. The hat is one or two sizes too small, but the best I could do. It is a family heirloom, once worn by great-uncle August.

 

Regencygentleman aka Mr Tigercrona

The top boots were really comfortable, and looked great, so I guess they passed the test.

 

Photo: Regencygentleman

Photo: Regencygentleman

 

Photo: Regencygentleman aka Mr Tigercrona

Regency-Christmas-selfie.

 

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Regency Top Boots

Last week I pulled myself together and finally finished the boots. The project has been on hold, with the almost demolished boots tucked away deep in my closet since before the summer. I had to construct a feasible plan in my head.

I started with this, remember? A pair of classic Koenig’s riding boots crafted in fine calf leather. Right size for my feet but a good two inches too tall. Really nothing wrong with them, but not Regency. This is how got I started.

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I wanted this style of boot:

1815 Joseph-Antoine de Nogent

 

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Relatively little is written about them online (unless you are involved in hunting and riding) but they are seen in so many portraits and fashion plates. They are known as top boots or hunt boots. They are distinguished from other riding boots by the top that is turned down to reveal a lighter coloured leather. Today this type of boot is the correct wear on ceremonial fox-hunts and such. Other Regency boots are of course the famed Hessians and later on the Wellingtons.

My plan was to look for cheap second-hand boots and cut off the tops, but quite recently I remembered there were some discarded cuts of tan leather in our stash. (A medieval shoe-project years ago, but originally a 1970s skirt.) After a lot of debating whether there was enough – this is what took time, pieces were very odd with stains and tears – I finally came to the decision to go for it. And actually it could not have been simpler. I had dreaded the hand-sewing, but needed only one seam per cuff, and could use the holes made by the original seams. The seams along the edges are not supposed to be visible, so I took a shortcut and simply glued them. Then pulled the cuffs on the boots, and they fit perfectly. Folded the top to the inside of the boot and attached it with glue (while watching the Nobel-prize festivities on television, it was 10 December). Finished off with a quality shoe polish (I can recommend Kiwi Shoe Polish), black for the boot and medium brown for the cuffs. Three coats darkened the cuffs to the desired effect. See?

Photo: Regencygentleman

Scraps of very light shade of tan leather might work?

 

photo: Regencygentleman

I was able to sew along the original seams, so it wasn´t that difficult after all. This is the wrong side.

 

Photo: Regencygentleman

The seams along the bottom edges are not supposed to be visible, so I simply glued them. I used Casco Contact adhesive, suitable for leather, textile, plastic, etc.

 

Photo: Regencygentleman

The tight cuff is pulled on to the boot. It is about 5 inches (12 cm) wide. The seam is positioned at the middle back. The top is folded over and glued to the inside of the boot.

 

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Almost done. They need a good coat of polish. Sorry for the bad photo, but it was a gloomy day.

 

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Cuff is glued on. I saved the tab at the back and folded it over the cuff. It was originally on the inside, before I cut off two inches of the boot. Not perfect, but getting there…

 

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My top boots are done! After three coats of medium brown polish the cuffs were darkened to the right shade of brown. Notice the spot on the left boot? I was hoping it might disappear with the polish, and it nearly did, but not entirely. It is no disaster. Signs of wear only gives the impression of Mr. Elton being out and about…

 

The difficult part was actually cutting off the tops evenly, since the boots had curved tops. The raw edges are now covered by the new cuffs. They are not perfect, but any unevenness will be hidden by stockings and breeches.

So now I have a decent pair of boots, without going bankrupt. And of course I found use for them this past weekend. A new post is coming up later this week!

If you are interested in making yourself a pair of Hessians, there is an excellent tutorial over at My Darling Dear and the Regency.