Danish Swan



Cecilie Bull Alexandrovitsch


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Thank you Saxkjær Photography, for the beautiful you pictures.

Outline the story …

When I was a little girl my dad used to read me this fairytale "The Wild Swans" by H.C Andersen. This one in particular is quite special to me as it was one he read to me as if i was the main character I have vivid memories of the tale, and how I imagined her to be like. I’ve always wanted to bring the story to life, but I’ve never really had an excuse to do so, so when my friend Kitty told me what the contest theme was I was intrigued, but hesitant- as I’ve never sewn anything before - usually my husband will be the one sewing in this house. But I’ve seen Kitty's work for the competition and wanted to be a part of it. This year i took the plunge, I was so scared - but i’m SO happy I did!

“Your brothers can be saved” God said, “have thy courage and endurance Though the ocean is softer than your delicate hands- but it doesn’t feel the pain your hands will feel (...) Do you see this stinging nettle I hold in my hand In the cave where you sleep, many of its kind grow Only these, and the ones growing on the graves in the cemetery are usable- please take note These are the ones you must pick, even when they will burn your skin to blisters (...) with these you will have to twist and bind into 11 chainmailles”’

Outline the construction…

The king finds her in her cave. “Follow me” the King said “you cannot stay here! If you are as good as you are beautiful, then I shall dress you in silk and velvet and place a golden crown upon your head (...)” Then he carried her to his horse".

For the actual construction, I made the corset in one layer from the TV110 Truly Victorian pattern, but made it without any busk. The skirt is a self drafted pattern, drafted directly onto the fabric to put as much of it to use as possible. I chose this silvery blue taffeta, since it reminds me of silk- like in the story! I made the hip fins with exposed spring steel, keeping them in place with my hand cut and hand sewn stinging nettle leafs in faux-leather, and a slim blue velvet strip in the center, matching the wider velvet strip in the front of the corset. I chose the wide spring steel adorned with my leafs to symbolise the chainmaille she had to make from the nettle leaves. The pleating in the front was quite a challenge, but a lot of fun to do. I draped it whilst on a dress form and held it with needles before securing it with basting stitches and finally securing it with the wide velvet strips and beads.




  1. Avatar Natalia on March 11, 2021 at 7:15 pm

    This is absolutely gorgeous! I’m in love with the metal detail on the corset and the beautiful silhouette you’ve achieved!

  2. Avatar Mandy on March 11, 2021 at 8:42 pm

    I adore everything about this; the pleating in the front, the decorative (very clever) use of spiral boning, and the colour palette. Great job!

  3. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 11, 2021 at 9:42 pm

    The stitches on the nettle-leafs and the very cool use of spiral steel just made me fall so much in love with this piece. very well done

  4. Avatar Missy on March 12, 2021 at 12:53 am

    The nettle details on this are just something else. And it fits so nicely! You should be proud!

  5. Avatar Teri Plemel on March 12, 2021 at 1:10 am

    This is such a creative interpretation of the story. Love all the details!

  6. Avatar Lindsey on March 12, 2021 at 1:35 am

    The details in this are magical!

  7. Avatar Elowen Blackthorn on March 12, 2021 at 12:30 pm

    Stunning! What an achievement for your first sewn garment! I love the unique touches, like the exposed steels and nettle!

  8. Avatar Ari on March 13, 2021 at 2:40 am

    This is *ambitious*, so many complicated and beautiful details, and you did it! As a beginner! That’s so impressive! Those pleats also turned out so even and so well!

  9. Avatar Valerie Meachum on March 15, 2021 at 1:17 am

    This is one of my all-time favorite tales too, and I love everything about this design and construction.

  10. Avatar Lili on March 15, 2021 at 3:50 am

    The details are amazing! I am in love with the beautiful silver blue. It’s like water. And the textures- the way each element fits with the story is enchanting!

  11. Avatar Audra Borders on March 16, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    You did an excellent job. What a wonderful choice of materials and patterns.

  12. Avatar AnnaCatherine Sendgikoski on March 20, 2021 at 4:24 am

    You actually made maille look sexy! That’s incredible! Quite beautiful! I love this! Thank you!

  13. Avatar Vanessa Knobel on March 20, 2021 at 9:03 am

    I’ve always loved the story of The Wild Swans, too! I love your take on her dress. The fabric you chose is beautiful, and you’ve done a wonderful job with the corset. I love the incorporation of the stinging nettles!

  14. Avatar Pentti Lahti on March 20, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    Beautiful work! The details on hips are amazing!

  15. Avatar Laura Ingalls Gunn on March 21, 2021 at 10:51 pm

    What a truly amazing entry. I adore the details. Great work!

  16. Avatar Stephanie Murison on March 23, 2021 at 9:16 pm

    This is gorgeous! You’ve created a stunning silhouette and the details are divine, I love the pleating at the front, the spiral steel at the hips which is such a unique design feature, but my absolute favourite are the little nettle leaves! The way you stitched the veins of the leaves is just SO lovely!

  17. Avatar Benigna on March 25, 2021 at 2:29 pm

    Thsi looks lovely! The corset looks really good, I like all the details you put into it.

  18. Avatar Veronica Maria on March 26, 2021 at 3:28 pm

    This costume is gorgeous! I absolutely love the colours, the pleating on the corset and – the cherry on top- the nettles! You did a wonderful job!

  19. Avatar Maeri Certo on March 28, 2021 at 4:44 pm

    Wow! No one would ever guess this is your first time sewing if you hadn’t said so. Great job!

  20. Avatar Nina Martin on March 29, 2021 at 11:25 pm

    Your take on this is so ethereal! What a stunning job!

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