Thursday, February 20, 2020

Regency or Napolenic / Jane Austen era daydress project - part 6 : The finished dress

And drumrolls please, as I promised...here is the finished dress...

First, side by side with the dress that was the inspiration for it...


Then a few pictures when it was worn, in September, 2019, in the Italian city, Palmanova...







Photoes: Norbert Varga

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Te wall...and the spreadable textile wallpaper and a trip to tesco at 3 AM

(Note: This post has nothing to do with knitting, fiber, or sewing.. not even about me prancing around in pretty clothes. However, it uses cotton fiber, so it might belong here after all. Besides, I think this is just as Crafty, as sewing a historic gown. And it is my life. If you don't care about the wonders of spreadable textile wallpaper, then wait. I will bring pictures of us in pretty clothes in a few days.)

This is how it used to look.. I took this picture about 10 years ago, when I did the ast big rearranging, and clean up in the flat (cleaing up and rearranging Chris's room after he broke his leg was a much smaller affair). This was my sewing room in the last ten years and will be Chris's room. It was N's idea, to lessen the blow of moving into a smaller room, to have that room fixed up.
This is how it looks now... What is between the two pictures, aside from ten years? 7 kilograms of spreadable cotton "wallpaper" the foundation paint and two bucket of wallpaint.
I firstheard about this type of wallcovering, when we moved in here, I wanted to try it ever since. What drew me to it, and what I like about it now that I have it on the wall?
It is spreadable, it has to be applied to the wall much like plaster, which means it is a lot thicker than simple wallpaper, and it also means that you can change its thickness, for example I've put it on the external walls somewhat thicker than on the wall toward the kitchen.
It's surface is uneven, rustic, not smooth. This can be a disadvantage for others, I love it. I always loved uneven, rustiv wall surfaces,
Because if its thickness, it has heat insulation and soundproofing qualities.
It has a long life (I have heard of people having it on their wall).
But once it lived its life, it can be reused, simply scrape it off the wall, add some fresh fiber, and glue, and apply again.
It can be colored in the fiber, and/ or it can be painted on the wall. Multiple times.

What are its disadvantages? Its application is a finicky, slow work, but this could have been teh case because of my inexperience On the other hand, I enjoyed the process of putting it up immensly, even though I never even saw, how wallpaper put on the wall, much less done it myself.
The fiber used for wallpaper (with the glue) is expensive. 2 or even three times as much as a regular wallpaper, It dries very slowly. For days, In the winter drying can take 5-6 days, and it can be easily meassed up while wet. A door opened with a bigger momentum, a not properly calculated turnn, and hitting one's elbow to the wall... However these can be fixed pretty easily.
However, there are no big sheets of sticky paper to move around and manoeuver, and at the same time there are no paper"stipes", no joints between the sheets, which I like very much.
It need VERY CAREFUL preparatioon of the wall. No, even MORE careful. It is not enough that you have an otherwise smooth concrete wall, it is not enough that you brush the wall, and you spray it with anti-mould lquid and brush it agan. It isn't even enough that you use twice the recomennded foundation material, and insted of the prescribed one, you put in on the wall in two layers. The wet fiber covered surface shows everything, really EVERYTHING, even that you cannot see with your naked eye. In this room it might have sucked out the tiny bots of wallpaper glue that was left hidden in the pores of the concrete wall, or the heck knows what, but the fiber put on was white, slowly got yellowed and spotty. As you can see on the above picture that the wall was white and I used the pure white fiber / wallpaper. 
And it if would have been simply yellow... I dislike the color, but there are shades I could have lived with, but this was piss-yellow. And unevenly, spottty-ly so. I really didn't want to scrape it off and start again (besides it is way to expensive to do that), so I used another of its quality, that it can be painted afterwars too. So we bought a bucket of wallpaint and a new painter's roll. (See the difference between the painted -upper left- wall and the rest?) 
As the nature of things the I've run out paints about 2 AM, when I had the big walls, the major areas painted, there was only a few edges, corners, and the area behind some piping of the heating. N didn't bat an eye, but checked on his phone, wheter the Tessco open 7/24 sells wallpaint... He knows, how much I hate stopping something with so little to the finish line....
 (BTW DO NOT, ever buy the cheap wallpaint in TESCO. Not even if it costs the fraction of the price of he regular paint. I needed it for places where it didn't much matter if I use it in one or three layer, but it dies not covers as much in three layer as the other paint did in one... Just sayin').
So there was tears and sweat, a lotof both, but I can cross another thing from my bucket-list. 
Would I use it again? Time will tell, just how durable, soundproof, and heat insulating it is. If I would have the money, the time and the energie, I would probably start it again, though I would figure out, how to prepare the wall, maybe it needs painting BEFORE the foundation is applied...
But now it is done, and I quite prud of my work. Yeah, I am hard headed and stubborn, and if I take something in my mind...Only the floor should be done now, but that is not my job... YN promised me he would do it this week.
(There is an aricle about this type of wallpaper here - unfortunately I only found a hungarian one)

Monday, February 3, 2020

Regency or Napolenic / Jane Austen era daydress project - part 5 : On sewing

Despite my efforst to truly document of making this dress, fightig the pattern took soo much tme, that I really needed pull myself together, so I would be ready with the seing n time, that I didn't really took photos. But rest eas, thi sis not the last historic dress I made... not even the last regency one.
True that 100 % HA dresses from the 1850'is were made by hand... In reenactment, cosruming communities everyone candecide just hoe deeply will immerse him / herself. I am sure there will be peieces on which I will sew each and every stitch by hand... But the day have not arrived just yet. Partly I sew the inner (mainly lengthwise) seams by hand, but also becase I do not yet feel that a hanhandsewn seam can be as stable as the machine one. 
Thirdly, because there are indeed original pieces, that have handsewn seams so straight and even, that noone would tell they are not machine sewn. 
No, I have nothing against handsewing, in fact I use it a lot. In my historic clothes, almost every seam is handstitched down, every lineing is handsewn, in my hstoric dresses (with a very few exeption) no machine seamcan be seen, not only from the outside, but from teh insides as well.  
The regency clothes I made earlier had their bodices drawn in, they are from two layers, the upper éayed bigger than the lower, and strategically pulling them they are fitted on each other. Simple.
However the description of the dress I used as an inspiration said that it has pleats on teh breast and at the skirt as well. About a dozen of tiny pleats on each side, so they are symmetric as ell. Took me half a day, and several seam ripping. . 
Arranging the plrats of the skirt (not a dozen, but a fewof times a dozen), though bigger than the bodice's pleads... almost a kid's play, but still took time.
The serious question was whether to use th blue or the red ribbon, but my friends woted for the red (and the orignal piece had a red one too)
The dress was finished just in time (you could already see it in my previous post, but i will bring pictures from teh event I wore it the forst time.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Superstition of the week: St Brigid's day and the blessed piece of textile-

I was planning to start this series with a different superstition, but a post popped up on my FB feed...

Tonight is St Brigid's eve so don't forget to leave a cloth or scarf outside to be blessed by the saint as she passes. Known as a 'Bratog Bride' in Irish folklore, this special garment can then be used as a cure for headaches or sore throats.

I was planning to start this series with a different superstition, but a post popped up on my FB feed...
So I need to go and find a scarf to put out on my balcony...

A few years ago, I was weaving my small flwered shawl in Judit's workshop, and in the third day, after I finished the shawl, i wanted to weave a piece of linen fabric. I had linen and silk yarn,, and I wove a simple 1/1 material, with an intention that I will cut it up and sew something out of it. I even wove a 10 cm or so wide narrpw striped piece (with blue) so I will have something for a collar and / or pockets. Right.
Fast forward a couple of month, the big fair of folk arts and crafts, which is usually around the day of  out national holiday, the birtday of St Stephan's and the clebration of teh new bread.
I've been out at the fair with my handdyed wooé and yarn, and I had several of my handwoven shawls for decoration... Including the 3.5 meters of linen/silk. The celebrations included blessing of the new bread, and each group had to send a couple representing the group and a big round bread to be blessed. You cannot just have a naked bread, they are usually covered with some cloth... but my group had no clean cloth, but the piece of fabric I had woven. So they covered the bread in it, had it blessed, and now I have a piece of fabric blessed. Wich I cannot cut... How could I? A blessed piece of textile?


I don't know, what made me think of this story, except both the supetstition and the story had a piece of blessed fabric in it. There you go. Put out something.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

How much? In other words, the amounts of fabrics needed...

The question arose from several sources lately... Partly from how I am once again trying to rearrange my flat in order to find place for everything. Back, when about 11 years ago I moved stuff around and moved my sewing stuff in the smallest room of the flat I was happy to have a separate room.... bu things changed over the years. I am desparately hankering after a weaving loom, and the main obstacle now is the lack of space. AND, maybe more importantly the amount of stuff I keep around for sewing multiplied... by manyfold. So I thought, while I work on my flat ( at the moment the newly painted ceiling in Chris's new room is drying), and trying to get out the pictures of my phone to finish up my series on the regency daydress, I make a summary of how much I used from what... in which I also summarize, the styles I worked with until now.
In the last few years I often mused just how much MORE stuff I need , because of the historical clothes.  While before, when I saw a fabric I loved, I bought a meter  or two (three at the most), that amount would not take me to far (maybe a stomacher or sleeves, but for even a skirt, it would hardly be enough).
A question on an instagram post of mine  (and a few other, privately asked question) prompted me to take account... I will not show all the stuff I made over the last four years, but an example of each style. Not in a straight timeline, historically, but in the order I made them.
So let's see. The first historical dress I made was the 1860's blue ball gown. (okay technically it was the dark red stripey, but the amounts were the same).
As we already discussed, for a historical dress you don't only need the dress itself, without the proper undergraments it would not look like much. So, the first layer is a pair of drawers and a chemisette. You need about 2,5 meters of light linen, or cotton fabric for this. You will need corsets, that you can buy (for teh first time around I did buy mine, later made one, needs about 1 meter strong canvas and boning)
Then you need a cage crinolin, for which we used about 24 meters of steel boning, which is basically a flat spring. Also we used about 3-4 meters of white cotton (the type that is used for sheets) for the bottom part and covering the boning, about 20 meters of growgrain ribbon, a ribbon for belt. The next layer a petticoat that used about 5 meters of the double width (240 cm wide) cotton, and about 12 meters of lace to go on the bottom. I have two petticoats under the dress, to smooth out the hoop-lines. Th esecond is made a much lighter, stripey fabric though. 
From the blue fabric I bought 9 meters of fabric, and I actually used 6.5. The skirt is 3 times its length (3 x 1,3 -including seam = 3,9 meters), so 4,5 meter wide is pleated into the waistband.  The rest of the bodice. I have put away the rest to make a daytime bodice, which I did not get around to do... just yet. 

The next ensemble I did was my 15th century everyday set. This set was made entirely from linen.
 The first layer is a simple underdress, needs about 4 meters.
The second layer, a light blue kirtle, with long sleeves and laced on the sides, underarms (this one hardly shows, which is a shame, I love the fabric), and the top layer, whihc is still short sleeved, as I never got around to finish the tie on sleeves. Both layer needs about 4,5 - 5 meters of 140 vm wide fabric. 

My early baroque (early 17th century) commoner ensemble, which is a summer version, the outer layer is from linen. 
Needs an undershirt from about 4,5 meters of (cream or white) linen, a petticoat about 4,5 meters of  linen (I used red) and about 5 meters of 5 cm wide lace - actually I used about 15 meters of thinner lace, sewed up right next to each other. For the top dress about 5 meters of linen and 20 meters of the decorating tape. 
My cap and apron came from about a meter of ramie/cotton fabric, leftover from an older project. The lace on my apron was a practice piece from when I learned to do laces.

My late 15th century Italian aristocrat clothes...
Has a camicia, from about 4,5-5 meters of light, white linen, decorated with handmade linen lace. Used about 4-4,5 meters of the damask for the dress itself and about 1 meters of the unicolored blue fabric, I got from my teammate, Gizus. I used about 4-5 meters of the braid and a gazillion of beads. 

I also made some early victorian ensembles. They need similar underwear than the 1860 ballgown, drawers, chemisette, stays / corset. It needs a corded petticoat , which I made from about 2 meters of cotton, and about 200 meters of cord. it has a plain petticoat (3,5 meters) and a ruffled patticoat. (5 meters).
For the dress itself I bought about 8 meters of the fabric. All those crossed folds on the front used up quite a lot of fabric--- but it was worth it. 
Though, for the first attempt I used only about 6 meters.

And finally (but no way lastly) the regency era dresses:
Underwear (drawers and chemisette) - about the same 2,5-3 meters than the victorian underwear, though, both the drawers and the chemisette is slightly longer). There is a pair of corded stays, made from about a meter of canvas:
There is a bodiced petticoat from about 3-3,5 meters of white cotton.
The white dress used about 4,5 - 5 meters of light cotton, with tiny pink dots. 
For evening wear there is a layer I add made from an Indian saree (5 meters of an about 70-80 cm wide fabric)
And the daydress with the roses...
I dyed up about 6 meters, but used about 4.5 meters.

So you can see that these amounts are far from the 1-2 meters I used to buy when I got something with the "will be good for something one day" base. Now when I see something I like for historical clothes, I buy at least 6 meters, if it is for renaissance or regency, 8 or more, if it is for 18th or 19th century. If I find white linen in the cheap fabric store, I buy all they have - I love this fabric for modern civilian stuff too. If I find white cotton that is good for underwear (like petticiast, or chemisettes), I buy about 10 meters....  

You know, I need more even from yarn... from 100 gramms of sock yarn, you can knit a generous pair of socks... for historical stockings... I need at least 150-200 gramms 
So, here is the answer, why I need more space. :-) Not to mention the fact that selection is very limited around here. No garnment district like in New york. There are a few - very expensive- stores, and there are the chain that sells factory recejts and lefotver fabrics.... I hunt them regularly, however, as the nature of things, nothing stays there for long. Whenever they have something, that could be remotely useable, I need to grab it. And as you've seen I need to grab a good amount of it. 
Photos: Millarca (rainbow), Norbert Varga, and my own phone-pictures. 

Sunday, January 12, 2020

The current state of things....

This is how the New Year's Red Sweater looks like at the moment:
 (Hint: It's got sleeves now).
 This is how the room that for the last 10 years used to be my sewing room and will be Chris's room looks now.
(Hint: most of the things are out, and most of the wallpaper is off)
And this is how my hand looks now:
(Hint, this is what happens, when you put your hand between a big, heavy industrial sewing machine and the doorframe, and give the machine a short, but strong kick).
Now, excuse me, until I go and feel sorry for myself, think up something to write about one of the most often mentioned fibery (umm, knitting) supertsition.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Weekly Superstition?

Le Roman de la Rose. Bodleian, MS. Douce 195. French, late 15th century.

Yesterday I was putting up a post in my (Hungarian language) FB spinning group about St Distaff day, and I remembered, that back, when I was writing that BA thesis on knitting (In the English / American institute of my university no less), I looked into knitting and spinning superstitions. It was not a major point so my research was not very deep, but lately it seems I keep bumping into the topic.  I keep mentioning „The Boyfriend Curse”… Yeah, Xmas times and gift knitting goes hand in hand… so much another blogger have written about it, but his viewpoint is not exactly mine… but then what about the other superstitions? There are a ton of them concerning spinning, knitting weaving or sewing… Do we know them? What if I would explore them here one by one? Knowing myself I cannot promise that it will be a weekly column, but I will try and bring a superstition, and maybe my thoughts about it here. You could even tell me what do you think and we can talk…  What do you think? What should be the first one?