Thursday, April 20, 2017

Hole in the wall

No much rather in the fabric of time, where about twenty days of April dissapeared... I can't say, without a trace, as I still have dye under my fingernails, and braids of wool, hanks of yarn lying around to prove that there was a Day of wool, and I did prepare for it, and I did work about nonstop for two weeks afterwards to make up for the, not lost, because I do not think those times spent with the perparation for the Ball, the Ball itself, the preparation for the Day of Wool, or the Day itself is anything but spent in the best possible way... creating and enjoying.

However, I will have bills to pay in the next month, my son will want to eat (me? not as much, I have so much weight to loose), so work needed to be caught up with, and by the time I looked up and out of the window, expecting birdsongs and springflowers, I saw this...

Yes, thick, twirling snowfall... yikes. I hate winter, and cold, my stomach churns at the sight of snow even in wintertime....but in April? You do not want to hear, what I think.

Just to make myself (and maybe whoever reads this blog) feel slightly better, here is a video of one of my favorite regency dances... which is called, fittingly... Hole in the Wall. Enjoy. Tomorrow is the monthly historical dance club... there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The morning after

In which I am not talking much, but show you the  first few pictures, that came off my phone...
Hopefully there will be more, and in more details, until then:

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Victorian underwear, or why it is good for you to go to Irish dancing

There is two days until the ball, and the appropriate panic settles in, as in we won't be ready with everythin in time, with whom I am going to dance, what if I forget wich figure is which in a certain quadrille....
In the meanwhile we are working on a full set of victorian underwear, including the open bloomers, and chemise...
I will let some pictures do the talking while I am trying to get over the  fact that in the middle of working on the underpants the electricity went off around 8 PM on sunday, causing me to nearly get a heart attack and a nervous breakdown, having absolutely no idea where to turn for help, when I remembered that one of the guys in the Irish dancing club is doing some home repair works and does housecalls.... and he was nice enough to drop everything for us and fix the problem,

Of course everything is done twice, with some differences (mine has a bit more lace for example) but Zsófi is much better shape to show off underwear.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wekkly spinning... if you start at it, go all the way...

If I will wear a handknitted thighs for teh ball, I can't have shop-bought gloves on my hand, now can I?
Therefore, this is 80 gramm, 430 meters of two ply silk.
(The things that hide in the drawer under my silk fiber, just because alpaca is not really historically accurate.)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Debt- Peerie flowers again :-)

Between working on our ball-ensemble, and desparately trying to keep up with work, I've been looking over pictures trying to find something to post about (I don't think another pic of the half-done neverending white sock would suffice), when I realized I only showed you the inside of this hat.
Right after I finished my Ingrid sweater from the lovely Flora yarn, I was pretty high on the love for this yarn, I just had to start something new right away from the leftovers.
  The pattern is Perrie Flowers from Kate Davies, and I can only say, go get it, it is a great pattern.
The had became a Xmas present for my highshcool friend, who is, "incidentally" Christopher's godmother...She told me that she was wearing it on the tram one day, when someone kept looking at her, then approached her and asked if she knit the hat, because it is beautiful... she said "No, I got it from my friend"..."Was it Anett??? because she knits stuff like these..." LOL, when someone recognizes your work on the street...
Pattern: Peerie Flowers
Yarn: DROPS Flora
Needles Knit Pro Signature 3,5 mm.
Pictures: Christopher Laurent Deli

Friday, March 10, 2017

With all I've got... right?

One thing nobody can accuse me... that I do things half-heartedly... So when it comes to a reenactment ball, I am not only making my own (and my friend's) ball gown, complete with a hoopskirt and pettitcoat, but I need underwear and accessories, like someting to wear on my feet, right? And what a knitter is to do, when said knitter is in need in some traditional thighs?
Yes, that is the right answer.

Whether I will be ready in time, or not, is a totally different question.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


and Willie...
In 1989, when, after finishing the special technical/vocational school (where I went after graduating from highschool) I started to work as a dressmaker, but I would not sit into a factory lane, or a workshop, I wanted to work from home, in my own rythm, which means sometimes working 20-24 hours in a row, sometimes not even going close to the machine for days (mind you, I work the same way as a translator)...
The basic requirement of working from home was to get an industrial sewing machine and an industrial serger. As a student just out of shcool, I had no money, and honestly, I did not even knew much of machines)... I could only afford the cheeapst possible machine with my fathers help, and even then I had to look for the one that costs even less.... He was Willie, a machine produced my Wilcox and Gibbs, and the table on it says the license is from 1939... It was old and rickety when I got it, there were no spare parts, no spare needles or knives.
I still used it a lot over the years, we sew a lot of clothes together, but I always felt...its backdraws... It worked with an arched needle, which was not produced any longer, shops sometimes ground a tiny bit off the edge of a different needle for me (but they either managed to cut just the right amount...or not). There were problems with the knives as well, the last one was cut out from a totally different machine's knife...
One of the reasons I avoided sewing for so long (all the while there was an urge in me, I dreamt of making clothes), was that I knew there will be only struggle with this grumpy old machine. Even on the red dress it messed with me, it bunched up the stitches just where it shows the ugliest... I am so sure that in the hands of someone, who loves old machines and knows what s/he is doing Willie could come back into life, or, because of its age, and because it is basically still in working condition) I can even imagine a museum or a collector taking interest in him,... in any case I sent him into retirement.
Everyone: meet Richie. He is the successor of Willie.
I made the decision and seen it through in amazingly fast, especially for myself as I tend to mull over a lot more on a lot smaller things, and this involved quite a bit of money as well. It did not hapenned because of the ball gown, as it was in my thoughts/ plans for a while, but I can't say the dress didn't hastened the process :-)
I wanted an industrial grade machine, because I am used to working with one... back in Miami, I had a household serger, and... let me put it this way: I did not liked it much (OK, I hated it. Desparately). Interestingly enough, Though in that 28 years salaries increased many times over, as did most of the prices, the amount of money these machine sell didn't changed that much... for about 30-50 000 HUF you could get a cheapo rickety one, like mine was, for about 6-90 000 HUF you could get a medium used, 4 threaded one, and for about 150 000 you could get a really really good one, but those are only needed if you are regurarly sewing things like bathing suits, leotards, and similar stuff, which I will not. So it was an easier decision to get something that is definite improvement over the old one-
I am courious, if working with Richie will be easier, and what will it mean that insted of only three, Richie is capable of handling 4 threads...

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

heti fonós - bloody, umm bleeding red.

In the meanwhile, while we are getting around continiouing the ball gown saga I will show you something from the more usual topics... some spinning, ok?

I spun this red silk from a commercially compbed and comercially dyed red silk top, to use as an accent in weaving...

And just as a reminder, if you think that commercially dyed stuff does not bleed... you are wrong. This bleeds like heck... good that I am planning to use it with something black... ish.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Trial version

We now have the trial version of our dress almost done :-)
There are these "cheapo fabric stores" that sells factory leftovers and those pieces that are less than good quality, usually dirty, missprinted or whatever problem but sometimes there are real treasures to be found there. And I found this otherwise lovely dark red and black pinstriped fabric there, for a lot less than the taffeta we choose for the real dress. Since I haven't actually made a real dressing item in about 15 years I thought it is absolutely necessary to do a trial run, partly to refresh my skills, partly to check the pattern, and partly to work out some methods.
I could have taken a pattern from some book, or pinterest and enlrge it, but This thing is risky enough as it, and I didn't wanted to add another risk-factor, thus, after looking at about a thousand dresses from the era, and decided on the basic shape and style, I headed over to etsy and choose a relatively simple (and not too pricey) pattern we could work with.
Zsófi's presence and help was yet again invaluable. Even if the technical knowledge and skills are mine, I could not have done it without her. This dress is a result of a mutual effort.
It was so exciting to see it come together, to do each step, to figure out just how to things like putting in the boning (something I never done before)...
Or figue out how to do the edges at the neck and the waist (yes, by handsewing), to the sleeve, which messed me over a few times, so I was even thinking of leaving the whole thing sleeveless, but I just could not let it get the beter of me, now, could I?
The skirt was a pretty simple dtraighforward deal, compared to the bodice, I still messed it up a bit, but I am not taking it apart, but think of how to hide it.
When the whole thing was more or less put together and it really looked like a ballgown, we were screaming and jumping up and down like kids... Even though Zsófi was already late, we just had to go downstairs and make pictures of it...

It was like a time travel, and joy mixed together..
It was darned cold (especially for an off-shoulder ballgown)...
We could not miss out taking a pic in the elevator... I alone hardly fit into the elevator, Zsófi could only come in, when I took my crinolin in my neck)
And showing what is underneath.... I did said that even if I had a corset underneath, we haven't yet done other underwear so I wore the dress over whatever else I was wearing... strech leggings, handknitted socks (From DROPS Fabel of course) and a bio slipper. 

We could not wait to put up the pictures up in Facebook, where the post had a tremendous succes (I never ever had this much like on any of my posts, but who is counting LOL).
One of our dancing friend even took me to walking in a nice park :-) 
To be continued... we now need to go and do a bit of shopping and then we can start on the "real" dresses.

Sunday, March 5, 2017


I had my plans for a well edited blog in which I would vary the topics, so here, after the sewing would come knitting post.... only we sunk ourselves in the making of the ballgown, so much I hardly came up for air, much less preparing a blogpost. You have to make do for the second petticoat, this one I made alone, and once we determined the basic shape that works I could concentrate on adding a bit more detail. 
Like I was always enchanted by the tiny and not so tiny pintucks that decorate many of the victorian underwear, I just had to try them. And where else is better to do so than at a skort's ruffle's edge that is about 5 meters long...
Also added a narrow crochet lace to the bottom edge. All eleven meters of it. Never mind teh fact that this lace costed almost as much as the 4,5 meters (of 240 cm wide) cotton fabric the rest of teh skirt is made of.
 And here is how the whole petticoat looks like on my old dressform, who is a few size smaller than I am now (back then, when I first picked up her on thr Fort Lauderdale Flee Market for about 5 box,  my Headless Juci (pronouncet Yootzeeh) was just about my size... Oh thyroid how I love thee).
Now on to the dress, from the trial material. 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Sissi and the crinoline

I already mentioned a few times here that "I used to be a dressmaker"...It was long before the Internet. When I was about twelve I started sewing stuff for míself. I did not have a sewing machine, so the pieces were simple, but then for my 14th birthday I got a sewing machine from my dad. It could only sew a straight line, but I loved it (french seems I love thee). Later I inherited another machine from him, that was used to sew glider wings from  thick dacron materials (you can imagine the shape it was it)...After finishing highshcool I spent two years in a special vocational shcool, and the got my own industrial straight machine and a rickety old serger, and I worked as a dressmaker for years. Even when we lived in the USA used to make very fancy, very expensive clothes for a high end boutique in that was in the Mayfair Mall. Then we came home, spent a few years out in the country with the garden, while sewing got less and less role in my life. Then Christopher was born. Since he was put in the room that used to be my sewing room... you can guess what happened...So many things, I can't even beginn to list them, be it enough that I kept dreaming of making clothes... But for about 15 years I did not. I was even afraid I forgot how to. Yes, I would never say that out loud, but I was afraid... It never stopped me from buying fabrics however...Last summer I even cleaned my sewing room almost enough to be able to sew in there, but...but but but. I know.
There is another long story about historical dancing, a Jane Austen ball I did not went to, more dancing, some new friends, and Grand 19th century ball (Sissi ball for short after the Empress of Austria, who was also the queen of Hungary at that time), and the necessity of making not one but two  ball gowns complete with crinolines and all.
So, after such a long tome I got scissors, needles in my hand, dusted the sewing machines and cut into it.
The whole thing started off with a rash promise to my young friend. I could not, or really did not want to back out of it, but my condition was that she will at least keep me company, maybe even help me through the way, so , everyone, meet Zsófi :-)
I bought a simple pattern for a basic ballgown, but I did not want to spend more on patterns. Thankfully there is a pretty good video series on youtube, with that and my experience we have been able to put it together.
There were some funny moments, some intense ones, but it was so good working on this, and working together. Honestly, the fact that Zsófi blindly trusted me, and believed I CAN make it, without seeing ANY proof that I can sew was a big incentive. And her help, was also invaluable.
You know that other pair of hands that helps guide the bones in the channel, that holds the gigantic thing while you try to guide it under the needles with both hands, which hands me the pins, the scissors, the whatever and the jokes, the gossip and the laughs.
Zsófi is a bit taller than me, this particular crinoline fits her better than me... and we can still decide that we need to shorten it a bit, a dance practice will answer that question.
Some technical details: 27 meters of boning steel was used, 8 full circles, the lowest two with 330 cm of circumference. We used about 20 meters of grosgrain ribbon, and I dunno exactly how much of simple cotton... I think it is caled muslin in English? The type that is used for sheets. 
And while we were at it we put together the first petticoat for her. Also no pattern, just winging it from the top of my head... And when we finished I thought, yes, I still have it in me. I still have it.
So, I am afraid, you can expect more sewing posts over the coming times... after all the blog is named "The crafty side of life" in order to embrace all kinds of crafts not only knitting. I hope you don't mind :-)