Thursday, December 5, 2019

Regency or Napolenic / Jane Austen era daydress project - part 4 : On making the pattern

I know, I should be… doing something about the chaos in the flat, but I have to wait for N. to put up some shelves. Now that I have bought our tickets to yet another SZBB concert I need to do something useful. However, I can’t really go out to the kichen, and I can hardly move around the living room. So I can: 1. either start to go through Chris’s room without him being here, or 2: I can write something for the blog. Maybe it is time to continue the series on the regency dress?
I was about to write about the pattern. I probably delayed this, because it was NOT an all-out success story, but here we go. Last year, when we were preparing for the Georgian ball in Keszthely, I did a full regency attire. I even wrote about the underwear, but not the stays (I will make another pair of stays next year, I will write about them in detail then, okay?) As my habit I did a trial dress. 

The first time in my life I was not using a pattern, not even as a base to start modifications from, but I „draped” on my dressform. It came out pretty well, and I did use the pattern to make Zsófi’s dress, and my two layered ballgown. 

I love the two layered zone front regency dress style, and I also love the wraparound style in everything I wear (including modern, civil clothes), and I combined the two on my overdress I made out of an Indian saree.
However not having any help with the fitting hit me back and in use it showed some things in the dress that should be fixed. The biggest problem was that the front was too wide and the neckline kept falling off my shoulders.

When I saw that the American Duchess came out with a pattern with exactly the style I like I thought the big and wise costumers must know what they do. 
Image result for simplicity regency
I ordered the pattern, and when it was time I opened it… Back in University I wrote an essay on the difference in how the Europeans write a knitting patterns and how the British / American culture does it – a thing I constantly bump into while dealing with, let’s say the Drops patterns among others. Namely, that while the Europeans suppose that you know what you are doing, and give you space to use your knowledge and creativity, the Americans, and the brits like to tell you what to do… in every step on the way. My consultant back then said that I should examine other areas, to see if it is really a trend, and then I did not went further with the project… But now dealing with this pattern I see another proof that it is indeed a trend. I grew up learning to sew on Burda patterns, where you have to find what you want to copy in a maze of lines, had to copy those on a piece of see trough paper before you cut it… This pattern I took out the package was on a lot of huge paper pieces and I didn’t need to do anything else, but cut the size I needed… No I did not cut it (what if I want to make a different size later?), but copied the pieces on a see through paper. It said I don’t have to add selvages either (how they know what selvages I prefer to sew with?). I proceeded to cut the fabric and sew together the underlayer… Only to find out that it is way too small. Then I tried to combine copying a bigger size, and use my old experience on enlarging patterns to only to make a bodice that is way too big. I was glad I had cheap material from the ‘cheapofabricstore’ (née I Love Textile), but this was the point I lost my patience.
I knew that the pattern I made last year was not all that bad, O knew what needed to be fixed and how. In fact I was kind of enamored with how nice I managed to put the back together. So, I decided to dig out the paper pieces from the many layers of fabric that accumulated over it. But I could not find it. I did make some kind of order in the fabrics though, I packed them in boxes according to their types, but the pattern just did not want to come out from its hiding. By that time the event I needed the dress(es) were fast approaching. I had no other choice but sit down, and try to take the pattern off from the existing dress. The way our teacher at the Thecnical School taught us many years ago. It took me about an hour or maybe two at the most (while previously I tried to make the other pattern work for about two days, and spent another trying to find the old one). Now I had the pattern I needed, the fabric, I could start on cutting.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019


And this is just a reminder to myself, that indeed red and dark red dresses did exist in the 18th century. Just sayin'.

Jum in headfirst...

To a pretty big project.
I know I promised spinning posts and I should continue my regency dress series, but…
So, here I come to make a wow. When, about 11 years ago my ex moved out, I went through the flat. Most everything was moved, selected, some stuff thrown out, some was sent after the ex, many things were rearranged (here is a bolgpost from those times). But the space I freed up filled pretty quickly. I have a number of hobbies hat needs materials, space and tools maybe even machines. Some friends who ever visited me know that I have 5 sewing machines, spinning wheels, yarns enough to full up a store, fabric enough to dress up a small town, and lets not talk about the fiber I want to spin. And then new hobbies appeared. I’ve been whining for many years now that I need shelves, that the flat should be rearranged. But there were only the two of us here and this building is one of those Russian type of prefabricated building from ferro-concrete, it isn’t easy even to drill a hole for a shelf. Than about 2.5-3 years ago I had the idea how changing two rooms (the sewing room – where I store a lot of kitchen/ food stuff as it is the closest to the kitchen- and my son’s room) could solve many problems. Still, things stayed the same. Historical clothes started to appear, and at the same time, the amount of fabric gre exponentially (when I see and buy fabric for my “normal” clothes, just because I like it and/or it is a good deal, I get about 2-3 meters. The same things for a historical dress is about 6-10 meters. Then N(orbert) appeared. Before I hung up my historical dresses in the door between my bedroom and the living room… now, that door should rather be closed. At the beginning I laid down the clothes, but they couldn’t be handled that way, so we did get a clothes rack, but it is in the middle of the living room, adding to the chaos.
I really like to think about myself that as a creative person I can handle chaos pretty well, you all know the adage about the mess that really is a bunch of ideas lying around. But even I arrived to the point when it started to hold me back. I started to let in less and less people, I started to make less and less things. I started disliking to come home. 
Of course I could always find reasons, I am alone (not anymore), no time (you always have time for whatever it is really important), and the list could go on. I said that I will not sew until it is don, but only the heap of unsewn fabric grew. It frustrated me to no end that even though my head is full of ideas and my hands are itching to MAKE, I can’t because there is no space. Then I said I will not do Xmas, because what would I do with a tree in the middle of a chaos… I said to the boys, that I don’t want anything else for my birthday and Xmas….I broke out crying because I felt so helpless…
I don’t know what had effect at the end, but maybe something started. Rearrangement project is on. Will it be done for Xmas? Probably not. But I already gave up on having Xmas this year that is no loss, and what I could win…
The basic thing is the two room, but they will pull over many other things I am afraid.
On Saturday we took down the food stuff from the shelves threw out a ton of old stuff, and put what is remained in the kitchen, now it is impossible to move there or cook anything beside a can of tea. On Sunday I was at a workshop all day, but still managed to rush out to Ikea to see what cabinet can we put up in the kitchen to be able to put away some of what is left. Today I had to run around in the city looking for lactose free chocolate santa , and started to disassemble the heap of fabrics that collected in one corner…
To be continued.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Spinning post...whats that?

While I get my shi.. umm, act together to write up the posts on my adventures with pattern for my regency dress I though I might just entertain you with some spinning...Once upon a time spinning posts were more or less regular here, just as were knitting posts... and then both became seldom, in fact they became endangered species...but now it seems the Sleeping Beauty has woken up...and not only sewing that is commencing between the walls of my craft room  flat...
There is some spinning going on too.... among others, I dug out some batts I carded literally ages ago... I really mean ages... So many things happened since... it was before I met N... before I started reenacting...before I grew out my silver hair... before I even started University...for god sake I carded these batts before I even had my spinning wheel...
Back then, in February 2011 I wrote this about it:

"After this I was metodically preparing for the next time. I dyed a 8-900 gramms of merino with Colombus to indigo blue. About the same amount of alpacca with Kool Aid. The result was lighter than I expected, I think it could be called "Aqua".
And then added some really bright turqoise angora, and some blue angelina, just to have a bit shine.
The batts spent years and years in the drawer of my Ikea bed... as I started to spin again a few weeks ago, I started spinning up tweedy batts I got from Adrienn over the years on various Woolday events... Then I felt I am ready for more commitment, submerged in the wonders of said Ikea drawers wher I keep a bunch of spinning stuff... I see that the 8-900 gramms would be wast overstatement, I messed that up with a 0. 

Since the batts have soft merino, alpaca AND angora they are very soft... 
 I am curious, how they will look after plying...

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Regency or Napolenic / Jane Austen era daydress project - part 3 : A note on underwear

I already mentioned, that any historical ensemble the foundation is very important. The dress can look as beautiful as wever, if the boobs are not at the place, the butts are not the size, the waist is not the circumference as the dashion of the era demands, i will just hang off from us. (Like underpants on a cow - as we say in Hungarian. Not only dressing,. but making the dress should start at the foundations. Unless we already have teh foundations.
About one and half years ago, before the ball at teh beginning of teh summer I already made these stuff. I made not one but two sets of chemise and drawers (having no pants us not such a big error, they started to become known again around this time, I wear them mostly for comfort reasosns). And if I have to have them, they can be pretty HA. I have shown them HERE.
I aso made a oair of stays. Yes I know, many thinks that clothes of this period were lighter and looser, they even threw away their stays, but that is not true. Its main task, and its shape changed, In this era, the emphasis was not on thinnes, and oulling in the waistline was the main goal, but pushing zo the boobs. 
Image result for regency bustline
This is a fairly good eillustration showing teh normal and the desired placement) 
I also
O also made a bodiced petticoat. of whixh teh upperpart should smooth the lines of the stays, and the skirt, which being a skirt should hold out the dress' skirt, so I even sewn a line of cord in it. 
Since I already had these item, I could start direcctly with the dress.
Until next time :-) 

Friday, October 4, 2019

Events...Savaria Historic Festival

The season slowly ends, and as hopeless it seems to catch up with the event we did, there is hope (especially if you are all bored out of your heads with these pictures).
The Historic Festival of Szombathely is a yearly event. Two years ago we went with a 19th century theme, crinolines and the early victorian stuff, last year it was head to toe renaissance, this year (kind of in preparation of a later event) it was the Napoleonic, the regency era. Yes, exactly, I hoped to do that flowery dress by this event, but it wasn't happening, I used the stuff I already had, from last year's ball.
I did took apart the white (actually there are tiny pink dots on it, but that can only be seen from close up) dress and corrected the bodice that kept falling of from my shoulders.

Since the overdress I use for the ballgown was based on the same self drafted pattern, it had the same trouble.. however, this overdress is sewn up... really good, with details that would make taking it apart a real pain in the backside. I did some fixing, but it is still slipping off teh shoulders... Probably I will make a new one sometimes.
There are a bunch of pictures on the Facebook Page of Mare Temporis, here I tried to pick those that are not up there.
We did put up a play with scenes and dancing, and done it twice...

Where else can you admire a roman god, but at a historic festival?
Photos: Norbert Varga, the last picture by Andrea Lőrincz.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Knee high stockings... again.

It seems I don't knit much anything else these days, but historic stockings... This is not entirely true, but I can't document the opposite just yet, so let's stay at socks.
Between reebactors barter type exchanges are everyday occurences, even if they tend to take long times to complete sometimes. In our case I revived a woven basket from our teammate, Gizella (and teh pomise for another), and she asked for a pair of stockings for her husband to use for his 17th century attire.
The only thing wong with these stockings... they take ages to knit, and the knitting itself... honestly... ummm... well... Not the most exciting thing, so there it is. I can say, they are boring as hell.
Just knitknitknit around and around, broken only by some increases and decrases... Kind of lucky, that this is the knitting I can do in a car, because I only have to look at it once in every four round...
So with all that travelling in the did get finished after all, and I gave it to its new owner at the Baroque Wedding, who gracefully accepted the role of the modell for a few picture.

Stockings: about 150 gramms of sock yarn,
Pattern: my own
Needles: 2.00 mm
Photoes: Norbert Varga

Friday, September 20, 2019

Regency or Napolenic / Jane Austen era daydress project - part 2. fabric

I had the style of my dress selected, now I needed some fabric. Looking around the regular fabric stores around here it was obvious, that finding near HA (historically accurate) fabric is totally impossible. My next try was looking around Ebay, where fabrics printed in India are abound, and at once found something that I loved.
Only to find out that they only have 3 yards of it, while I needed about 5 for my project. I tried to ask the vendor, but communication was slow and difficult and took about a week, which made difficult to get anything else in time. 
There were other possibilities, like this 
 and this,
but because of the time I lost waiting for the answer about the other fabric, neithe of them would have arrived in time. 
I almost gave up, but then in the cheapofabricstore... Actually it is called I Love Textile, and they sell...factory rejects, remnants, leftover, and who knows what. One never knows what s/he finds when going into there... an upholstery brocade that would be great for a renaissance dress? some wool for a 17th century doublet? A few meters of linen for underwear? cotton for victorian petticoats? anything can happen. Generally it is full of sh***(polyester muslin and the likes) but sometimes there are real treasures. Hungarian reenactors would be lost without that chain). Anyhow, they had this rosey-birdsy print that in itself was..way to tacky. The contrasts were too high, the colors too bright.
In the international costuming circles Ikea dresses (dresses made from Ikea duvet covers) are abound, and though we do have Ikea here, I did not want to go that route... mostly because there a ton of those dresses around, and if everyone else have one... I don't want it. However, reading a lot about those dresses one info got caught in my mind, according to which someone dyed the fabric to make it look.... different, more appropriate, worn. etc. I am no stranger to dyeing stuff, yarn and fiber are regulars in my kitchen, if fact I even dyed some fabric a couple of years ago, when I made my early 17th century workwoman dress. Even the one I am wearing on teh pictures of the Sárospatak post was dyed by me. 
So when I bumped in the fabric, I thoough I could just try to tone it down... and make it blue. I asked for a small piece to test it and dunked into a small pot of jeansblue dye... or at least I believed it was jeansblue. I must have mixed the small bags with the dye-powder as the test piece turned out to be green. 
(The pictures were taken late at night, the base color of the original fabic IS white). BUT  saw that the idea was not bad at all. Overdyeing toned down the to bight colors, lessened the contrast between the base and the print, and gave it a bit of antique feeling. 
I dunked the 6 meters of fabric (I call the store cheapofabric store for a reason, fabrics really cost little there, I could be generous with how much I buy and allow for errors) into the washing machine added half a bottle of 20% winegar, turned up the temperature the machine was supposed to wash to the highest possible setting (90°C) and had it turned the fabric a few times and turned off to let the it soak. In the meanwhile in an other pot (I am using it to yarn-dyeing anyway) I heated up about 2 liters of water, added vinegar and salt, and solved the dye-powders until I got the color I liked, in higher saturation I wanted the end results (The color was mixed from light blue, skye blie and some cornflower blue- I will never be able to repeat it I am afraid). 
Added the solution to the washing machine, then I let the machine add more water and heat it up again to the maximum, while tossing and turning the fabric. Turned off teh machine, let the whole thing cooled and trned up again, but this time I let the cycle run trough and rinse the fabric three times (by the thrd time the rinse came out almost clear) and spin it. 
After I put it out the drying line and when it was almost dry, ironed the whole piece. 
With this process, beside the dyeing, the fabric was throroughly preshrunk. I don't think I will have to deal with shrinkage issues
(The original and the dyed fabric).
Now I had the fabric I liked, the next step was doing something about the pattern. 
See you next time 

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Event catch up... Győr.

 Our group was part of the Győr Baroque wedding for many times, this year for me was the third time.
Onc again the event in the middle of August itself has mixed rewies and for reason (while it could be really good, historically accurate with a little more focus, energie, maybe money)... However, our group went there with our introduction of early 17th century life, and I believe that was as historically accurate as possible and enjoyable as well as it pribably thaught something to those twho stopped by us.
 We had muskateers, the camp doctor and his wife, kitchen wonders and some handcrafts.

Muskateers and swordfighting on the place..
 A lost time traveller on a quiet street..
 "Spontaneious" fighting on the street...
Teaching how to do magic (khmm... spinning) to little girls... she was adorable and duly enchanted by the magic of spinning. 
 And we showed what was used in 17th century kitchens,,, and what was not.
És az elmaradhatatlan esti felvonulás...

Fotók:  Varga Norbert

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Erdély (Transsylvania)

Ever since we knew each other we have been talking about travelling to Transsylvania...I've never been, on the other hand N had, and he loves the place... and everybody, who knows me, said that I would love it too...
And so it happened, that my favorite band put up an event on FB, that they will have a concert at a, not in Hungary, but in Transslyvania... And so it happened that we started talking about how it would be a good idea to go there now... And then it so happaned that I bumped into a dear friend, who asked so naturally if she would ask if I will brush my teeth before bedtime, she asked if we are going and she would be at that festival, so would we all meet...
And so we started to talk a bit more seriously, and see how could we fit the trip into our schedule, as We aleady had ticets for a festival (umm concert) at the lake Fertő (the Northwest corner of out country), and I had a reenacting event to attend at Sárospatak (at the Norteast corner of the country - I posted pictures of that here)... But then it so hapened that I recived a text from our above mentioned friend that would I give her the full name of N, as she would list us among the guests, and we could get in without buying tickets... NOT that the tickets were that expensive (especially compared to the price of the whole trip), but still, the fact that she though about us, was enough to push us over the edge...
Yes the weekend before that would be crazy and the weekend after it would be just as crazy and we are total idiots even consider it, but that one of the things I love in N... He can be so totally crazy with me... I always loved travelling, but my father is absolutely mmune to it. Don't ask me how, I cannot imagine, but he just does not care, not interested. PJ, my ex would have liked to travel, but he was way to cheap to actually do it...
N is not like either of them.
And so when I say.."we should go to..." "Let's go to...." he says "Okay..." and when I say "you are crazy I was joking..." "But I did NOT how fast can you pack?" he makes my heart melt.
I love sitting in the car beside him, and just go...

And so we did go to Transsylvania...
He said we pobably would not stop at Déva, yes, there is a castle up there, but no museum, "just the stones"... But as the road turned and I caught a wiev of the castle and gasped... he knew we had to stop.

No, it is not just stones... aside from the legend about its building (what was built during the day fell by the night, what was built at the night, crumbled before the sunrise... and so he had to sacrifice his wife and built her body in the walls to make them hold up), it is not just the stones.
However, our excursion to see the castle took just enough time, that we arrived to Vajdahunyad just after it closed.

N found accomondations for the first two nights in Torocko, a small village between the montains, famous for its folk art and (for me) its rustic bobbinlace.

Gyulafehérvár (Alba Julia), I loved the central part of the city... lovely churches...
Mixed heritage...

However right around the central part the big apartment buildings were so n down, they definetly had a post apocaliptic feel...
The salt mine in Torda was interesting (and I know there is a crevice / canyon? there, which is beautiful, and you can walk in , but not with the car - we passed it a few times and N told me that every time we did...even though we had no time to actually to stop and do walk in there)
And Marosvásárhely...

Again, the center and the castle area, is gorgeous... I could just imagine a historical festival there...

Korond and Farkaslaka..
and the birthplace of a writer, Áron Tamási

By the fourth day we were on our way to that festival and the concert...But we stopped at Csíksomlyó...


The festival itself has some political overtone, but I do not get into politics publicly.
Not even as far a a like on Facebook. Not that I do not have an opinion, I do, but I will not express it.
And we did not went there for the politics, but for teh music.... and I belive my favorite band did so too.
As an extra I caught a quick hug and photo with the violin player (and singer and writer and whatnot)... just because the one who dies with the most picture with him wins...
and it seems I caught up with this festival thing..

The last days we were supposed to drive back to Hungary directly, but N wanted to show me the most he could, and took an excursion to see the Death lake and the Frog canyon..

"Ahh so you said I would not there to climb out there??? " :-)
"Or just I should not??? Anyway, too late :-) "

My feelings were somewhat mixed about Transsylvania... but those feelings were probably just because we only had a short time and could only see some major points of interest and could not go deeper.... Maybe next time.
Photos: Norbert Varga