Monday, August 1, 2022

Crap, indeed

I should write something. I am putting on -at least- the sixth version, and before computertimes my room would be full of crumpled papers each with some texts, somewhere between  1 and 30 sentences... 

Yes, I van see that I've been here, with a certain hurray-optimism, about what a big blogging will be around here, just keep looking.

And then there was none.  

I became a taxevader with 450 thousand others in this country, and I fill my days with trying to get up, not despair (more than I am), not trying to hide from reality (more than as a reenactor and concert-going fan have my summer organized ahead), all the wwhile I am trying to work , and figure out what to do, how to do, but I just cannot. Also, smart and trusty accountants considering tiny small entrepeneurs as a client are welcome here. 

I've got trough COVID and the related mess, relatively unschated, at least workwise, though I had been terrified from th efeeling of "our lives will never be the same again", and I was right. Only I had no idea, how right I was. But at least I had work, insurance, tax-plan, and now I have none of those. 

So sorry, I will be back, but I need to feel sorry for myself, for a little while.

Friday, July 1, 2022

Oops, I did it again...

 I mean the dissapearing act... Things just got all jumbled up, and life became a bit jumbled up...

Its not like I do not think ever so often about this poor blog, but thats my life... I wouldn't be able to live according to a stict schedule to save my life, so I gave up trying a long time ago... 

I do have a few things to post about, and I kind of wondering, what should be the bets way to go about that... Do you want to see last years new year sweater? (Yes, I did knitted that, Yes, we photographer it, even if a few months after its completion). Some -mostly- handsewn 17th century accessories? Norbert in all the 17th century glory? 16th-17th century lace? Pictures of costumed events? Handmade footwear? 

Shall I go in timewise order? Or totally random? 

Help me out here... Tell me. At least, of you reply, I know there is someone who does still read this blog.

(Me, waiting for your answer... Photo: Norbert Varga, Bodeszphoto )

Monday, April 11, 2022


Every so often I wow to myself, that I write some stuff about our travels, but rarely get around to it... 

And even so, I guess this is a post that starts... and continues I guess in a rather familiar way...


Ever since we know each other, we've been talking about going to London (and to England in general, but London in particular). I have been there with Christopher twice already, N. have been there with his collegaues, even only for a short time, so the place wasn't totally strange to neither of us but with all our travels, we've never been together. 

First we had other travels (Croatia, Pragua, Germany, Italy), and then Covid happened, that severly limited the traveling possibilities. 

However, this year things got easier, and there were vague talks between again about London... Very vague. However, when our faborite band put out a post that said they are going to London, we looked at each other and asked, "when if not now?" A quick look around about tickets and hotels, we realized that with the discount airlines and such, it does not cost much more than if we'd go to a city at the edge of our country... besides, yes, those plans. So I worked day and night and some more nights to finish up my work, packed up my backpack, and there we went. 

And here you go, a few totally random pictures.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022


Of finally writing a post after more thana month again... Well not really.  

I mean the feeling of satisfaction one feels, when from her seemeingly endless stash of yarns, yet another bit of leftover yarn ball/skein is finished, and the next piece is tied on... I get those feelings with those projects of mine that are knitted of those small bits of leftover sockyarns, like the colored neckwarmers, or the circle sweater.

Now we finally managed to photograph the boxy sweater that was my car-knitting for fairly long time, as we can agree in one thing, knitting a boxy sweater, especially in my size, from sockyarn takes a long time, even if I use needles sized 3.5-4 mm (instead of my usual 3 mm). 

A couple of years ago I already knitted a cardigan, that never got photographed (and who knows why I forgot to take it with me this time), and I actually loved how I managed to put the small bits of sockyarns into an order where it darkened toward the bottom, and so I did that now as well. 

No actual patterns just out of my head.

I've started with a lot of stitches, knitted bottom-up, on the round for ever so long, then increased some stitches for the sleeves, separated for the armholes (on the two sides, and knitted back and front separately.  Then separated at the middle of the front, knitted left and right side separately, while decreased for the V neck. The shoulders were done up with three neede binding, picked up stitches around for the armholes, and knitted the two shortish sleeves.
And finally picked up stitches around the neck, knitted a couple of rows with garter stitch edge.  Thats it. No sewing up. But a lot of ends to weave in. Wherever a bit of yarn ended, I simply knitted on the next bit. Except I halved the small balls I choose for the sleeves, so they would be similar (if not fully symmetrical or identical).
What would I do next time? well, as much as I like the idea of the boxy sweater, and as much as I like them on others, I have to accept the fact that it is not for my current shape. It wasn't when I finished it (probably that is why I haven't pushed photographing it, even though it was satisfying to use up a bunch of sockyarn-bits. 
Also, I would do the V neck deeper. Otherwise it would be a fun sweater to wear, especially in a sporty way, but I will need to loose more weight before I would comfortably do that. 
Yarns: various sock-yarns.
Needle: Knit pro 3,5 and 4 mm. 
Photo: Norbert Varga. 

Thursday, February 17, 2022


 As I was looking at the picture of our event at the Vigadó, something kept nagging me at the back of my mind. So much, I made a couple of comparisons pictures to see. 

Now, tell me, if I am hallucinating, or I really look like 10 kg (12 lbs or so) less in the new dress. There is about a month between the two pictures. and I am sporing quiet a large extra weight on both, I know (thanks thyroid), but sill. 

And since it can be seen from the back as well, its not only the fact that I felt better in that dress shows true. There is something about the cut, the placement of the decoration... Maybe the white insert at the front I left out? Maybe the "oversleeves" or whatever those sleeve tabs should be called.  Maybe the tabs around the waistline, that were added at the first place, because the bodice was cut too short.  maybe the deeper V of the waistline? Or maybe the fact that the new bodice is properly boned?
In all honesty, I am not exactly sure of the answer, and that also tells, it wasn't entirely intentional. 
I knew there were some things I did not liked in the old dress and wanted to change them in the new one, like this line:
Don't get me wrong, I know it is historically correct, many examples of Hungarian dresse, including Sisi's coronation gown have it, but I still dislike it. And/or does not suit me. However, since the "Hungarian dress" is a really wide generic term, with lots of variations, we can choose what suits us. 

I guess, the conclusion, is that even though not all changes were intentional, my instincts were right. I kind of new instinctively that the old dress does not do for me, as well as it could, and also instinctively found some right changes. 

Saturday, February 12, 2022


Running into an old friend on tramline 1:

"Oh, hi, long time no see!"

"Hello, lovely to see you."

"Where are you going?"

"To skate with friends."

"Dressed like this?"

"How else? 

On the pictures with me Anna Erdei and Dani Dala.
In Budapest, the Óbuda skating ring.
Photos: Norbert Varga @Bodeszphoto

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

The Hungarian "court" dress

 Which is not really a court dress, but more like a... kind of difficult to explain, I would say its an upscale version of the Hungarian "folk" dress, but not a folk dress either. There are periods in the Hungarian history, when nationalism flares up, and people want to show their love and support for the country wearing clothing that bears typical Hungarian characteristics, sometimes foreigners wear them to show their support of the Hungarian nation.  Like empress Sisi did, when she was crowned as queen of Hungary.

It's basic characteristics, the laced and/or soutached front, the white undershirt, with its lacey sleeves, and the lace apron are the same since the mid 17th century or so, and probably rooted in renaissance dressing. What changes are mostly the shape and undersupport of the skirt, maybe the details, and waistline of the bodice. On this pic there is an 18th century version, in the background, on me a mid 19th century version. 

I had such a court dress for a few years now. And I admit I desparately disliked the dress. Most probably its biggest sin is I did not make it. It was made by a young man to show off in the yearly competition of the dressmaker shcool he went to. He asked me to modell it on the competition, I paid for the fabric, its a long story. Anyhow, however talented dressmaker my friend was, the dress, though it looks nice, has a ton of problems.  

The bodice is too short, that is why the tabs added (which are actually HA, there are examples of bodices like that), the bodice is totally not finished (at least not to my standard- there are raw edges inside), the boning is missing. The sleeves are unfinished as well, only held up by a freestanding ribbon tied around it, which falls off if I as much as raise my hand.
Also the skirt is way to heavy. We did agreed that it will be made out of three panels, like all the other mid-19th century skirts I did, and I will use the leftover for a day-bodice. He put 4 panels of velvet in the skirt, which made it so heavy, it was really uncomfortable to wear, much less dance in it. 

So at the end it turns out I cannot stand the velvet court dress, I did wear it in Gödöllő castle in december, but I took it off almost crying and saying I never going to wear it again. I understand the beauty and the appeal of it, and I thought once, in the future, I will do one for myself that I will wear with pride, but I need to find the right time, the right fabric, etc. 

However, as we were getting ready to the event we did at the "Vigadó", which was a building tour spiced with history of the building, the balls that were done in there and customs, stories of balls of the period, we divided the ages amond us. Early Victorian, which is actually the age of reforms for us, mid- Victorian, the 1860,  the 1870-ies and the 1890-ies. Since I got the 1860-ies it was obvious that I need to do something about my dress.

I could not wear the Tardisblue-and-roses gown, because in the summer when I last wore it, we saw that I "quarantined out" of it. I can, kind of, lace myself into it, but it fits bad and it is uncomfortable at my current weight. So a new bodice was in plans anyhow, but as we were getting deeper and deeper into the research and the material we had to get through and learn, it became clear that my period was one of the heydays of that type of the Hungarian dress, so much there were articles about it, in fact that a newspaper called Nefelejcs (Forget me not) did an obituary for the french fashion... So a Hungarian court dress was in order. The skirt of my 1860-ies ballgown still fits me, thankfully I could use it,  thus I only had to make a new bodice. Also, back then, when I've made it, I bought plenty of the taffeta, so I even had more than enough leftover for the bodice. 

I used the same truly Victorian pattern I used for the bodice of the lilac dress, two posts back, only for that I had to use the smallest size and take that down a notch or two, now I had to use a size toward the larger ones. 

I did make a mock up, that fit surpisingly well, only the waist and the mid back needed adjusting. Usually I call my friend Tilda to help with fitting, but there was no time for that so I enlisted my son. Now, he is a 20 year old young man, and even though he is used to his mother doing crazy things (and making him do crazy things), still looked a bit quizzically at me, when I handed him a box of pins to pin the thing on me... At the end we found that small safety pins work better for him, and he managed to draw the line on the mid back. 

By the time, I needed fitting with the half done final piece Norbi was up, but he is not better than Chris with the pins, but he fought them heroically. and managed to help me out there. 

Unfortunately, once again I've went through the sewing concentrating getting it ready in time, and forgot to make photoes of the process, but here are some finished pictures. 

With this bodice I was trying to fix some of the issues I had with the other dress.

Like I really wanted to have the dress properly finished. On its inside as well as the outside. 

The dress is lined with the flatining technique and I used printed cotton canvas. 

The boning channels are made from twill tapes, sewn down either by machine (on the straight front), or by hand everywhere else.

The inside sleeve seam is covered with a bias tape. 

Other edges are covered with a wide bias tape on the bottom, or a lining cut to shape around the neck, but all of them is sewn down by hand. 

One thing I always do on my laced clothes, that is -again- missing from the velvet dress is a wide flap to go under the lacing, so underwear would not show, even if you cannot lace it thightly shut. 
I have spent an inordinate amount of time to sew on the soutache, which also needed to be done by hand, becuse of the boning.
 One of those is that I do not like on the velvet dress is the white insert on the front. Or rather its not the white insert I dislike, but the line of the velvet part makes, so I eliminated it. There are plenty of examples with a full front. 
The most difficult part wasn't only the miles of handsewing, but also trying to hide away and fixing the edges that frayed like hell, even if I only looked at it. 
The white, lacy sleeves are also typical of this type of dress. On the velvet version, there is cotton tulle, however the store I bought it from is closed at the moment, because the owners have Covid. I decided to use the little little sleeve or sleevehead -that can also be seen on a number of pictures - and use a plain white muslin underneath with a lace edging. With this I managed to smuggle an element that I dearly love, the slit sleeves of the renaissance. 
Don't ask me why I love those, but even on the prom-dress I made many decades ago, had false slit sleeves. Of course I have it on my renaissance dress, and I have it on my napoleonic/regency ball overgown. Now I have it on this dress too. I also solved the problem of the ribbon and bow, that seems to be a basic element of the sleeves, as they are on every paintings I've seen. I incorporated in a way, that is fixed, sewn on, and would not fall off, even if the bow opens up somehow. 
Another thing I've tried to incorporate: roses. Reenactment is a kind of time-travelling... right? Almost  by accident (but then again, there are no accidents, right?) my first "real" historical dress was TARDIS blue. What is a better reference in a time travelling hobby, than to the time travelling TV show of all time, Doctor Who? And then it was by no accident that it had been decorated with roses. This dress is still the same blue, so I thought some roses should be on it. I was really happy to find in my stash, the rose shaped buttons to use: not only the big ones for the front, but small ones to use on the sleeves. 
Also there was  the question of fixing the lacing on the front. Should I just put it around the button? Should I sew them under the soutache? And then as I was sewing on the buttons an idea hit me:

The little ears (shank) of the buttons were big enough to thread the lace through, so that is what I did. 
After all, I was done just in time, that after learning my stuff, making my dress, we even could go, and see the first concert of the year by our favorite band. 

So here you go, some pictures of the finished dress.

Base pattern: Truly Victorian 442
Detail photos: my phone.
Modell photos: Norbert Varga @Bodeszphoto