Thursday 23 September 2010

Polonez - Pan Tadeusz

I love this film.
This scene, the stork, always gives me a lump in my throat. I can't help it. I've been to Lithuania. I've seen the storks.

Sunday 19 September 2010

"Certain things are incommunicable, especially in certain places"

Said a man about to go to a pub.
We had, along with some other people from our congregation, been through a presentation on old Arameic, Hebrew and Phoenician writings - that is, old legal agreements, inscriptions on the Samaritan temple (did you know there still are Samaritans today?) and something written on a sherd of a Phoenician jug found in Egypt. We had listened to the man who reads them, compares them, dates them in accordance with other texts from the eras, based on the writing and the language. We had leafed through a thick book he wrote on the subject, in French, and the yet unpublished book he wrote on the subject, in English. We had learned that one of the legal documents had apparently belonged to a son of a person in the book of Nehemiah. We had learned that the man had got a medal for his achievements (I forgot / did not quite get what kind of medal it was, and whether it was French or Czech or what). And while we walked home - or, as it turned out, me home and my temporary companion to the pub - we both agreed that, wow, that man must be really good at languages.
So I asked my companion something along the lines of whether he was now going to the pub to share the experience, and he said what became the title of this post.

And it made me wonder.

Because, sure, certain things are hard to communicate, especially in certain places.
But I know of a certain minister and of a certain pub, where certain things are being communicated on regular basis. And the place is often crowded.
So, maybe... it's possible.
But I don't know how to do it.
So I'm at least posting about it on my blog, where I originally did not want to post about it because it's a sewing blog. But I guess the fact that this is a sewing blog should not mean it should only be dedicated to sewing, just like a pub does not necessarily have to be dedicated only to drinking.
And I'm free to say "God gave that man amazing gifts."
There you go.

(If you're wondering what's going on in the Blu-grey Medieval Workdress land - well, it could be summed up into "I sewed".)

Sunday 12 September 2010

More glass

I didn't show you all the glass in the last post about UPM.

There were these modern beaded metal figures of uncertain purpose:

There was also this presentation of beads and marbles made with different techniques:

(Look at the ladybug in left bottom bowl!)

And these fun crazy animals:

Saturday 11 September 2010

Two sleeves and a tape

I've made two sleeves in two days. Not bad, especially considering I also managed to go to IKEA and buy myself a DVD shelf and five bowls for baking, and putting some of my DVDs into the shelf, and some other things...
Maybe I managed it because I took the sewing with me and sewed on train and metro.
They're not completely finished yet, actually, because I want to sew twill tape along the hems (already started), for tying on the optional undersleeves. I do not have enough of this blue-grey fabric, so the side panels and the undersleeves will be made out of the light blue one, but I might be able to squeeze a pair out of the remnants of the blue-grey fabric as well. So, the sleeves are not completely finished, and can't be, because I do not have enough of the narrow white tape I'm using for it. I'll have to buy more. Much more, it's a useful thing to have around.
But in the stash, I also found tape (not twill) in EXACTLY the same colour as the blue-grey fabric. As if they were made in the same factory, the same day.
I'm going to bind the armscyes with this tape. If I have some left (which is uncertain), I'll also reinforce the shoulder seams with it. For other reinforcing and binding and finishing, there are the selvedges.

Also, I love the medieval method of sewing with running stitches - even with making a backstitch every once in a while and turning the edges under for more non-ravelling safety, it goes so quick! Much better than the handstitched garments I've made so far... Most probably also because this fabric - satin weave, not very tightly woven - is very easy to sew.

I'm already in love with this dress. I hope it will live up to its promises.

Thursday 9 September 2010

Bohemian glass

More photos from the UPM. A bit of outbranching from this blog's general theme, but not so much after all.

So, you've heard of Bohemian glass, haven't you? Bohemian glass beads, right? And all the shops with glass in Prague.
When you live in the Czech Republic, this is not so much of a phenomenon, I suppose unless you live in one of the towns where glass is made. In your everyday life, you do not have much time for contemplating the mastery of your country's glassmakers.

But even if you are a foreigner who doesn't know much about my country outside of this and beer, even if you go to Prague to see the mastery, I believe you rarely get to see the real mastery. As is usual with things that are better known with tourists than the local people.
The local people get to know the mastery when they go to the UPM. So do the tourists when they manage to figure out there is such thing like the UPM.

All this lofty talk because right now there's an exhibition of the glassmaking school in Železný Brod in the UPM. Till September 19th.

Most of the modern things in there are robust and huge. I'm not fond of robust and huge glass - even though I can't deny it's interesting and all - I'm more into the subtle kind. So I did not take many photos of the exhibition, even though photography was allowed there, so if I felt like it, I could take loads and loads and it would be completely legal even if my photography sticker fell off my arm.

I did take photos of some modern glass jewellery, mostly because it was strangely interesting. All of this was huge, too, and the rings in particular seemed awfully uncomfortable for wearing. I only took photos of the less huge things.

These pins are very pretty, and also very much like syringes.

These are less suspicious, but I'm afraid they'd still make huge holes in your clothes. Unless they're meant for hats or something. I'm not sure of this, because I started taking photos of the descriptions a bit later.

These are men's brooches.

These two beaded necklaces are not bad. Or maybe they are. I'm undecided.

The subtlest rings I found there. If sticking the Czech flag to a ring is the subtlest...

I was talking about mastery, wasn't I?

Silver and glass/silver and enamel brooches from 1940s. Made by students.

These kinetic birds were fun!

A fun twisted modern idea: Glass breakfast.

Virtues. Amazing.

White Horse, Two-Headed Dragon, 1960s. The horse is one of the most marvelous glass statues I've ever seen... it's otherworldly.

But the REAL, and I mean REAL mastery is upstairs in the permanent exhibition. And it was made in the 17th and 18th century.
Unfortunately, at that time my hands were apparently already a bit shaky after all the photos I'd taken before, so the photos are fuzzy. You'll have to go to Prague and see for yourselves!

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Conquer of the UPM!

I think I've just broken a photographing record. I've taken 483 photos over the course of 2 hours.

That's because the Uměleckoprůmyslové muzeum in Prague (The Museum of Decorative Arts; aka UPM) offers free entrance every Tuesday between 5 and 7 PM. So I took advantage of it, went there and paid the photographing fee which would normally be a bit too much for me in addition to the entrance fee. And then, equipped with a little sticker with a camera on my left arm, I photographed like a mad dog. (Supposing a mad dog can photograph.)

When I came back, father told me that it took him two days to take that amount of photos in Liepaja. Liepaja is a city in Latvia and sort of his personal Mekka. So you get an idea what a crazy feat I've just conducted.

Note to potential UPM photographers: Do not wear corduroy. I had a corduroy jacket and had to remove it, because the sticker would not stick to it.
Also, bear in mind that you're not allowed to have any kind of luggage at you. Not even a very small bag. You have to wear everything you wish to keep in your pockets (I kept my mobile phone, with the sound muted, to keep trace of time). You can carry a camera, but only with that paid-for sticker, naturally. You have to keep your luggage in cloakroom lockers.

The museum's not just full of pretty things, it's very pretty itself:

And to show you a little bit of the pretty things in there...

Clogs by Baťa, 1938-45. "Wood, leather, cotton straps, twisted cord."

Corset bodice (i.e. stays, I suppose), mid 18th century, French patterned silk and linen, made in Bohemia.

Bodice of printed muslin, 1840s-50s, Bohemia. It's situated in a drawer which you're supposed to pull out yourself. That's why it's upside down on the photo.
There are many many of those drawers in the room dedicated to clothes and cloths. Most of it is fabric or lace, and I did not photograph most of them, because there was simply too much of them and I feared that I would not have time for the other interesting things. And I was quite right.

But in spite of all the pretty clothes, my favourite item is actually this - two curtains designed by the Czech surrealist artist Toyen (Marie Čermínová by real name). If the UPM ever (which is unlikely) issues shower curtains with the print on right, I'm totally buying one, even with a museum price. Also, I'd love me some bedding with the print on the left. *sigh*

I second-guessed myself, and now I've got Medieval Sleeve Nr. 5

It's simpler. It might eat up more fabric, which is not even sure. But it's simple. Therefore, I'm going to use it on the final silk version. I'm still not sure what I'm using on the blue workdress, where I'm limited by fabric width (100 cm).

This is the pattern layout, the way it's going to be cut out of a 24 x 40 cm rectangle of fabric.

In reality, the two smaller pieces will be on the other side of the big one. The weird polygon goes to the bottom, situated the same way it is on the layout. The triangular gusset goes into the space between the other two, flipped upside down.

The main purpose of Nr. 5 - outside of being simpler - is this:

I thought, hey, this thing is almost grande-aissetted, what if I use this as a base for my Regency dress as well, and save myself some of the mocking-up trouble for that dress?
So I united all the three pieces of Nr. 3b-Something, and got Nr. 4, which was very, very fine, but not entirely.
So I played around it a bit more, used the back gusset again, and thus arrived to Nr. 5. Where I end. Now for real. If I go on, it will be to Regency Sleeve Nr. 1.

Medieval Sleeve Nr. 3bSomething - a diagram

OK, so the sleeve I finally arrived at is really confusing. I mean, it sort of confuses even me. Why am I even bothering with such a strange sleeve?
And how on earth does it go together?

This is how:

And the why... there are several.

1: I like the look of it. I like the way it looks completely different from any modern clothes. Come on, that triangular gusset in the back is cute!
2: It fits just like I want it to fit. Close, tight, yet comfortable.
3: It saves me fabric. Seriously. I experimented with moving the back seam to the underarm and uniting the main sleeve with the back gusset. On paper, regardless of grainlines and such, just to see if it's possible. It's almost 4 cm wider and about 2 cm higher (because of the change in angles).
With the sleeve in three pieces and a back seam, the main piece is narrower AND the sides are collinear and orthogonal to the hem. I should be able to cut both the main piece and the back gusset out of an approx. 32 x 22 cm rectangle of fabric. The united piece would eat a 36 x 24 rectangle, and there would be more odd remnants. (The underarm gusset is an additional piece, in both cases.)

That's obvious enough. Phew. I needed to sort this out and convince myself that I'm not crazy...

Monday 6 September 2010

Phew! I've got it!

This is Medieval Sleeve Nr. "I lost count".
More precisely, this is Medieval Sleeve Nr. 3-b-"I lost count of the underarm gussets".
It looks rather weird.
But it works.

The triangular gusset goes to the back seam, as seen previously. The other gusset is the final underarm gusset and goes from the very pointy point at right up to the bend at upper right-to-middle. That bend itself is there because of the changes I made to the front armscye.
(And do not worry if you got lost. In flat form, I can barely wrap my head around it myself. That's probably why it took me so many attempts.)
To provide you better understanding, here's the much more - at least for a modern seamstress/tailor - intuitive Medieval Sleeve Nr. 1b:

The width in both cases is the same - 29 cm. So is the back seam gusset, 9 x 9 x 9 cm. The difference is in the height of the sleeve cap and its additional width which results from the changes to the front armscye. I think it's kind of what happens in the back of the Irish Moy Bog Gown - a milder version of it; except that in my sleeve it happens in the front. (There's a pattern for the Moy Bog gown on this site, under "Undergowns".)

I have no idea if this construction of mine is period-correct or not. But it works. And that's most important.

Medieval Sleeve Nr. 2

Before Medieval Sleeve Nr. 2, there was Medieval Sleeve Nr. 1a, which did not even fit into the armscye - I made the back gusset too small - and Medieval Sleeve Nr. 1b, which was better, but there was strange pulling in the front.

I tried to save it and arrived at Medieval Sleeve Nr. 2, and apparently did not save it at all.
Just like Medieval Sleeve Nr. 1b, it fit wonderfully in the back, but there was some strange pulling and wrinkling in the front.

After I consulted a Burda sewing book, it was apparent that the problem was a too shallow sleeve head. AN EXAMPLE NEVER TO FOLLOW:

At least not if you have a really fitted dress.
(Shown minus the gusset, which is a 9 x 9 x 9 cm triangle.)

I re-pinned and slashed and repinned more and slashed more, until I had a useless sleve and a different armscye in front. That should, hopefully, solve the pulling. The wrinkling calls for Medieval Sleeve Nr. 3, which I'm working on now. I hope it will be the last, but you never know.

Also note that the final sleeve will not be elbow-length. I played around with this length to see how the bottom should be shaped if I went with an elbow-length sleeve with a shaped bottom (kind of like the sleeves on 18th century dresses). The theory is, I now have a shaped bottom for an elbow length sleeve and whenever I need it (like, maybe, for an early Regency dress), I'll just stick the appropriate sleeve head to it.

Saturday 4 September 2010

My Blueberry skirt

Today I wore, and plan to wear tomorrow to the church:
- the usual headscarf
- a thrifted 7/8 sleeve blue T-shirt
- a Vandenberg T-shirt underneath for additional warmth (although it turned out not to be necessary; but at least it sort of compliments the colour of the shoes)
- a beige sweater from a clothes exchange
- my Blueberry skirt (details below)
- striped blue above-knee stockings (or whatever it's called) from a shop in Brno
- thrifted modern shoes with vintage appeal (a different pair from the one that did not fit me - these fit just right), my new favourite pair; but apparently, even with the grass cut, you can't see much of my shoes in these garden shots
- a slip underneath the skirt which you naturally cannot see (that's the point!)

It was my favourite skirt. It was the perfect length and shape for me (A-line, just under the knee). It had a fun flounce/ruffle on the bottom. It was made of corduroy. And to top it off, it was thrifted and I got it from my mom, it was one of her lucky finds for me (she's had at least three other perfect lucky blind buys for me that I can remember from the top of my head).

And just when it was the only thing I had with me to wear to a January wedding, it got burnt by an old iron with a faulty thermostat. I did wear it to the wedding (fortunatelly it was a very intimate event where all the focus was really on the couple getting married and not whatever I wore), but it was the last time for a long time.

It was lingering in my stash of things to remake and salvage for about a year, I think. I thought of applique. But with the flounce, I feared an applique would turn it into something blindingly silly-girly. The flounce was in my comfort zone in that aspect, but what kind of applique could it be not to make it into some kind of misguided poodle skirt? Everything I thought of seemed to be teetering too close to the edge.

Then I found this and I knew that was it. Of course, I did it my way. Among other things, I did not have felt in this olive-green colour, so I went with blue felted wool instead (out of a thrifted skirt). That's the way with OutsaPop's blog. Most of the time, her style and the style she features is way out there for me, and way too edgy and dark-coloured and what-have-you... you know what I mean, don't you? I'm simply not the person to wear that style, not at all. But I can relate to her trashion values and from time to time, there's something simply fabulous. And a little of that kind of edge was exactly what this skirt needed. It's still cute, but not in a straight-into-your-face kind of way. At least I think so.

And the name? Even though I really love blueberries (if you at some point feel a need to buy my affections, a simple blueberry yoghurt or bluberry ice cream is very likely to do the job), I did not think of it when I made it. Then I wore it to church, and the minister remarked that it looked like blueberries. And that was the last bit to make this skirt my absolute favourite.

Happy Ending.