Monday 23 April 2012

Change of plans?

In one of my comments at the last post, I mentioned I wanted to make the LBD pattern in a brown double knit next. Well, I pulled out the knit in question today and it turns out it's much more drape-y than I remembered it to be...

... not to mention hardly enough for a full-skirted dress. This is SO not the dress I had in mind... Apparently, my memory got its structure mixed up with a scrap of another double knit that lingers in the stash. This is more like Steph's Kimono Wrap Top. Or something.

So, next in line was a Little Blue Dress.

Now, should it be a smooth, A-skirted sheath of patterned blue with "contrast" upturned facings...

... or a fun lightweight but full-skirted summer dress?

Supposing there's enough for a full skirt, that is.

Each of these hold a problem. The abstract print above is something decidedly artificial, which is not my chosen material of trade if I can avoid it. (The Little Black Dress is 79 % viscose, which I'm fine with, but this seems very artificial through and through. I may be mistaken - a burn test might tell me something else.) The other is most probably viscose/rayon, which, as I mentioned, I'm fine with; but it's a bit see through and would probably need to be lined. And what on Earth am I going to line it with?!

Pyjama it is, for now!

Saturday 21 April 2012

A Little Black Dress in practice

So, here's a photoshoot! The Little Black Dress, as I wore it to the wedding today.

(I'll probably also do some photos of details, later.)

 The jacket is about 40 years old; one of the things I got from my friend's mother, together with the Alice Stuart blouse. It came with ugly, non-matching and awfully attached buttons. I switched them for these blue-and-white ones my grandfather had made (with resin and ink); when I was a child, my mom had them on a dressing gown, and I've always loved them in the stash and wanted to find a worthy use for them. I think I did.
 (The jacket still needs to be taken in a little bit in the back for me, but otherwise it's a perfect match for the dress!)

 Necklace from my grandmother and my favourite thrifted shoes.
And a very nifty (alas, very small) purse that can go from shoulderbag to clutch.

And the Madeline hat, with many thanks to Lisa. It has really turned out to be just the hat for me; I think you'll be happy to hear I got compliments on it, Lisa. :-)

And many thanks to my sister for the photos, and for help with the dress - she marked the back neckline for me, and the perfect skirt length as well.

As we were dressing up and my sister admired my 50s inspired outfit and I admired her Indian violets (I took a photo of her, too, but it sadly did not turn out well - I'm not used to photographing people...), we got the scary idea that we might upstage the bride.

We needn't worry.

She comes from Algeria; she was so nicely put together in her Algerian outfit that no one could outshine her, not even the medieval-clad guests from Germany. :-)

Friday 20 April 2012

Look what I've got! - the holidays edition

 It's been Easter already, and I'm finally showing you things I got in December...

A magnet from Estonia - swallow is the national bird of Estonia. It currently graces the metal side of a cupboard we are using as a household noticeboard.


 A 0,5 l mug. As close to "a cup of tea big enough" as they come... (Read "Other Worlds" by C.S. Lewis for the source of that popular quote; I'm currently unable to locate the exact essay in the book.) Plus, it's blue and white! And handmade. In short, it's perfect.

And another perfect cup - Snufkin from Arabia's Moomin Collection. (Snufkin's my favourite Moomin character.) Front...

... and back. It's now my coffee cup.
(My sister's got another one, which she uses as a pencil stand right now so that they would not get confused, and Hattifatteners, which father is "secretly" using to drink coffee from. And my sister is making him coffee into it, secretly, so that she would not know...)

I also got a camera bag. And a tripod! And two packages of Latvian herbal- and forest-scented bath salt. And a 0,5 kg box of Latvian baking soda for my no-poo routine. (Latvian, because you can't get such big packs of baking soda here in the Czech Republic - it only comes in small bags; so my sister promised to bring me some from Latvia.) And two of these lovely Polish dishes, one bigger, one smaller. And blueberry jam (long gone) and verbena tea (slowly running out of, *sniff*).

Now you know why.

And the teapot and cup and saucer set. And some other things I can't remember from the top of my head.

So, how do you like my bragging? Can you compare? ;-) What's your favourite cup/mug like? Coffee or tea?

Thursday 19 April 2012

A Little Black Dress on a hanger

It's finished!


I finished it on Tuesday, half an hour before a concert I wore it to. (Sound familiar, fellow seamstresses, sewists, Sewasauri Re...whatever the plural of "rex" is?)
It was a classical concert in a small local venue. I sat in the last row and still got a perfect view and perfect sound. Four people; two played oboe and English horns, one played bassoon (called "fagot" in Czech - I wonder where that difference comes from?), one played spinet (which is not the same as cembalo, no matter what my online dictionary says) and piano. There was one piece by Mozart, one by Händel, others by composers I have not heard about before. It was one of those occasions you wish could go on forever. (And of course they don't...) The musicians were rather taken aback by our enthusiastic applause. And they've travelled the world with their music. Nice to see small town audience still has its perks.

Anyway - I finished the dress. It may need some tweaks here and there, but as it is, it's still one of the most detailled and perfected things I've sewn to date. Even though it's so simple. And I'm happy about my neat topstitched facings and partly handpicked zipper (that took some figuring out, and was the thing I was finishing half an hour before the concert) and that lovely neckline and shaped sleeves and pleated skirt. But I can't show you much of it, because right now it's cloudy and there's no good photographing light to be had. When there is, I'll do a proper photoshoot. I think this dress deserves it.
Also, it looks great with the Madeline hat - but it's not the sort of thing you'd wear to an evening concert. I'll probably wear it to a wedding on Saturday, though. (A man from our congregation's getting married.)
And I love the pattern, and want to use it over and over and over, with variations in the neckline, sleeves, skirt and colour. I want to make a Little Brown Dress, a Little Blue Dress, a Little Beige Dress... any more Bs you know of? A Little White Dress - that's a B in Czech...

Enough of dresses for now! This transitional period when we switch the heating off and on and off again, when one day it's warm inside and the other it goes cold, because it's colder outside than we expected - that reminds me I wanted to sew myself pyjamas from the cotton flannel I got way back in the beginnings of this blog, together with the Very Pink Poplin of Doom and other fabrics.
Oh, and then also this:
I've got turquoise and teal flannel. Hopefully there's enough of it to make a pyjama top and bottoms, each in one fabric and bias-bound in the other colour.

And one more good news - well, for me! I got The Czar's Madman by Jaan Kross in a secondhand bookshop today. One of my favourite historical novels - for 5 CZK, just (I guess) because it's in Slovakian. I've read so many books (mostly Agatha Christie's) in Slovakian that that's no problem for me. Score!

Saturday 14 April 2012

Little (and greater) joys of life

When was the last time I sang along with some music I was listening to?

Until yesterday, I wouldn't be able to say.

On Friday, I sang along with this album (available for free download - click on the cover). I found it thanks to Anna of Pleasant View Schoolhouse (I owe a lot to her already...). I downloaded it back when she posted about it, and then forgot all about it, and rediscovered it in February this year and fell in love.

Still in love.

* ~ * ~ *

Another rediscovery: this greyish purple yarn is ooold. When I decided to rewind the falling apart original skein into more managable ball(s), I realised just how much I loved this colour.

Together with green and grey, too. Not this particular grey yarn, but maybe some other.

* ~ * ~ *

I'm slowly, gradually reorganising things in the household, to be easier and prettier. The above jar is part of that. This is another:

The nail scissors and related stuff used to be in an ugly old and too small paper box; it was secretly driving me crazy, because it was messy and you could not see properly what was inside.

Mom gave me two of these bowls yesterday - she had no use for them and I thought they could work for my reorganising.

This one certainly did.

* ~ * ~ *

I totally forgot to post about these two things that make me very happy.

I won a print by Leaping Gazelle Studios in Kellie's Ginormous giveaway a while back. I chose this fern leaf, and got these poppies I admired on top of that:

Our kitchen is starting to become poppy-infested - we're now working on new curtains, the same background colour but with poppies and white flowers on it. :-) I love poppies, and the colours of red and orange and yellow are perfect for our small, shady kitchen.

Thank you so much, Kellie and Lauren!

* ~ * ~ *

Other things I got: teapot and teacup and saucer set from my aunt. Rosehips jam and darjeeling tea from mom. Oh yes, and the bowl.

* ~ * ~ *

Violets. Pity I can't share the smell as well. They've gone wild in our garden.

* ~ * ~ *

This is old news, but that does not make it any less great:

"Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!"

(Art by Barbora Veselá)