Tuesday 31 December 2013

Have a good one

I think I'm obliged to post something here before 2013 is over. It was a somewhat awkward year in many respects, with many things left unfinished (as evidenced by the lack of posts here), and things going differently than expected (like our Christmas; but it was still good!). But it wasn't a bad one. In spite of various things going wrong, the last straw being my aunt calling this morning that the flat at school was most probably flooded, there were lots of good things happening, too. The last, so far, being my aunt calling again that the flooding isn't too bad at all.

Sometimes, I can take lessons from our cats. Seriously.

A Kuusi lesson: when something does not go as planned, make the best of it and go on as if that was the purpose. Because who knows, maybe it was.
(If you do not catch the bird in the tree, make yourself comfortable in the tree and pretend that was the plan all along.)

I had some great times this year, and in spite of once again not managing to meet with lots of friends I have not seen in ages, I think 2013 was a very friend-rich year for me; I will get around to writing about some of it one day. So for the next year, I wish you some great times, good friends to have them with, and the capacity of making the best of the less so.

Have a good one, and be good. I'll try to do the same.

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Bučovice - Part 2: The chateau

Well, finally I'm going to show you the chateau of Bučovice!

That is, I am going to show you the outside, because, as is the case with practically all Czech chateaus and castles and places, photography is not allowed inside. This is a big pity for you, because while the tour of the chateau was short, it was most interesting and breathtaking. The rooms are decorated with wonderful wall paintings, and they also have a fabulous library with globes and such things (I always love me a chateau library, and this one was particularly old and cool!). Get a little taste on their official site. And this photo, which comes from their site, but I'm unable to find it from there.

The cheateau is a Renaissance building, with a most beautiful arcaded courtyard (arcades on three sides) - interesting in that it uses lighter-style columns on the bottommost level, unlike the convention for arcades which is to use heavier Doric columns on the ground level. (Having spent a good part of my childhood immersed in an encyclopaedia of architectural terms pays off in a place like this.)
Every single column is decorated with unique carvings, which is what accounts for the amount of photos I took in the chateau. I was in love with the columns.

The chateau is not wholly reconstructed yet. From the park side, it looks like this (and I believe still did this summer when we went through Bučovice on our way to another chateau). So, quite frankly, these blog posts are also my attempt to possibly draw more attention to its potential beauty. The more people visit it, the more likely it's to get a new facade. Theoretically. Right?

The park is a French style one, I believe. It is not big, and there were not any flowers, which I think goes hand in hand with the fact the chateau seems to be struggling to be kept. But there's definitely also potential for beauty. It's a nice, calm, green place.

I was pretty much in love with the clock tower, too. And the shape of the windows and doors.

Who am I kidding. I was in love with the whole place. Look at that fabulous ceiling and lamp! And that's just the entrance.

Even the wholly practical administrative/agricultural/whatever buildings around are pretty.

Seriously, this is Renaissance at its best. Period.


So consider this a command: if you ever come to the Czech Republic, don't miss out on this one! You'll get Czech Republic and Italy rolled into one, for the price of one. 

Friday 1 November 2013

I wish this were me in 1797

This 1797 fashion plate from costume Parisien. I'm finding that 1797 might be the year for me. It's got most of the features I like, and a silhouette I like - still the transitional style I'm drawn to, but already streamlined into the more flattering classical style we all probably love most about the Directoire/Empire fashions; and headwear I like.

Fichu en marmote! Now, this really has to be me.

I love the combination of colours here, bold yet pastel, and that cute white fur trim on the spencer, and the simplicity of the whole thing, in all its boldness. There's a very timeless quality to it - leave out the plume (and the whip, obviously) and wear it with a modern white shirt, and you could wear this today. And get photographed by The Sartorialist while wearing it.
Though I'm wondering why she has that band underneath her chin... is there something going on underneath the fichu that we do not know about?

I guess this "feature" is all you're getting from me, clothing-wise, for a while yet. I'm working on things. Very slowly, because there are many things not clothing related that I have to work on, too, and when I finish those, I'm often too tired to take up the needle. But I am working on it. I finished all the eyelets on my Regency stays, and yesterday I knitted away on my laces, only to find out it was still not long enough...

Although, wait a minute, I have some new acquisitions I could show you. And some oldish ones, too...

Thursday 12 September 2013

Thrifted dress re-sewed. Sleeve cap ease is still bogus. Shoes again.

Long time no see!

There has been much less sewing than I'd wanted to, which I think was to be expected, what with my laziness, and the trips we did with my sister in summer, and translation work, and watching things, and laziness... :D

The good news is, I've got loads of photos of beautiful places around the Czech Republic (mostly Moravia) to show you, and I should start with the chateau in Bučovice that I owe you since 2011, but before I do that, I want to show you my latest thrift shop find, or rather parts of it because it's too cold outside to wear a dress, lest you forget this is a dress diaries.
It's a Boden dress - I determined it is Aqua Bud in crinkle cotton (not available anymore). Or was. It said to twist after washing to retain the crinkliness, but I did not like the sort of crinkliness it had retained - more like sticking out in all directions. So I did not twist it after washing and instead ironed it smooth.
And re-sewed the sleeves and sewed the surplice together. I settle on the conclusion that custom fit rules, particularly if you're not a B cup, and sleeve cap ease is still bogus (my, do I love that eye-opening article!). The original shape of the sleeve was practically the same in front and back. Maybe even more cut-out in the front. Huh. (Come to think of it now, maybe the dress had wrongly inserted sleeves to begin with?)

Compared to my Lisbeth sleeve - oh, did I mention I started calling the LBD pattern Lisbeth? :D - it's rather obvious that the easing does not exactly help with what is simply a wrong shape. I had to wriggle the Lisbeth pattern around a bit to make it fit into the present armhole, and the results are not perfect because I had a limited amount of fabric to work with and a not-quite fitting dress to start with, but it's somewhat better.
Oh, and I think it is worth mentioning that the (original) Lisbeth sleeve actually fits into a smaller armhole than the eased sleeve did, and is still more comfortable and easier to move in. So much for the ease of sleeve cap ease, yeah. Not all sleeve caps are created equal.
(I suppose there are some eased sleeve caps that are well-fitted and easy to move in; but this was definitely not one of them.)

The dress is still not a perfect fit - it's actually a size smaller than I should have according to their size charts, and I suspect the bust and sleeves might have been better in a larger size, but then it might be way too tent-like anywhere else. But passing a cotton dress in your style, in your length, in your colours, for 20 CZK - that is hard. :D (I think I actually remember having admired that dress online, way back when. So, yay!)

* * *

And American Duchess is doing yet another giveaway, so here is an obligatory share of the new 1930s-style Claremont Oxfords.
Is she ever going to make shoes I do not want?! I still do not have any. It's always been a bit too much money that could and had to go elsewhere, so far...

Monday 12 August 2013

And this would be me in 1823

It has it all: simple blue and white, a shawl, a straw hat with ordinary field flowers (I presume). I'm still getting over the hairstyles of the era, though...

Journal des Dames et des Modes 1823, found here. (I dislike Tumblr very much. It houses many interesting pictures, and is absolutely awful for tracking down their sources. I dislike pins on Pinterest that link back to Tumblr, and avoid them when I can. This Tumblr-er is nice, though.)

Do I really need more ideas for historical white dresses??? Because this would totally have removable lower sleeves, and therefore be a practical multi-purpose dress... Help!

Sunday 4 August 2013

And from now on, I'm having a silly smile plastered on my face


And all is right with the universe.

Just a few days ago, I added Peter Capaldi to my favourite actors on the Czech internet film database. I didn't even dream of this, even though apparently many other people did. And several days later, I learn of this. Such wonderful coincidence happens, as we say in Czech, once in a Hungarian year (do not ask me why it's Hungarian).

My sister approves, too, and, hehe, says she may even start watching New Who for him (she's only watched some Classics so far). I am jumping around the house, laughing uncontrollably and yes, have a silly smile plastered on my face. This fandom couldn't make me happier.

Hello, Doctor!

Sunday 28 July 2013

Blue dress, accessorised with a tomcat

These are not exactly the best quality photos: I took them at half past eight, PM, when the temperature outside was 30 degree Celsius. Make your best guess as to what it was like to step outside earlier... and how Kuusi survived in that black furcoat of his!

(I only grabbed him at the last moment before the self-timer went off; before I positioned myself there, he had been eagerly examining the legs of my tripod.)

I actually did step outside earlier, dressed like this. Minus Kuusi, though he ties my black sandals in nicely. I met up with my friend; we wanted to go to our favourite café again, but it was closed today because of a technical issue (said a sign outside), so instead we went to the patisserie, had an ice cream each and bought some sweet things to eat and went to my home instead and had mint tea from that mint I do not want to get crushed under the TARDIS. Blueberry milkshake would have been better, but mint tea is good.

The point of these photos is my supportive undergarment. That's right: I wore my wrap stays.

With a lightweight, loosely-woven cotton top underneath acting as my chemise, I was (and am) still much less hot and sweaty than I get after just a while with my foam-cup bras in heats like these. No other bras than underwire foam-cup give me enough support, but they're absolutely dreadful in summer. No more! I'm now a short jumps convert. :D

Seeing as the forecast is for heats to last till the end of August (we'll see about that...), I'm very, very happy about this discovery!

Oh, the dress was made by my mom, for my sister, years ago (back in 1990s, actually) - it's Burda Super Easy 3243, rather similar to the famous vintage Butterick Walkaway dress in its concept. I tie it in the back instead of the front, though, because I like the look of that better on me. It's a bit too short for my liking, so normally I only wear it around the house, but that particular feature in combination with its relaxed fit made it perfect for this weather... and the relaxed fit was good for my undergarments.

Thursday 25 July 2013

Bučovice - Part 1: The Town

Back in June 2011, me and my sister visited a little Moravian town with a special little chateau, which turned out to have some very interesting other buildings as well... and I never posted about it. Maybe because I took well over a hundred photos in there (namely, 185), and before I worked my way through them, there came the long Baltics trip I never finished posting about either.

The first thing I photographed in Bučovice was the Catholic rectory/vicarage/whatever do you call it? (Lisa, could you please help me out here?) I had a hard time fitting the whole thing into the photo from across the street.

This is the town hall. It helpfully tells you so, but in Czech. Now you can say "town hall" in Czech. (Or at least, now you can recognise the word in a text.)

If I am not mistaken, it is a cubistic building.

In case you didn't know, yes, there is such a thing as cubism in architecture.

(As an aside, though, I'm rather annoyed with the Wikipedia article; it lists Czechoslovakia as one of the few countries that experimented with the notion, but fails to mention anything else about it in the rest of the article. Even though the little town of Pečky in the Czech Republic now boasts the only cubist church in Europe and, according to this Czech site, the only cubist church interior in the world. Hello!
Come to think of it, though, I am annoyed with the Czech Wikipedia article about Pečky as well, because it also fails to mention the church.)

But back to Bučovice.


On your left, the Czech national coat-of-arms (with the words that literally translate "town office", meaning the town hall and related bureaucracy), on the right, Bučovice's.

Next to that marvel of modern architecture stands a very classic (classicist?) house.

I have a feeling this green house probably used to be a pharmacist's, but now, I believe it houses a bank.

This mixture of styles was one of the things I loved most about Bučovice. You never knew what came next.

Well, next came the town square. On one side...

... a house dating to 1913. On the other side...

... one dating to 1733.

Housing a tobacconist's and a drugstore.

There was also this building that could have been awesome had it been renovated.

On the upper end of the town square, there is a church. It sits across a busy street, so it was rather impossible to photograph it without some pesky streetlamps getting in the way...

There is this smallish statue of who I believe to be St. Cyril and Methodius, really popular in Moravia (for obvious reasons).

"Donated by the Civic Savings Bank in Bučovice".

The church is rather simple, which I liked...

... even though it has an elaborate altar, so typical of Roman Catholic churches in the Czech Republic.

And then, on the lower end of the town square, you can see the chateau. But since that ate up most of the 185 photos I took that day, and this post is long already, I leave the chateau for Part 2.

One of the last photos I took in Bučovice was of this pub/restaurant - it did not look particularly like the kind of restaurant we would enjoy (we had our lunch in a pizzeria instead, another fairly stable fixture of small Czech towns these days) - but it looked fairly pretty in its own right. And somewhat fun: the name of the pub is "At the Green Frog".

You can see the rest of my photos from Bučovice - well, still somewhat more carefully selected than 185 - here. Chateau photos to be added at a later date.