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Author: Annie

Light summer kimono

Light summer kimono

This piece is halfway between a beach kimono and a tunic, so chosing a proper title wasn’t easy given my OCD. The fabric I used was muslin, so this piece is see-through – so I suggest wearing it over a topor a little black dress for the streets. It can be a perfect beachwear if you’d like to feel like a seawitch while others look like az overbaked ham. It also protects against sunburn depending on the fabric used.

Light in the title refers to not only the fabric but also the method we’ll use. The weying pattern is from Elisabetta Drudi’s book Warp & Drape fashion; and you don’t have to do a single seam! You just have to cut the pattern out of a fabric, tie a knot at the certain places and done.

First step is creating the sewing pattern. For this you have to draw roughly an overflipped L-shape as seen below. The length equals the required length of the dress, the width is the required width of the dress, the length of the top rectangle iz the length of the sleeve. If you’d like a bell-shaped sleeve the bottom side of the rim should go slant (like I did). You also have to add a dart to the outter side of the sleeve and one under your arm – later tying these together will form the dress.

nyári ruha instrukciók
Sewing pattern

Second step is the fabric. I used a 200 cm * 150 cm piece of fabric called muslin. This is an extremely airy natural fabric made especially for warm weather. You have to fold the fabric two times as seen below. You have to place the pattern on the folded piece and cut it. If your fabric of choice does not require serging (happens)or your sewing machine can do serging or safety stitch (or if you have an overlock machine, you lucky bastard) no seam allowance is needed.

nyári ruha instrukciók
Folding the fabric and placing the pattern

If you’re brave enough you can draw the pattern directly on the fabric. As seen below I have done this way and failed miserably – but don’t panic, if you use tailors chalk or solid soap to draw it can be washed out easily.

nyári ruha instrukciók
My pattern messed up

If you fold out the piece now you should see a thing resembling a physically disabled maltese cross. Now cut a vertical line as shown below, paralel to the sides of the cross and a circle approximately 10 cm in diameter. This is the front opening and the neckline – the circle being thinner than your neck is normal, the hole will change it’s shape later on due to the weigth of the fabric.

nyári ruha instrukciók
How it should look

This is my piece after folding it out:

nyári ruha instrukciók
The muslin is visibly a very light fabric, you can technically see through it

The drawing below shows how it should be worn. You just have to tie the darts under your arm and at the sleves, and tie a belt at the waist. The waist can be made from the same but previously scrapped fabric or you can add something more extravagant like leather.

nyári ruha instrukciók
Gawd, this instruction looks like a pictogram straight out of an Ikea catalog.

And the kimono in action:

goth nyári köntös
Photographer: Somelán Dávid Somi

 

goth nyári köntös
Photographer: Somelán Dávid Somi

 

goth nyári köntös
Photographer: Somelán Dávid Somi

 

goth nyári köntös
Photographer: Somelán Dávid Somi

 

Rockabilly circle skirt

Rockabilly circle skirt

You most probably have wore a circle skirt in your life (even if you’re a boy!); it’s the type you’d call also princess skirt or “spinning skirt”, because it flows so nice when you turn around. Several Disney princesses, like Aurora from Sleeping Beauty, Belle from Beauty and the Beast and Anna from Frosen wore circle skirts in the movies, because it flows so gracefully. No wonder the rockabilly movement favored it – the rockabilly dance has plently of spins and skips, so dancers wearing the circle skirt can be most spectacular.

Cutting method of the fabric goes exactly you’d suspect by its name: You cut a great circle with a smaller circle matching your waistline in the middle, and that’s all.
But what if the fabric is striped? If you follow the method described above the stripes will be messy, so we have to find another way.

Well, if you have ever asked yourself over a difficult math homework WHERE are you going to use this in real life, here is the answer! To draw the pattern of the circle skirt! In this post I’ll show you how to construct a sewing pattern for the paneled circle skirt fast and easy.

The maths (I suggest you write the underlined values on a paper so they”ll always be around when needed):

  • Measure your waistline (or to be precise the circumference of the part where the skirt begins. It may vary depending on the fashion: wether it’s a high-waist skirt or a hipskirt, or something in between.) (And no cheating, you don’t have to impress the pattern.)
  • Divide the waistline by 6.28 to get the waist radius.
  • Add the required length to the waist radius to get the skirt radius.
  • Multiply the skirt radius by 6.28 to get the circumference of the skirt.
rockabilly circle skirt sewing pattern
My waistline and the circumference of the skirt (in centimetres)

Okay, no more maths. Now to drad the patterns you have to do the following:

  • Decide how many panels are needed. The more panelt you use the more difficult and more smooth it’ll turn out to be. In this tutorial I’ll use eight, but your numbers may vary.
  • Divide the waistline and the circumference by the number of the panels.
  • You have to construct a trapezium where the top side is the waistline divided by the number of panels, the bottom side is the circumference divided by the number of panels, and the height equals the required length of the skirt. It should look somewhat like this:
rockabilly circle skirt sewing pattern
Trapezium and my pink socks
  • You have to cut this trapezium shape (with some seam allowance) from the fabric as many times as many panels you used for the math part.
  • seaming is relatively easy: you have to sew together the panels by their side so they’ll form a circle shape.
  • If you have used your exact waist measurement you have to insert a zipper or add buttons to one of the seams. If you used bigger measurement than your actual waist you can insert a rubber band to the waistline.

rockabilly circle skirt sewing pattern

  • I have also added a non-elastic waistband to reach the resemblance of actual ’60s rockabilly circle skirt.

The final piece:

rockabilly circle skirt sewing pattern
You can see the circular shape
rockabilly circle skirt
My very own handmade circle skirt.
Tote bag with skeleton camea

Tote bag with skeleton camea

I recently got hold of some upholstery fabric (fabric used to cover furniture) which is perfect for creating bags. It’s stron on the right side while padded from the inside, so it provides double protection for things inside. I decided to sew tote bag since I have plently of books, files and lady stuffs I carry every day so I need a large bag; but since I started to work at an office and dress corpgth I need an elegant piece.

For the first step I cut a rectangle which has the width of the required width of the tote bag, and the length is the required depth of the bag two times plus the required thickness. After that I cut two rectangles which had the length of the required depth of the bag and the width of the required thickness. If this sounds confusing just think about the cuboid nets you used to draw at elementary school (I hope I wasn’t the only one :D). You have to add 2-3 cm seam to every dimension also.

tote bag táska tutorial
If it still sounds confusing just look at this pic.

I sewed the two smaller rectangle to the middle of the big rectangle (as seen above), and folded all four “petals” up and sewed them together. The next step is to secure the top seams; this is how it supposed to look:

tote bag táska tutorial

This is the raw basis of the tote bag, now we just have to add the straps of the bad and some decoration.

tote bag táska tutorial

On this piece I put some lace on the top and a camea on the front, and sewed the straps OVER the lace. But let your imagination soar, there’s no limit of variations.

tote bag táska tutorial

I made the straps myself of the same material as I used for the tote bag, but buying ready-made bag straps is also an option.

tote bag táska tutorial
Imagination in progress

The final piece in action:

tote bag táska tutorial

tote bag táska tutorial

Amy Mah and the real vampires

Amy Mah and the real vampires

As a hardcore sceptic, conspiration theories, mechanism of gullibility and human stupidity has always been my favourite debate topics, but I have never written on them here for they aren’ fit in this blog’s policy. But there is always a first time, now I have found the contact point of con-theos and the dark-alternative subcultures: the case of Amy Mah.

 

The books

Amy Mah is a thirty years old writer, who has started the business three years ago, has published several paperback books and hosts a succesful blog (her books on Amazon.com). Her style can be called metafiction; this narrative technique constantly raises the reader’s awarness on the fact that the artifact is merely an artifact. Usually this technique doesn’t let the reader get involved in the story, but combined with diary-like narrative the effects turn to the opposite, it becomes uncannily realistic.

A paralel example for easier understanding: metafiction is when characters in a film nows and tells they are in a film. This results in the viewer not believing what they see – except when it is a found footage film, in witch case it only enhances the sense of reality.

This technique can be demanding, as the autor basically has to be an actor, has to live the life of the character whose point of view the story is written (the guy with the camera), and has to tell the story with the words and style of that character.

Amy Mah uses the point of view of a sarcastic teenage vampire who has to face similar problems to human teenagers: friends, boyfriends, love, sex, adults and acne (caused by sunlight here). The books got mixed reviews: some say there isn’t enough description and backstory written, others say metafiction doesn’t even need descriptions. Some say it’s too explicit for children and too simple for adults, others claim that it’s the very meaning of Young Adult Fiction. I haaven’t read the books myself, only the blod, and my oppinion is that Amy is far from being Anne Rice YET, but she has talent and potential to create something great and beautiful.

amy mah vampire
Illustration of AMy Mah from the book Fangs rule

 

Where’s the problem?

It’s a beginning of a beautiful carreer, you may say, why do I think it’s strange in any way?

The reason is that some of the critical voices, most of them actually aims not the books but the author. It seems that an innocent piece of teen-vampire-literature could outraged the so called vampire communities so much that the Facebook- and interne pages of Amy are constantly reported, her publisher was threatend to be sued, and she even got several death threats.

The most bizarre detail of the story are the reasons: the “real” vampires consider the books dangerous to their community because

  • it ridicules real vampires
  • it can stimulate mortals believing they’re vampires thus endangering their and other’s life, by jumping off somewhere thinking they can fly or going on a murdering spree in order to get blood,
  • it is giving away the thousands years old secrets of the vampire community.

Erhmagerd, I don’t have enough hands to do the proper nuber of facepalms here.

I really intended to argue sensibly and give logical reasons, but for fuck’s sake…

Real vampires? Like REAL vampires? Whattehell?

I have seen things in my short life. I have seen my granny raising funds to free a fictional slave girl of a soap opera (note: a brasil soap opera titled A Escrava Isaura was a popular one in my country and elderly women giving all their money to free the main character was a real cultural and economic problem.); people tried to convince me that the Lich King and Slenderman (!) lives under the city lake in my hometown; one of my classmates firmly believed that she is married to Uchiha Itachi; and I know a girl who is deeply convinced that she is the Emperess of Lebanon and the last heiress of Árpád-house (firsd royal dinasty of my country). It’s hard to impress me, I know that reality and the wits of people are flexible. But this one is, just…

Vampires

Who are these people anyway? It is hard to believe that there are people on earth who thinks they’re vampires, so before writting a raging article of passion I asked an expert, Anthony Hogg.

(I don’t have to emphasize they’re not real vampires, as vampires, in the mythological meaning of the word does not exist – right?)

Mr. Hogg told me that tese “vampire communities” brings together people who can identify themselves with the traditional or novel image of vampires.

So here’s a list of their ilks:

  • Normal people of the subculture – perfectly normal and innocent people who adore vampire literature and folklore and the whole dark-alternative subculture grown around it. They have never claimed to be a vampire in the mythological sense.
  • Roleplayers – moderately normal and perfectly innocent people who play vampire roleplay games like The Masquerade, or games they have made up. They regulary claim to be vampires, but they know it’s only a make-believe for them.
  • Energy Vampires – They claim to be able to absorb and feed on the life energy of others. Well, I’m sceptic, and will never believe something unmeasurable and undemonstrable, but I can’t blame the believers – it’s more of a belief, a religion, than anything else. The idea of energy-vampirism is not a new thing, pcych’s of the 1930’s came up with it, it’s like the dark and evil twin of the energy-healing.
  • Otherkin –  This interesting subculture would deserve more publicity; it’s almost like a mixture of animism and LGBT culture. It’s members, like transgender people, believe that their soul was born in a wrong body, but instead of missing the gender they missed the species. So (unlike some of the types below) they know that they are humans, but claim that their soul is of a wolf/turtle/bat/unicorn/dragon, or, as expected, a vampire.
  • Modern day vampires – Hard stuff. They believe to be real vampires, but in their system of believes the immortality and the blooddrinking are merely symbolical stuff: Immortality is in fact reincarnating again and again, thus has to “wake up” in every single life, and bloodsucking is a ritual of absorbing life energy (like energy-vampires do), where only some drops of real blood is enough. To be honest this one looks like a religion as well, but with somehow more complex mythology and rituals.
  • Sangvinarians – It  means exactly as you would think: people who regulary consume blood for any reasons. Opposite of “energy vampires”.
  • Traditional vampires – The dead end. They claim to be hundreds or even thousands of years old mytical creatures who are feed on human blood and burned by sunlight. Seems totally legit.

Some psychologists call these beahiour VPD syndrome (Vampire Personality Disorder), commonly known as Renfield-syndrome, however, the offical position callifies the aformentioned conditions as schizophrenia and parasexuality (ill-conditioned cases of sexuality).

Long story short, Amy Mah is threatend by the craziest elements of this particular subculture, and their only reason is not being able to understand the concept of fiction.

Yes, there are people jumping off the third floor after watching Dragon Ball believing they can fly (tragic and memorable incident in our country, after which Dragon Ball was banned on TV), and yes, there are people who feel the urge to go on a killing spree after listening to The Beatles’ Helter Skelter (like Charles Manson), or reading The Catcher in the Rye (like Mark David Chapman, murderer of John Lennon), but in these cases something went horribly wrong in their heads way before getting in contact the “triggering” piece of art.

And yes, there are idiots who believe everything they read, so go on searching for the descendants of Jesus, or extraterrestrials in New Jersey, or vampires in New Orleans.

But this is not normal.

In the twenty-first century it’s not normal for a fantasy-writer to be afraid because of her works.

(On the other hand, people taking a piece of art so seriously is a great achievement for an artist – aster all, Orson Welles was also laughing inside while apologising for the panic his radio drama triggered.)

Why am I writting about this

Apart from finding amusement in the dark and twisted logic of clinically insane.

Browsing through the discourse on Amy’s books I have came across comments several times where brave defendants of the “real” vampires used the word “gothic” as the synonym for their vampire subculture, and this made me think. I know I have been fiercely arguing against excluding people of our subculture merely for not agreeing with their deeds, but this is just…

It’s one step too far.

As none of the dark-alternative subcultures are about depression, none of them are about lying/believing to be a thousands years old mythical creature – both are existing and serious psychiatric conditions in need of treatment. A subculture can’t be organised around an illness!

Of course, the vampire subculture is real, and (within reasonable limits) there’s nothing wrong with it, it sure shares elements and even members with the gothic community – but if you believe to be thousand of years old and need blood to stay alive, or that every written word is true, please, don’t hesitate to see your doctor!

Kiss of Vampire ring

Kiss of Vampire ring

I won this ring in a lucky bag game, but unfortunately it was all pink. I wanted to customise it, make it fit more into my personal style. So I painted it black with two tiny vampire fangs, fixed it with a layer of transparent clearcoat and voila.

There is no limit of the variations. You can paint spiderweb, bats or other spooky things on it; I would even wear a gradient (black-purple in particular, but your preferences may vary) or matte piece, similar to the recent make up trends.

Guys at the university didn’t dare to sit by me, but my colleagues loved it.

VˇˇˇˇV

kiss of vampire ring

Darkness slipped in

Darkness slipped in

I have found this storybook while browsing a thrift store (in Hungary thrift stores sell English books for some reason). I just wanted to show you the story of a cute little girl who mets the Darkness itself and they became best friends forever – this is how babybats are created.

Darkness slipped in storybook for kids Darkness slipped in storybook for kids Darkness slipped in storybook for kids Darkness slipped in storybook for kids Darkness slipped in storybook for kids Darkness slipped in storybook for kids Darkness slipped in storybook for kids Darkness slipped in storybook for kids Darkness slipped in storybook for kids Darkness slipped in storybook for kids Darkness slipped in storybook for kids Darkness slipped in storybook for kids Darkness slipped in storybook for kids Darkness slipped in storybook for kids Darkness slipped in storybook for kids Darkness slipped in storybook for kids Darkness slipped in storybook for kids Darkness slipped in storybook for kids Darkness slipped in storybook for kids Darkness slipped in storybook for kids Darkness slipped in storybook for kids Darkness slipped in storybook for kids Darkness slipped in storybook for kids Darkness slipped in storybook for kids Darkness slipped in storybook for kids Darkness slipped in storybook for kids Darkness slipped in storybook for kids

How cute is that? I just love the way it calms children afraid of the darkness and teaching acceptance of what we don’t understand at the same time. We really need more storybooks like this, since childhood is the best time we can teach acceptance and overcome fear of the unknown.

Dark delights of my hometown

Dark delights of my hometown

I have lived in the Öreghegy (meaning Old Mountain) quarter of my hometown for more than eightteen years so writting about it comes natural. But even I was surprised by the legends I found while collecting data for this article. So let’s see an exaple that even the most peaceful rural city can hold deep secrets, like ghost living in the city lake.

 

The old mine

The wild, romantic lake is the heart of the quarter. It has so different atmosphere that the surrounding suburbs yet somehow it fits there. The lake was originally a mine but one adit was too close to an underground reservoir; and one evening a miner cnocked down the wall between the pit and the water, and the mine was filled immediately. The lake was created within one night burying the trams, the picks and even the workers in a watery grave.

székesfehérvár bányató

Bathing in the lake is forbidden since to it’s unusually cold water may cause sudden cardiac arrest. AT least accordind to the official standpoint. The elders say that the restless souls of the miners are waiting for heedless bathers to join them in their unquiet grave.

The name of the lake is also interesting. Although officially it’s called Mine lake, locals colloquially refer to it as Lake of Suicides, since numberless desperate hearts were inspired by the fifteem-metre-tall sharp cliffs and the mirror of the lake smooth as glass…

székesfehérvár bányató fürdő lány szobra

 

Plagued Cellars

It may sound like the name of an area from an RPG, believe it or not it’s an actual name of an actual street in my hometown. Long time ago this was the city border, and the bedinning of the vineyards, with several vinecellars. But when the pague striked in the XVIIIth century this area was designated as the mass grave for the victims. So thousands of bodies were piled up in the vinecellars and sealed forever.

The town slowly forgot the past, and fancy quarter emerged on top of the mass graves. Now most citizens have no knowledge of what they live upon; most of them suspect morbid humour as the origin of the name.

 

Bory Castle

This one is exceptional – it’s more of a romantic story than spinechilling folk tale.

Bory Jeno was a master scuptor who decided to build a whole castle for the love of his life to make her and their love immortal. He started it in 1923 and continued on building it for forty years, alwasd adding a building, a tower, an extra room, a casemate, a hall or a cellar whenever he collected enough money. He didn’t only engineered it, sometimes even the physical work was done by him.

The building has quite modern solutions for it’s age, this was the firs building in Hungary made of ferro-concrete – however it looks like a romantic fairytale castle out of a dream. No wonder most couples in the area (including my parents) has their wedding here.

Now descendants of Bory Jeno lives in the north wing of the castle, the other pars serve as a museum for his sculptures.

székesfehérvár bory-vár
Bory-vár, a mesebeli kastély
Fejer county morass

Fejer county morass

This article is about the Fejer county I was born and raised in, one of it’s morass in particular: the village of Szabadbattyan (I intentionally kept the easy-to-pronounce Fejer in the title, Szabadbattyan would have scared you away. It’s pronounced sa-bahd-bah-tan more or less). This village is 10 kilometres away from my hometown but has such a different and more mystical athmosphere than the city, it looks like a horror tale village straight out of a Grimm collection.

I grew up in the city of Szekesfehervar (don’t worry, you don’t have to pronounce it; Feh-er-var in short), so I had little knowledge of the legends of the rural villages. But my fiancé was born in the aformentioned village, so on a long railroad trip he told me several folktales about the area. And I have just found out that I have a haunted castle just ten minutes carride away from me.

 

The gothic Kula-tower and surroundings

(Fun Fact: the name of the tower is originated in turkish, as the word ‘kula’ means tower in turkish but means pile of shit in hungarian, resulting in funny and/or obscene misunderstandings whenever someone mentions this tower.)

If you drive from Budapest, Hungary’s capital city to lake Balaton (has a famous party city, Siofok), you’ll go through Fehervar first, and the next village after Fehervar is Szabadbattyan. When reaching the village borders, you go through a bridge above the river Gaja. It may seem small and insignificant but it used to make the whole area a damp, impermeable  swamp. In the middle ages, this village and this bridge meant the only safe way through the swamp, this is why the tower was built in the first place.

In scripts it was first mentioned in the XIIIth century as a residential tower, and from the XIVth century it functioned as a royal tax collecting place, where the travellers and merchants had to pay a fee to use the bridge.

No surprise this resulted in countless attempts to hack the system, inestimable amount of people tried to traverse the morass – and all of them died terrible death. Some were swallowed up by the marsh, some were attacked by wild animals, and the others were shot by the guards of the tower.

The original tower was destroyed during the Ottoman invasion, and a new watchtower was built upon the ruins of the old one. This tower had changed hands six times during the independence war against the Ottoman Empire – no wonder since it was the only way through the swamp. Once the soldiers simply lit up the tower alongside with everyone stationing inside.

Now we live more peaceful times, the tower is restaurated in gothic style and serves as a museum for archeological findings of the area.

Still, at night, when fog falls upon the land, you can hear faint voices echoing in the swamp.

Human remains are frequently found in the morass but not all of them are from the middle ages – some are pretty fresh. Noone knows who they were, where did they come from and what to do with them, so several skulls and bones were donated to the local school for educational  purposes.

gótikus kula torony szabadbattyánban
Kula-tower. Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

The tank

Passing a (haunted) marsh wasn’t an easy thing in 1944 either, especially not with a tank. Apart from Szabadbattyan vilage the only bridge crossing the swamp was several kilometers north at Pentele (which is now famed as the burial ground of the local maffia) but it was in such a bad condition it wouldn’t be able to sustain a tank’s weigth.

(History lesson: in the World War II there was a permanent frontline in this area. This means that the two parties couldn’t overcome each other, so the frontline stays in place, or moves only very little for months or even years. This resulted in completely destroying my hometown and the surrounding areas, and leaving live ammunition everywhere. Dangerous mines and warheads are found even today. Told’ya this place is like Sokovia.)

In 1945 the german army tried to march east towards the capital city, the russian forces, being pushed back east, blow up the bridge to make the crossing of the swamp impossible for the tanks. But not knowing (or not caring about) the danger a tank tried to cross the morass and sank immediately. Witnesses claim it happened so fast, that neither the weapons nor the personnel of the tank could be saved. Half of the veichle, including the door sank under the mud but it’s turret reached out like a hand begging for help. Faint knocking could be heard from inside the tank (just like in case of U.S.S. Arizona in the Pearl Harbour movie) but it was war: the platoon continued it’s offensive, and headed towards the nearest bridge kilometres away to north, leaving the tank in the morass.

Villagemen heard the knocking but wasn’t eager to save the life of the german invaders. Days and months passed, and the knocking didn’t stop; it echoed above the dump marsh even after the war has ended. Villagemen say the turret of the tank stayed there for decades, my fiancé’s father has actually seen it when being a kid. Today the area is a nature reserve, and one can still hear the story of the undead soldiers. They say if you wander deep enough in the swamp, you’ll find the monolithic turret and hear the knocking of the souls for whom the war has never ended.

Well, true or not, noone goes camping there.