Sunday, May 19, 2024

Dendrarium Round Trail 2024

It is May and the weather here is catching up on all the cold and rain it failed to produce in March :) However, Saturday was sunny and even warm and dry, perfect for hiking, and Vitosha was bursting at the seams with tourists.

This week we decided to make an experimental hike - we went over the map of Vitosha and compounded a round trail, starting from the Dendrarium up to Kamen del hut, where we had our lunch and then along an alternative trail back to Momina skala and through Zlatnite mostove back to the Dendrarium. We've walked most of the tracks around Zlatnite, but the one from the Dendrarium to Kamen del hut was completely new to us and it turned out to be a hidden gem.

The track runs along one of the many small rivers on Vitosha, passing through gorgeous green meadows and beech forests

Hike info:

Date: 18 May 2024
Destination: Kamen del Hut
Mountain: Vitosha
Total length: 10 km
Elevation gain: 370 m
Total duration (plus picnic and rests): 3 hours
Average difficulty: 3 / 10

Me-made items, worn on this hike:

Husband: boxers, Knipmode cargo pants, Colorblock Burda blouse
I: lingerie, leg warmers

Although we enjoyed our picnic at Kamen del hut, next time we make this trail, we should probably have our lunch at the Momina skala meadow, which is closer to the highest point of the trail and has lots of picnic tables and gazebos. 

A salamander. These are very common on Vitosha in the rainy season.

The Dendrarium - a large picnic area with a small lake with plenty of frogs, dragonflies and turtles

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Burda Jeans for Gaby

I really wish I had managed to take pictures at least of these jeans, as showing them flat is in many respects pointless - what really matters with pants is how they fit.

The third and obviously most difficult and complicated pattern I made for Gaby were these jeans. I have several Burda jeans patterns, which I've bought through the years. Last year I tried one for myself in 7/8 length and at the end of the year I finished my flared jeans, which are my current favourite pair. Gaby, however, chose a different pattern - Burda 120 04/2010. These were supposed to be straight leg low cut jeans, with a fairly wide curved waist band. They turned a bit wide, so after Gaby tried them on, I had to narrow the legs by about 4 cm each.

Pattern: Burda 120 04/2010
Size: 34, with mods
Fabric: denim with elastane, 1 m
Time to make: one week


Apart from being wide in the legs, the 34 size was also very wide at the waist - I had to take the back seam in by 1.5 cm on each side, and the waist band respectively. I did not like the back pockets, that go with the pattern, so I used the pockets for my flared jeans, with the same decorative stitching.


Once I had finished with all the mods, the jeans fit Gaby quite well and I hope she will wear them. This is the first of my Make Nine pledge for 2024 - item No 4 straight jeans. I have two more pieces of  denim, meant for new pairs of jeans for me and Gaby, but I don't think I'll be making this pattern again, I would rather go back to the flared jeans pattern, which after a few washings turned out actually very well fitting.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Boyana Waterfalls 2024

The weather, as always in May in these latitudes, is very erratic and after days of cold rain, Saturday was sunny and fairly warm. We were not in the mood for long rides with the car, so we chose again a trail close to home - the track from Dragalevsky Monastery to Boyana Waterfalls and back. We do this track usually from Dragalevsky lift station, but yesterday we were a bit lazy and decided to drive to the parking lot above the monastery and spare us the kilometer along the road from the lift to the monastery.

The beech forests on Vitosha are absolutely amazing in May, when the tall trees are covered with light green foliage.

A glimpse towards Sofia

We had our picnic on this sunny meadow with a view to Kopitoto tv tower on our way back from the waterfalls

The Boyana lake. I don't think I've seen it so full before, this year the rivers and lakes on Vitosha are overflowing, the snowfall must have been significant this winter. I can only hope the water management authorities are taking good care of city waters and not complaining of droughts in August.

Hike info:

Date: 11 May 2024
Destination: Boyana Waterfalls
Mountain: Vitosha
Total length: 12.5 km
Elevation gain: 260 m
Total duration (plus picnic and rests): 4 hours
Average difficulty: 4 / 10

Me-made items, worn on this hike:

Husband: boxers, Knipmode cargo pants, Colorblock Burda blouse
I: lingerie, knitted cardigan, leg warmers

Petrovska river was so full, that crossing it without a bridge was actually a small adventure

And here is the mighty waterfall. It is the highest and biggest on Vitosha and this year it is really beautiful and full-watered.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Brick Shorts for Gaby

This is the second item I made for Gaby  - a pair of shorts for the summer in a beautiful brick color (which is somewhat lost on these photos). They go perfectly with the Rhapsody blouse, as well as many other summer blouses I've made for her over the years. I hope they'll get a lot of wear this summer, as she had mentioned that she needed such shorts for the hot days in Vienna.

The pattern is again a Burda pattern, which is designed as paperbag shorts, but I cut the part above the waist and chose to add a simple waistband and belt loops. The pattern also features cuffs, but my piece of fabric was very limited, so I made the shorts as long as possible, but without the cuffs. I actually think that the cuffs might have made them less elegant, so if I ever repeat the pattern, I'm not sure I'll be adding them anyway.

Pattern: Burda 104 02/2017
Size: 36, modified
Fabric: cotton/polyester twill, 60-70 cm remnant piece 
Time to make: one week

The most complicated part of the pants for me was again the fly front zipper. I followed this Russian video tutorial and I heartily recommend it. Maybe one day I'll learn to insert these with my eyes closed, but for now zippers are still a hurdle for me :)

As with the Rhapsody blouse, I took the pictures before Gaby had tried the pants on. They fitted her quite well, but for the big pleats at the centre, which she didn't quite like. I modified them slightly, moving the pleats towards the sides and dividing them into two smaller pleats each. The end result was much more pleasing and I would have this mod in mind, if I make these pants again.

The last feature of these small pants are the pocket flaps. They are only decorative, as per pattern, no hidden pockets at the back of the pants. However, I find them an interesting detail, which gives the shorts a bit of sophistication and completeness.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Beige Rhapsody for Gaby

While March was the month I sewed for the boys, April was Gaby's month. As we were expecting her on the first days of May, I wanted to make her a few new things to take with her to Vienna. 

The first is a viscose blouse, yet another Rhapsody. I made the size xs, but without the shortenings I usually do, as I thought the full length would suit Gaby better. However, she is not a fan of long blouses, it turns out, so I had to shorten it by 5 cm. I should point out that I agree with her and the shorter length does suit her better.

I took the pictures a few days before her arrival. We had planned to make a quick photosession with all the things I made for her, but time flew so fast, that in the end we gave up the idea and I was left with only these pre-shortened not-modelled photos.

Pattern: Rhapsody by Love Notions 
Size: XS, modified
Fabric: viscose
Time to make: 6 days

I made the blouse, using my favourite version - the 3/4 bishop sleeve with the inserted elastic. I plan to make myself one of these too in a viscose or polyester crepe for the summer, if I can find some fabric that I like.

Although the colors of the viscose fabric are a bit bland, I think it suits Gaby well and she did wear it during her stay for a meeting with her uni friend.

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Easter Day on Kamen Del 2024

Probably the best hike so far this year - our Easter hike on Vitosha, together with Gaby, along a circular trail to peak Kamen del from the Zlatnite mostove area.

Gaby was home only for a few days for the Orthodox Easter, which this year is about a month after the Catholic Easter. As Austria is a catholic country and Monday was a workday for her, she had to fly back to Vienna late in the evening of the Easter day, so in principle, we had planned the hike for one of the previous days. However, the weather made us change our plans - it rained the whole Friday and Saturday, but, as forecast, the sun shone bright on Sunday, so we packed the backpacks and early in the morning drove up to Zlatnite mostove.

For our hike we had chosen to climb peak Kamen del along an alternative trail, that we found a couple of years ago. The day turned out to be perfect for hiking - fresh and sunny.

Hike info:

Date: 05 May 2024
Destination: peak Kamen Del (1862 m) along circular trail
Mountain: Vitosha
Total length: 14 km
Elevation gain: 480 m
Total duration (plus picnic and rests): 5 hours
Average difficulty: 5 / 10

Me-made items, worn on this hike:

Husband: boxers, Knipmode cargo pants, Colorblock Burda blouse
I: lingerie, Sinclair Lotte blouse, hoodie, leg warmers
Gaby: lingerie, Sinclair jacket

The air was coldish and we could even see the vapours along the path.
The plateau and the last crocuses

Peak Kamen del. The peak is very popular, as it is the most scenic peak over Sofia, with an easy access from Aleko hut, but on this Easter day it was almost empty, as was the city itself - I love Sofia during the holidays :)

We had our picnic on the peak and decided to do the entire circuit along the plateau and return to Zlatnite mostove through the mid-altitude trail.
The covered with snow peaks of Cherni vruh and Golyam and Maluk Rezen

Sofia at a glance
This circuit trail is probably my favourite route on Vitosha, especially in spring and autumn
The trail crosses the stone slopes of Kamen del

And back to Zlatnite mostove by Momina skala hut