Wednesday, June 26, 2013

When the going gets a tad tough ...

... I make inspirational and heart-warming collages of all the things I can honestly say I'm very looking forward to in the next half of 2013

... and that's not mentioning any of the sewing projects I've got lined up! woohoo!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

all things good and sMal-tese

Senglea, Siggiewi, Port il-Kbir (VLT)

I confess a guilty pleasure .. I enjoy playing tourist in my own country .. I love driving (and even more so, being driven) around, visiting much loved and familiar spots as well as totally new places .. I love stopping for walks and doing 'nouveau-Sunday' things like spending a maximum of 20 euro at the car-boot sale, followed by a sushi lunch, a walk across the breakwater in Valletta, another longer walk through Senglea, a drive to Siggiewi, catching a movie and drinking cocktails till around midnight. That's when the guilt pangs start kicking in. But then I drink some more because nothing can put a damper on a touristy Sunday.

So yes, my Sundays reek of cheap patriotism, expensive lunches and the intermittent pain caused by totally inappropriate footwear. The best kind of atonement/preparation for a work-fuelled week I never seem to be able to justify ...

... except for .. perhaps .. in pictures .. pictures of things I make!

Case in point, one of the dresses I made for Marilu (sweet by name and nature; of Malta's Pastizzi Gourmet fame). Being of firm belief that almost nothing says *Summer* as much as a strapless candy coloured dress, I made this dress from a piece of vintage cotton broderie anglaise passed on from (Marilu's) mother to daughter. Not only is this dress making me re-consider my relationship with pink, it also brings me so much joy to know that a lovely and sentimentally symbolic piece of fabric has been re-incarnated into something new and well-loved.

Becoming super organized - I'm now holding on to all preliminary sketches

in filtered rosy light

Marilu herself  - kawaiiii ^_^

Below is the second dress I made for Marilu - and yes, I am currently going through a whole order of dresses (etc) for her and may I just say it's a real joy to work with someone so willing to consider different options and who ultimately carries the finished product off so well. As it turned out, Marilu had a couple of important events to attend in the pipeline, including a close friend's wedding for which she wanted me to make her a dreamy 1950s inspired dress with a gathered tulle skirt. I couldn't but oblige. The only problem was that, before then, I had only encountered such soft and flowing tulle once when I was given a floral printed 2m piece as a souvenir from Bologna (I love how well my boyfriend knows me!). Thankfully, our local textile shop got some one-colour pastel options just in time for this dress. Possibly one of the most time consuming yet rewarding pieces I've made so far... let's just call it a Babettopolis milestone. I'll be celebrating with an olive+martini later on.

'frothy' ... 'dove-egg-blue' ... 'tulle' ... all magic words to my ears allow me just one disclaimer: the dress looks a million times more dreamy on its rightful owner who is by far more graceful and petite in frame than statuesque-dolly Fujiko .. something tells me I'll be receiving a good photo of it on soon

And I also kept the sketches for this dress. I had come up with 4 different variations along the same theme for Marilu to choose from.. she opted for the 2nd option with a simple straight waistband instead of the pleated peplum

Some two weeks ago I also put the finishing touches on this other 'super-difficult-to-cut'n'stitch', 'so-very-happy-with' dress and matching cape for a lady who's so stylish and who gets as excited about tweed two piece suits as yours truly! When she showed me the material for the first time I could have shed tears of joy (perhaps I have, I'm not too sure) .. the colours remind me of the earliest signs of sunset as I drive back home into (my adoptive village) Mgarr. It brings together hints of summer skies, sand and the palest of coral branches and goes on to remind me of how lucky I am to live within walking distance of the fields and the sea.

and for a more detailed description: A 70s inspired bias-cut, silk halter shift dress with 4 bias panels around the edge of the skirt and a matching chiffon cape

needless to say ..this was probably the most time-consuming hand stitched piece to date.. and I loved every minute of it!

Oh .. and the quick preliminary sketch! .. this is becoming a tradition of sorts

This, on the other hand, is an interesting alteration I was entrusted and given carte blanche for. Don't you just love when that happens! A super stylish lady with a jet-setting life/wardrobe needed my help to turn a simple black pencil dress (similar to which she happens to already own hundreds! .. ok I exaggerate... 'several' is a better term) into something else entirely. So I took my cue from a folkloric framed print of Maltese ladies in their 'faldetta' which I have on my mantelpiece and spent a whole day and a bit slitting the skirt up the sides, pinning net and white triangles in material sourced from two salvaged yet outdated (and frankly too revealing) skirts from the 90s, and constructing matching cuffs.

I hope it looks as  'monastic bride on a trip to 1970s outer space' to you as it does to me! 

In other news.. I'm back to my (as originally intended) workspace!
My sewing machine is back to the sewing room where it belongs - not the kitchen! The kitchen was meant to be a temporary break but it turned into a year-long affair. Now, armed with mosquito repellent, I'm back to a smaller though substantially lighter room with my nanna's chandelier and all the framed things I've collected along the years.

Next project: covering the yard with climbers to improve the view and building some decent display cabinetry for the hats.. still, it's really good to be back!


I leave you with another very-Maltese, lucky bazaar find ..
a vintage 'Marsovin' glass of cold iced-tea .. cool font, cool tea
... let's make Summer feel welcome y'all!

and cheers!*