Sunday, 23 August 2009


Apologies for so many photos of myself in this post, but I wanted to show you some of the clothes I've been sewing, and they look a bit boring when they aren't on a person. So, firstly here are the costumes from my belly dancing end of term student performance.

The banana costume was such fun to make, I love any excuse to put fruit on my head! The bananas were made of polystyrene and when I had them on I was so wide but I kept forgetting and crashing into the edges of doors with them. I made the bra from some stretch leopard-print lycra I had lying around, and I like the 50s style ruching in the middle.

I was very proud of myself for getting together this outfit which I though looked rather nice, and cost nearly nothing. The only caveat for this costume was that it must have a flowing chiffon skirt, and of course a veil (being a veil dance). The single appropriate skirt I had was from the burlesque performance last year, in my least varourite colour of white. I absolutely refused to make another one, as not only do they take a vast amount of fabric, but also involve standing on the kitchen table in high heels while a long-suffering aunt trims the metres and metres of hem to the right length, which you then have to hem.

I decided to go with red and white, with silver accents and pearls. You don't see pearls very often in belly dance costumes, but they seem very middle eastern and Arabian Nights-ish to me. So the skirt and veil were from previous performances, the coin scarf is my usual practice one, and I borrowed the pearl necklaces from a friend at work. The only thing I had to make was the bra, which was an old push-up bra covered with red stretch velvet covered with tiny silver stars and moons.

This is what the Wolf calles my 'caravan skirt' as he thinks it looks like caravan curtains. I bought the fabric at the
Camberwell Market for $3, it is a polished cotton, and I had just enough to make a half-circle skirt, with a side pocket. It took two whole evenings to hand sew the hem, but I think that looks a lot more authentically old-fashioned than a machine hemmed one. I am wearing it
over a black nylon tiered petticoat, just to give it some volume. I think I should have waited until I put my lipstick on, as I am looking rather pale, and I pale orange rose in my hair would finish the outfit off nicely, but all in all, not too bad.

In the background you can see our back garden, with the bungalow, and Hills Hoist washing line taking up pride of place right in the middle. Very 1950s suburbia. It is massive and you can wash all your sheets and towels and clothes and dry them all in a couple of hours, so I don't mind its hidiousness.

I used to be a Goth, and I honestly never though there would come a day when I wore yellow, but here we are. I bought the shoes in Launceston when I was visiting my parents, they are leather with satin bows on the front, and they make me feel very cheerful. The belt was from some cheap shop on Brunswick street, the skirt is second hand, and the top is an old one from Supre perhaps?

And finally, hooray! here is my Cherry cardigan, finished at last! I changed the pattern slightly to make the waist smaller, as I wanted a really fitted Jayne Mansfield kind of look, and left out the waist drawstring and eyelets. You can't really tell, but it is made of an angora/cotton/cashmere/synthetic blend (Rowan Cashcotton, which has very annoyingly been discontinued) so it is slightly fuzzy and very soft and touchable. I am so happy that I have finally made a knitted garment for myself that actually turned out how I wanted it to, and that I want to wear more than once!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Film Festival

The Melbourne International Film Festival has been in town, and I've managed to squeeze in a few films between work. One of these was Katalin Varga, a beautiful, haunting Romanian/Hungarian film by Peter Strickland. It is set in Transylvania, and the scenery is absolutely stunning, it brought back memories of my brief trip there in 2007. Here is a link to a interview with the director and some lovely photos (just letting you know it's a PDF).

The other film I saw was a fantastic Serbian one called Tears for Sale, a wonderful fairy-tale like story set in the 1920s in a remote village where all the men except one have been killed in the war. When two sisters (who make a living as professional mourners at funerals) accidentally kill him, they must set out to find replacement men for the village's women or be forever haunted by their grandmother's spirit. Apparently it is the most expensive Serbian film made to this date, with lavish costumes, gorgeous sets, and lots of special effects, but all this just serves to enhance rather than detract from the crazy plot, which has a distinctly magic-realist feel to it.