Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Australiana Bolero works for me

Thanks Jenny, of Jingili, NT, for ordering a custom-made bolero with an Australiana theme. I'm a fan. In fact, I almost kept it for myself. Yeah! We're the same size - exactly! But really, I'm glad for you to have it.

This was pretty much my most favouritest Australiana tablecloth on account of the fact that the animals are all a bit special-looking, in that kooky 50s kind of way. I also like that the animals are labeled. You know, in case you're sending the souvenir tablecloth to your folks back home in the mother country, and they've never seen these weird-ass Australian animals before. Handy.

Also quite 'handy' this evening was little Bunn, who settled herself firstly on the stack of skirts I'm sending off for Melbourne Finders Keepers (mmm... brown felt effect), then moving on to the ironing board to help me iron the Georgie Love bunting which I'm also whipping up for the market table. Thanks Bunn, you're a star.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Finders Keepers + wren-flavoured wedding frock = a P&E takeover of the dining room

Sometimes the output required of the trusty P&E sewing machine is a little too much for my cozy nook, so I move on out to the airy dining room. I watch the trees, hang out with the kids, eat (adjacent to kitchen - yeah!) and generally sprawl all over our big old dining table making a mess more colossal than my cosy bedroom nook would ever allow. It's comfy, all right.

Right now, in the lead-up to Georgie Love's debut at the Melbourne Finders Keepers markets I'm frantically churning out skirts, boleros and tops, fuelled by a six-pack of Little Creatures and a packet of Mint Slice biscuits (I swear, this combo is more delicious than it sounds). And I'm almost done! I'm pretty much in love with Sturt's Desert Peas (spectacular, no?) so this skirt is a bit of a fave.
One of the drawbacks to working with vintage fabrics - especially those of the tea-towel and tablecloth variety, of which I am particularly fond - is that they will often come with delightfully stubborn
tea/coffee/red wine stains. Sometimes, the good old Napisan works a treat, other times, not so much. Enter the saviours of this situation: patch pockets, applique and, as in the case of the Desert Pea polka dot skirt, The Random Button Spray. Problem solved! I have also used all of these 'techniques' on my own clothes - spaghetti-stained and moth-eaten garments alike.

Reborn! Ah, the joys of a cover-up.

Also making a mess of the dining table is the pretty-much
SPECTACULAR wedding frock I'm making for Ally, permaculture and sustainability goddess and all round happy lady. Our weekend meeting finalised some details about the design, and she delivered her fabric selections, which were all inspired by a little vintage tablecloth covered in native birds.
The wren is going to make a little feature on an obi-style belt which is going to cap off the vintage-inspired frock. The top of the dress is going to be based on the green one pictured here (previously Pearl's, now mine, all mine!
and the bottom is going to be a little bit glam-o, following the hot 50's dress in the pattern.
AND it's going to have electric blue netted petticoat to make it stick out in a super-sassy kind of way. I'm... so... frikkin... excited! Unfortunately the delivery date of the wedding frock coincides quite dramatically with the Finders Keepers market so, as usual, I am one busy chickadee.

Lucky I love it so much.

And lucky I have such a nice dining room.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Introducing... the Ruth and my Bearded Bloke

Forget the box of Roses. The ultimate way to say "thanks!" is by giving a custom skirt!

All of the ladies pictured here, in addition to being eminently gorgeous and talented, are big-time deservers of massive bunches of my thanks. So I made skirts.

Making its debut amongst these skirts is a new design which I'm hereby calling 'the Ruth', named for it's stylish and lovely new owner. Now, as you may or may not have noticed, I make A-line skirts. With infinite variations, it's true (buttons, zips, pockets, short, long, wrap, whatever) but A-line nonetheless. So let's just say that I was a little surprised and pleased with myself when I turned out this little number.
It's got pleats! And proper pockets! and not an 'A' to be found! The fabric is a re-made skirt of Pearl's, which was a re-made tablecloth. And the top,
which Ruth bought quite some time ago, before we'd ever met, is P&E too, from back in the day, before kids, when I retailed at a super-cute little shop called Pigeon Ground. What a co-inki-dink. And what a match, right? Considering I'd totally forgotten I'd ever made a top that looked like that, then it worked out to be a perfect fit with the skirt... Spooky.

In other news... something VERY exciting happened last week: I got a Bearded Bloke in the mail. Just as Frankie magazine makes my little brother "want to be a chick," beards, and websites like this, make me want to be a bloke.
When I saw these gorgeous gentlemen advertised in Frankie a few months ago, it was love at first sight, let me tell you. All my boyfriends - Ernest Hemingway, Colin Meloy, Herman Melville, Matt Berninger et al - rolled into one. In brooch form. With an embroidered face. And a knitted beard. And they're handmade by a lady called Evie who has a blog called Handmade Romance, and seems REALLY NICE!
If that's not cool, I don't know what is.
While my love for the bearded bloke runs deep, some of my friends have been less than forthcoming in their affection for him. My friend Mithra, for example, thought he was "really weird" and said she'd "probably have nightmares" about him. Not me. I love him. And all his bearded friends.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Boleros are tops!

I made my first little cap-sleeved bolero about 7 years ago, just for myself, out of some beautiful red and blue print fabric. I wore it SO much that first summer, and then pulled it apart to use as a pattern. I've since made them for friends (a gorgeous red velvet one for my friend Holly's wedding, and a few lovelies for Pearlie) and a very very few to sell. Pearl and I both wear ours a LOT, summer and winter (yes, they do work over a long-sleeve top, I promise). My favourite favourite favourite is one I made a few years back from a ridiculously groovy horsey print fabric I bought from Repro Depot ("why oh why didn't I buy more???" I ask myself). The tiny bit I had left after making the bolero and a couple of patches went into making the "blog" button on my website. It can bring you here.

Anyway, retail regrets aside...

My incredibly beautiful and lovely friend Jay is having a birthday this week, and seeing as she has about a million P&E skirts (she's an avid and inspirational follower) I thought I'd bust out the big guns and make her a bolero. I delivered it today, and I'm pretty sure she liked it!
Coincidentally, last week I got an order for a custom bolero from a woman in Melbourne who'd seen the lonesome one on Georgie Love. I was super-excited, and so pleased with the way
that Jay's turned out, that I used the same fabric. I know, I know... I'm supposed to make one-offs. But seriously, this fabric is BEAUTIFUL! And makes for a lovely little summery jacket. And for some reason it'd been sitting, hiding in my stack of fabrics for a very long time, only revealing itself to me LAST NIGHT while I was looking for bolero fabrics (and Bunn was making herself comfortable in my basket of zippers).
I'm pretty sure it was fate.

So there you go: 2 new boleros out in the world, one with red polka-trim, the other with black and white. One with a Pearl & Elspeth tag, the other with a hand-embroidered love-heart because I love love love the special lady Jay.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New P&E stockist!

I'm very excited to alert you to the fact that P&E skirts will now be available at the very lovely and beautiful shop, No. Five, in Port Douglas.

"No.Five Showcases handpicked coastal inspired collections from the most innovative designers around. No.Five strives to source new and unusual pieces with styles to suit every shape and size, with an emphasis on handmade, one-off pieces and Australian designed and manufactured products."

Four of the skirts featured in my second-last entry will be making their way up the coast any day now, to debut at No. Five sometime in the near future. Yay! It's so great to be a part of a beautiful shop that is dedicated to promoting unique, handcrafted Australian wares.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Bespoke a go-go

"Bespoke (pronounced bee-SPOHK) is a term used in the United Kingdom and elsewhere for an individually- or custom-made product or service. Traditionally applied to custom-tailored clothing. Bespoke is a form derived from bespeak, which was used as early as 1583 to refer to the ordering of goods."

Furthermore, bespoke items are my favourite thing to make! I love the process of making an item that is specifically for someone, incorporating their own specifications regarding colour, style, pattern etc, and being able to make a piece that is going to be able to fit them perfectly.

Many of my bespoke customers are ladies who find it difficult to find unusual and unique clothes because they are particularly large/small, short/tall. As some of you will know, "plus size" (sometimes as small as a 16) clothes can be depressing concoctions mass produced from synthetic fabrics, so a custom-made skirt is the perfect solution.

I finished a few last night which I'd like to share...
This red and grey pocketed A-line was ordered through Georgie Love. The brief? "Red, Black Grey". Hip, waist and length measurements are provided, and away I go! I absolutely LOVE the overlapping pockets and black cord detail.
This little vintage still-life tea-towel skirt was made for a lady who received a P&E custom skirt as a gift. She gave me a colour brief, and I gave her a range of fabrics to choose from, and she picked out the tea towel, gave me her measurements, and here we are. I LOVE that there is a bowl of lemons and eggs hanging out with the coffee.
Another gift skirt made from another vintage tea-towel.
The proud new owner of this skirt also received a P&E custom skirt as a birthday gift. She didn't pick out the fabric herself, but I selected it based on the general instructions, "bright and warm".
The pockets (with piped edges - snazzy!) I added just to add a bit of interest and versatility. Also, I personally don't know how people do without pockets. Basically, they never go astray.

So if you ever find yourself lamenting the lack of perfectly-fitting, unique hand-made skirts in your life, you know where to look to fill that niche in your life.