Welcome to the Ex-Official Blog of Writer, Presenter & Crafts Expert Momtaz Begum-Hossain which stopped being active on 31st August 2016.

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Monday, 22 September 2014

DIY Dress: Silk Sensation

Last night I finally debuted my new frock, a shimmering raw silk dress that took me a couple of months to get together. I wanted to finish it for Eid but ran out of time. It's a very sturdy fabric which has a natural crinkle and if you look close up you can admire the sequin details...
I picked up the fabric in Khushboo Textile in Birmingham, a luxury haberdashery that specialises in bespoke fabrics. The owner Imran can arrange to have fabric dyed and embroidered to your specifications but they also stock some rather stunning rolls of fabric you can buy by the metre and Asian suit fabrics. It took me a while to decide what to make with it but in the end as I mostly like wearing dresses I decided to make what I would consider my own kind of party wear.
The tough part was making a paper pattern. It was adapted from the block of the last dress I made but this one had more pieces and a much wider skirt.
It then took me a whole day to cut the pieces out from fabric.
One of the design features is that the shape of the neck is different at the front and back.
For the front I created a square shaped neck...
And for the back a round neck.
I particularly love how the skirt flares out.
Now it's done I'm already thinking about my next project. I want to make a crystallised velvet bolero so am looking out for shapes to get inspired by. I probably won't have time to start it until November but fingers crossed I'll get it sewn in time for the real party season!

You can visit Khushboo Textiles in Ladypool Road, Birmingham. 

Monday, 1 September 2014

Like Father Like Daughter: films me and my dad used to watch together

Those who have known me a long time know I am obsessed with James Bond. I'm not talking about my DVD collection either; I have the books, t-shirt, doll and nickname to boot. There isn't a moment in my life when this Bond fascination came into being, I was born into it. As a child I watched every single Bond film on the telly with my dad.
Generally we didn't talk much but we did watch a lot of movies and TV together. In his final few years (today marks the 5th anniversary of his death) I spent huge amounts of time with him in front of the telly. We didn't need to talk. Just being in the same room and sharing that activity was our bond. It got me thinking about some of the iconic films I watched with him...

1. The 10 Commandments

A family classic, we had this recorded from the TV on a VHS. Ridiculously epic it took a full day to watch this movie with breaks in between but my dad thought of it as one of the most important films ever made. Although it's biblical in nature, my parents always translated the biblical versions of events into the Islamic ones - the stories and morals were always the same just the names were different. The scene where Moses makes the sea split is an image that has long stayed with me.
2. The Great Escape

This film fascinated me and my dad. I don't recall him having much interest in any other war films but this story was so remarkable I just remember him being captivated by it. Many, many years later he was so proud of the fact Richard Attenborough shook my hand and gave me my degree at my university graduation. 

3. The Poseiden Adventure

One of those films you don't need to know the language  to understand, this was one of those flicks that probably appealed to most people - it was simple yet shocking. In later years this film dated terribly and fit perfectly onto the schedule of Channel 5 which specialised in showing easy films for foreign viewers - my dad being a regular member of this audience.
4. Indian Jones & The Temple Of Doom

I used to know every single line of this movie. My parents would call me every time it was on the telly as they knew how much I loved it. I still do. My dad would often say how ridiculous it was (especially the heart extraction scenes) but he was still glued to it.

5. Edward Scissorhands 

By the time this film came out I was quite a bit older and at the stage where viewing telly with your parents became uncomfortable but much to my amusement, both my parents took to this film which was insane considering it's probably the most quirky thing they ever watched. It fascinated my dad to the point I think he thought it was a 'real' possibility rather than a fantasy. 

6. Westerns
Every Saturday afternoon was about Westerns. I hated them. They were so dull. Then during A'Level Media Studies I did a project on Westerns and I suddenly began to understand and appreciate them. This made watching them with my dad so much easier though to be fair, I never watched a whole film with him. Watching a Western was private time for him. Even my mum didn't get much look in when a Western was on.

7. Satyajit Rai movies
When  my dad and I went to stay with my sister a few years a go, in the evenings my dad sat through the Apu trilogy and I've never seen him so content. Despite my passion he had zero interest in Bollywood but a massive appreciation for the old Bengali films in black and white as they depicted scenarios he was much more familiar with i.e. rural life. 

Come to think of it I never think about the fact her grew up as a village boy, in a completely rural environment in Bangladesh and then swapped it for being a Londoner. He didn't have any references for back home, no photos or videos, so I guess seeing familiar images in the movies must have brought back memories, as has writing this post for me. 

More about my dad on anniversary blogs: 2013, 2012 & 2011