November 11, 2014

boom boom boom

oonaballoona | #bpsewvember | early make


oonaballoona | #bpsewvember | early make


oonaballoona | #bpsewvember | early make

Anyone? Anyone? Black Eyed Peas at Superbowl XLV 2011 simultaneously dating themselves with a past hit whilst trying to prove how modern they were 3 years later? Actually pretty impressive, if you think about it.

Also pretty impressive: the rawring beast created by Amanda of Bimble and Pimble, the thing taking over your IG feed, your internet, YOUR LIFE, #bpsewvember.  Today, the challenge is "early makes," so I thought it appropriate to take a closer look at two of my earliest makes-- the second and third dresses I ever made, blogged in March 2008. (Thing One was a mud brown fiery phoenix print that never got photographed. Or worn out. It felt like wearing polyurethane.) 

Both dresses were made from the Danielle pattern, a Burdastyle jam from waaaaay back, when we used to walk uphill to school both ways and the patterns were free. Both were made from quilting cotton, both caused my head to swell in the most terrific way, and both had invisible zippers of PHENOMENAL QUALITY

oonaballoona | #bpsewvember | early make


oonaballoona | #bpsewvember | early make


oonaballoona | #bpsewvember | early make

Even though I cringed like my thong was showing at a cotillion when I pulled these dresses out of a storage box, I'm still proud of them. They were going to be a What was I drinkThinking post, but I decided that wasn't right--after all, they're level appropriate when you're teaching yourself to sew through the internet circa 2008, n'est ce pas? 

I now possess them only in memory. The last cross country trek left them in a donations box. Hopefully they've regenerated themselves into napkins. My memories of how I felt when I made them, and wore them, are much better than having them in my closet.

And I had So. Much. Fun. Making them! Deciphering the patterns, talking in the Burdastyle forums with fellow newbies (guys what the hell is a facing?), uploading headless projects, giving advice I had no business giving...seriously. I learned to sew on Burdastyle. Did I learn well? Obviously the evidence proves otherwise. But I learned voraciously and with GREAT INSANITY. I dove into fabric and patterns and made something new to wear every evening. And eventually (at least, in my opinion) I got better. Some of y'all share that opinion, as in a bit of full circle, I was recently voted a Burdastyle top 50 blogger. Now that it's (apparently?) official, I haven't properly said thank you yet-- so thank you, very much, for that. And thanks, Burdastyle, for starting me off in the deep end before I knew how to swim. Maybe one day I'll master a couture stroke or two...

Are you swimming with us in #bpsewvember? How did you learn to sew?

November 9, 2014

the end of the spool

oonaballoona | the end of the spool

It's Rapunzel's hair, golden floss, silky strands that glide effortlessly through everything I've thrown at it, and though it's been like the loaves n' fishes for several years running, it's coming to an end.

As I finished up the hem of my mohair cape with this magical stuff, I realized: I am going to be supremely sad when this spool of thread is finished! The realization hit me like a well intentioned, but poorly planned, surprise party. The end of an era wound around a little plastic tube. 

It was purchased at Greenberg & Hammer. Years ago, when I walked into that elevator-accessed store, I was not greeted warmly, I did want help, I had no clue what I was doing, and felt very aware that the staff instantly knew ALL OF THOSE THINGS ABOUT ME. I spent fifteen minutes trying to act like I belonged there, hesitating before unmarked drawers, stammering out a question about some advanced tool which completely gave me away...they were so totally over me. In their defense, it was September, and they were plagued with students coming in for class materials. I was a freshman of the internet with no list in hand.

I ended up walking out with two spools of thread plucked hastily out of a bowl by the counter, purchased to prove that I was indeed Someone Who Sews. Chosen for their color: one turquoise cord, one gold floss, neither of which I had any clue what to do with. Obviously I knew I should sew with them... but WHAT. Were they meant for buttonholes? Basting? Handsewing? Topstitching? For about a year, their only function was to remind me of my poorly executed shopping trip. 

Finally, I decided the universe would not implode if I just started using Goldielocks for... whatever I wanted. She was too pretty to languish in a drawer. Then I started topstitching with Cordy.  They're magical because I've invented their function. I do wish I could stroll back into that store, and open drawers and pick up new notions with confidence. But, Greenberg & Hammer reached the end of its era in 2012. 

Who knows what other magic I missed.

November 5, 2014

technicolor depths

oonaballoona | wintry vintage simplicity patterns ensemble

Are you ready to see what's underneath that GIGANTIC HOUNDSTOOTH?

oonaballoona | wintry vintage simplicity patterns ensemble

oonaballoona | wintry vintage simplicity patterns ensemble


If you didn't see my post over at MSN yesterday, here's my November allowance offering. Capety Cape Cape!! And, bonus (non-Mood) CRAZYFACE DRESS!!! 

This schizoid ensemble was all about opposite directions and course corrections. At first, I'd made the cape up in full with a Hong Kong finish. The houndstooth was so pretty! Why hide any of it? Well, for one, it sheds little baby wool hairs. And for two, I'm starting to appreciate the weight that a lining gives. The look, for three. OH THERE ARE SO MANY REASONS TO LOVE LININGS THAT MOST OF YOU ALREADY KNEW.   

Seconds before landing, I changed course and seam ripped a bajillion hairy stretchy seams, adding the red superheroine ponte. Under the wool and mohair, I'm all ponte, all the time.

oonaballoona | wintry vintage simplicity patterns ensemble

The floral ponte hails from my neighbor to the north, Oh Canada. I had a Top Secret Super Quick Spy Mission that left me with a little time for fabric hunting (and very little for socializing. Next jaunt!).

You guys. You guys in Toronto. King Textiles is awesome. AND IT WAS FIVE BLOCKS FROM MY HOTEL. WHAT ARE THE ODDS. I came home with 5 pieces, one for every block, and ate supermarket haute cuisine to make up for it. WORTH IT. FABRIC IS MY FOOD.

oonaballoona | wintry vintage simplicity patterns ensemble

But! Do you ever get that small yet consuming feeling of complete and utter dread, just after the proprietress cuts the first snip of your choice? This is not the droid you were looking for. This droid is defective. And this droid is now YOURS.

The print feels painted on with some crafty substance, even after washing, and it has zilch in the stretch recovery department. But I refused to change course! I eagerly plunked down my super pretty Canadian money! I'd deal with the saggy wrinkles for that palette of Holly Hobby flowers!

oonaballoona | wintry vintage simplicity patterns ensemble

Later, in the hotel room with my feast of deli selections, I sighed and realized it was probably best suited for pajamas. Or pillowcases. Which, in Opposite World, made it the perfect choice for Vintage Simplicity 7398, hacked into a dress. 

oonaballoona | wintry vintage simplicity patterns ensemble

With coral neon elastic stretch topstitched zigzagged embellishment. As you do. 

oonaballoona | wintry vintage simplicity patterns ensemble

As for the cape: I often succumb to trends, in that I squirm uncomfortably over an endless parade of a suddenly coveted item, finally break down and snag everything I need to make it mine, sit on my supplies until the trend is over, and ultimately make something else.

oonaballoona | wintry vintage simplicity patterns ensemble

This ginormous houndstooth wool threw me in reverse. When she arrived, I fell on her, and thought I'd make a sleek tailored blazer. But you know, super chunky, and not sleek in the slightest.

However, as the days passed, she whispered to me---actually she hollered at me, I mean, look at the size of that print: DON'T YOU REALLY THINK I SHOULD BE A CAPE. COME ON, MAN.

oonaballoona | wintry vintage simplicity ensemble

Of course capes aren't a passing trend, they're in every Fall, and this pattern (vintage Simplicity 7866) harkens from 1968. So I guess they're here to stay.

Ruggy says I look like Christmas. Yeah! Vintage Christmas! I took that literally and hamhandedly painted the backdrop with yellow and blue mulitcolored photoshopped holiday vintage glow. I guess I should have gone red and green. But I'm often running in the opposite direction of my original intention.

And you? Do you stay the course? Or run where your whim takes you?