Hemp time: Summer in the city.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewing | hemp negroni

Ain't he handsome? That's my Dad, all decked out in a Hemp Linen Negroni, with mother of pearl buttons. (I know, I know, you can't really see that sharp mug. He's keeping it incognito. Because of The Man.)

This rare sighting is many layered. Dad is wearing not only a solid color, but NON color. I inherited my sense of technicolorality from my parents, dontcha know. Come summer, Jams are his jam. So the request for this neutral shirt was a bit of a shock.

Not a shock: the desire for hemp. For years now, Dad has had a 100% hemp shirt on his wishlist, despite my protestations. Because LISTEN. I searched here, there, and everywhere for hemp fabric, and all I found were cardboard rolls of scratchiness, in the most unsatisfying color palette imaginable. Holidays would roll in, and I would hand over psychedelic Negronis in barkcloth...linen...rayon...cotton...his Charlie Brown closet was starting to fill up nicely, but there was a large hemp shaped hole. (I'll let you imagine what that might look like.)

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewing | hemp negroni

Then Organic Cotton Plus contacted me, and the heavens opened up and sang. Well, I mean, they didn't sing for me, the color palette is obviously very much out of the oonasphere, but OH SO MANY CHOICES for my Dad! I'm delighted when I can collaborate to sew something up for my people! (And although solids are not my style, I assume the range of color choices is excellent for about 99% of the population. I should perhaps dip my toes into the realm of "solids." I hear they are good for "coordinating.") 

This is exactly the classic, lightweight summer shirt my Dad wanted, hue and all. He went for this hemp linen (which is far less yellow than pictured, at least on my screen). 

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewing | hemp negroni

And although I hollered over the lack of color, it was seriously sweet to work with. It had such a crisp, lofty drape upon arrival, I decided to go the RTW route and sewed it up before washing the yardage. SHOCK AND HORROR! My reasoning was twofold: the hand was so beautiful, and it pressed so cleanly, I thought leaving it alone would make the sewing of it a delight. (I was correct). Reason number two: Dad prefers a slouchy Negroni, and although I've told him many times that we could go down a size and still get the slouch factor, he will have none of it. 


So, I thought, if I lose a little ease in the post-wash, no biggie. And since this is a cold wash, lay flat to dry fabric, going the post-wash route wasn't a problem at all.

LOOKIT THAT POSE! Where did you think I get my skillz from?

I can already hear what my Dad will say: You shoulda posted this on 4/20. Yep. Missed opportunity, that. Luckily I've found my hemp source for future themed posts. Stay tuned for 4/20/2018: The Return Of The Hemp. 

But don't expect to see his mug. That's top secret stuff.

Organic Cotton Plus supplied the fabric for this post. Thanks OCP, for making my Dad's hemp dreams a reality!


An Outfit for SewSew Def

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewsew def

A few short weeks ago, when there were still piles of weathered, traffic beaten snow on the city streets, three Californians wrapped in newly minted down coats arrived on my doorstep. Barefoot, grinning, and clad in a seasonally inappropriate crop top and pencil skirt, I bear hugged each of them before they could get a word out.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewsew def

Underneath their coats, Mimi G, Norris Danta Ford and April Hartsfield were as fashionable as you'd expect, and although we have a no-shoes rule upon entering casa Kalkatroona, I had decided in advance to lift this ban. There was NO WAY I was asking Mimi to take off her kicks. That would be like asking someone to take off their pants. Her kicks are a non-negotiable part of her ensemble. Norris, however, caught sight of my toes and immediately joined me in my bohemian vibe, which provoked laughter all around, a sound that continued for the next two lovely hours, while we videotaped an interview for their new multicultural sewing magazine: SewSew Def.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewsew def

Here's the thing: I had no idea I was even on Mimi's radar. Though I haven't talked about it much--if at all--I've been following Mimi since I started blogging. Many of my ensembles have been inspired by her eye for fabric and her out-of-the-pattern-envelope-box thinking. I've just...never mentioned it. I began to imagine how, once meeting IRL, I'd confess, you know, parts of my deepest soul. I'd say something super un-awkward like You are so pretty. I've been a little scared of you for years. I was fairly certain you were like the perfect girls in high school that didn't like me because I was a little too white or a little too black or a little too italian or a little too whatever-part-of-me-that-didn't-fit so I just kind of quietly lurked in the shadows and got inspired by your stuff.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewsew def

You know, the sort of lighthearted conversation you make when you're meeting someone you've only known via a computer screen for the first time.


oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewsew def

(Obviously, she would go body-con, and she'd whip it up without a pattern, which is exactly what I did. And she would wear the perfect kicks and sunnies for the shoot, which I *tried* to do. But look, I own two pair of sunnies, and don't even start me on my shoe collection. It's more like a shoe box.)

You can see us laughing our way through all manner of things on SewSew Def's youtube channel-- the interview is just under half an hour, and listen: she surprises me at the end. Actually, we surprised each other a few times. Fortunately, they made it SFW. And you can subscribe digitally to SewSew Def here, monthly or yearly. Bonus, two patterns are included with each issue, one for the gals and one for the guys. (Cue Rob's dance of joy. Soon, he will have very def t-shirts.)

I know I sort of claw my way through a story, picking up bits and thoughts here and there, so here's what I really want to say: I'm so thrilled to know the real version of Mimi, and not the person my high school mind created. She's the antithesis of that girl. Though we are a diverse and barrier-free community, that's not always evident at a high level--the companies at the top have been slow to catch on to that fact. Mimi has been the face of ethnicity in the sewing universe. It would be easy to corner that market, but instead, she's using that power to lift others up. This magazine is a burst of color in every sense of the word--take a peek at the contributors page: it looks like the world. I'm honored to be a part of the first issue, and I can't wait to see MORE.


Throwback Flares

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | embroidered birkin flares

Well, hello, Thursday. How YOU doin'. What's that, baby? You wanna throw it back? All right mama! I got you! It just so happens I have a handful of pictures and a mouthful of words all ready to go, from way back in spring of 2016. Lay back, Thursday. Let's #tbt this.

Take it away, voice of Marcy past...

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | embroidered birkin flares


Lemme get right to it, I'm not sure how long my time travel layover will last. What we have here are the Birkin Flares, done up in a non stretch denim. I KNOW! This is my third dance with this beauty of a pattern, and I have yet to use the actual suggested denim weight. What can I say, I fall in love with a fabric, and I make it do what I want.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | embroidered birkin flares

And I fell very hard for this fabric: a lovely, medium weight, all cotton denim that looks like it went through an Instagram filter. It hails from Chic Fabrics. (Future Me would like to note that they are indeed still open, go and give them some love. I wish I'd bought the whole bolt, because Future Me would also like to note that I NEVER run across denim like this. Le sigh of hindsight.)

In order to accomplish this zero-stretch matchup, I cut two sizes larger than my suggested size, and used 3/8ths SA. I find this gem of a pattern to be very fit-as-you-go friendly, so I just used basting stitches at the appropriate time, and then did a good amount of testing by walking around Ye Olde Apartment: sitting, squatting, karate kicking…after an hour or so with booty & side seams still intact, I sewed them up for real, complete with periwinkle topstitching.

Only I kept the basting in at the knee down to the hem, because I planned on absolutely covering the lower legs with flowers.
oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | embroidered birkin flares

Would that I could have basted-in my first embroidery try!! I decided on a heeeoooouge vase full of holly hobby-ish flowers, and at, oh, about the second to last color change, I realized it wasn’t the look I was going for. Many an instagrammer lamented the impending carnage that was about to happen with my trusty seam ripper, but I knew what I had to do. 

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | embroidered birkin flares

My next route was a collection of patterns from Embroidery Library: a handful of beautiful free floating blossoms, which I merrily hopped back and forth betwixt. Basically, I painted with thread wherever I wanted. 

Watching those flowers appear was like a magic show.  I didn't want it to end! Yet, just before embarking on the other leg, I recalled the hours spent ripping out poor embroidery decisions (y'all, I even went at it with a shaving razor). I quickly consulted my own personal Tim Gunn. “More? MOAR??! SHOULD I DO THE OTHER LEG?” I panted, drunk on embroidery. It was Rob’s opinion that the cacophony should be confined to just one gam: “Otherwise, it would be clear that you bought these instead of crafted them.”
oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | embroidered birkin flares

This gave me pause.

WHOOOOOSH. Oh, bye Past Marcy! Bye Girl! That's where you stopped typing! You take yourself too literally, Past Marcy. But thanks for coming by! Now let me tell you what, y'all... Present Marcy is seriously considering ripping out some stitches again. The denim is perfect...the flowers are perfect...but the variegated pastel thread makes me melancholic. MELANCHOLIC, I TELL YOU! There's enough melancholy out there, yeah? Who needs more on their jeans?!

So. You may agree with me, you may try to talk me out of it, but you should know that all versions of me are quite stubborn. But I'm open to suggestions before I grab my razor...