Sewing Is A Virtue.

Sewing my own clothing is making me more stubborn, and yet, more patient. Both pieces in this combo were intended as something completely different than their outcome, and both actually made it to completion because of these attributes.  

oonaballoona by marcy harriell | sewing | simplicity 1919 | burdastyle 119

First up, the cropped jeans blazer, which was meant to be a peplumed affair: Simplicity 1919 (OOP). I was ever so patient with this jacket! So patient, my hands literally turned blue! (Oh yeah, the dye on this one is strong. Every time I touched this thing, I promised myself it would be a short session, then hours later, I'd walk away looking like something out of Yellow Submarine. CLEARLY EXHIBITING EXTREME PATIENCE. AND YES ALSO STUBBORNESS.)

oonaballoona by marcy harriell | sewing | simplicity 1919 | burdastyle 119

I fitted, I pressed, I changed thread colors, I topstitched with care…

oonaballoona by marcy harriell | sewing | simplicity 1919 | burdastyle 119


Happy with my eventual decision. Mad at those lapel wrinkles, which don’t show IRL as much as in these photos. Or do they? Must check that.

As for the jumpsuit, well. WELL.

The jumpsuit is actually pants.

Burdastyle’s 119 Jersey Track Pants pattern was the candidate, and my vote proved very ill advised when I threw them on for the initial fitting. Although I love Burdastyle drafting, I wonder if the jersey patterns don't take negative ease into account as much as they should? My size came up too wide, the waist gathers were thick and frumpy, the thin waistband was out of proportion, the length in both the crotch and leg were of supermodel stature. In short, they were a hot mess, and not the chic little pair of pants I imagined. But I was far too stubborn to abandon this dreamy Rayon Jersey (from Mood) to the loungewear shelf. So, I quite patiently made a laundry list of mods...

oonaballoona by marcy harriell | sewing | simplicity 1919 | burdastyle 119
· hacked off 4″ from the hemline, gathering the new length into cuffs
· took away 1″ from waistline

· increased the crotch curve by 3/8ths

· removed gathers from waistline

· added 6 evenly spaced inverted box pleats to front and back waist

· stitched each pleat closed about 3″ down from the waist line

· cut 16′ of jersey on the crossgrain, folded to equal an 8″ band when attached.

WHAT?! I ACTUALLY REMEMBERED WHAT I DID?! Yeah. Been keeping a notebook filled with details of my sewing process now, the better to explain myself later. (Though I could practice a little more patience in penmanship. Such chickenscratch.)

The ridiculous 8 inches of foldover band length were meant to add adjustable proportion at the waist: wear it pulled up high-waisted, wear it scrunched down low on the hip. But, lo and behold, when I pulled them on and tried the band at “high” height, I found that those inches were also just enough to serve double duty as a top! Did I just make a jumpsuit? I maniacally breathed to my mirrored reflection. HEY YOU IN THE MIRROR. Are you kidding me?!

oonaballoona by marcy harriell | sewing | simplicity 1919 | burdastyle 119

Well, the answer is: I ALMOST did. I DECIDED TO BE PATIENT HERE! AGAIN! You see, although the top did stay up on its own in my stomp-around-the-house-test, I’ve got two pieces of doublestick tape aiding and abetting in the frontal boob tube area for the photos (the better to avoid flashing the streets of New York). Before going permanent on this unanticipated path, I wanted to see all angles of this jammy in pictures, and not just in a mirror. We all know mirrors lie. Believe in Cher.

Now that we’ve got pictorial evidence, I’ve decided to make things permanent. I’ve got rayon leftovers at the ready for options…maybe wide gathered straps? Or leave it strapless with an elastic casing? I'd love to find a way to make it secure enough for a jumpsuit, but still have the option for pants. Hmmmm. Suggestions welcome!

these virtuous separates were made using my fabric allowance as part of the mood sewing network. and i highly suggest grabbing some of that jersey!


Vogue 9053: Easy is a four letter word.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewing vogue 9053

Hello, silk cotton, you shifty, drapey, aggravating beast of a fabric. Earlier in the week, over at the Mood Sewing Network, I praised your beauty. Actually...yeah, you're awesome. I'm a fickle thing. I don't know why I'm calling you names. Probably because I look at these pictures and still remember every irritating second of sewing you up.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewing vogue 9053

It wasn't your fault. The blames lies (partly) with my constant need to force fabric into situations it doesn't want to be in. I imagined this yardage as a flowing, ground sweeping maxi dress. On my first crack, I went with Burdastyle's Tie neck maxi dress, which is not as simple as it sounds-- it's listed as an intermediate pattern, mainly because of the great angled yoke and skirt insets. Really cool pattern! But after the bodice turned out like this... I abandoned ship.

Yeah, that's 100% my bad. WARNING, CIVILIANS: MAJOR SEW SPEAK AHEAD. The silk cotton was far too lightweight for the drape of the top, so I lined the bodice in a fluid rayon poly, but I should have underlined it instead. Then I cut the yoke off-grain in a pre coffee haze. Here, I tried to salvage the hack job by cutting up the center line of the yoke, thinking I'd travel to Godet Town, Population: Crazy. Simply put, I took an intermediate pattern and tried to cut corners, in the end, making triple the work for myself. 

This is a rare occasion where I paused, looked at the mess I'd created, and made myself JUST. STOP.

For the second go, I decided to give myself a break: I was obviously in a simple mood, I should go with a simple pattern! And here's where the blame lies (mostly) with the pattern. Y'all. I've got a beef with patterns that introduce themselves as Very Easy. In this case, Very Easy Vogue. VEV 9053 walked up and shook my hand with a breezy smile, promising an easy, plunging V neck maxi dress. VEV, that minx, told me her suitable fabrics included both wovens and jersey, which, VEV. WHY ARE YOU PLAYING BOTH SIDES OF THE FIELD

No worries, I never really pay attention to suitable fabrics anyways. However, after botch job #1, I was in a mood to pay attention to the instructions. Clear? Yes. Easy? Yes. Complete? Not really.

In my mind, easy shouldn't mean quick. (And if it does, throw the word "quick" in the description, so that I can run like hell if the pattern is anything more than a tank top or A line skirt.) What makes this pattern easy is what is left out, which is also what makes this pattern quick. Ultimately, if followed as is, it's also what would make this pattern Not Fit. 

The worst omission in this pattern is the fact that the great plunging neckline is not staystitched, ever. Well, it's not staystitched as per VEV's instructions, but I staystitched that jammy the second it was cut, and then went on to add seam tape to keep that V from growing over time. Which, listen, was not quick, but it wasn't hard. 

(What is hard: managing to place cockeyed stamens in the general vicinity of both bust points. One of those used to be a perfect fleshy shade of pink, which I corrected with fabric markers. Me versus Me. Go Me. KIND OF.)

The point of the V is a CF & CB seam. The CB seam houses the invisible zip, but the CF seam, which mirrors the grainline, is a head scratcher. I guess you need it because as per instructions, you break stitching at the point of the V on the CF seam, instead of pivoting. I suppose this is to make things easier, by avoiding the extra steps of marking the seamline, shortening the stitch length at the V, pivoting at the point, clipping to that point-- but listen, that's easy too. Like the song says, you just have to take your time and do it right. 

I followed VEV's quicker path here, against my better judgement (which, listen, I was understandably dubious of, after the hackery I produced on that Burdastyle bodice). But in the end, following the quick path meant that there was no option to check the fit as-you-sew. Yes, here's an argument for making a muslin-- but are you really going to make a muslin for a "very easy" pattern? 

Though I realize this is not a resounding recommendation for this pattern, if, after reading this, you're of a mind to try 9053 out, know that I lost the bodice waist gathers in favor of a dart, and draped the skirt myself. And, I'm not knocking Vogue as a whole. I love me some Vogue Patterns! What I'm really knocking are "Easy" patterns in general. Sewing is time consuming, construction can be tricky, but if you don't cut corners, you'll be so much happier with not only the process, but the result. 

Today marks the start of National Sewing Month. If you've been wary of a garment because of its perceived difficulty, why not give it a try? Or look at that pattern next up in the queue-- what can you do to take it up a notch? 

(Notch. Ha ha. Sorry, civilians, sewist joke.)

this dress was eventually made possible by my monthly fabric allowance, as part of the mood sewing network. and it will eventually be worn, after a nice long time out.


hello, i love you, won't you tell me my name

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell

Once, when I was stuck in ubiquitous Los Angeles traffic, my beloved Tank moments away from overheating, I asked out loud and quite simply: L.A. Why do you hate me?

L.A. replied in my head: Well, you don't love me. Why should I love you?

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell

Geographic locations speaking in my head aside, I thought that was a damn fine answer. Well said, L.A.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell

I've been sitting on these pictures for about 2 weeks now. They were taken over my birthday weekend in New Hampshire, where a brilliant foursome of friends stomped around in the sun every day, and ate out on the lawn every night. As we drove home, and inched closer to New York, I could feel my good mood evaporating. Summer fun almost done. The Fall audition grind ahead. Subway rides, and pages of sides, and 3 inch heels. It's not a hard job, by any means, but pounding the pavement as an actress can be, let's say...unappealing. Listen, me and NY had a good thing going! I actually used to love pulling from a closet of bargain RTW, getting dressed up as whatever I was supposed to be that day, and racing in and out of casting offices! But we've hit a roadblock in our relationship. WHAT DO YOU MEAN I CAN'T WEAR ANYTHING IN MY NOW 90% HANDMADE NEON CLOSET FOR THAT NEWEST HOSPITAL-LAWYER-POLICE-DRAMEDY. DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO WEAR, NY.

And I suddenly thought: New York is going to turn on me soon if I don't do something about it.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell

I really do believe in thought creating matter. Not in a weird cult way, I've just personally experienced it: when I concentrate on something, the fruits of my thinking are pretty obvious. Over the past few years, I dove into the sewing community, and this online nickname, both of which I LOVE. Though all of the things created from "being" oonaballoona have been so much fun, I've put my real name and the things that come with it in a bit of a corner. I often tell sewists I'm happy to be called oona over Marcy. When I see people who actually know me as Marcy on the city streets, they're surprised to see me in town--they have zero idea who this "oona" is, to be honest, they think I'm social media illiterate. This guy, for example, was shocked to know I had a Twitter account. I was all, YOU SHOULD SEE ME ON INSTAGRAM YO.

But most of my sewing peeps know exactly where I stomp around, IRL and online. Because that's what I'm putting out there. Of course my oonaballoona-sewing-life is more fruitful.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell

I'm not getting all floopy on you here (I mean, maybe I've already jumped the shark on that count when I admitted that States talk to me in my head...), I just came to the realization that it's important for me to start using and enjoying my actual name, and all the things that come with it, again. So I did an @marcyharriell bomb on just about everything. IT FELT WEIRD. But almost immediately, random people started stopping me again on the street because they recognized me from my acting work, rather than my sewing hijinks. 

I'm not knocking hijinks. I LOVE HIJINKS. I just want to get back to loving ALL OF THE HIJINKS.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell


SO HERE'S THE SEWING SCOOP! This is a draped job, I went nuts on my dress form about a month ago, right before a really wonderful musical workshop ate up a large chunk of summer, in the very best way. (You'll hear more about that sort of thing, now that my spilt personalities are one.) It has leather straps enclosed in a mitered facing, a back yoke, CB invisible zip, and hip level godets at the side seam. The hem curves into a mini train, the better to swan about in. I finished the MIND NUMBINGLY LONG SWEEP of said hem just before leaving for The Birthday Weekend Of Sun And Food. And it was the perfect dress to lounge in after the final delectable meal of the trip! (Guys. Strawberry Shortcake Waffles for breakfast. And it only got better.)

The yardage is some sort of heavyweight, possibly drapery quality linen from Chic Fabrics. It has a slick feel to it, even after washing--it swishes in the most wonderful way, like heavy water!

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell

I used my "birthday brat card" to get Ruggy to snap some shots on my iPhone, before dinner on the lawn.

(Oh by the way, his real name is Rob. But I'm pretty sure you didn't think his real name was Ruggy. He's charmed to meet you. He came up with this post title. He would also like you to know that he fully supports my, and any gal's, non-wearing of bras. He just doesn't cotton to NYC creeps and weirdos viewing my breasts sans any fabric whatsoever, and possibly acting upon untowardly thoughts. He thinks my tatas are glorious. I'm paraphrasing here. He also had a super fancy camera all wrapped up and just waiting for me to open it when we snapped these shots. Which I mention because I ironically hollered: WOW, these phone pictures are better than my old beat up camera!)

See? Still chock full of parenthetical asides. Same oona, new Marcy. Which reminds me! Old social media links in posts might lead you to a temporary page, I'll be slowly working through those. But, I've changed all my handles to @marcyharriell. New links for instagram, twitter, pinterest and my facebook page are all in the sidebar now, for those of you actually viewing this in blog format--but if you follow my accounts already, you're all set. It's just a name change.

That feels really good.