July 27, 2015


oonaballoona | a sewing blog | #unsungsewingbloghero

My husband is so good to me. Not only is he completely unthreatened by my new lover on my sewing desk...he happily painted this wall to match Gorgeous George's good looks for a little photo shoot this weekend! Thanks, Rugster!

Actually, the wall was already in this fortuitous configuration. But I wouldn't put it past him, considering he did brave 12 bags of New York City Summer Weekend Garbage, lurking about 12 inches from his face (DISCLAIMER: BECAUSE HE REFUSES TO STAND UP AND SHOOT). Oh, what a few days of 90 degree highs will do to the aroma of the city! Such a heady perfume! When I trotted over from my spot on the wall to change a camera setting for him, the stench almost knocked me over. 

RUGGY! I said. We can go somewhere else!

NO. Was his firm response. This is the right spot. Let's just do it.

RUGGY! I said. You can just shoot me straight on front-side-back and I'll get detail pics on my dressform!

NO. Was his firm response. I'm composing the shot. Don't bother me. 

Twenty pungent minutes later, as we strolled away from the odorous corner of 8th avenue, I clicked through the snaps at his request. 


OKAY. Was his firm response. And if you don't like these shots, babe, we'll just do them over. 

I MEAN. And what's a guy got to do to get a little sewing recompense? I have no less than 5 different prints in various stages of unmade shirts in the queue (read: the fabrics have been pre-washed). Methinks this is the week to crack into one. Ruggy does these shoots quite willingly ever since he got that unsolicited advice from a passing pro photographer. Pre-pro, it was OONA GODSAKES ARE WE DONE YET. Now, I'm asking him if we have enough shots to stop. Peeps, if you wanna flip the script, stage a little "chance" meeting with a pro and/or a family member willing to shower your photographer with compliments! DOES WONDERS!

Lori's tale of her unsung hero over at Frivolous At Last prompted this post, and her tagged man comes with some hilarious photos as well (seriously, go read it.) And tag your unsung hero(ine) if you have one!

(eta: sometimes i'm clear as mud... just to be clear-er, the credit for this tagalicious spark of genius goes to lori!)

July 23, 2015

painting party

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | painting party

The fabrics that come home with me are not treated delicately. Even when they are a digitally printed silk crepe de chine direct from Italy. Maybe this is because I began my sewing career with 2 dollar a yard mystery fabric, and had zero fear in ruining yardage that could be so cheaply replaced. Maybe this is because I am like a bull in a china shop no matter what the price.

Either way, I've been slapping paint on my birthday dress.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | painting party

This beauty from Mood Fabrics has been driving me wild for about two months (found in store, one leeeeetle bolt with barely 5 yards on it. Although I left 3 yards behind, I think it lasted 5 minutes). The colors!! The texture!!! THE GINORMOUS REPEATING WHITE ROSE THAT WREAKS HAVOC ON PRINT PLACEMENT! 

Here is the offending bud, before. The dress had been hanging out on my Wolfie at a dinner party, and all ladies present agreed that the watermelon sized ghost flower in the middle of the skirt had to go. I pinned a little plastic baggie underneath the fabric, directly on the form, and put a base of Jacquard textile paint on...

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | painting party

Then got to stippling with my beloved Zig markers.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | painting party

Occasionally I'd goof, shrug my shoulders, and throw some more color over the goofs. This dress is made to party, yo. There's no stress in partying! And with a fabric like this, there were plenty of colors that could join in and correct any party fouls.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | painting party

I heat set the colors with a silk organza pressing cloth on top, and cotton muslin underneath, to be sure none of the color came away during pressing. No one left the shindig!

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | painting party

She's painted in several places, actually-- here, there's some oona artwork in the left side of the shot, bust cup and below the waist. That bust cup was the first guest at this painting party.

I love fabric! I love knowing more about the world of beautiful yardage, and how to treat to properly, but man, I still love to beat it up. 

Are you a rough mistress, or a cautious lover? 

July 17, 2015

a poly party anna

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | by hand london anna

 Hey Oona, what's up with the Steven Tyler impression?

A. I'm wailing Happy Birthday to Elle of Laura Loves Pugs

B. I'm trying to get the camera to focus on my face

Answer: BOTH!

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | by hand london anna

Summer Birthdays! The best! (I might be biased.) At this very moment, there's a birthday celebration going on for Elle, a virtual party conjured up as a solution to the problem of three friends living miles apart. Elle met Ute (she of the most beautiful instagram shots ever) and Pips (she of sixteen Annas!!) via instagram, and it was Elle's wish that they celebrate her birthday together on the platform they met upon. It was also her wish that all party guests wear an Anna, of By Hand London fame

One must always obey birthday girl wishes. The birthday girl is much like a bride in that respect (yes, I take it that seriously. Weep for Ruggy). And yet! And yet! My gold metallic linen Anna, embarked upon for this very shindig... she sits in pieces still! Egads! Tardy to the party! THE DEVIL YOU SAY! I will not stand for it!  Luckily, I have myriad unblogged Annas in my closet and can dress appropriately! PARTY FOUL AVERTED!

This particular Anna was stitched last September, but has remained un-snapped for various reasons...

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | by hand london anna

Hey Oona, whatcha smirkin' at?

A. My self inflicted uber high waistline

b. Ruggy's idea of a close up shot

Answer: BOTH!

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | by hand london anna

Although I can say this floral frock was made well, she wasn't made wise. When I traced the pattern for a V neck version, I went a little too nutso on a short waist adjustment... the waistline sits right on my natural waist, not the sweet spot I've come to love of about 5/8ths below. Therefore, belt.

And let's talk about the hemline. A gathered rectangle with a romantic touch was what I wanted, but not so much what I got. You might not be able to spy it in the shots (see; question #2, answer B) but...

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | by hand london anna


oonaballoona | a sewing blog | by hand london anna


Actually, looking at these shots, there's all kinds of wonk going on in that there hemline. I didn't consider the dip in the back at the bodice, or where the scallops would meet at side seam...really, I need to amputate and get in there with a level. Good god, woman.

Also, gathered waist, not so much my favorite on me. But I'm so attached to those scallops, I don't know what the fix is! Anyone?? 

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | by hand london anna

Hey Oona, why the side eye?

A. Oh, just wondering if the photographer is shooting me straight-on... like I asked him to

B. Oh, just listening to the photographer barking some nonsense about these shots being "BORING AS HELL"

Answer: MOST DEFINITELY BOTH. Byproduct; permission granted for artsy shot...

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | by hand london anna

Okey dokey Ruggy.

(Actually that is pretty cool how he incorporated the wave of the hem into the wave of the wall. Mad props, Rugster. Thanks for finishing the bathroom.)

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | by hand london anna

Hey Oona, whatcha lookin at?


No, no, let me calm down, that's another twenty days away. Not that I'm keeping count or yelling about it on the hour or anything. Luckily for Ruggy I'll be distracted for a few days by all of Elle's party guests over on Instagram! Annas are about to blow up your feed, yo! Search #internationalannaparty, and if you're really feeling it, don an Anna and get in there. There's even party prizes to be had! (I'm taking my hat out of the ring for a prize, having both an embarrassment of hemline and riches going on at the moment.) The party officially starts at 6pm BST, which google tells me is 1pm EST. Thanks google, you rock.

Happy birthday Elle! And might I add, an equally stupendous birthday holler to Megalicious the Grand! I hope you're both eating cake and swathed in the yardage of your dreams!