Sunday Singin'

Sunday Singin' | oonaballoona by marcy harriell
photo by Richard Termine

I was at a Zoom Town Hall meeting for "Navigating the Business as a Mixed Heritage Actor" earlier this week. Yes, it was as solid-gold-depressing as it sounds.

Suffice it to say, the "professionals" who were "helping" us only narrowed the already minuscule mixed-heritage-box to nano-particles. But what I took away from it was this: I can keep creating my own box, and wait for the slowpokes to catch up.


What's been weird, but also pretty awesome, is that our YouTube "Channel" box is turning out to be a positive outlet for us. I put "channel" in quotes because, as an actor, I find it equal parts amusing and absurd that everyone can have a "channel" now. But I likes it! I LIKE OUR CHANNEL! 

After years of living in the channels of industry-created boxes, it's heartening to be able to build our own box, with the lid left WIDE OPEN. And we're both floored that, in the three months since we started creating our little corner-of-happy in earnest, we've gotten over 14,000 members in our Technicolor Troop. People who couldn't care one stitch about any box.

Today's video is one of the happiest moments of my onstage life. Beautiful humans, Director Chase Brock, and Music Director Rob Berman, who both constantly strive to smash boxes to bits, wanted me for what I was as a whole. I wasn't confined to songs that "fit me" racially. I was released into whatever role fit...me. At one point, I was Mary Tyler Moore.

Here, I'm Barbra Streisand to Ana Gasteyer's (another beautiful human whose hands I was thrilled to squeeze every night) Judy Garland, in a recreation of their iconic duet. We learned this at a rollercoaster pace, and it was the best thrill ride ever. I hope it brings you some happy this week...because whatever the outcome, we're gonna need it. 

Get your happy here, and leave that lid wide open, my friends. The better to let the technicolor in 💕  


McCall's 7745...ish.

McCall's 7745...ish.

I might be smiling here, but don't let it fool you, THIS DRESS TRIED TO KILL ME.

This is McCalls 7745, which I've made before in leopard rayon jersey. Funny that when I made it in a fabric it wasn't meant for, it turned out great--I just sized down 2 sizes to account for the negative ease you need in stretch knits, and BOOM. DRESS.

This version, not so much. I used the proper size for wovens, and the neck came up as wide as the political divide in this here country. Gaped all over creation like I was aiming to be crowned Queen of the Tata Parade.

McCall's 7745...ish.

(I don't know which party would hold a Tata Parade, but it ain't the look I was going for.)

McCall's 7745...ish.

After skimming that July 2018 leopard print post, I realize I actually ALREADY SEWED THIS in a woven with the same tata trials. That tribulation was abandoned completely. Nice that I left myself a trail of breadcrumbs! Buuuuuut that only works if you REMEMBER THE CRUMBS.

With only the pros of that story in mind, I sewed this bodice up again, in the correct size for wovens. And I mean SEWED. IT. UP. Fully lined in fashion fabric, seams graded and understitched, cut sleeve treatment added, ready to rock!

Exhibitionist style. 

I was FUMING when I tried it on. With only 2.5 yards of this fabric, I couldn't afford to lose an inch of it, so I shoved it in a bag to wait for inspiration. Then Brittany popped up in my feed with an off-the-shoulder beauty, in the sunshine, and it was June in NY, and we were stuck behind bars, and I decided I WAS FINISHING IT OR IT WAS FINISHING ME

Smackdown: Sewist came by way of center back-- I took a whopping 3-inch dart out of center back, tapering from a giant chunk at the neck to nothing at the waist. Not easy, or pretty, to do once the bodice is fully lined, but luckily, my penchant for busy prints saved me. Pro tip: A busy print can hide all manner of wonkiness, y'all.

Once I took that ginormous chunk out, the open sleeve treatment needed some help. Gone were the fluttery, romantic wings I'd given myself. So I made a coupla spaghetti straps and tied them closed. With a bow. To save the romance. Though I was feeling VERY LITTLE LOVE at that point.

Having zero desire to use the rest of the pattern, I draped the skirt with what I had left! This is a border print, and I just needed to adjust my brain to let the floral border lie vertically to get the most out of what I had left.

Although it is a wrap dress, it isn't a true wrap style-- I added a few small pieces of twill tape for interior ties, and then attached the main tie belt down at the "wrap" edge of the outer bodice, at center front. I just tie it shut on the interior, and wrap the belt around myself on the exterior. Way better than buttonholes in rayon, especially when you're ready for a garment to be done-zo.

(I'd show you the interior tie situation, but without a dressform, I'm not sure how to do it without throwing my biddies back in the Tata Parade.)

She's swishy enough, and I'm glad she's DONE! But I might start writing my breadcrumbs right on the pattern envelope from now on...


Dress For the Day: All Temperature Cheer.

Dress For the Day: All Temperature Cheer.

It’s so beautiful outside this week, my maxi dresses have come back out to play. Mind you, they’re never really benched, they’re just confined to indoor costume changes during the colder months. But today. TODAY. WE WAX PRINT.

Dress For the Day: All Temperature Cheer.


This is one of three prints picked out by MomNDadInc for my birthday prize, from House of Mami Wata. And it is the print I never knew I wanted! Lookit these beautifully saturated cool tones! Apparently, my parents know the technicolor gaps that need filling in my closet, and they know how to pick the hue that will FIT, cuz when I held this up to my face (and Rob’s, to be honest)...fireworks. Under-the-sea, blue and purple fireworks.  

Dress For the Day: All Temperature Cheer.

If I hadn’t made this bodice two times before, I would have been shaking cutting into this print. Why yes, yes, I am fearless (dare I say, caution-less?) when diving into yardage, but it’s very different when it’s a gift. Especially a parental gift. You want to do them proud, y’know? You can’t just shove a UFO in a pile to be fixed at a later date--not when the people who gave you fabric also GAVE YOU LIFE!!!

Dress For the Day: All Temperature Cheer.

Yes, it IS still an all caps situation around here, and no, we did NOT consider that a creature was showing ALL OF ITS ASS in most of these shots WHY DO YOU ASK

With the bodice fit secure and my hands steady, I added a couple tweaks, to give it a different feel from my previous versions (here and here).

Dress For the Day: All Temperature Cheer.

I get a lot, and I mean A LOT, of inspiration from Instagram. Let me clarify, I get a lot of inspiration from our fellow sewists on Instagram. Then IG tries to tempt me with poorly made Amazon fast fashion. I’M NOT BITING, INSTAGRAM.

Dress For the Day: All Temperature Cheer.

But I’m completely biting on two sewists here: @keechiibstyle and @kateevadesigns. These supersewists having me throwing hearts down on the regular. There's Kate Eva on the gathers, and Marcia on the drop shoulder! 

And the pom poms are me. BECAUSE POM POMS. 

Finishing it off with a half circle skirt and a small gathered tier was all she wrote out of this yardage. I have enough left for maaaaybe a mask. But I might start saving up my wax print scraps again for a quilt...

Don't gimmie that look. I COULD QUILT. In 2020, anything’s possible...