Friday, August 29, 2014

teachable moments

oonaballoona wax fabric BHL charlotte skirt

I love it when I'm able to teach myself something, sans aid. Of course I understand the value of learning from someone with actual knowledge, but I had glorious great big gobs of fun knocking around in photoshop, finding out through trial and error how to blend a new layer under myself. I have given myself all of the gold stars.

oonaballoona wax fabric BHL charlotte skirt

Equal amounts of gold stars are ripe for the taking when I am presented an opportunity to bestow my Great And Powerful Wisdom upon others. In a quandary over what to sew, I turned from my stash to Ruggy. Babe, what should I do with this drapey silk cotton? Ruggy stood back and gave this serious question its due diligence. How about a African-y Wrap-py Dress.

oonaballoona wax fabric BHL charlotte skirt

Oh Ruggy, I began professorially, this is silk cotton. Do you mean wax print? THIS, I said, holding up a glorious birthday treat from my girl Latrice (you rock!), is wax print. And wax print is actually Dutch in origin, you see.

Oooooookay, look,  he said, with a roll of his eyes and a flash of his keyboard, just make something like this. At the speed of internet, a hundred googly-imaged cuties in all manner of technicolor popped up. The silk cotton was set aside for another day, and I was off to the races.

oonaballoona wax fabric BHL charlotte skirt

And an exhilarating race it was! WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! The vehicle: By Hand London's Charlotte, extended, and avec thigh high slash slit.  I couldn't worry about print placement, other than center front, not if I wanted the length. AND I DID SO WANT THE LENGTH. My Anna scraps came in to join the party.

oonaballoona wax fabric BHL charlotte skirt

Contrast facing on the triple topstitched slit, done on my beloved, holy cow I literally kiss her every day, Pfaff. The guts are serged with my hated, holy cow I curse her every day, Elna. With each passing moment I expect her to die trying to kill me.

oonaballoona wax fabric BHL charlotte skirt pfaff

Speaking of those scraps. Both of these wax print makes get a lot of attention. One gal spied me in my Anna and immediately turned misty eyed, a big grin breaking out on her face. That print! Is it from Ghana?  Behold! A teachable moment! Professor Oona stepped up to the mic to school the young lass. Well, actually, I believe this print is from Holland, the label said Verified Pre--

GHANA?! She broke in, loudly and with great hope. G-H-A-N-A? That is my home!

Nooooooo... I began, watching her face deflate, and yet continuing. She said my dress was pretty, and walked away sadly, clearly homesick. HEY GUESS WHAT. Next time, I'm going to say yes. Not everything is a teachable moment. In fact, the entire time I was stitching this, I was formulating a plan to find her and lie straight to her face. MY FRIEND! Do you like my Ghana skirt? How long have you been away from home? How are things going here? Let's go get you an ice cream!

I mean let's face it. Everything came from somewhere. Origin of rock n' roll, anyone? Sometimes the facts take the joy out of it.  Better to listen to the music.  

oonaballoona wax fabric BHL charlotte skirt

The happy, happy music.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

but are you getting my afro in the shot?



There's a lotta talk going round the sewisphere about tips & tricks for taking photos. I've said it here and there in response to comments and other posts, but have never put it up on le blog... so here's my best tip for a great photo.

Bribe whoever is behind the camera to get on the dirty dirty New York ground and shoot up at you like you're seven feet tall.  Especially of you are of the five footish variety.  Which I am.  Suzanne tried it. I'd say she's a convert. (I'd also say she should watch her super cute cut-out back in her technicolor dress when I'm in the general vicinity.)

This shot was snapped moments before a man carrying several large camera bags passed us on the street. Nice backdrop, he said. Eyeing Ruggy's standing position, he offered: Get low on the ground and shoot up at her. The angle will give her more height. 


After. 'Fro included!

That was just about a year ago.  Since then, Ruggy made that advice law.  In fact, no amount of begging and pleading will get him up off the ground for a straight-on shot anymore. Truly. Apparently it takes away from his creative process... and who am I to take away FUN.

What baffles me is: why don't red carpet/paparazzi/fashion mag photographers consider this a golden rule? To wit, a shot of me and The Rugster at an event last summer...


Same dress. Less height. 

(Side note, as we walked down the block to the conveniently located shindig, an older gentleman saw us coming and started to full on holler. I'M SORRY BUT I GOT TA SAY Y'ALL HAVE FLAVA. FLA. VA! This dress has magical powers.)

Of course, it begs the question: why do we need an extra foot of height? What you really want to see are the seams and the pattern and the print and all that good stuff, right? Again. Because it's FUN. But, equally important, all of the hard work we put into a garment deserves a good shot. Angle notwithstanding, you don't need to go full on ground level, whether it's a quickie by the garage door with morning light before you head off to work, or going hog wild over the weekend with props and backdrops and the whole shebang-- try something different! It could be fun.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Fat Quarter: Look Out Project Runway


Oh, I'm sorry. I'M SORRY. BUT YOU NEED TO STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING RIGHT NOW AND GO SEE THE LATEST FAT QUARTER CHALLENGER. PUT THE CHILD/CAT/COFFEE/DEBRIEFING DOWN AND GO RIGHT NOW.

The challengers are hellbent on proving me wrong. First, Devra's Unicorn playset. Then Amity's Zombified Peplum blouse. Now comes this stripey self-drafted number from mastermind Jennifer of Workroom Social, complete with a Project Runway recap of her work in the challenge.  She basically Tim Gunn'ed herself.

I think I need to go lie down.