what did you do new year's eve Eve

so, you might have noticed last week, i made colette's taffy blouse.  and also a self drafted skirt from the scraps of pajama bottoms made for Hot Mama.  this ensemble was actually worn in public, to see the billy hart quartet during our kalkatroonaan christmas.

i would've liked to have worn it last night to our new year's tradition of seeing the bad plus at the village vanguard, but in order to get the best seats there, you have to be first in line outside the joint.  warmth trumps blouse made of air. 

we spent the first set with our friends, at a modest distance from the stage.  Dapper Friend had red corduroy pants on, and many of you will be interested to know: the grain ran horizontally rather than vertically.  my mind was blown.  what was left of the blown bits of my mind were then shredded as our favorite band in the world voraciously ripped into their newest creations.  

the neck was pretty wide, and of course not having made a muslin, i just pushed and pulled until i found darts that made me happier.

i had a teacher who talked a lot about the basketball effect: you're watching a game, and a player makes a particularly stunning move, and your body moves with it unintentionally, pushing and pulling an invisible ball. lots of basketball going on last night between the athletes on stage, and in the audience.  both parties were also guilty of excessive grinning.

for the second set, we were able to move up front to our favorite table, and during the break ethan copped a squat and we talked about blogs, lawyers, and buffy the vampire slayer.  at this point the rest of my mind was phaser blasted to happy dusty particles. 

i just serged lots of strips together until i had a tunnel shape that would accomodate le booty.  there are six seams altogether.  speaking of serging, i finished the arm edges like so.  i'm not into the bias tape much.

being that close to the stage is amazing sight and sound wise, which is why i love that particular table, but you're also very aware of being almost a part of the stage.  i mean, my foot was resting on the lip.  you are actually sitting in the light of the stage at this table.  it starts to feel like you're invading something very private, like maybe you're on safari and you don't want to make any sudden movements and disturb the wild life.  

again, seeking an alternative to bias tape, i handstitched some trim around the serged neckline.

until i was comfortable enough to steal glances at their faces, i was fascinated by their hands.  their hands are insane.  ethan's on piano, his fingers sort of do backbends and then the CGI technicians come in for his solos. reid's on upright bass, his hands meld into the wood like they're made of liquid.  dave's on drums, his digits alternately choke and caress sticks, cymbals, brushes, playskool toys and rubber ET dolls.  it was so cool to see their hands do their work that close.

my hands have now got to get busy on new year's eve preparations, though my ears are still full of music.  have a great night, y'all.  drink one for me, i'll certainly drink one for you. 


two cool

burdastyle sent their christmas card out this week, and i was an elf on it! as were drinking buddies don and liza jane

but what's really cool is: click on the card, and you're whisked to thing link, where each image in the montage has a nifty little rollover button.  the button takes you to the specific link.  you could, say, upload all the garments you've made this year, linking each shot to your blog / flickr / facebook / burdastyle studio, and have a complete year end card.  i haven't looked too far into it, so i'm not sure how many images you can put in a card, but i'm sure some industrious soul will contemplate this over a post holiday relaxing irish coffee. 

or you might rather contemplate a thrifty shopping cart. in that case, shabby apple just sent a sale link out for my peeps! thanks shabby :) just click here for twenty percent off sale items and free shiparoo, and enter code WINTERSALE.

i'd get this stripey number, if you can't already tell where my tastes lean...

hope you're having a moment to relax before the next holiday craze!


face it.

my facing is flipped over.

the latest oona does it! is up over at the sew weekly.  i really enjoyed this particular challenge, you can read all about the details in the column.  the inspiration for it was difficult but fun, and once i figured out the way to go i was absurdly pleased with myself at the outcome.  chuffed, one might say.  mais, the camera does not lie.

my frigging facing is flipped over.

you're going to see this dress again in a month or so, when i change the length from maxi to T and pair it with a blazer. i'm pretty excited about that.

perhaps at that point i will have fixed the GODDAM FACING.

(this is me contemplating the fact that my facing is flipped over.)


evil dead christmas

our holidays started december first, when we visited our much missed hollow legged amigos in their new abode. full of unstoppable christmas cheer, we decided to try a seasonal lights hayride.  we brought The Child.  at the very beginning, one excited patron stood up to take a picture.  SIT DOWN NOW, the head farmhand blared.  Hot Mama and i muttered merry friggin christmas to each other, and we were off.

the first stop was santa's workshop, where elves who obviously pulled double duty for halloween hayrides stuck sharp objects into mysterious boxes.

this one needed no weapon.  just rocked gleefully up and down, hands poised for choking.  

they parked us in santa's lair for a good five minutes.  i think their goal was to scare us into submission.  it worked: even though head farmhand disappeared some time during the workshop layover, no one dared to get up again.  

the ride continued.

that unoccupied swing by the obviously haunted mansion swung slowly back and forth of its own volition.  listen, ruggy breathed, you can hear it creaking.  indeed you could, loud and clear over the christmas tunes blaring on the cart we were all prisoners on.

killer clown racing across the steaming fields.


nothing says christmas like the holiday classic "proud to be an american".  complete with lighted flag.  the withered hands appeared somewhere around the last verse. 

on the left: unsuspecting fools.  on the right: freedom.

we left scarred for life.  The Child left asleep.


hubba husband

i made ruggy a shirt.

this is not the shirt.

but we were all dolled up for a night out on the town with parental kalkatroonans and i had to get a picture.  (and i did make my shirt.)  it was a wonderful boozy jazzy night, surrounded by the lights of the city and the billy hart quartet (the man has a syncopated metronome implanted in his brain, and dizzy's needs to get on this tip.  ethan iverson explains it much better.  MORE OF THIS PLEASE DIZZY'S.)  would that i had grabbed a shot of the four of us: kalkatroona dad donned a green plaid shirt with yellow accents, a gray sportscoat, and a silver and black tie. in case you're wondering where i get my pattern matching skillz from.

luckily the shot passes muster with ruggy, because there's no way i'm going through the negroni photos again for an extra oona does it! wrap up here.  no, this is just to let you know there's some man candy going on over at my column on the sew weekly.... ruggy takes center stage.   


whoah (!)

do you ever talk like a newsie?  i find myself doing it all the time, honestly.  well, a cross between a newsie and jean arthur.  i actually said yowza the other night when i spilled my wine, and let out a rather audible whoah! when i saw my double agent dress on burdastyle and realized it was not my studio page, it was the front page....

which reminded me, i have yet to show you my contribution to the burdastyle book!

back in aught 10, when we walked uphill in the snow to school both ways, i was asked to hand in some sketches for alison's blouse and skirt patterns, along with fabric choices, and burdastyle would pick the one they liked best. would you like to see them?  really?  that's so nice of you to take an interest in me.  

i'll even leave my dorky captions in there.

one skirt variation, and four blouses.  can you tell i was hoping to get a blouse variation?  the maxi insanity was my favorite, but i'm glad they didn't choose it because at the time, i had no idea how to do buttonholes.  or work with the slippery fabric i'd chosen for it.  (hey, the skirt reminds me of a kazz creation!  though hers is way more cool.)

they went with the stretchy brooklyn-y i'm going to the gym but really i'm just gonna walk around and look cool vibe.  i forgot to color in the sleeves on one side, and my photoshop and mac are no longer friends, so blemished it stays.  

the fabric was really the prettiest jersey i'd ever laid hands on, from britex fabrics (you can see the work in progress post here).  i cut it like i was performing open heart surgery.  and i saved every little scrap of it, eventually morphing it into my green green dress.

it ended up on page 138 in the book, as a dress variation... mais non, it was based on this:

i abandoned the hood when i realized the model would look like a wood elf.  now i wish i had done it.  maybe i'll throw one in there.

it's like a size negative zero, my thought being it had to fit a model and not a curvy kalkatroonan.  so. there's no way i'm putting it on right now, as my head is sufficiently swelled and i don't feel like deflating at this moment (double thanks from ruggy, burdastyle! i am impossible to deal with at the moment!).  maybe i'll try it on after the holidays.  you know, after the weight gain and the crushing depression of january. it is stretch jersey, so i might get away with it.  

okay. that's enough bragging for today.

who am i kidding.  i'm off to make a taffy blouse and then see two thirds of the bad plus in concert.  i rule the world.  WHAT AN EXCEPTIONALLY BRATTY POST!  i outdo myself, i truly do.

so, what'ch'y'all up to?


you dress like a tourist

no for real, you do.   if you dress up, that is.  

i decided the best way to wrap up my oona does it!s on le blog would be to talk about where i wear them.  that way i might actually wear them somewhere, as opposed to my current abysmal average

so!  i wore my goldschlagger dress out to a birthday dinner with Holy Cow She's So Freaking Brilliant Friend and her husband, I Can't Believe You Cooked That Awesome Shit Chef.  (they were our thanksgiving guests.  we had a LOT to be thankful for.)

Brilliant Chica's birthday falling frequently on or about thanksgiving seems to have meant little to no birthday plans in the past.  as you know, in kalkatroona, this will not do.  i coaxed her into my campbell apartment dress (which fit Her Hotness like a glove), we raided the vintage jewelry stash, dressed the boys up as much as we could, and headed to one of our favorite french restaurants.

as we strolled down the avenue, i imagined us singlehandedly (well, double handedly.  quadruply? there were two of us) bringing back the age of style.  something like mad men, but without mad men acting like asses.  just very sane men like ruggy and Mad Chef bringing gallantry back.  they've already got sexy, in spades.

we got stares.  from several drag queens.  do you know what it takes to get noticed by a new york city drag queen?

i mean, my dress was faced in faux lavender leather.  (yeah, that's understitching, yo. i got skillz.)

check the orange and gold zipper.  and what UP matching gold shoes?!

she in teal lace, and i in sparkly gold?  truly we were the epitome of class, and should have been treated as such.  

mais, non.  we arrived at the restaurant and were seated by the kitchen.  birthday girl's entree was a total hackjob, which had to be sent back.  after our waiter, some new upselling species of shark, gave birthday girl the third degree on what was wrong with her moules frites, i decided i truly did not like him.  i lost all betty draper composure and barked GOAT CHEESE TART at him when he returned for the new order.  twice, as he tried to upsell Brilliant Chica to the special.  i did not want him talking to Brilliant Chica any longer.  he had lost that privilege.

eventually the owner, whom ruggy & i know and very much enjoy, came over and made everything nice again.   shark attack was all smiles after that. 

i would have liked to bash his teeth in.

were we too dressed?  did shark attack take us for rubes?  as i glanced at our surroundings, i saw peeps dressed in tattered jeans and t shirts, bags of black friday loot by their feet, looking at us like we were a little loco.  when did these tables turn?

oh yeah by the way, this is simplicity's project runway line, numero 2444, and holy cow do i love this line.  this pattern has pockets, always a plus, and was hella fun to sew and wear.  the home deco fabric i scored at joann's is the highly flammable bomb to work with.  but maybe better suited for drapes.  it itches like a motha.  i did the sleeves, mainly because i wanted to prove to myself i could do sleeves (i can't, those poofy pleats are totally born of me shrugging my shoulders and forcing the caps to fit), but now i think i might hack them off.  i feel a little too girly in it.

it's hard to kick a shark's ass when you're all girly.  next time, all sharks in the vicinity will see my guns.  

but they will be gussied up guns, dammit.  GUSSIED.  UP.


nothing says christmas like 36 inches of steel

ruggy learned fairly early on in our relationship that i adore, with the passion of a pit bull, all aspects of the gift experience, which frightened him a little bit.  i learned he called them prizes, which thrilled me to no end.  our first christmas together occurred two months after we met.  i bought him 18 prizes, including black silk pajamas and a samurai sword.

i have no idea why i thought he would want a samurai sword.

but i felt christmas would be ruined if i did not buy it.

we're surrounded by some of our dearest friends in the known and unknown universe, celebrating a birthday and starting christmas off very right.  i've been paging through the holiday issue of real simple, our friends' adorable baby (Child The Second, to be exact) in lap and drink of the moment in the other fist.  drink of the moment is ever changing and completely up to the whim of Hollow Leg Birthday Dad. over a peach bellini, i read letters describing the best present you've ever given someone.  i thought that was interesting; i'll frequently ask what's the best you've received but not the other way round.

i'm not sure what that says about me.

but i do love to give, even when it's a borrowed minivan full of prizes having nothing to do with the intended recipient. (really, i'm shocked ruggy didn't wash his hands of the whole situation that first christmas.  samurai sword?  appropo of nothing?  psycho.  thank god i met him six days after his birthday.)  but i don't think i've ever given a best gift.  thoughtful, yes, storebought or handmade, but nothing like these folks have done.  dog dna tests,  a single singular chocolate from childhood, a recorded set of recipes for an elderly relative.  i couldn't think of anything i'd done that fit the bill.  and because i like to win, now i really have to give the best prizes i've ever given this season.


what's the greatest prize you've ever given?


on why i am a (very bad) ass

would you look at this loot of loveliness from the luscious lexi (who just happens to have a fantastic blog you should be reading.  can't you tell from the taste level of this bounty?  go on, click that link).  i won her giveaway for six sanjou eiffel tower thread cards (that's right, i gave you another link, CLICK IT) and she felt the package was too small.   so she threw all of this in.

do you see that belt buckle?  those buttons that i'm loathe to separate from their perfect card? le bombshell vixen avec personalized music mix to swoon for?


this is why i suck at giveaways.  this is why my pay it forwards are still quite backwards.  i WANT to fill up packages like this.  i just don't have the enthusiasm required for trekking around the city and finding the fantastic goodies to put into the package.  and i wouldn't call myself the crafty type anymore, so it's not like i can fill a box with wee handmade gifties.  i'm more into making full out party dresses that hang sadly in my closet, waiting for their dance card to fill up.

for debi's sew grateful challenge, i had planned on finishing up those pay it forwards, sending out boxes of cheer, being the bad ass i so frequently insist i am.  so i'm making a public list right here of what i owe.  to guilt me into it. will it work?  it took me eight months to write the promised double agent dress tutorial, you tell me.

one nursing cover
two pattern tracings
three swappy prizes 
four shots of vodka (that's for me) 
five pay it for-waaaaaaaaarrrrdsssssss!



and the winner is....

you know what i want? a little widget that looks like a lotto machine, you know, the kind with the tennis balls and the air, i guess it would be a gif, but i could be mixing that up with peanut butter.

i tallied up the entries and threw them in the random generator:

then counted down to....  coppertop doll!!!  who said, "WANT! i liked shabby apple. and i follow you, obvi."

you guys.  check out her icon.  she's a redhead.  this is gonna be a KNOCKOUT on her.  

thank you all for playing along, i loved reading all your comments and meeting new peeps.  i hope to bring you more goodies in the future (lexi, i'll work on that plane ticket.  i already haz the tequila.)  miss coppertop, please email me your info and i'll get you in touch with the lovely dress ladies at shabby apple, who i thank for letting me be santa.   being santa is FUN.

happy monday!



for miss fry's stupendous sew grateful challenge, i've chosen a pattern snagged during our NY meetup extravaganza.  i couldn't think of a better fit for this challenge than using something from that big old christmas present of a day.  the fantastic pattern swap portion happened per lisette's suggestion, and to boot, this pattern is from the glowing lisette's very own heeooooouge giveaway stash.  it's simplicity 8699, yonder auburn maned lady.  

(most of the swap passed me by. as we were starting, i ran into an old friend, and we gabbed through the whole shebang.  actually, we talked sewing.  he's a sound engineer, and a big lovely cheerleader for me.  he always makes me feel like i really know how to sew, because he takes such an interest in what i make.  but i digress.)

as Head Cheerleader made me feel like a million bucks, swapping went merrily on.  ah well, i thought, i didn't bring any goodies, so i shouldn't take any anyway.  but no.  SOMEONE LEFT THIS GEM UP FOR GRABS.  for the sheer brilliance of prints on the envelope model alone, i was in.  lisette was so happy i saw all aspects of its glory. this envelope is so pretty, i may frame it.

oh my god i'm so going to frame it.

the fabric is also from the meetup day, another example of me setting a rule for myself then immediately and brattily breaking it.  as the only host living in the meetup city, with regular access to the stores, i'd decided i would keep my bags empty.  i filled it with this at the very first stop.

man that day was a blast.  and now the pounds of fabric purchased seem annointed in magical waters.  it must be residual good juju of all those lovely ladies, i haven't had a fail with a single piece of it.  well, yes, there's the purple box, but that just needs some more seams.  and of course this poof of a skirt might be a fail in someone else's eyes.

there's truly no accounting for taste.

could anything go better with this asian influenced print than my heart enclosed elvis t shirt? methinks no.

to my delight, i found i had the perfect coordinating zip in my stash.  fat purple plastic.  sewing life is so much easier when you're not worried about matching the zip.

attaching the leather waistband was pretty easy, though the insane amounts of gathered fabric make the seam a little thick.  i left my universal 12 needle in and let kenny have at, stitching leather side down with a long stitch. (stitching leather is easy, yo, read more about it here if you're game.)  it's like wearing a belt without the added step of choosing a belt-- a process that can prove time consuming and room wrecking for me, as belts fly everywhere in an ever down-to-the-wire attempt to get out the door on time.

i think you can see it's a pretty simple pattern, but i loved using it, especially since it reminded me of the day and all beautiful peeps involved.  plus, once you've been sewing awhile it's nice to go back to rectangles and once piece waistbands and realize how much easier that rocket science is now.  do you have simple patterns you return to and marvel at your own prowess?  if you don't, get you some.  marveling at your own prowess is good for you.

debi, i marvel at YOU, you lovely huge hearted vintage slip of a whiskey drinkin gal!  please make it an annual event.  next year, i'll be prepared with tutorials and giveaways of my own to spread the sew grateful spirit. (ooh! hello segueway! this year you still have time to enter my shabby apple giveaway, which ends basically when i wake up monday morning and throw everybody's chances into one of them random generator jobs. get your dress yo!)


facial relation

when i read the cries for muppet pinup in the last post, i did many little dances, knowing the column was already saved and waiting to go live.  i will do my OCD thing shortly and respond to Each And Every Comment from the ODI wrapup, but right now i'm too proud of these pictures not to have them on my blog.  and since i am a brat i get what i want.  they're over at the sew weekly as well, avec story, but i think i'm going to start putting those installments up here too, with a different story and different pictures.  

since i am still on a sugar high from two straight days of cordon bleu cooking, coherency is going to be an issue, so please forgive the rocky start.

this is a far cry from the headless pictures i'd post when i first started le blog.  i never thought i'd throw my face on here, much less 70% of my body fabric-less. 

ruggy:  those pictures are great, babe!  did you photoshop them?

i think y'all know the answer to that question.  i think you also know how foolhardy the man was to ask that question.

i actually used picnik (the free version) and a whole lot of iphoto tricks to create the pinup look.  photoshop would have been my first choice, but apple's OS X is being a pain is the ass and not playing with older versions. get with the program, apple.

for those of you who haven't read the original post, the challenge: do a pin up girl as a muppet. thrown down by mena trott.  i chose animal, with a second or two of thought given to ralph the piano playing dog.  musical muppets seem to be my favorite.  

speaking of music, we had the great good fortune to hear ethan iverson of the bad plus play with a new trio this thanksgiving eve, do the math.  BEST THANKSGIVING EVE EVER.  tiny little jazz club, appropriately named smalls, and my favorite in the city, with mismatched chairs, blissed out bartenders, and mirrors hanging everywhere.  at one point in the set, ethan lightly touched the keys in simple, soft, but completely otherworldly combinations, corcoran drew a long bow across his bass, and that was it.  a slow collective intake of breath made the club sound like a yoga practice as everyone relaxed into a gorgeous blanket of sound.  it was like walking in a forest where you knew you were about to stroll headfirst into your true love.

que waxing.  allow me to try to wrap this post up:  at the end of the set, we walked over to shake hands and say thank you as always-- at this point we are obvious and recognizable groupies and are greeted near the territory of friends, which always makes me want to fall off my chair-- when ethan said, "oh hey, i know you.  you're oonaballoona.  you're all about fashion.  i've got you figured out."

for that moment alone, face on the blog was a good call.  

(ps: you still have three days to win a small package of your own... get le shabby apple dress, go throw your hat in the ring!)