September 4, 2013

anna to the infinite power

oona by marcy harriell oonaballoona

this labor day weekend, i did little else than labor on my msn round of anna.  in new york, if you don't get out of town for labor day, you get out of the way.  the people who stay behind on the last few free days of summer are always furious, for real.  so staying indoors and hammering away on bathroom and silk was just the ticket.

i lie.  THAT PART KINDA SUCKED.  it was nine hundred and eight degrees, power tools blared, and as each minute passed i became more and more certain i would never finish.  i was reminded very much why i hate sewing deadlines.  i composed mental emails of defeat to silk conquerors sonja and lauren, filled with home improvement excuses and plenty of swearing.  i took cocktail breaks with ruggy, he in his contractor's mask, me in various forms of underwear for easy access.  (to the anna. sweaty-and-unable-to-shower equals little time for that kind of play.)  but the french gimlet worked its magic.   oona, ruggy said, i would wake you up with a cocktail in the morning instead of a cup of coffee, if i didn't love you and your health so very much.

once, i even thought i might cry.

THERE IS NO CRYING IN SEWING.

oona by marcy harriell oonaballoona

especially since this is another out-of-the-park pattern by the fabulous creatures that are by hand london, but y'all know that very well by now.  this has been the summer of gloriously long annas and beautifully brief bombshells, hasn't it?  (that bombshell is next.)  

having been warned days before my homecoming that coming "home" was going to be a bit more stressful than expected, i really did plan on making this challenge simple.  i did a wearable muslin weeks ago, in the form of my sew weekly reunion dress, so all i needed was an easy silk, maybe a twill or a blend with pretty insides, and i'd whip this out in half a day!

oona by marcy harriell oonaballoona

but after a full saturday of putting out more home fires, i arrived at mood 15 minutes before closing time, and it was a race against the clock.  none of the online silks i'd pinned to my mood board were on the shelves, something to be said for the site-- there are finds that only exist online, so us store-bound birds don't have all the luck!  i flew through the aisles, and flew though my story to anyone who would listen.  i gotta get a silk for a mini MSN challenge helphelphelp!  kooan, full of energy and with his eyes on the prize, led me to the shelves that housed this whisper thin beauty.

i love it, i breathed, knowing it was one of the toughest silks i could possibly pick.  yeeeah!  kooan pumped his fist.  this could be soooo beautiful, you can underline in silk charmeuse and layer with taffeta-- my mind fritzed at underline.  kooan, that sounds AMAZING.  i am so not going to do that, i said with a shit eating grin.  he grinned right back as eric entered the aisle.  both men immediately draped themselves in bolts of silk.  my mind changed gears to the sexy see through version on by hand london's preview page.  whaddaya think? maxi dress, totally sheer!  male models audibly swallowed and raised their eyebrows in uncertainty.

oona by marcy harriell oonaballoona

three yards later, i skipped into the subway, off to find a bottle of mezcal and a pail of grout.  you couldn't bring me down with ANYTHING.  i had Fabric Of The Gods in my purse and an alcoholic errand on my mind.  and what was even better, at that point in time, the bathroom was promised to be 80% done that very night!

and there endeth the floaty happy part.

oona by marcy harriell oonaballoona

booooooy did i have to take my time on this, and booooooooooy was my time limited.  getting this stuff on grain was a bear, especially since the only cutting surface was a large piece of drywall.  the metallic stripes on the crossgrain were a great help.  going to home depot for more grout, twice in the same evening, was not.  

i french seamed every bit of it, and hand stitched the thigh high slit with invisible nylon thread.  that was after i ripped out all of my very visible cotton threaded blind stitching.  blind stitches on sheer fabric are not blind, big surprise.  i even did my first hand picked zipper…which will almost certainly be carefully removed in favor of a hundred tiny covered buttons and loops.  

oona by marcy harriell oonaballoona

even though i stay stitched the neckline, she still went droopy on me.  (closing up those pleats a bit more should help.)  many factors played into that, none of them pattern error.  this fabric is far too light for that zipper, and i knew that.  i knew it and did it anyway. BECAUSE I AM STUBBORN.  you know that bows out in the back, right?  YEAH RUGGY I DO.  YOU KNOW THE BATHROOM'S NOT DONE YET, RIGHT?  

the fact that my silk was left in front of a fan on high speed for three hours while we were out shopping for silicone caulk may have also had a hand in that. 

ah, home improvement.

oona by marcy harriell oonaballoona

minutes before embarking on photos, i lopped 4 inches off a blue silk slip, and slipstitched my thigh high split closed by another 2 inches.  apparently i was going for slut.  my wedded contractor, completely devastated at the state of things, was suddenly my very willing photographer.  he snapped 74 pictures.  that is simply unheard of. how long do you think i can ride that gravy train?

if you've jumped on the anna bandwagon and i haven't caught it, please do tell!  and if you aren't in an anna, what are you waiting for.  the gals at BHL are hosting a sewalong quite soon...but take it from me: choose a silk with a little meat on its bones.

98 comments:

  1. It is a really lovely print! And despite all of the frustration, I think your dress looks beautiful. (And dangit, I don't have time to add another pretty indie pattern to the queue right now, I still have like a dozen unsewed ones!)

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  2. The dress and fabric are amazing! I love reading your tales of sewing/life. All the best with the home improvements.

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  3. High five followed by a clank from our alcohol filled glasses. Or is it clank then high five? At the same time?
    Love this version of Anna. How did you finish the neckline? Self-made Bias binding?
    Yay, team see-through Anna. I am half way finished and found a nude full-slip that works. I hope to finish it by the time I am in New York.
    Omg, my last two photo shoots over 100 pictures each, these guys... lol

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    1. as long as the glasses are full, clanking is permitted at any time.

      yes, self-made bias on the neckline. i hate facings!

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  4. It's amazing! I love the sheer, it's super shop stopping. I made one (what feels like ages ago now!), I think it was the weekend it was released! And I definitely need to do another!

    http://vintageinkfairy.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/i-present-to-you-anna-dress-by-hand.html

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    1. that print is amazing, and your fit is so perfect!

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    2. Awh thanks! and that was meant to be show stopping, lol!

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  5. Your dress looks so amazing. Good luck with the bathroom.

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  6. You look stunning in this dress! The fabric is so gorgeous and flowy! I can't believe you made this during a bathroom reno - you're a superstar!

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    1. teehee. there was a lot of starting and stopping, that's for sure...

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  7. Go pour yourself another drink lady, you earned it! This dress is fabulous, and that slit is just amazing. Oh, and the fabric is perfect perfect perfect!

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    1. thank you girl! we need to pour ourselves some IRL drinks soon.

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  8. You look amazing in this dress!!! I love the print, I just love the dress. You, Lauren, and Sonja makes me want to buy this pattern and make it out of silk too!

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    1. thank you, and DO IT. you won't regret it!

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  9. Fantastic dress and fabric! Love it so much

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  10. I love your version of this dress. It takes the Anna to a whole new level of sexy.

    I have a question about invisible thread. Is it only to be used by hand? Or can it be utilized with your sewing machine as well? I attempted to use invisible thread this weekend on a pattern I was making and the results were not good to say the least. Should it only be used for hand stitching?

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    1. thank you!

      i wondered that myself--i only used the invisible thread for hand stitching, and i found that it had a very curly behavior. i had to use my fingers to straighten out the thread left on the needle every 5 inches or so. it seemed to me like it would kink up in the machine, so i didn't try it.

      *but* i only had rayon invisible in my stash. maybe there are other types that would behave differently?

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  11. what a story! and you still have an amazing silk dress to show for it. so awesome in sheer! haven't made this dress yet, hopefully will someday! all these fab versions are making me jealous!

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    1. thanks lisa! glad you wrote, i just found your new digs at wordpress :)

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  12. Hahaha! It's the way you tell it and the way you wear it! This is a special Anna in such fabric that would launch a thousand ships. Seriously what a choice, it's worked amazingly. You've worked your magic again, and in the midst of grout mares....even better :-)

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    1. GROUTMARES. perfect. if i can make you laugh i'm golden!!!

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  13. I always love your choice of funky colourful fabrics. This silk must have been a bit of a nightmare to work with but the result is truly fantastic!! Thanks for your lovely comment on my blog the other day and hope your home improvements go well! :)

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    1. you are most welcome, i'm looking forward to your creations! and the elephants are divine.

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  14. Well it sure does look lovely and swishy! You are a sewing superstar. I think you did really well for that scary sheer silk. I don't see anything wrong with the zipper (is it in the back?) but buttons and loops sound fun- though maybe not to sew.

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    1. yeeeeeah, my photographer didn't snag a great picture of the upper back. mostly because i'm a control freak and couldn't keep my back turned long enough. :) thank you!

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  15. Wow, I can't imagine working with such sheer fabric. I would've lost my patience - go you for finishing! I feel a bit out of sync with the blogosphere right now since I just picked up a BHL Charlotte skirt and not the Anna dress. Close enough. :) Good luck with the 20% left of the remodeling...!

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    1. you know, the charlotte is the only patten i DON"T have and i'm kicking myself for it!!!

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  16. Oh wow! This is so stunning! I really need to make an Anna dress, just as soon as I get my sewing machine back :) Good luck with the rest of your house remodelling!

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    1. it's a great pattern to break the machine back in, gotta have a winner, yes?

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  17. Um, this is so damn hawt! I haven't seen an Anna I haven't loved and this looks amaaaazing on you. Nice job girl.

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  18. It looks so amazing! Especially with that necklace. So worth all of the effort. I keep wanting to make one but then don't know where I would ever wear it.

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    1. ah, but you would wear it to the supermarket...to dinner....to wake up in the morning...

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  19. Ahhhhh! That fabric is to DIE for! I want Mood to skip over to the other side of the world so I can go! I love the photographs (Ruggy is seriously good at it) and you look totally classy (as always!) I like the idea of cocktails for breakfast...

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    1. thank you! and i spied a little "mood ships internationally" emblem over on the site...seemed new to me...

      i mean, mimosas exist, right?

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    2. International shipping, you say? That is very interesting... Very interesting indeed! I think I know how today is going to be spent! Thanks for the heads up!

      Mimosas are definitely healthy - maybe even healthier than blueberry porridge for breakfast!

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  20. You deserve all the cocktails. That dress is fabulous. And totally appropriate for grouting tile. As for me and Anna, our must be a postponed love. I may or may not be counting the minutes; until then I shall live vicariously through everybody else's versions.

    And I can't *wait* to see your Bombshell.

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  21. bahahaha - I love your story telling!!! AND this dress is incredible! That printed silk really is gorgeous! Way to go Oona! And way to go Ruggy! ;)

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    1. sometimes i think i can't ever tell the story of actually sewing the damn thing!! :) thank you, and ruggy says thanks too. he is slowly beginning to believe he's good at this.

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  22. You're amazing. I'm interested in learning french seams, so have bought Anna right now! A sew a long would be a great way to learn them!

    xoxo

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    1. you are gonna LOOOOOOOVE it! and french seams are fun as long as you take them as a calming sort of exercise...don't skimp on pressing, mama!

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  23. Oh, DAMN. I WANT THIS DRESS. Curse you, Mood and your right-at-hand silks! Also, I have no business craving a sheer long-slitted dress I have nowhere to wear. DAMN YOU! DAMN YOU!

    ;)

    Gorgeous. And good luck with the bathroom and all that.

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    1. um, i'm sorry goddess, you have a reason to wear a thigh high slit EVERYWHERE. it gives great range of movement, for one thing. for another: Your. Legs.

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  24. The fabric is a showstopper! And you look gorgeous in this dress!

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  25. This is gorgeous! ive already sewn one, and am planning one in silk sooooon ish:)

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    1. thankya! your multiple elisalexes are brilliant... i wonder how many annas you'll make :)?

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  26. I thought I left a long meandering comment on Mood but apparently I didn't? IT went something along the lines of GASP! HEART CLUTCH! YES! Love the sheer action - I have a sweet georgette I 'm gonna do next summer and flash my ass all over the place.

    Trying to deal with the death of a fantasy involving you, Sonja and I strutting down Broadway with our thigh high splits up to here. Sigh.

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    1. and i bet you'll do it right with high waisted panties!!! i pussied out.

      as for fantasies...

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  27. A-Maz-Ing! Totally gawedgeous! I think you're right though, the extra 2 inches of stitching at the thigh slit saved you from total tartiness - you're rigth back at mildy tart, but with flavour! (This is a good thing, trust me)

    Much love!

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    1. i mean, looking at that first shot, i don't know what i was thinking. probably "i'm too sewaty to try this on, i'm sure this slit will be fine."

      :)))

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  28. You are the best storyteller! :) And of course your dress is beautiful!

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  29. Love this dress! The sheer is lovely, but goodness that fabric looks like it would be a beast to work with.

    With regards to the shopping, I had the same issue at Mood recently. Loved a fabric and ordered a swatch, then ended up going to NYC and figured I'd just pick it up in store -- au contraire! Worked in my favor though... right after I got home they had 20% off everything online. :D

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    1. it was a bit beastly. muuuuch better when i gave myself more time with it!

      oh how i wish i had made that sale. that was such a bummer.

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  30. I looooooooooove this! I'm so glad you beat the dress-- it's well worth all the effort! Seriously, seriously cool. Only you could pull off a sheer chiffon dress!

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    1. i will say thank you, but ahem, YOU could definitely rock a sheer dress.

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  31. Wahou, this dress is stunning ! I love that you use a sheer chiffon fabric. You did a great job !

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  32. That fabric is incredibly gorgeous. I love the closeup and think it must be incredible against the skin. WOW. I love making the Anna although I still haven't finished the ONE I've made. I scored this great polyester (is that an oxymoron) that I envision lounging about the house in maxi glory. Then, I'm going to make one out of Liberty lawn, the one Liberty lawn I could find that looks like something Morticia Adams would wear. It's so beautiful.

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    1. ah, great minds, i did my first out of an oxymoron fabric and then went to the "good" stuff :). i love wearing both!

      but it seems you've found two oxymorons... how did you find a morticia apropos liberty?!

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  33. This is AMAZING! As beautiful as that fabric is I think I would have run away from the bolt in terror at the thought of even trying to cut it, let alone sew with it so good job girl! I love it in a sheer fabric. I hope you feel like the almost tears were worth it!

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    1. thank you fiona, and i'm about 90% there on the worth it.... MUST CHANGE THAT ZIPPER...

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  34. Ummm you working on a drywall surface table alone means we all deserve to buy you a round! The Fierceness is out the window because I just love how sheer it is!! Despite the perils it looks of perfection. The bathroom may have gotten to 80% but you are at 110% - no contest.

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  35. What a beautiful Anna! So light and summery. No crying in sewing, must remember that. Cheers for you for being so productive in this heat and despite home renovations. I can not get my but into gear in this heat!

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    1. aaaaand suddenly i'm shivering. yay for global warming!

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  36. There's no crying in sewing!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ha! Then how come I've done it once or twice? Gorgeous Anna dress, very flattering on you. Nice fabric and colours too.

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    1. ah, perhaps your glass has not been full enough?

      thankya :)

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  37. ok.
    This. Is. Amazing!
    Lovely fabric, looks so nice and summery. Sigh...
    Thanks for sharing some sewspiration :-)

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  38. You are the only sewist I know who can take sexy pics of gorgeous handmade garments, next to a garbage bin. And, trust me, there is crying in sewing.

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    1. i made a beeline for that gorgeous green dumpster. i kind of want a dress made out of it.

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  39. I'm hearing a ton about this bathroom - I hope we can see it when it's finished! If Ruggy has 10% of the skills you have for sewing, your new bathroom just might be your new living room!

    I've seen so many versions of the Anna dress this summer and yours doesn't astound me any less than the others. You made due with the time and fabric you have and I think it turned out great. Cheers to that!

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  40. I do hope a photo shoot will be held in the new bathroom- I want to see this ode to Neptune when it's done!!! Love the dress- that print is a wonderful thing!

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    1. i wanted to shoot this dress in the bathroom, but the tile or some such craziness was drying!

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  41. Good gawd, that slit! Excuse the hell out of me!

    I, for one, quite enjoy Labor Day in New York City. So hmph.

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    1. HA!

      you are a stronger woman than i.... i swear, i was dodging rage walkers left and right.

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  42. What a lovely dress !!
    Love your photos !

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  43. All the effort was worth it, the dress is fantastic on you!
    I've just posted my black eyelet midi Anna dress on my blog www.yosami.wordpress.com - go check it out. I love this pattern!

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    1. oh, it's gorgeous! i wondered how this would turn out lined-- with those bust pleats i was thinking it would add bulk, but yours is just perfect! i guess now i have to make anna number five.... POOR ME...

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  44. Worth the effort for sure! I had to look twice to figure out the optical illusion skirt...lovely.

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    1. teehee! you should have seen it with the flesh tone undies:)

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  45. You've done it again!!! What a beautiful dress! It looks great on you.

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i thankya truly for taking the time to comment, i love a good conversation-- and hope you know my thanks are always implied if not always written!