March 28, 2013

sugar tooth


hey guess what!  sick cat allowed me like sixty extra minutes of sleep last night!  I AM POSITIVELY GIDDY!!!! and check it out, yo!  my first crack at flatlocking!!  I LIKE IT!!  it's tim burton esque!!!!!!

i solemnly promise to try to limit my use of the exclamation point key from this sentence forward!

when carolyn and i set up camp in the lace shelves at mood over a month ago, i couldn't help but pull every technicolor bolt out for a snapshot.  carolyn quite rightly reminded me: oooooooooona. we're here to take pictures for everyone else.

i am not the best listener, especially when distracted by fabric.  she had to remind me of this repeatedly.

but i abstained!  i did not walk out with my own lace that day!  (the promise of lazzara's pizza helped.)  instead, i let the bolts simmer in my head for a week, and returned to find this crazy pink and orange diddy hanging out in the fancy lace section.  putting on airs, for sure.  this poly assault on the senses did not belong in the fancy lace section.  i carted her lovingly over to silk prints, and found her mate in this jungle boogie cacophony.  (did you click the link?  oh, do.  please do.  otherwise how will you see the folly of my ways?  that's a zebra colored cheetah with butterfly wings.  for realz.)




after i made my drunken picks, i emailed carolyn with utter joy: i'm going to look like willy wonka!  three weeks later, still eyeing my intended match folded on my sewing desk, i realized with utter dread: I'M GOING TO LOOK LIKE WILLY WONKA.

yeah.  well.  something had to be done, obviously.  i had set myself the goal of two lace posts, and a kalkatroonaan does not like to accept defeat.  enter six iterations of this lace.  at one point it was attached in flatlocked pleats to this pale-as-ice blue ponte knit (meant, bien sur, for leggings).  it was the definition of overworked.  one could even call it underpaid.  then a memory of janine's excellent comment on my feathery skirt via the MSN blog came floating back to me: "Note to self: KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)."



simple!  my kingdom for simple!  yes, the built in columns in this candy hued lace wanted to fall into pleats.  but they didn't have to be hammered into submission position.  you would have thought i'd used a saws-all and cement mixer to make this dress.  

i wish i'd snapped a photo before coming to my senses and severing the parts, but alas, a kalkatroonaan also does not care for incriminating evidence.  most of the time.  after amputation, i attached a soft lavender poly charmeuse lining to the skirt, and folded over a waist band, inserting a nice wide flat elastic.  the gathered waistband relaxed into instant pleats, with no work whatsoever.  oh, the hours of cursing wasted.


although some of those hours were not for naught.  this lace pattern runs vertically to the selvedge, with selvedge edges being nothing special.  i say this because i heard fairy godmother susan khalje in my head: pay attention to the pretty bits and include them in the garment.  before the amputation, i spent several sessions handstitching the side seams together into a disappearing act, and i carefully trimmed a long column of leaf motif and handstitched it to the hem of the dress.  of course it's a beginner's crack at it, but i think it kind of looks like the edges were made that way, non?  I AM EXCEEDINGLY PROUD OF IT, YO!


i cropped the top of this burda dress pattern (issue 06/09, mod 116) just enough to  show off the waistband.  i find that, on me,  if you can't see the waistband on gathered skirts, i suddenly have no waist.  not that you can see the waistband here, as the top is pulling, 'cause ooooh hey, guess what else i don't have? A C CUP.  tell that to my new bra. this tank top fits, i swear.  but not when i'm having delusions of grandeur.  i blame k-line.  YES, THAT'S RIGHT, MISSY!  you and your glorious tatas...

speaking of grandeur, i got so caught up in the lace aspect of this challenge, wanting to make something spectacular with a fabric i've always adored playing with sans fear, i forgot to listen to the yardage in hand.  it was amazing how it fell into place when i stopped going for extravagant.  now i've got a great staple in my closet!

(yes.  in kalkatroona, this is indeed a neutral staple.  see: willy wonka.)

March 27, 2013

a wee bit sleepy

that's one of our two cats. girl cat, not pictured, is sick and has been keeping us up for several days straight now. she would be the reason for my radio silence. the tomcat is not losing any shuteye over this.

obviously i dropped the ball on the toolin' around series, so the last giveaway will be extended till next tuesday. DID I SAY LAST GIVEAWAY?! YES I DID!!! i thought i had one more, but the self imposed goal of five, she is done! chaco liner, glass nail file, magnetic bobbin holder, invisible ruler, teeny stapler. i forgot to tag number three as a toolin' around series, and damned if i didn't think some evil magician had warped time so that this brilliant idea of mine would go on forever. seriously, somebody throw something large and heavy at me the next time i get the bright idea to do five weeks of giveaways. good god, woman.

speaking of brilliant, please pop over to heather lou's. she's done up an amazing wish list of sew bossy dream teamers. and several peeps have thrown their hats in the ring-- through the haze of these last few groggy days, i seem to recall 3am sightings of lucky lucille pairing up with one miss bobbin, and maybe i spied a tweet from crafty gillian setting up shop with THREE sewists? or was it a sleep deprived hallucination? update: house of pinheiro , sew little time , and ady of the sew convert are in too! who are you partnered with, ladies?

as i eye the wandering cat with cautious hope, i bid you an early goodnight. i'll be back around cocktail hour tomorrow with some cotton candy hued lace, looking fresh as a daisy. ah, the power of photoshop.

March 22, 2013

sew bossy: you ARE the boss of me.


over six months in the making... the sew bossy initiative has landed.

waaaaaay back in august 2012, i wanted heather lou of closet case files to jump in the promaballoona limo, but my wires were drunk crossed, and my invite never made it. but, eureka! it sparked a stroke of genius in sweet heather lou: we send each other everything we need to make a creation, and post it. no suggestions from the participating peanut galleries, you gotta make what you get. GENIUS.

or not. i know what you're thinking (or maybe i knew what i was thinking): this could go badly. and yeah, it could have, but having ogled the files of this particular closet case since its inception, i knew her style would suit me hella fine. i wholeheartedly accepted the brilliant sasstresses gauntlet.


in october, heather lou hit me with an email: CHOO CHOO. That is the sound of the awesome train leaving for the station. days later, everything i needed to make up salme's yoke dress arrived at station kalkatroona, right down to hem lace, invisible zip, bias tape, shimmery button, and mix cd to blast whilst stitching!


yet, it wasn't till december that the train made it back to heather lou's neck of the woods. seriously, trains take forever. it made stops at halloween, a new job, hurricane sandy, a new home... unfortunately it missed mowing down the JACKASS that broke into my girl's apartment and took everything that wasn't nailed down. but the sew bossy initiative could not be stopped.


CHECK OUT THAT WAXED COTTON! golden peanuts? YES PLEASE. now, ahem and ahrrrm, a certain Sew Boss may notice that a certain recipient used a different fabric for the yoke. casting my memory back six months ago, i recall that said Sew Boss wished she had been able to find a sheer black for the yoke, but had to settle for black cotton. so hey man, really i was just following orders by pulling this sheer outta the stash.

(i know. i cheated. it's just that i truly am so very, very bossy.)


i love the way this waxed cotton holds the pleats of the pattern! and can we talk about the waist on the salme yoke dress? i feel like it's a magic trick. MY WAIST GOES ON FOREVAH!!!

aaaaaand, BONUS golden peaunts trick... when you pull a totally doofus move and slice right up the middle of a bodice that's supposed to be on the fold, you can stitch it back together with barely a nod to your error. those peanuts disguise everything, yo. (yeah, in wanting to make this absolutely perfect for miss skip to my heartbeat lou, i pulled what ruggy has recently dubbed a "ruinaballoona". that ruggy. he's a card.)


don't you hate it when you think your camera is in focus and IT TOTALLY ISN'T.

it was so much fun to be a part of heather lou's brainstorm-- like going shopping with your girlfriend that has eighty two tons of fashion sense and letting her pick your outfit. if you don't know her already, just wait, you'll see why i happily jumped straight into the deep end of the pond.
we thought you might like to play too...if you want to throw your own bossy decree out to a sewing pal, feel free to grab that delicious button my girl made up top! (isn't it cute as hell? i'm telling you. fashion sense.) now, head on over to heather lou's and see what i forced her to sew! i can't wait for the reveal!!!

update: the Sew Boss has made a page for this venture, explaining the details ever so nicely ("the sewing world equivalent of a trust fall") check it out, and HOLY COW HER DRESS IS AWESOME.

March 19, 2013

toolin' around tuesday: sink your teeth in


howdy chickadees and chuckaroos.  lookee here what i got for you today!  a li'l chomping japanese stapler!

a stapler? you ask?  yep.  i found this diminutive guy whilst stomping around new york with brilliant chica one black friday.  we didn't even realize it was black friday, come to think of it, higher on the list was the fact that it was her birthday and therefore time to do some shopping.  we stuck our heads in every new-to-her store i could think of, one being muji, sort of like ikea's minimalist high class japanese cousin-by-marriage.  the stationary cart was our candy.  we marveled at double ended pens, teeny clocks, and pocket sized tape measures.  the pint sized stapler was simply too cute to pass up.  

i thought i'd use it for office type stuff, but no! this is a GREAT sewing tool.  it lives in my top (read: most important) desk drawer, next to a good sized chunk of rainbow hued post-it notes.  every time i use my overlocker, i clip a section of my test portion, add my tension settings to a note, and staple the whole shebang together.  with every new fabric i try, i go to my file of stapled notes and base my test settings off the closest candidate.  

it'd be great for your scraps as well, if you're the kinda sewist that keeps track of their stash by keeping a notebook with a cross section.  i aim to be that kind of sewist.  i think i have just the right amount of OCD for it.



and best of all, GENIUS!  the teeth are totes hidden!  no chance of snagging your hand, your thread, your fabric, when hunting around in your drawers for it.  of course, it took me about three days to figure out how to get the teeth to appear.  i hollered to brilliant chica, THAT DAMN JAPANESE STAPLER DOESN'T WORK.  yeah, it did.  it was just smarter than me. there's a little lever you slide on the inside, et voila:



i'm telling you, it's just too cute.  the boucle in the first shot is waiting for its turn, i ran out of staples!  while i was stocking up, i grabbed a mini stapler and a pack of staples just for one of you...

but now, the lucky random number of giveaway number three edit, explained below: FOUR!  y'all, i was beginning to think my random numer generator was just throwing out digits in the general vicinity of the halfway mark, but today, in 62 desires for rulers with invisible powers, out popped...




number 6!  ROWR AMANDA!  step on into the 2000's and shake yo thang.  i know you know how to shake yo thang.  and the rest of y'all, give those eyeballs a break!  holy cow it's frightening!  my inner A student is shaking with fear, although my inner rebel is laughing in her face!  you can grab one of these jammies at any local sewing store.  if you can't find them locally, try manhattan wardrobe supply's online shop, or google C-thru rulers (no compensation, just enabling).

alrighty y'all, one more toolin tuesday giveaway to go and i have celebrated my fifth bloggy birthday in makin-it-up-to-ya style.  (edit: yeah, i already did that.  i forgot to label all of my toolin' around series, and what with the sick cat, my mind went to temporary mush.  so this li'l stapler is still up for grabs, and i'm extending this fifth & final giveaway till next tues april 2.)  if you'd like to own your own cutest li'l stapler in the universe, holler at me in the comments and riddle me this: do you keep fabric notes?  or do you let memory serve you?

EDIT AGAIN.  STOP.  CONTEST CLOSED.  STOP.  WINNER ANNOUNCED TODAY 4-9 AT 5PM.  STOP.

March 14, 2013

payback is a lace and silk chiffon...beast...



i’m going to call this my project runway make, because i finished it in the four hours i had free last sunday.  down-to-the-wire sewing is of course de riguer on that jammy, and if season 8 is any indicator, peeps are constantly choosing silk chiffon.  much to michael kors dismay.  that was my weapon of choice to pair with this chartreuse cotton lace, for one of my hopefully two (!) march lace makes over at MSN.  both fabrics are deliciously drapey, and this is my first time working with either!  that also seems to be a recurring them on le PR…much, again, to The Kors dismay.


i’ve messed around with poly lace and chiffon before, and the poly lace just doesn’t compare.  you look at this cotton lace IRL, and want dive into it with both paws open and swim around awhile.  it molds soooo nicely, i was able to stretch it across the four vertical darts on front and back bodice of this heavily modified vintage TNT pattern (simplicity 4290) and just go with bust darts.  regrettably, i had to go ahead and sew up the bust darts…i tried to do that whole couture lacey piecey thing and make them disappear into the bodice, but i think maybe the cotton lace is not the best friend of that technique?   i’m going to try it in my next go…still, i’m proud that the matching underlining has 10 darts, while the lace has only two.  


the silk chiffon was a beast, though!  a sexy beast, but a beast nonetheless!  perhaps i felt i needed punishment for sonja’s sewing dare, because i found myself returning to the scene of the crime, as any criminal will do, staring at all those silk prints… woooweee.  i walked away with two strangers.  know what I found out about my new girlfriends?   the silk chiffon.   she does not want to be toyed with, or hammered into a pleated skirt (34 pleats, to be exact, all ripped out).  she wants to be footloose ‘n fancy free, gathered to her sturdy lace bodice, and who am i to say no to a lady.


said lady has a double layer of chiffon to obscure le parts.   naturally.  the bodice is underlined only, you can see the darts on the inside, but i didn't want to add any more bulk there.

to be honest, my plan all along was this shape.  but Plan A morphed into Plan B when i lamented the lack of using the lace motif on the edges, then it went to Plan C when the lace cotton didn’t want to be motif-ed, then onto D when i thought i’d scrap the 34 chiffon pleats and make a tattered lace skirt from the remnants, and back full circle to A when i realized i had four hours to finish and only half a bodice done.  here's what it looked like, sunday high noon:


(you're not seeing double, those are two wolf dress forms.  anybodywannabuyaform?  morbid details soon.)

you may blame those scant four hours on sewing-dared sonja and new MSN adventuress lladybird lauren.  hell, let's throw karen under the bus while we're at it!  LET'S THROW ALLA THE NY HOARDS THIS PAST WEEKEND UNDER THE BUS!  those guys & gals have kept me out till all hours of the night for days.  

i had to rip out the zip, unpick handstitching & 34 pleats, then...you know what, i don't wanna think about it.  but i think the pressure helped me…if i had been languishing around the living room, just me ‘n my sewing gadgets, i probably would have gone all tunnel vision and churned out another piecy alien dress. i’m glad i had to wheel back around to my first instinct.  i think i like it!


especially avec burgundy belt and shiny blue shoes.  MUST WEAR ALL THE COLORS.  colors make me twirl.

March 12, 2013

toolin around tuesdays: if debi doesn't know...

in case you're just joining the party...i recently celebrated my first-yet-fifth bloggy birthday, and to make up for all the missed opportunities, i'm giving away a new tool each week for the next five weeks in my toolin' around tuesdays series.

meetups, meetup, MEETUPS.  five days of meetups, yo!  sorry for the lack of  virtual visiting, i've been a busy bee. recap, responses, and lots of chatting at your place, let's say around cocktail hour tomorrow?  bien?  i'll bring the luxardo cherries!

but for now, let me introduce you to a tool that reminds me of another brilliant sewcialisin' sewists sewjourn... when debi came to town for the new york sew weekly adventure.


during her time here, as you may recall, we were able to grab a class with gretchen, of gertie's ...everything.  (she is taking over the world, yo!)  we decided to get some hands-on crash coursin' in buttonholes and draping.  a drunken combination, but fitting considering the students.

now, you might say, but oona, i totally know what an invisible ruler is.  so does gretchen.  i've loved them for years.  but, seriously y'all, i've called her out on it before but it bears repeating, debi had never used one in her extremely detailed and gorgeous sewing life!!! 



when gretchen handed her an invisible ruler to assist in perfectly marked buttonholes, the debster looked at it like it was tofu.  our teacher was at a loss for words.  in fact, i think by the end of our class, she wondered how the duo before her made anything that actually stayed together.  but, much like the barrelfull of meetups this past weekend, we had a brilliant time, and managed to hold onto a bit of new information.

(though i still cannot make a bound buttonhole.)


so this toolin' tuesday brings you something you might already have, but in my opinion, you can never have too many of these babies.  i've got six.  if you haven't got one in your arsenal, they are the absolute BOMB for marking seam allowances, making perfect lines for self made bias tape, i'll even throw one down atop the other for a T square.  they come in a multitude of proportions, and for this giveaway, you'll get two different sizes.  mine are in inches, but if  a metric lovin' sewist wins, i can be strongarmed into finding a suitable mate...

to enter, just leave a comment and let a girl know your favorite method of measurement.  you are encouraged to be naughty in your answers.

and now for the winner of last week's giveaway, the magnetic bobbin holder.  out of 72 comments, 63 wanted in...



numero 34, kristin of sew classic!  NEW YORK IN THE HOUSE!  girl, where were you at the meetup???  looks like we'll need to have another one...how very fortuitous.  i swear it ain't rigged, maybe it's karma for the new zealand shipping i'm about to do.  (i love ya NZ!)  now, don't fret,  if you didn't win and want one, you can find it online or in person at the fashion design bookstore.  no compensation provided, just enabling my sewists...

holler!

update: giveaway closed-arooni! i'll be back in a flash with the random numbered winner, and the fourth tool up for grabs...

March 7, 2013

my not so secret super power


i'm fairly certain i'm a mantis shrimp.

at the very least, a butterfly.

I AM CERTAINLY NO DOG.

while ruggy was away and i was in contractoroona mode, i threw on several of the latest radiolab podcasts. especially fascinating was the episode on color.  PEEPS.  did you know there are colors around us that we can't even grasp?  the little guy above sees waaaaay more color than we'll ever see.  long story short (and probably incorrectly summarized, sewing scientists please feel free to jump in): we have three cones in our peepers, receptors which give us our seven colored rainbow and the hues in between: ROYGBIV (red orange yellow green blue indigo violet).  this guy has sixteen color receptors, which gives him, like, an eighty two thousand colored rainbow.  that's totally a fact.

suffice it to say he sees more color than we do.  so do butterflies.  dogs, however, get the short end of the stick.

but wait!  apparently, there are some people out there, of the female persuasion, that due to ye olde family tree, have FOUR cones instead of the standard human three.  equation: one handed down colorblind cone + three regular cones = tetrachromat.  and y'all.  they see more colors.  I AM SO A TETRACHROMAT, YO!!!!   as the podcast chugged along, i hollered this realization out loud to no one in particular.  even the cats were hiding in the bedroom far from my hammering tools.  

ruggy has held forever that i am partially colorblind.  my girl carolyn calls me out on a regular basis.  MAIS NON. it's just that i see MORE colors than the everyday eye!  is this not the most logical explanation to my penchant for print and color?!?  isn't this why everyone at mood saw red when i saw a deep pink with a little red IN it?!!!!!!!!?   I.  AM.  A.  SUPERHERO.

i may just make myself a cape.  

March 5, 2013

toolin' around tuesdays: magnetic personality


alright y'all!  i am just coming up for air after four straight bachelorette days of home improvement, test sewing and other debauchery.  I.  NEED.  DETOX.  luckily, ruggy will be home from his travels in a mere sixty minutes, and cocktails are imminent.


wrenches, drill guns, screwdrivers, nails, i've been contractoroona, it happens when the rugs gallivants, i get a wild hair and start to hammering.  so many tools in my hands, and yet i almost forgot the next installment of toolin' around tuesdays!  (for those of you just joining us, this is a new feature here in kalkatroona.  i'm sharing my favorite tools with you, and to celebrate my fifth bloggy birthday, i'm giving five in a row away.)

numero three in this five part giveaway; THE MAGNETIC BOBBIN HOLDER.  behold this thing of beauty!  i first spied it in a costume shop of a musicale i was doing.  whaaaaaaaaaat!  i cried!  where? where?  WHERE DID YOU GET THAT?  it was wooden, you see, and i was sure it was something passed down from generation to generation, and was an heirloom tool of the head of the shop.



um, nope, you can get it right here in the city.  and, probably, many of you have found it in your own supply shops, but at the time, this was a revelation to me.  it has a magnetic strip that holds your bobbins in a neat, colorful row.  well, you know, depending on your thread.  i never did find a wooden version, but when i brought this baby home, my plastic bobbin cases went directly to recycling.  NO I DID NOT PASS THEM ON TO ANOTHER SEWIST.  THOSE THINGS ARE USELESS.



and it sits ever so neatly in my desk drawer!  pretty bobbins all in a row, with no risk of spilling out or getting knocked askew by a hand, or a beverage, or a cat...

would you like one?  i'd like to give you one!  (a bobbin holder, that is, the cats either a. blind or b. obese, which makes them hard to ship.)  just leave a comment on this post telling me how you store your bobbins, and you're in for a shiny new accessory!

update: contest now closed, winner announced later today (tues mar 12th) along with a new tool for you to win!  come on back now, y'hear?