June 29, 2013

lo and behold


i've seen a lot of laurence king japanese sewing books going round the blogisphere, and although i love the odd mix of cute/carefree/pulloutyourhairwithALLTHEMATH style on other peeps, it's not quite my thing.  so when the big LK got around to hollering at kalkatroona, i said yes please, but might i try something different?

out of their delicious catalog on fashion and textiles, i chose to review patternmaking, by dennic chunman lo.  ooh ooh OOOOOOOH.  i want to eat this book UP.  all those little red stickers were places in the book i just had to show you.


i do not have enough photo storage on this blog to show you alla them stickers.

in a 240 pager, you're expecting to be told how, but lo also tells you why.  so much why!  i love the why!  ruggy is used to this by now: i must always have an explanation, even if he has to make it up.  obviously, lo is not writing fiction--but he tells a story as entertaining as my ruggy's on-demand make believe.  and that's what keeps me awake through the math.  you feel like you're in a classroom with a teacher skilled to a surgical level, but with enough humanity left to make you feel at home.  if you were in his class at the london college of fashion, perhaps you'd be debating alongside with him on issues like designers vs patternmakers (he feels the best is a marriage of both, and i agree), uk vs us sizing, labor vs instinct (surprisingly, he advises that sometimes it's best to get the pattern drafted quickly as possible).

this feels like a full on college course in your home.  and my nerd ass loves me some school.


the nerdoona in me sang over every page.  no seriously i actually made up songs and warbled whilst reading.  this dress, "a piece of string", from lo and cabon's 1995 collection (yep, the author) was sung about quite a bit.  in chapter 6, lo takes you through inspirational patternmaking, using garments from his own collection.  AND HE TELLS YOU HOW TO MAKE THEM FROM START TO FINISH.


WHAT.


i'm getting ahead of myself.  sorry, i'm excited.  not to worry, you don't dive straight into the deep end. you get plenty of schooling on prep, tools, blocks, creating patterns, and manipulating them before you go haywire with string theory.


and lo speaks to both the professional and the home sewist as equals.  i'm in love. this is now one of my guru books, right up there with claire shaeffer.  and you know how i feel about claire.

big thanks to laurence king for the chance to honestly holler about this freaking awesome addition to my library. 

June 26, 2013

big D fabrics


several weeks ago, i dreamt about fabric shopping.  the first time you have this dream, you think whoah! i actually dreamt about fabric shopping! i'm like a supersewasaurusrex!  then it becomes a nightly thing.  sewists from across the world populate the dim hours and you drink and rollerskate and pet giraffes with them, and you wake up needing to go find the sleepy yardage.

so you hightail it to dallas' fabric district, comprised of a haphazard handful of warehouses on harry hines boulevard, peppered with rug and jewelry and shoe outlets.  you hope to not be kidnapped in some sunny but wildly deserted corner between buildings, and you are rewarded for your bravery.



one very helpful proprietor informed me that most of the fabrics in these goliaths are closeouts.  so it's hit or miss, and important that you leave pleeeeennnty of time to dig.  my favorites were wherehouse spandex (an offshoot of wherehouse, also good).  acquired at these sister stores: silky chiffons of a saturn sized peacock, and a dive-in-with-rose-colored-glasses print...


and this digalicious jersey panel combo border print.  the lovely lady in front of me at the cutting table was buying $600 worth of fabric.  as usual, i was delusional-- i'm helping the little guy out with my purchase!  akin to oh look saturday night live is giving this unknown geeky ke$ha chick a chance!  yeah.  popular music knowledge, i haz it. everywhere i went, there was someone in front of me buying bolts upon bolts while i clutched my three yards please.

i saved the ginormous golden d'or for last...




to be specific, their back clearance room.  the joint is so big it took five minutes to find the back end. aaaaaand they stow the cutting shears at 5pm on the dot, so it got a little hairy when i realized all the clearance yardage wrapped on square cardboard bolts was NOT quilting cotton.  frantic at 4:53, i snagged cottons of all apparel weight persuasion, and this fantastic bee colored rayon print.


and i even found the dream yardage too. yep. black polka dots. apparently my waking life is so technicolor, my dreamstate mind thinks black is REALLY out there.

June 24, 2013

lay of the land


we're in crunch time now, also known as "tech", also known as the reason i've dropped out of blogland.   besides the normal insanity of working from noon till midnight, combining the already rehearsed elements of singing, acting, dancing & staging with costumes, sound, makeup, hair and lights, there's flying.  lots of flying.  of small children.  and deities.  and pirate ships and trees and water and

I AM HAVING SO MUCH FUN IT'S UNBELIEVABLE.

i've had an aha! moment with instagram's instant gratification prowess (the fancy filtered shot above was taken by @danceism, a woman of jaw dropping talent), great for when you're bazonkers busy and on a wee phone during breaks.  (or for when you're playing a deity and not in rehearsal as much as everyone else and alone in your hotel room with fabric tunnel vision.)  once we open, i'll share some seriously awesome action shots with you.  holy cow, wait till you see what i get to fly in... truly a geek out moment for a sewasaurus rex.  for those of you who have asked, the show is called (also appropriately)  fly, at the stunning dallas theater center.  i mean, this was the view from the break area in the rehearsal room.  THE BREAK AREA.  

(in other news, haven't heard hide nor hair from the winner of nicole's gorgeous book.  beth!!  where you at?   obviously i understand things can get hectic, so i'm giving you one more week to holler at me.  but... if i don't hear from you by sunday june 30, i'll pick a new random winner from the comments already left on the giveaway.  i'm a deity, so i get to drop rules like that, dontcha know.)

June 17, 2013

palm trees and warm sand (and even a muppet)


what is UP y'all.  i've been silently stalking you like mad, commenting in my head on rehearsal breaks and such. oh, the dialogues we've had!  the witty repartee!  what, you don't remember?  are my powers of telepathy waning?  must work on that.

i've also been stalking peeps who've made up colette's negroni.  big daddy needed a grillin' shirt for father's day!


yes, you're right, i've made one of these before, for ruggy.  but his UNDYING FIT PICKINESS made for a less than stellar outcome.  (i love you ruggy.)  and, according to the fitmaster, i needed to go with a larger size if this was intended for backyard barbecuin'. mommaballoona stealthily measured a favorite shirt flat for me, and i cut with held breath and crossed fingers.


and also some cursing.  this fabric hails from dallas' garment district, golden d'or, to be exact, which i raced away to on an unexpected half day off.  y'all, they are not lying.  everything IS bigger in texas.  the district is comprised of warehouses full of yardage, rugs, jewelry, shoes...it's pretty insane.  now, bigger is not always better...these warehouses hold mostly closeout yardage.  there are treasures to be had, and this cotton/linen blend is very nearly one of them, but when i went to iron after prewashing, i realized the palm trees ran horizontal to the selvege.  in other words, that split back yoke you see up yonder is the only pattern piece placed properly.  had to go cross grain everywhere else.

oh, the cursing.


i went so match crazy on the pocket, i decided to change up the flap so you could actually SEE the damn thing. and HELLZ YEAH THOSE ARE REAL LIVE BUTTONHOLES.  have you seen my late night buttonhole instagrammification?  it's a whole new world, yo.

the peeps at pattern review had the usual stellar info on process, which i devoured in short 2am bursts. one of the whopping 23 reviews made an interesting point: going bigger than a size L could send you into grading issues. since this was arriving via USPS, i stuck with large, but redrew the side seam from underarm to hem (after raising the waist 1 1/2 inches.  we kalkatroonaans are a petite people.)  i was pretty sure this would throw the grain off, but went for it anyway.

did it work, you ask?


i screamed when i saw this shot!!!  wait, why are you screaming too?  no, no, don't run away, big daddy is not a masked serial killer.  he's just a wee bit internet wary, and asked if i would paste this jerry rubin ventriloquist puppet head on his face instead.  

(oh yeah, i played jerry rubin via a ventriloquist dummy in a musical about john lennon.  as you do.)

hope every dad had a wonderful father's day!

June 5, 2013

news flash

 
HEADLIGHTS!
 
if you're in need of an ooner nooner, i'm flashing my highbeams (which are actually of a fairly low wattage) over at christine's lovely blog, city stitching, and at MSN...and both posts are pretty much sponsored by the luscious lladybird. the vintage rayon you see above and the vintage zipper that compliments this month's mood fabrics pick are both gifted by her awesome hands!! tis the season for cross blog pollinating (which reminds me, thanks y'all for the tillytanitisis rasta love!).
 
 
head on over to christine's for some maxified derby dress love, and MSN for some quilted circle skirt action. i'll just be over here in texas acting like a deity. (no really, i get to be mother water. MOTHER WATER, YO.)
 

June 3, 2013

tilly, tanit isis, and tomes: a trio of treats


continuing on the train to Catch Up Town.... next stop, miette.

when the delightful tilly asked if i'd help test out her latest adorable pattern, i wrote her a long winded email explaining the amount of plate-age i had going on, and why i sadly couldn't test, and by the end of the email i had totally talked myself into testing.  the center front seam was stuck in my brain.  to be honest, i don't care for center front seams, but, they are AWESOMESAUCE for playing with prints!

you lika my rasta vibe?  courtesy of none other than the goddess tanit isis.  what?!  you cry!  she has such wild prints in her stash?  yep.  until we scream-met in corner of a canadian airport whilst ruggy had a coronary in the security line.  during those precious minutes, she handed this baby over, practically giddy to have it out of her possession.  i was brattily empty handed, and happy to accept.  which reminds me, i gots some payback to do. AND WE ALL KNOW WHAT PAYBACK IS.


a golden opportunity for chevron stripes was stuck in my craw, but life got in the way of the search.  then i remembered miss isis' gift.  though the colors called out to me on a daily basis, it had sat in my stash for well over a year.  upon inspection, this crazy print had even more neurological issues going on than first impressions would show.  the border print of black ran through thrice, the third wheel running about three quarters of the way through.  this made it impossible to get any large pieces out of it on the fold, as the center line always ended up with different patterns on each side.  but i realized i could make this print work with the miette's center front seam.  i spent a good hour laying out the pieces over and over, trying to eke out a maxi skirt.  in the end i had to go with the intended knee length (which, really, probably best, as i was meant to be testeroona, not hackeroona.)


i managed to find a recurring pattern in the print (those stripes were hellacious) and was able to eke out mirror images.  unfortunately i wasn't able to get a careful placement on side seams no matter how i tried, i'm telling ya, someone was having a good toke when they made this yardage.  but hopefully the psychedelic colors distract from that.

ties.  i am forever shaking my head at patterns and extending ties to drastic lengths, but i'm happy to report this tilly tie was already long enough for my standards!  the front pockets would have disguised the print placement, and as i'd spent many minutes of my life on that, i sacrificed a place for my phone.  i love me some pockets, but if you're using the center front seam for print placement, i'd suggest abandoning pockets.  you could always add side seam jobs!


aaaaand i'm happy to report, there will be no sighting of mount crackatoa in this wrap skirt.  i'd love to find some yardage wide enough to extend this to maxi length.  maybe something will pop up on my hunt for tanit's payback...

speaking of payback, let's talk payOFF!!  for my girl nikki's brilliant giveaway of her delicious book, you sew, girl! we had 57 contenders (duplicate entries were deleted & shout outs not counted).  magic random number generator, take it away...




congratulations beth!  shoot me an email at oonaballoona of the gmail sort, and we'll get the book ball rolling.  UPDATE: haven't heard from our pal beth (hope you're okay!) so a new winner will be picked from the 57 entries later today, 6/30...if fate wasn't on your side and you'd like a copy, you can grab yours at the book depository or on amazon, you won't regret it.  big thanks again to nikki!