8.29.2014

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.

76 comments:

  1. That skirt ROCKS!!!

    My dad always brings me wax prints from Ghana. They are the norm from what I understand even though not produced there.

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    1. yes, i love that your dad always brings you yardage!

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  2. I love your Ghana skirt, and the facing is perfect. Teach me some print matching pls

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    1. if you teach me some couture skills!!! :)

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  3. This is an amazing skirt! I also love that wall you found to take the pics, absolutely mental!

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    1. i actually blended a crazy awesome colored wall over a regular brick wall. the crazy awesome wall is usually too populated for pictures, so i thought i'd get it in the sneaky way...

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  4. I love the sentiment of your last paragraph. You are a very wise woman, Oona. And gorgeous!

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  5. So are you saying you photoshopped in that wall? Great look! Great pics!

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    1. HAHAHA i saw the joke after i typed it, and yet hit publish anyway.

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  6. Thank you for your teachings! Love the skirt and love the wall and love that I may be off shopping for some Dutch wax prints very soon.

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    1. oh debbie, i'd LOVE to see you in 6 yards of print...

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  7. I live in the Netherlands and though the papers have had a few articles over the past few years of the "didn't you know that the so-called-African fabrics are made in the Netherlands" variety, those prints are not available on the regular market here - which is a shame. Regardless of where it's available, I'm not sure there's another human being on earth who can pull of the sewing or the joy of wearing/modeling the fabrics quite the way you do. Lovely and outlandish as always!

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    1. You can buy the Vlisco fabrics online, but for most of them you need to buy 6 meters at once. http://www.vlisco.com/home/en/page/305/

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    2. christine, what a lovely compliment, thank you!

      that's so crazy, so it's made solely for export? you'd think they'd have a homebase shop, like liberty of london. that would be fabulous.

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    3. It is kinda weird indeed, how they produce here even though 'we' are not the market. On their website it even says 'all prices are based on shipping to Ghana'.

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  8. Awesome skirt! And awesome post!! Such a great read!

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  9. Ah, your photoshopping! And you skirt! Both so, so cool.

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    1. thankya! i thought the skirt needed a contrast wall :)

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  10. That print is such a happy one! I love what you did with the Charlotte pattern.

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    1. the marriage does make me smile. thank you!

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  11. Pretty, pretty fabric. Now a great looking skirt!!

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  12. I have mad love for Vlisco, but I have been stymied at every turn when considering how to use it. After your Anna, that was a go, and now I have another prospect. Oonspiration ;) And I loved the story....SO know what you mean, those are the little whites that don't hurt a thing.

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    1. oonspiration?! YEAH! like i need another play on my nickname, way to add to the brat. i knew i liked you. what about a full length blazer, like the victoria, in contrasting wax print??

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  13. I absolutely love the print! The sexy slit in perfect! so yummy!

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    1. thank you sharon! and for once i left the height at a "walkable" reach :)

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  14. The thing, it is in the mail to you. Watch the mailbox.

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    1. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!!!!!! watching it like a hawk!

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  15. my local fabric store has a table with piles of these wax prints. never bought any since i haven't a clue how to use it! you find a way, and it just looks so right. great post!

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    1. oh, don't you love those sections? PS fabrics downtown has a small rack of them, all folded up for 15 bucks a pop. so tempting.

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  16. Oh this made me so sad for her! But so happy for you...because dang this skirt is hottttt.

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    1. i know, right? i've seriously considered going out to brooklyn and wandering around until i run into her. could be a lot of wandering. but i feel i deserve it.

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  17. Yes, I be happy! It could be your mad techie skillz! It could be your fabulous skirt! But, I think it's mostly seeing you so happy in the sunshine! Love those painted bangles too!

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    1. and the sunshine was even photoshopped ! :)

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    2. DAMMIT. i meant to write WASN'T. truly.

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  18. You're brilliant! I love your version of the Charlotte skirt - the fabric is perfect for it. And thumbs up for the newly acquired Photoshop skills!

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    1. what's terrible is: i didn't pre wash it. EEK. i just love that waxy feel! i just she's dry clean...

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  19. Teachable moment? You sound like a certain radio entertainer whose name shall not be mentioned here, but clearly the Oonaballoona has been influenced...it sounds like she might be listening to this entertainer but doesn't want to mention this entertainer's influence because actors and actresses aren't supposed to listen this man's words...

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    1. WHOAH NELLY! okay, no clue who you're talking about... googling & wikipedia bring up progressive schools, the populizar of the concept robert havighurst (circa 1952) and a speech by president obama (circa now).

      but actually, i was influenced by a man, one mr. ethan iverson, a dear friend who loves the phrase, also the most awesome male feminist and jazz pianist i know, who accidentally stepped onto a landmine that i accidentally placed:

      http://www.oonaballoona.com/2012/03/myself-i-dress-for-ronald.html

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    2. thank you for reminding me of that amazing post!

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    3. the comments section especially :)

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  20. Beautiful! I'm dying to get my hands on a wax print, but I'll have to wait until the school year starts and I have the expendable funds for it.

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    1. right?! these things are 'spensive! i'm giddy that latrice sent me some :)

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  21. Love the beautiful colorful skirt and fantastic photo!

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  22. The wax print garments you are putting up here are just great. I often wondered whether the African wax prints had some connection or roots in Indonesia, as the term 'Batik' is Indonesian. Now you mention Holland, and I just had my aha moment. You've inspired me to ask my Mum, who lives in Indonesia, to send me some batiks to sew with. But nobody pulls off loud prints like you, clearly.

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    1. Definitely ask you rmum to send you some. I have a friend who regularly goes to Indonesia, and I've asked her to get me fabrics. the batik sarongs are beautiful, especially if you like big bold prints like the African wax prints :-) But there are smaller, very detailed styles as well. And if your mum can get you some ikat, well that's a work of art, in a fairly subtle way. Also every piece of ikat I've ever owned lasted and lasted and lasted and lasted, and looked as good the day I finally retired them as the first day I used them.

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    2. oh man, i hope your mom sends you goodies. so i wonder, are batik and wax print the same technique?

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  23. This might be one of my favorites garment you made. The print matching is pure genius. GENIUS! And dang it, it is so sexy!

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    1. thank you rox! i cackled when i put those two prints together :)

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  24. LOVE the skirt! And the lean-in wall!
    Just rcently discovered an African textile only store in my Belgian hometown, two storeys high and truly overwhelming. Looked them up on the net now and whadyaknow.... They're US based! hee's the link: www.sonna.com
    But beware Oona.... dangerous print on display there, featuring cubist red heels on a yellow background...

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    1. i saw 8 things i wanted in 10 seconds. MAN am i lucky they don't have a brick & mortar...at least not that i can find...

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    2. Oh, but they do... in Virginia.
      Check this page (towards the bottom):
      http://www.sonna.com/index.php?controller=stores

      (Oh, I'm baaaaaad... ;-) )

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  25. Look at you getting all fancy in Photoshop. Have you played around with blending modes? If not, do it. Go ahead, I dare you. If we were in the movie, The Sandlot, I'd triple dog dare you.

    I used to curse at my old serger as well. Literally every day. Even if she didn't do anything bad, I still yelled at her. When she ate one of my undies, I had enough. Unfortunately, I had just bought a condo and was house broke. I couldn't afford to make another giant purchase. In came my Juki MO654DE. Relatively inexpensive and a freaking workhorse. Maybe look into it?

    Oh, and I love the skirt.

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    1. dare already completed, my friend... that's what i did here!

      bookmarking that model...was also eyeing the pfaff coverlock 4.0. but, let's face it, those are daydreams for the time being :)

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  26. Oona, you are always such a great read and I couldn't help but feel a bit emotional with this one. Love it. And the skirt is ace.

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    1. thank you kirsty. makes me sad to think about it too!

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  27. I love how BHL designs are so recognizable yet so adaptable. That skirt is so fun and so wearable! I'm totally inspired (and may also be planning to possibly copy or not copy it). :-D

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  28. Love the skirt.You look fab!

    I'm afraid to cut the African Wax Print in my stash in case I ruin it.
    Face the fear, FACE THE FEAR!!!

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    1. face it, embrace it, do whatever you have to to GET CUTTING... there's always more fabric...

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  29. Loving the wax print, look gorgeous.

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  30. The wall and the skirt go so well together! And I was seriously cracking up at this whole post lol. #okbye

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  31. Bravo! As usual beautiful, vibrant, and oh so funky! I think you have a gift with patterns and fabric where every time you make them ... they are completely different from the last. Love this version of the Charlotte and paired with the graphic T ... PERFECT!

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  32. Cool disappearing arm! And Ghana skirt! According to my man who loves every corner of hyperbole, every fabric I use is French. And please keep adding fun photoshoppy backdrops. I love when we get double-Oonas!

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  33. Just noticed this. Commenting now that my jaw has returned to its normal position. That slit, though!

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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!