Monday, June 30, 2014

have darts will travel

oonaballoona | marcy harriell | by hand london & nettie bodysuit

i seem to really really really like to place flowers smack dab on my belly button, but you for damn sure can tell the fabric is on grain.

oonaballoona | marcy harriell | by hand london & nettie bodysuit

hi nettie and charlotte!  how cool is it to be able to wear two of my favorite ladies, created by more of my favorite ladies, bought with fabric found during meetups with MORE favorite ladies and won "competing" with MORE favorite ladies?!!  I NEED A LIKE BUTTON FOR ALL OF THE LIKES!!!

oonaballoona | marcy harriell | by hand london & nettie bodysuit

this was actually made over a month ago, so i can't speak too thoughtfully about construction.  i like to immediately create space in my brain for new information.  but let me try and dig into the corners of my mind...


i can tell you that these are some of the prettiest insides i've got in my closet.  the lining is a stretch-ish poly that feels like spun sugar.  butter would be more appropriate, but it's nice to have a balanced diet.


and a balanced waistline.  the eight darts in this skirt fill my dietary needs whilst allowing me to, erm, fill all my dietary needs.  she's been worn out to brunch with kalkatroonaans (always a bender) and three jazz concerts avec burgers and fries. 

plus, RUFFLE.  


i went sleeveless with my nettie-- this was an attempt at some adjustments for my wider shoulders. since then i've achieved a better fit in the land of no-shoulder-pads-needed, but she covers south of the equator right out of the package, even when doing grand pliés in ballet.  

and she plié-s ever so nicely with a pencil skirt, no sneaky diva coming undone here.

speaking of coming undone, as this ensemble was made pre-pfaff, i haz no buttonhole.  but i DO haz a fabric pin ruggy gave to me over ten birthdays ago, can you spot it in the flowerflage?  i'm hesitant to add an actual button, i love the way this little treasure looks with it!

oonaballoona | marcy harriell | by hand london & nettie bodysuit

it's hard to blog about a make so far after the creating, isn't it?  part of the stalling for me is the inward groan i feel when i look at yet another set of pictures in The Alleyway.  my part of manhattan does not lend itself to any semblance of privacy, especially during self directed weirdo photo shoots.  are you as tired of this alleyway as i am?

fabrics: denim 4 way stretch, janky store
floral cotton sateen, michael levine
pink poly lining, mood fabrics

Monday, June 23, 2014

prize and punishment


summer for an actress is a weird time, full of strange free days filled with perfect weather, tempered by the stressful reality that YOU MUST GET MORE WORK.  while i'd rather be playing with some truly glorious fabric from a truly beautiful friend that found its way home with me, i'm holding myself back, keeping it in view like a prize.

when a job is on the horizon, it's much easier to use these free days to sew to your heart's content. instead, i find myself taking on the task of Cleaning Out The Storage Area, a task akin to Capital Punishment.  this area, this section eight, already monstrous at its inception, became The Beast That Shall Not Be Named during our years of subletting our apartment.  did i ever tell you about that? yeah, we were super smart and acquired tenants during an LA move.  acting took me back to NY, and instead of reclaiming our digs, i moved five times in two years, to irritating sketchy craigslist find after irritating sketchy craigslist find, occasionally stopping in our Real Home to grab a few things out of storage and chuck ten more things in, doing it all in a mad hurry so as not to disturb The Tenants.  two years later, we moved back in, and five years later, we're still eyeing that little hobbit sized door with dread.

TODAY WE OPEN IT.

and now the winner of the colette guide to sewing knits!  out of 100 entries, random.org chose lucky number 47...


congratulations JAG, ponte tutus and tissue knit belly button dimples begone, luck was on your side! email me your info (just use the handy envelope in the sidebar) and throw a little luck my way as i enter The Beast, wontcha?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

vogue: three years ago and over three hundred K


some child in my life (there are many that i tolerate, all the more easily so, as none are mine) was doing a school drive of some sort, and that was the year i read vogue magazine.  2' aught '11, to be exact.  and i've kept every issue like some mini hoarder.  

yesterday evening, i was gazing at our shelves, wondering which tome to take with me on a free snack hour.  the vogue magazines live with our books, in the sewing section, and i found myself wondering if any of the styles had come back around yet.  this pondering was probably happening at the same time noah veitman's scientific findings were hitting the online pages of the daily mail: by his calculations, if one were to treat the pages of vogue june 2014 like a clothing catalog, it would cost $343,368 to purchase the whole shebang.  

the article gapes at the price, but honestly, i was surprised by the total, i thought it would be way more. my wallet has no earthly idea if the cost of couture has risen LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE HAS in the past three years, but here's what the editorial pages held in one of my favorites: march 2011, the spring fashion issue...


a "grown up brand of glamour" (carolina herrera)


"punk'd" looks of the season (balenciaga & balmain) 


magical ensembles in "the enchanted garden" (tom ford and oscar de la renta)


"the life rhapsodic" bohemian florals (dior, louis vuitton, galliano, chanel)


always david bowie: new rebellious red carpet takes (bottega veneta & gucci)

i could see any of these looks being rocked today, the floral page is in full force, the met punk gala was what, last year?  and come on, that last gucci (forgive the shine, it's actually a jumpsuit).

noah further calculates a median price of $850 per item-- and again, that sounds super low...


OH


GA GAAAAAAAAAAH*

these confections, both alexander mcqueen, are way more than 850 per, that's for sure.  (both mcqueens are listed as "price upon request.")  i'm not necessarily saying it's right that these garments come with such lofty pricetags, i'm not sure what the price tag should be when you are a house of Something Fabulous, complete with minions, like gucci and tom ford and balenciaga.  but listen, people who don't sew, and listen well: DON'T GO GETTING ANY IDEAS.  the cost of a handmade garment is, and should be, pretty high.  

when you're a lone lady, and you calculate the cost of a custom ordered evening gown, avec supplies and hours and fittings and design... wouldn't it have to land in the ballpark of a grand?  really think about it. two weeks of nonstop work, for sure.  that's a weekly wage of $500 before you deduct materials.

not getting into whether you could-or-couldn't make it, let's assume we have all the skills necessary, but no minions: what would you sensibly charge for a gown worthy of vogue?

*can't say i know much about gaga's music.  but i do love that she is 100% in character All The Time, and i want to eat everything she wears.  which i think she would appreciate.

Monday, June 16, 2014

i've always been a jersey girl


here's the best review i can give for this book: i lost possession of it for over a month.


on the night of the disappearance, there were many factors involved: one could blame it on the booze (cocktails were immensely present), one could blame it on the beauties (so many ladies wanted a peek), one could certainly blame it on the boogie (because Vintage Michael Jackson is never wrong).  days after sarai invited me to peek at alyson clair & colette's new tome, i packed it carefully in my overflowing saturday sewing/testing/teaching/partying bag, with the intention of ORDERING my "students" (quotes, because for real, they're friends) to BUY THIS BOOK.  


of course then the class went into party mode and the book made its appearance after some truly serious cocktails were served, which started the loss of literature.

but i digress!  it's back in my hot little hands now, and as always, you know if it's here, i love it.  a love accompanied by sparklers and banners and trumpets.  this is a Good, Tasty Book.


so many are scared of knits.  at the start of my sewing plunge, no one ever told me to be scared of this fabric.  being self-taught, no one ever told me anything.  (except a lady at joann's who said i should Never Make Pants.  she was misguided.)  my fearless, reckless abandon with this fabric had everything to do with lack of information.  i tried things out and had many failures and some successes and a general good time of it, wadder or no.


this book would have given past oona far more gold star finishes... and it gave present oona a little happy feeling that many self taught machinations are not too far off the industry mark. 


it's divided into three main sections: fabric, machines, and techniques.  there's a wealth of information for the beginner, and there's gold in there for the more advanced stitcher as well.  i'd never heard of letting your jersey rest after prewashing!  i guess everyone likes a good nap.


the section on machines includes a coverstitch, the beloved brother serger is also showcased in the pages, as well as your reg'lar machineroo.


jersey is a different beast and alyson teaches you how to tame it.  it's like baking versus cooking.  a lot more play and feel and tasting involved.  there are things a beginner might think she or he shouldn't do. alyson gives you tools, and permission.

and sarai would like to give one of you a copy!  to enter, leave a comment on this post, ooooh, let's see: tell me your biggest fail, or fear, at sewing up knits. links to entertaining photographic evidence welcome!  I LIKES TO BE ENTERTAINED.   i'll announce the winner on monday june 23rd.  good luck!

update: comments are now closed, winner will be announced later today... contest now closed, congratulations, jag!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

how i love my crotch of many colors

in ruggy's opinion, possibly worse than the unblogged drop crotch pants: the balloon dress.

around this time last year, i was in dallas, texas, sweating like a fool, flying through the air, and far away from ruggy.  that last part never goes well.  we don't do apart, as a general rule.  but do it we did, for three whole summer months.  and i began to notice something: i stitched differently when i was away from my man.

a pair of yet-to-be-blogged pants started the whole shebang.  i made them in what seemed like sixty minutes, the day before i left for dallas.  LAUGHING ALL THE WAY.  ruggy, i said: i can no longer fight it.  i am going to make a pair of drop crotch pants.

ruggy blinked, steadied himself.  are you telling me you're going to succumb to trend pressure? slowly, i dropped my head: ...yes.  i'm afraid i am.  and wait till you see the print i'm going to use.

an hour later i clambered up the stairs, cackling maniacally.  LOOK!  AREN'T THEY HORRIBLE!!! we agreed the pants were meant for indoor use only.  and not just indoor use, ALONE indoor use: i.e., my hotel room in dallas.  after all, being lonesome, i would need something to make me laugh, something to keep my spirits up, other than spirits.

but one sunny rehearsal day, when the pile of laundry was greater than the pile of clean clothing, i threw them on. and suddenly...a shower of compliments rained down on me from the glorious gaggle of stunning female dancers in the company.  what?  how could they possible like these...things?  this insane pair of droopy spandex pants that give me, essentially, more junk in the back, and MAN junk in the front?

good lord does ruggy hate him a jumper

now, let me be clear: none of the heterosexual men at work ever complimented me on them.  not a one.  and at this point in the summer, everybody knew i made my own clothing, and commented on it daily. no, the pants praise was doled out only by women, gay men, and all young children.  

but the category specific praise was enough.  i began to feel good in them.  they came to be known as the-pants-that-ruggy-hates, the running joke being that i had to get enough wear out of them before he came to visit.  hey!  a random child would cry, you're wearing ThePantsThatRuggyHates!  a surprise bonus: a guaranteed mention of ruggy whenever i wore them, further guaranteeing my grinning like a fool and skipping 'round the room.

started in dallas, reunion with ruggy imminent, finished in nyc: sewing with wiggle again

so: a year has passed, happily back in the company of ruggy, and still in possession of the pants.  i know the man i love is not in love with them.  will i wear them anyway?  yes.  ruggy grins and bears it like a champ, same way i bear that damn faded mauve t-shirt he refuses to throw away.  i wore them 3 times during me made may.  i think i dress about 60% for myself, 30% for ruggy, and 10% for i-have-to-look-like-a-lawyer-for-this-audition.  but DO i? the pants were mutually laughable when it was ruggy & me in our living room.  the pants became high fashion under the opinion of long legged ladies in a rehearsal room.  i fancy myself a strong willed brat whose fashion sense is entirely of her own making, but really, these are the pants that opinion made, unmade, and made again.

(i realize i have not shown you the pants in question...yet.  i'd like to build them up to godzilla proportions in your imaginations first.)

i've probably asked it before, but i think the answer changes as we grow, so: who do you dress for? yourself?  or the company you keep?

Monday, June 9, 2014

can you really dye my eyes to match my gown?


i stomped into trumart discount fabrics with a scant five minutes to shop, eyeing the clock like a maniac. grinning frantically at the shopkeep, i yammered I WOULD LIKE THE CHEAPEST LYCRA SWIMWEAR YOU HAVE, fully expecting something appropriately ridiculous.  when you prefer an oz closet, "cheap" and "colorful" are two birds easily annihilated with one stone.

ten seconds later, my man pulled a bolt of black.  it took the remaining four minutes and fifty seconds to say yes.


and two hours to make the backdrop match the shoes.

by now, you know her well... she is heather lou's bombshell swimsuit, and as myriad shapes and sizes have said before: she is perfection.  they're not lying, and neither am i.  this is not gushing, this is not hyping a designer who i am so lucky to call a friend in real life, this is simple truth: i followed my measurements, cut my size, and tipped around the bedroom like i was a 1940s version of beyonce. 

Y'ALL, I HAVE NEVER FELT SO SUPPORTED IN A BATHING SUIT IN ALL MY LIFE.


support.  what a wonderful word.  to be honest, there isn't a day that goes by that i'm not sewing, or thinking about sewing, and those days are more often than not filled with designs from indie women who i am so stoked to support.   kati of kate and rose patterns left a beautiful comment on a recent post by heather lou, likening my testing feedback to a kind professor who teaches you something truly helpful.  that blew me clean away.  there also isn't a day that goes by that i don't remember some teacher's words, from my concert choir director who supported me every single day, including weekends, to a substitute teacher's passing words of encouragement, only met once.  we effect each other with our words, our actions, our support or our judgement, and those effects can reach farther than we know.  i've waxed poetic on it before, and i'll probably do it again.  it's worth repeating, no?

speaking of repeating, as you may have guessed, miss bombshell is my stop on the blog tour currently filling up your reader of choice: perfect pattern parcel numero 3.  yep!  another blog tour!  egads!!!  does that make you roll an eye or two?  does supporting a charitable endeavor that strengthens the relationship between teacher and student make you roll an eye or two?  do pink trees make you roll an eye or two?  i don't know the answers to these questions.  (well, i can probably make an educated guess on the answer to that last one.*)  

Buy Pattern Parcel #3

i do know that i am thrilled to be a part of getting the word out on this effort.  jill and danny dorsey have thought up a way for us to use the dollars we would already spend on digital indie patterns, and have our wallets support our kids, and those who take on the great and admirable task of teaching them. you choose a price for a bundle of patterns, and a chunk of that change goes to charity.

supporting designers.  supporting teachers.  supporting kids.  WIN, WIN, WIN.

*not gonna lie, those couple sentences were a bit snarkaroo, and as they've been weighing on me since i posted it, i'll admit: it stemmed from me being more than sick of the clique talk going around.  makes me crazy, especially as i've never been part of a clique.  i suspect that most of us haven't, which probably has everything to do with our corner of the internet being the wonderful anomaly it is.  what's lovely, and inspiring, is that we are all now part of a giant, supportive, amazing clique, where i can have pink trees, and you can have pink hair, and we can all forgive each other a little snark, non?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

rippin and strippin


on our weekend dates at the mall, my nan would always say, if you like it, buy 2.  as a teenager i couldn't see the point in having a duplicate pair of jeans or a twin set of floral skirts, even if they were on sale, but now... if mood fabrics is having an online sale and its That Time Of The Month (by which i mean, time for my MSN project), well... IF YOU LIKE IT, BUY 6.


or 4 will do, especially when the yardage is 60 wide.  I LOVE A 60 WIDE.  when i ordered this striped cotton voile, i had no idea what i was going to do with it.  but white-n-black combos were on sale, and i applied nan's golden rule. snagged enough yardage to fearlessly cut and piece and drape till i like what i see, my favorite footloose activity. (apparently i’m not the only squirrel, she’s gone online.)


signs that i am binge watching Game Of Thrones: there are no zips, no snaps, there are only drawstrings.  they made swords, you’d think they could swing a zipper… no matter, these drawstrings are pretty much the most elegant medieval accessory ever: strips of carolina herrera silk chiffon.  oh yeeeeeeah.  she jumped in my cart too (and she's still there).  

i thought the two prints would pair nicely in some sort of paneled way, but the chiffon has a grayer tint against the voile.  however, there’s a delicious high relief twisty strip of bias running the length of the chiffon, so i just ripped a few yards every inch and boom!  designer drawstings, no fray.


teehee!  i get excited looking at the back!  

so, there’s a long chiffon strip encased in the front neckline, and another across the lower back panel. the upper sides are folded under & topstitched, leaving 4 ends to tie up any way you choose, gathering up as much or as little neckline as you like in the process.  as you can see from the top photo, the hemline reacts equally to how you choose to tie & gather (and i probably would have chosen multiple action/reactions for the camera, but mais, the photographer: he must be kept happy, and it was well into cocktail hour at this point.)


but i’m getting ahead of myself.  after creating front and back panels on the crossgrain, i cut two godets on the bias to give it sweep…


and sweep she has!  what she ain’t got: LINING.  what is it with me and voile?  i couldn’t bear to put anything more than skivvies between us.  she just feels so cool.  maybe she’s meant to be worn with a bathing suit.


i do believe the incredible heather lou will be coming to my rescue shortly in that department.  i'm FINALLY diving into the bombshell swimmie as part of the tour for pattern parcel three, the beautiful brainchild of jill & danny dorsey.  (you can click the icon in the sidebar for more info on this awesome venture; which supports the very near-and-dear-to-my-heart relationship of teacher/student.)  

bombshell by the weekeend!!  is it too early to be thinking about the weekend?  

Monday, June 2, 2014

la wrambette


the cry can be heard nightly, usually around 7pm, after dinner, when the cooler spring evenings settle in: WHERE IS MY RAMBO SCARF.


welcome to the first stop on the rambo tour!  seamstress erin threw this gauntlet out to several of us, and several of us were crazy enough to accept: she would send us each a length of fabric used as a turban in rambo III, yes, RAMBO THE THIRD, BECAUSE TWO IS NOT ENOUGH, which we would then refashion.

ruggy, i chirped, imma be part of a sewing challenge you wanna hear about it?  my man appeased me with his best listening face, which quickly turned to the true joy of a 14 year old boy whose friends have all come over for some D&D: you're getting an Actual Costume from RAMBO?!! over the course of a month this story has grown in direct proportion to the number of non-sewist friends who happen to ask what i'm doing in that realm lately. i let ruggy answer, it's more fun that way: so one of her blogging friends was like THE costume designer for rambo AND she sent her the outfit that sylvester stallone WORE!!!

actual story here at erin's joint.  soon, this tale will include stallone personally delivering it to me, on motorcycle.


judging from the ooh-ing and ah-ing i let loose with when my challenge arrived, sly might as well have handed it over on bended muscled knee.  this fabric!  so delicious!  so soft!  some actor wrapped this around his head and sweated in it for countless hours of shooting in blazing heat, sprayed by makeup with glycerin and dirt, and CLEARLY!  that combination produces the best fabric softener IN THE WORLD!


ruggy eyed it, and i quickly averted the near crisis of having to use it for, egads, MENSWEAR, by exclaiming, oh well, too narrow for a shirt!  washed it and proceeded to wear it.  daily.  wrapped around and over and under me like i was the caleesi....



it wasn't until this past saturday that i finally accumulated all the trim i needed to decorate it to suit a proper kalkatroonaan: 10 yards of braid, 4 yards of embroidered flowers, 20 yards of pearl rayon cord, 250 yards of thread.  6 hours of zigzagging, knotting and mathematizin’ later, i had my new and improved wrap: the wrambette.

i have no doubt my fellow companions in costume reconstruction will come up with far greater heights than this, and i will joyfully watch their reveals swaddled in my yardage!  


be sure to check them out over the next two weeks, and thank you erin for including me in what has produced one of my most worn “me-mades”, EVER.  courtesy of rambo.  whowouldathunkit.



ps: congratulations juliana, the randomizer has spoken, you're lucky number 88 out of 159 entries for the kate & rose giselle pattern giveaway! shoot me an email--the little envelope icon in the sidebar will get you there--and we'll set you up.  also, yes, those are me made jeans.  bella from burdastyle.  avec buttons.  YAY PFAFF!!!