As I was scrolling through the archives, looking for a possible throw-back post for this hashtagged day of the week, I came across a me-made-made trio of duds from 2012...

       oonaballoona | a sewing blog | Kon-DONT!   oonaballoona | a sewing blog | Kon-DONT!oonaballoona | a sewing blog | Kon-DONT!

They've all gone the way of Goodwill, for various reasons which now seem overly harsh. I loved that drapey maxi dress! Yes, it was a bit clingy! But purple! With PRINT CONTRAST! What about that tribal romp of a dress? Who cares if my overzealous fittings birthed a waist two inches too short? And even when I go for refashioned RTW I do it in readily available yardage! I'VE SPIED THE PRINT OF THAT SILK TANK TOP IN NO LESS THAN THREE FABRIC STORES! WHY ARE THESE ITEMS NO LONGER IN MY CLOSET?!!!

I'm sure I agonized over the decision to give these up. Scratch that, I'm sure I didn't. We were in LA, we were moving up and down and around the country, and we were at the point when packing ONE MORE ITEM WOULD BREAK OUR SPIRIT. So yeah, we Kondo'd the shite out of everything, before we knew this ruthless practice existed. Oh, whatever! You can package it in pretty paper and speak in soft pleasing tones but IT'S RUTHLESS! So you looked at the item and thanked it for giving you joy?! HOW NICE OF YOU! I'M SURE YOUR OLD TEDDY BEAR DOESN'T FEEL LIKE AN ABANDONED TODDLER!  

I'm quite yell-y today. I have a prediction: this current craze is going to leave a lot of people with feelings of ragret. And one should never have ragrets. (That will never not be funny to me.)

There are pieces in my closet from my mom, my mom-in-law, my grandmothers, I've even got a supremely awesome Joe Namath print button-down shirt from my dad-in-law (which I am not allowed to hack). If they had Kondo'd their lives, these would probably not exist. Save for pictures, I wouldn't know of their existence. And though the three items pictured here are not heirloom quality, or of vintage worth, it fills me with regret that they now exist only in pictures. 

I mean, not life altering remorse, you know, just, sometimes I get a little harsh. Last night, in a bit of a rage getting dressed, I tried Kondo'ing my closet, asking myself what brought me joy and what didn't. Though my process was less "thoughtful questioning" and more "Sipowitz Interrogation." DO YOU LIKE THIS?! NO??? SHOVE IT IN THE BAG! This "bag" now resides in the back of my closet. That's right! QUAKE IN FEAR AT THE THOUGHT OF MY GIANT LAUNDRY BAG FULL OF MIRTHLESS ITEMS, KONDO! I'll be saving that bag, and going through it again at a later date with a fresh set of eyes! Maybe several times! It could take YEARS! KONDO! YOU DON'T GET TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO!  


so sui me

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | anna sui | vogue 9076

Anna Sui. You temptress. You magician. Queen of Kaleidoscopic Prints! Even when I don't know I want you, I WANT YOU! YOU CONSUME ME!

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | anna sui | vogue 9076

In a totally platonic way, of course.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | anna sui | vogue 9076

When I saw this famous designer border print silk chiffon at Mood Fabrics online, I weirdly pounced. Weird, because let's face it, she is black, cream, and pastel. WHO AM I.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | anna sui | vogue 9076

Upon arrival, the selvedge revealed that the famous designer was Anna Sui circa 2012, cue angels singing, and suddenly I was all oh THAT'S why. One of my very first (and still favorite) MSN projects was a draped silk panel print maxi dress by that luscious lady. I'm like a moth to a flame for that minx!

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | anna sui | vogue 9076

I ordered 3 yards, not knowing what it would be, and once again I was left with fumes of fabric. But playing with this border print was SO much fun. Which way should the cascading roses go? Black diamonds pointing up or down? Cut on the cross grain? Color or cream near my face? Both print and pattern delighted my brain and my peepers the entire weekend I sewed it up!

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | anna sui | vogue 9076

OOO YEAH let's talk about that pattern. I knew I wanted Vogue 9076 the minute I saw it, and it did not disappoint. I will point out, for you short waisted sewists out there: you'll want to reduce the length of the bodice. And you'll want to do it before you cut out the metallic gold lace that you're planning on layering over pale sea foam green leather (leather from FIT, lace from Paron, I think, as they've both been languishing on my shelf for years). 

I added an l/s line about 2 inches above the waist, and shortened by 1 1/4 inches. So, out of the package, this section is longer. Also didn't use the placket, opting for a leather strip on the reverse to enclose the leather loops for these EXQUISITE vintage buttons, a giftie from Pandora Sews. LOOK AT THOSE LITTLE TREASURES! Thank you girl! These were meant to be together!

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | anna sui | vogue 9076
And I went AWOL on the skirt as well, going maxi length with rectangles of gathered yardage to make the most of the print. The sweep of this baby is glorious! One of those fabrics that requires constant fondling. I decided I wanted a layering piece, and so left the front skirt open… any little breeze catches it and sends it flying...

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | anna sui | vogue 9076

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | anna sui | vogue 9076

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | anna sui | vogue 9076

In the final moments, the initial hem was giving me Little House On The Prairie. I had one long strip of selvedge left, which I reattached with a french seam at the hemline to create a double border.  

Speaking of prairies, over at MSN I bemoaned the janky corner of NY I minced about in for pics, and the choice of ensemble (the detail shot of the yoke is circa my solo shoot, all of which you can see at MSN). Though we could not find the southern french field I had in mind, Ruggy's reshoot still made me feel like a spring prairie princess. 

Which has everything to do with having my guy's eyes on me, and nothing to do with the active driveway.

this sweepy floral whatchamacallit was made, in part, using my monthly fabric "allowance" as part of the mood sewing network.


monday mayday

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | me made may 2015 mmmay15 week 1

WELL. Let's make this Monday better than last Monday, shall we? Same day, better breeze!

As many of us are, I'm playing along with me-made-may, but I'm letting my wolf form #standinselfie for me over on Instagram. It's a very Cher approach, I highly recommend it. What strikes me this time around is that I'm pulling more things out of the closet, and not relying on six or seven staple dresses. A little less obsessed with making the outfit ONE HUNDRED PERCENT STITCHED, and a little more comfortable with throwing some RTW in the mix.

A friend of mine raised her eyebrows at the notion that sewists would exclusively wear handmade garments. That's like a chef only eating food he cooked. Even Batali goes to McDonald's sometimes.

Does Batali really slum it like that? Probably not, but I guess when I'm "eating out" I'm FULL ON GOING TO MICKEY D'S. That would be H&M, TJ Maxx, and Rue 21, all three of which contributed tops for this first week of our little game. A trifecta of fast fashion! This is undoubtedly contrary to our me-made-mistress, Zo's philosophy on clothing. But, it makes me happy to sew the things I want to sew, and it makes my wallet happy to buy a few fillers without breaking the bank. I suppose I have a very Penn & Teller outlook on it. Their episode of "Bullshit!" on recycling had me yelling at the TV, on both sides of the argument. 

And really, how does one resist a t-shirt that infuses THUG LIFE with a floral print?

I digress.

Last week was all about the sewing community on my bod. YEAH GET ON MY BOD SEWING FRIENDS! Numeros 1, 2, 4 and 5 were all made possible by the neverending generosity of the sewing blogisphere. (Why do we say blog-o-sphere? It's hem-i-sphere, so... anyway. Also, a made up word. So.) We've got fabric from 1. Little Green Orchids, Burdastyle Laura dress, 2. Vogue wrap dress in Etro jersey from a giveaway during the PR LBD Party at Elliot Berman, 4. A refashioned maxi dress from Cynical Carnivale, and 5. Vintage rayon from Lladybird for Christine Hayne's Derby dress (my favorite First Warm Day dress!). SEWING FRIENDS ARE THE BEST FRIENDS. Numeros 3 & 6 are fabrics from my beloved janky store, may it live forever. And yes, you might spy my medallion of power on its new home, a denim vest from TJ Maxx. My back is SUPER warm, like my own little sun. The only blogged item here is Sewaholic's Gabriola skirt! Hey New York, can you port into another universe for like 15 minutes a day so I can get some uninterrupted pictures of things? THANKS!

I'm off into the wild of the concrete jungle, in another me made that I am CHOMPING AT THE BIT to show you... 'til then, happiest of mondays, peeps!


behind the curtain

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | behind the curtain

Yesterday, I had to be three kinds of human. Mysteriously Sad Human, Blossoming Activist Human, Slightly Broken Human. And I needed to be a particular race for each of these humans, requiring an entirely new hairdo for each role. (My hair is not happy with me today. SO MUCH STYLING.)

Having nothing and everything to do with my chameleon tricks and my pounding of the city pavement, I was struck once again by how rare it is to encounter a human OF ANY TYPE these days. It broke 80 in the city, which always brings out questionable behavior in force. As I strolled to my first subway ride of the day, determined to set a relaxed pace for the hours ahead, a biker casually coasted onto the sidewalk, bringing a wide eyed stare and his sweaty mug inches in front of my face. A baffled toe on his front tire, I glared: Really? Seriously? That's what you're going with? That's the choice you've made?

What he replied, emotionless and bored, as if speaking to me from another plane, one in which I did not exist further than my apparently captivating beauty. I rolled my eyes and shook my head and moved on.

Running the gauntlet of purse and perfume hawkers at 28th street, Mysteriously Sad Human headed into the first call, which involved multiple takes of crying on cue. My competition was more cutthroat than usual. It was a callback (the second and *usually* final round before getting a job, though god knows I've been to ninth and tenth callbacks), so the stakes were higher. This is when some actors will employ mind games to psyche out their competition. IT'S SUPER FUN! The waiting room was filled with mostly quiet ladies, respectful that any female in the room was readying herself to get all teary eyed. For my turn "on deck" (where you stand and wait before heading into the audition room), two actors parked themselves inches away from my face and embarked on a banal, loud conversation, shooting me odd pointed looks, emotionless and bored. Really? Seriously? That's what you're going with? That's the choice you've made?

(This time, I said the mantra of the day in my head, because I'm used to silly actors and their silly ways and I refuse to validate actor silliness. I rolled my eyes and shook my head and moved on.)

In the sunshine filled streets of the West Village, Mother With Baby and a stroller the size of the Grand Canyon set her sights on me, pushing her charge directly into my path, fixing me with what can only be called a murderous stare. Walk to the right, IT'S NOT HARD I intoned, emotionless and bored, as I planted my feet on the pavement and waited for her to move around me. At this point I was Blossoming Activist Human, so no-nonsense mode was in full swing. Dirty looks all around. I think even the baby was glaring at that point. 

A roll of the eyes, the day went on, the auditions went on, the hairstyles went on, until I landed in Midtown. My competition was invisible, I was the only human in the waiting room. Truly, it was the cherry on top: Slightly Broken Human on one side of the table, twenty five Humans With Power on the other side of the table, and as far as I could tell, the definition of emotionless and bored. A handful of words were spoken apart from the audition material, most of them mine. Turnabout is fair play: their "thank you" had a double meaning; translation: Really? Seriously? That's what you're going with? THAT'S THE CHOICE YOU'VE MADE?

As I left the building, I rolled my eyes and shook my head and broke the pencil in my hand in half .

Now don't go worrying, two out of three ain't bad; there are far worse things in the world to deal with than a bad day. And hey, I returned home to the best human that I know, who is currently making some of the tastiest meatballs in Manhattan. LUCKY DOESN'T COVER IT. But a day like that does beg the question (and I question myself, as well, I'm sure I was no ray of sunshine for about 8 of those 10 hours): whatever the day might be, what if we tried to be the best definition of Human that we can personally come up with?

The day might get better.


butterfly brain

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | vogue 9075 + by hand london holly trousers

My man is so good at making me look tall, I went for my annual physical last week, and almost slapped the nurse when she told me I was barely 5'2. Surely there's something wrong with their equipment.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | vogue 9075 + by hand london holly trousers


oonaballoona | a sewing blog | vogue 9075 + by hand london holly trousers

You know, I do so enjoy my delusions. Like the belief that I can keep track of multiple sewing projects. I cannot. As my beloved Nan always used to say, I got a head like a sieve.

Actually my noodle is pretty good at multitasking. I'm at my most happy place when I'm infatuated by multiple projects. But not so much when I'm so entranced by the fabric at hand that I can't decide what to sew it into, and want to sew ALL OF THE THINGS.  Two projects and two prints were filling up any available space in my brain during the making of this combo. When I couldn't choose a straight course for either of them, I decided to crossbreed Vogue 9075 of the current culotte craze, and By Hand London's Holly jumpsuit. Here we have Holly pants and Vogue top (and the rest of this pattern monster will make a very colorful appearance shortly). Indecision at its best!

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | vogue 9075 + by hand london holly trousers

Ruggy tells me this is "monkey brain." I prefer a prettier handle. My brain floats like a butterfly from fabric to fabric! AND WHEN IT STINGS ME IN THE BOOTY I MAKE UP A SOLUTION! 

Sometimes. Not so much here, per se. I judiciously decided to wait to cut out the sleeves, in case I had to mess with the (non muslined) bodice fit-- well, I did mess with it, I shaved 5/8s off the back shoulder, then floated and flitted like a drunken butterfly over to my other whimsical crossbreed, then floated and flitted back DAYS later and went and cut out the dang sleeves without accounting for the 5/8s. I was working on fumes of fabric at this point, having played with the border print until it could take no more. 

Cue me wagging an unearned finger at Vogue's pattern drafting.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | vogue 9075 + by hand london holly trousers


Speaking of my forgetful noggin, this top zips from north to south and slips right over my head. That was my solution to making this colorful non-separating zipper work...that, and scooping out a wider bateau-ish neckline. I have a surprisingly large noggin for 5'2 of woman.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | vogue 9075 + by hand london holly trousers

And let's not forget the derriere. She fits nicely in the back, yeah? NO WEDGIES! I'M STOKED! This is Holly without any pattern adjustments, I  just decreased the seam allowance in the crotch curve when the first try-on showed frown lines. Or was it smile lines? Lines, either way. I decreased the SA to 1/4 at the crotch and turned my frown upside down.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | vogue 9075 + by hand london holly trousers

However, as you can see here, the front crotch length is still a little long, which is noticeable in certain positions and totally disappears in others. Since then I've played with shortening the pattern at the hip line (as you would shorten a bodice pattern for a short waist) and wow, is that better! 

How do you deal with pants fitting? So many areas to play with!

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | vogue 9075 + by hand london holly trousers

I think my weirdo decision to crossbreed these patterns worked out in the end--this stretch cotton is glorious but kinda heavy, so making it up into a full length jumpsuit and walking out to dinner in it would have felt like a workout. Which only would have served to double ordering of post workout libations. So yeah, actually, on second thought, maybe not the best decision. Some regrets.

Butterfly brain. Toldja.

this is my mood sewing network project for april, made with my monthly fabric "allowance." sadly, and you know what I'm gonna say, this bad boy sold out shortly after I tweeted about it...
I like to enable so I'm TOTALLY taking credit for that!