To Hell Gate And Back

oonaballoona | african wax print maxi skirt | hell gate fabrics

Before I left New York's sudden, early Spring for sunny, dry Cali last week, I told Ruggy in no uncertain terms (and in all caps): I WILL KILL SOMEONE IF IT IS COLD WHEN I GET BACK.

I don't like to be a liar. But I also don't like jail. So I took my murderous intentions out on the greenery of last week. (No fabric was harmed in the amateur photoshopping of these shots. I'm not a savage.)

oonaballoona | african wax print maxi skirt | hell gate fabrics

So, yes, I was in Cali last week--several parts of that sun drenched state. It was all work, Very Excellent Work, actually, that best of completely fulfilling jobs which really can be qualified as Play...but it left very little room for sewing meetup play. Next time!! I did wear my own clothing every day, naturally, and when I could, I stole a minute to skulk around the apartment & theater complexes looking for a quiet place to shoot. You Californians, with your perfect photo opportunities, your sun and your soft breezes, your complete lack of water! My hair was a constant battle! NO TIME FOR CONDITIONER! MUST SAVE THE EARTH!

oonaballoona | african wax print maxi skirt | hell gate fabrics

Wow, that's some bad patterning on that there foliage. But check out the pattern on that pleated skirt! I wore this to rehearsals the day after a particularly eventful 24 hour jaunt to LA. This was the "when-work-is-work" part of the week. Most of those hours were spent navigating a candy coated Airbnb (I'll let you guess what the filling was), and 480 minutes of freeway traffic. I slalomed through that surreal day in my Birkin flares, and when I escaped lalaland, I rewarded myself with a 2 minute shower and the virgin voyage of this maxi skirt. This maxi skirt was like my wearable sage stick! 

oonaballoona | african wax print maxi skirt | hell gate fabrics

As I swished about rehearsals in three yards of african wax print, I could feel my teeth unclenching. Of course, multiple compliments from my co-workersplayers added to the fabric therapy, and the required, shouted response THANKS I MADE IT will, of course, always bring a grin to any sewist's face. The fact that we were singing brilliant music didn't hurt none neither.

More patterning! Look away! Direct your attention to the skirt! HEY! I guess you'd like to know about the skirt, eh? The fabric comes from Hell Gate Fabrics (a name which tickles me every time I hear it), the proprietress of which I am so very lucky to call Friend. I asked Parental Balloonas for a Hell Gate gift card for Christmas (HA! See?! Most excellent phrasing!), and directly spent it on this wax print. So immediate was my love, I draped this skirt during one of our winter snowstorms (WHICH HAD BETTER BE OVER), knowing full well I'd have to wait months to wear it.

oonaballoona | african wax print maxi skirt | hell gate fabrics

I LOVE THIS FABRIC!!!! And there's still more of it in the shop. I've got eyes on this large scale baby too. 

The exposed woven zip is a years-old gift from Lladybird Lauren. Appropriately, she sent this to me during an LA exile! Lots of exposed elements on this jammy. I draped the skirt on the cross grain, the selvedge is pleated and left visible at the waist. Unfortunately, I'm a few inches too short to have left the selvedge hem exposed as well. Also exposed: the 1/4 inch navy blue trim, which wraps around the waist of the skirt, kind of like an exposed waist stay. At the moment, the loose ends of the stitched down trim tie in the back, but after the wearing test drive, I believe I'll get back in there, hack off the tie ends and add them back to the waist, making the stay wider. Right now the loose ends compete with the exposed zip.

oonaballoona | african wax print maxi skirt | hell gate fabrics

Exposing! Competing! Shades of my 24 hour LA trip are coming back! MUST GET A SAGE STICK OF AN OUTFIT ON ASAP! Maybe I'll swan about in a maxi dress for a hot minute. I could totally do that while I'm doing post-trip laundry. I'm sure the neighbors won't think I'm any crazier than they already think I am...

(ps! my jet lagged booty forgot what day it is... happy anniversary, parental balloonas! thanks for getting married. and deciding to have kids. and for gifting the female kid sewing shizz. in no particular order.)


Fairy Tales at FIT

I'm starting to realize: I am so very stubborn, I need to employ reverse psychology on MYSELF. If someone tells me what to do--even if that someone is me--it appears that I am going to do my level best to do the exact opposite. Which is why I broke the rule I set forth for myself in Never Missing A Met Costume Exhibit Again.


Well, I missed the Jacqueline De Ribes show, but I had a spare 15 minutes to speed walk through FIT's Fairy Tale Fashion last week. These small shows are packed, but jam packed rather than overpacked. Enough to fill you up, but not so much that you lose sight of the beauty! I wish I'd had time to really ogle these pieces... but that's what cameras are for. Let's ogle together, shall we? The floral beauty above comes from Rodarte.

Dolce And Gabbana. Yes, I absolutely want to go to Embroidery Crazy Town. I'll meet you there at 2. 

L to R: Rodarte - Norman Norrell - Jean Louis Saboji. This was "The Little Mermaid" section, which I was surprisingly enamored of! Not a fan of watery depths. Can't breathe in watery depths. But this was dreamy.

Undercover, for a Swan Lake shoutout. LOOKIT THOSE LASER CUT FEATHERS.

Louboutin. Hmm, I forget...Little Red Riding Hood or Beauty And The Beast? They could pull double duty!

Tom Ford, from the Cinderella section.

Thom Browne, Rose Red. The detail on this jacket and skirt is AMAZING.

L to R: Yoshiki Hishinuma - Alexander McQueen - Giles. The Hishinuma dress is made from a coated and heat processed poly. SUPER COOL.

The (free) show is open till April 16, if you're in town. If you're not, I hope you enjoyed the visual trip!