4.29.2016

Vogue 1482: The Apartment Dress

oonaballoona | a blog by marcy harriell | sewing vogue 1482

If you come to Kalkatroona for dinner, I will most likely greet you with a shriek, possibly a fan, and very little on. IT'S ALWAYS HOT IN KALKATROONA.

oonaballoona | a blog by marcy harriell | sewing vogue 1482

I'll be wearing something vaguely dressy, and vaguely roomy, the better to eat everything in. And I will probably be hopping around on my toes en relevĂ©, because when I am happy, I hop around on my toes en relevĂ©. Obviously, I'll be happy because you're coming over for dinner. And we'll all kick our shoes off and lounge on great big fuchsia pillows while Ruggy mixes cocktails and Al Green makes us boogie.

It wasn't all boogying with this jammie, though. You guys, I was on the road to failure with this silk jersey for so long, I thought the trip would never end! It started at Mood, when I turned from the cutting table and came face to face with this beauty. She was in my arms within seconds. Foot on the floor, I screamed north with my new companion, racing to Drapey Town. But I made a wrong turn at Cuttersville, and when I found myself at the junction between Maxi Skirtland and Tank Top Turnpoint, there just wasn’t enough lane for Waist Line.

oonaballoona | a blog by marcy harriell | sewing vogue 1482


The trip was bad, yo. Probably because I left no time for rest stops. ALWAYS LEAVE TIME FOR REST STOPS.


Ruggy was thrilled that my trip went awry, since he loved the print and wanted me to use it for myself anyway (I was selfless sewing with this beauty. My first wrong turn!). Sadly, the new route I chose was a man repeller pattern. My bosum buddy Suzanne just happened to drop Vogue 1482 in my lap, an artsy ditty with lots of seaming and little pieces. Her note cautioned: One of those patterns your husband will hate but all your lady friends love…

But the note ALSO said: very cool construction, fyi.

SOLD.

oonaballoona | a blog by marcy harriell | sewing vogue 1482

I needed a good road map after all that botched traveling! And she was right, the construction IS really cool… but I only followed the directions for the front left pocket. UGH FOLLOW DIRECTIONS OONA! WHY DO YOU THINK YOU GET LOST SO MUCH?! Listen, I had to veer off course, mainly because I jigsawed the center back out of the carnage from the draping, and had to cut it on the fold, losing two inches of width, and then had to account for the stretch of the jersey, and then add sleeves, and then remove sleeves, and then change the neckline, and then taper it in to make it slightly more Ruggy friendly, and then shorten it to make it even more Ruggy friendly, and then gnash my teeth certain that I'd basically botched 4 yards of silk jersey, and then throw it on for one more peek...

oonaballoona | a blog by marcy harriell | sewing vogue 1482

...and then DANCE AROUND LIKE A DOOFUS when I realized that, in taking the scenic route, I had suddenly stumbled upon THAT DRESS that you can wear out to summer dinners, or wear in to winter affairs hosted in your blazing hot NY apartment.

oonaballoona | a blog by marcy harriell | sewing vogue 1482

Sorry, I'm still shaking my booty here. BOOGIE BOOGIE! In our 15 years of living in this little slice of the sun, I have only one other handmade garment that can pull this kind of all-seasons duty. As it is mandatory that I greet my guests in handmade, more options are always a bonus.

oonaballoona | a blog by marcy harriell | sewing vogue 1482

And even more bonus, I finally have the perfect match for this beauty from Tweak! I love big bold necklaces, have oodles of them actually, but they seem to need a soul mate. This one has been waiting over a year for its perfect partner!

oonaballoona | a blog by marcy harriell | sewing vogue 1482

Hopefully my perfect partner will come around on this dress, because it's a keeper.

So listen, if you decide to partner up with this pattern, keep in mind that I did a LOT of hacking! The pocket and the diagonal front seam are as-drafted. The pattern as-is has a much longer hemline, sleeves that come in two parts, neckline facings, and a CB seam with a neck opening. Recommended fabrics include both wovens and jersey, which is fun and all, but you ought to consider the stretch factor if you go for jersey. I went down to the smallest size (even more, really, with all the fabric jigsawing and tapering), and you really won't need that back neck opening unless you like the look of it. The instructions call for french seams, which you also won't need on a jersey--I abandoned that once my brain switched on and realized what was happening. Directions are great, but sometimes the scenic route is the way to go!

this apartment dress was made with my monthly fabric allowance as part of the mood sewing network.

4.22.2016

See you backstage


So, apparently, Prince has been more of an obvious influence in my life than I would have suspected I'd made you aware of. Yes, I know you'll have to read that sentence several times to understand my meaning. Most of the time, I have to hear *my own thoughts* several times to understand my meaning.

I mean. Yesterday I got phone calls, emails, texts, all wondering if I was okay. I said to Ruggy: I don't understand. It's absolutely terrible that the world lost Prince, but why are people wondering if I'M okay? I wasn't actually connected to him. 

Ruggy looked at me as if I had two heads. UM...because people know what he meant to you. You've talked about how you painted stars on your face and wore lace pants, and dressed like him, and your Mom took you to his concerts, and you watched Under the Cherry Moon until you were able to quote even the ad libs, and you've made like seven outfits inspired by Prince, and you made a Raspberry Beret, and you made your family sit for listening sessions of his new albums, and you'd sit alone and listen to his songs on repeat, following the horn line then the piano line then the guitar line until you knew every note by heart--

The list of evidence continued, but at that point I was glazing over, thinking about my favorite Prince songs, and how I would have directed the video for Raspberry Beret (which, indeed, I'd just described to Ruggy a week ago. It involved Prince as a well meaning, slightly lazy teen, wearing a jaunty cap, being interrogated at the local small town police station. Lots of sunshiny dusty haze and pointed fingers. Of course it all worked out in the end. I would have kept the blue-sky-suit concert for cutaways).

You feel you know the people whose music and art you adore. They are singularly special to each fan, because the best artists create something that speaks in a different language to each person. The best and worst moments in our personal lives can be remembered and marked through music. So, in a sense, the creators of those soundtracks to your life, they're yours. They're family. When I got the first mysterious Prince text, my initial reaction was Oh no, what did Prince do NOW, in the tone of voice you reserve for an Uncle whose minor insanities you forgive, because of his incredible genius.

I guess in light of the fact that, without even trying to, I've made my fandom for Prince very clear, it would be weird not to say something. He shaped a good, crazy, fearless chunk of what I am. As a fan, he's mine in some way. But he truly belongs to the family that has lost him. So I don't have the slightest clue what's appropriate to say.

I will, however, be following the horn line, then the piano line, then the guitar line, for what will hopefully be a very long time to come.

4.20.2016

Things I Can't Sew Without: In Praise Of The Dress Form



I had a mildly erotic dream about my dress form last week. This is probably due to the inordinate amount of time I've spent over the last few weeks with my arms wrapped around it, draping yards of fabrics for a Broadway opening (*not mine*). Lofty silk organza shot with hard metallic swaths, crisply whispering Italian brocade, and a velvet infused viscose...all of which had to be fondled. Hell, it was absolutely begging for some heavy petting.


I MEAN. YUM. I told Ruggy about the dream, PG 13 at best, but still, he immediately deemed it Unsuitable For Blogging. And I always listen to Ruggy. HOWEVER. My sleeping mind illustrates a point I daydream about constantly: I truly love my Wolfie girl. Far more than her poorly thought out moniker shows. She holds a high and revered (if slightly inappropriate) place on the list of Things I Can't Sew Without.


Even before she landed generously in my lap, I knew I wanted a proper dress form, but having only used a badly shaped and rage inducing "Uniquely You," I had no idea how much I'd adore the real thing. Initially, I thought she was just for draping, but she's really my sewing assistant. Instead of standing in front of a mirror, wrangling fabric around my body to get an idea of print placement, wishing I had eight arms, I can do this:


AND THEN I CAN LAUGH OUT LOUD AND GO FOR IT ANYWAY.

Speaking of eight arms, I have at least four when I'm working with my Wolfie girl. She's helped me hem a 200 pound heavyweight denim skirt, and that bias cut silk organza that brought on fever dreams...


ACK THAT SKIRT. I've been knee deep in that draped skirt for 10 days!

Since she's padded out to be my double, I fit patterns directly on her using swedish tracing paper. She's wonderfully helpful when using a pattern! Even taking a step back during construction is eye opening. Standing across the room beats standing in front of a mirror for perspective. Say, when you realize that dress is meant to be worn dangerously open, to make room for tatas...


If memory serves, Sewing on The Edge made a great point about using your seam roll to train your fabric to be successful in its new life as a shirt or dress or whathaveyou. (Or maybe she said dress form? Cannot specifically find the exact point, hope I'm quoting the right source, but even if I'm not, her blog is FULL of awesome and you ought to just dive in.) It struck me that I've been doing that for years with Wolfie, just by dressing her up in whatever I'm in the middle of creating, and leaving it be until I return. I love the idea of my half made garment settling in to its new life as it waits patiently for me to continue creating.


But I think my favorite part is lifting her up high enough so that I can see underneath her skirts, copping a squat on our hardwood floors, and quietly evening out a hemline by eye. It's one of the most calming things on the face of the planet.

Peeps have asked me what equipment is worth the investment. Looking back on what I use the most, my shortlist would be: sewing machine, scissors, iron, dressform. Of course, a Wolf is not in my current budget--or my past budget! I was lucky to have a super generous friend who just happened to have one collecting dust. Still, the best you can afford is better than nothing! As much as I hated my first dressform, I had great fun with it. You can find a dial-a-size job for around a hundred, but for a bit more, PGM & Roxy Display carry models from $200 up. I've only seen the PGM forms in person (when I lived in Lala land), and I thought they looked pretty damn good. Alas, this was during my "Uniquely You" phase, and having already plunked down 200 bucks for that sucker (I WAS THE SUCKER), I couldn't bring myself to part with more dough. Especially when I could have had a decent, sturdy form for the same price in the first place. So impulsive!! Don't get me started on the bullet breasts I had to hack off.


No angled weapons here! Oh, my Wolfie has such beautifully rounded breasts. So supple! EGADS ENOUGH ABOUT TATAS! Lest I talk myself into another night of very strange sleep!

So, is there a dressform in your arsenal? If not... have I seduced you?

4.01.2016

Friday Floral Flares

oonaballoona | a blog by marcy harriell | sewing vintage floral flares

OH HAI GUYS! BIG NEWS! WE'VE MOVED TO CALI FOR GOOD AND I'M STARTING A PATTERN LINE BASED ENTIRELY ON NEON COLORS AND ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES!

Supremely lame April Fool's joke. Y'all, I hate April Fool's jokes. Probably because I am so very susceptible to falling for all this tomfoolery. THIS MALARKEY! I instituted a "Trust no one" rule on this day when I succumbed to a Burdastyle joke eight years ago. I fell so well, they quoted me in the joke reveal. Hold up, I'm having a Battlestar Galactica moment here. Have I told you this before?

oonaballoona | a blog by marcy harriell | sewing vintage floral flares

Anyhoo, yes, completely gullible. Really, everyday, so I'm a prime target. Ruggy actually proposed to me on April 1st! Yes, he did. And, as we lounged under a willow tree in dappled sunlight, he lovingly crooned April foooOOOOOooooools. Yes, I did smack him. Yes, he took it back. (The joke part.) Couldn't blame him, though--several months before that, I'd taken his nonchalant musing of Hey mebbe we should start looking at wedding dates as a bonafide proposal and was off to the races booking venues 6 seconds after he uttered his thoughts out loud. I kind of stole his actual proposal from him. Dude. Your bad. You spoka de word wedding.


However, I bear no ill will towards any of you pranksters! Joke away! I have nothing comical for you. But I do have MAGICAL FLORAL FLARES OF AWESOMENESS. They make me laugh! I hope they make you laugh too! HEY! MAYBE I DO HAVE JOKES AFTER ALL! 


Even if I'm the butt of the joke...


HAAAAR DEE HAR HAAAAAARRRRRRR.


So. These flares. I dove into these flares the day after I got my hands on this floral poly ponte-like knit (beware, jokesters! that's an affiliate link) from this mini fabric haul. They were born out of a need to fill the burning desire that this vintage pattern created in my brain. That there cover promised me a front seam! There is no front seam, just some bogus instruction to iron a freaking pleat! WHY IS EVERYONE TRYING TO PRANK ME?!


WHATEVER, LINE DRAWING! I cut the front leg pattern right up the middle, added some seam allowance, some side seam tapering, some neon coral topstitching, and basically went where my brain told me to without too much regard for perfection.



At under 4 bucks a yard, I wasn't too stressed about it. And hey lookee here, this cheapo baby was no joke, it sewed like a dream and feels like I'm wearing secret pajamas. Secret pajamas that are quite likely obvious to everyone in the surrounding vicinity.

oonaballoona | a blog by marcy harriell | sewing vintage floral flares

Well, my friends, that's what I've got for you on this Most Holy Of Court Jester Days. How's your Friday going? Any foolishness? Any expectation that I'll come back tomorrow and tell you I was just joshing with these crazypants?

(spoiler alert: I'M SO NOT.)