Vogue 9106 (ish.)

Vogue 9106 (ish.) | sewing blog | oonaballoona | by marcy harriell

My closet was always schizophrenic. As a kid, I loved to crash bang through a riot of color, and come up with a different character every day. Given my penchant for costume and spotlight, acting was the obvious path for me. Having many roles imposed upon me by many eyes meant having many outfits! YES PLEASE.  

Vogue 9106 (ish.) | sewing blog | oonaballoona | by marcy harriell

Long before I sewed, I turned to RTW to play the part I was after. And then Stitching Superpowers entered the mix. Armed with my new skills, I could truly make whatever "costume" I needed! 

Vogue 9106 (ish.) | sewing blog | oonaballoona | by marcy harriell

....except the role I've really always wanted to play is Technicolor Free Spirit, so whatever pattern I usually cast myself in (Business Woman, Ballet Patron, Demure Yogi) gets hacked & colorized so much it turns out to be nothing like the original design (see; Free Spirt), and nowadays I'd diagnose my closet as Delusional Bohemian. 

Vogue 9106 (ish.) | sewing blog | oonaballoona | by marcy harriell

Example: This is Vogue 9106, a Vintage reprint intended for crisp fabrics, not the swooshy drapey viscose you see here. Also intended: cut on sleeves & knee length skirt with side gathers and CF seam. 

Vogue 9106 (ish.) | sewing blog | oonaballoona | by marcy harriell

But I changed the role to suit me, with a button placket extending to crotch level, and a gathered waist that attached to a curved hip yoke that attached to another curved, gathered skirt panel...

Vogue 9106 (ish.) | sewing blog | oonaballoona | by marcy harriell

And elastic picot trim on the neckline & armsyce, when I decided to lose the sleeves! I know it's a bit hard to see the style lines for the floral bouquets (See; Technicolor), so here's the line drawing, and here's what I did:

I forgot to draw in the added back waistline gathers. Listen... I'm no Gillian, with the cute computer sketches! 

Vogue 9106 (ish.) | sewing blog | oonaballoona | by marcy harriell

I wish I'd snapped a before/after pic, because removing those sleeves really changed the whole vibe for me. Also wishing I'd added some piping to highlight the intersection of hip yoke/gathered skirt panel, but, c'est la vie. I'll keep it in mind for another role.

Vogue 9106 (ish.) | sewing blog | oonaballoona | by marcy harriell

This is the kind of typecasting I can get into.

Hey, wanna see another gal's take on this fabric? Unbeknownst to either of us, Sallie Oh and I cast ourselves in the same fabric, different colorway, for our June Mood Sewing Network projects. Sallie made a gorgeous knee length semi-shirt dress for a very romantic role indeed. Shorty made the maxi, Legs Diamond made the knee length! I smell a screwball buddy comedy in the making. 


The Pink Handheld Steamer: Confusing Non-Sewists Everywhere.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | The Pink Handheld Steamer: Confusing Non-Sewists Everywhere.

It's pink, it's oddly shaped, it has one job, and it does it well. 

(But it also has a side hustle of freaking non-sewing people out. Something about it says "1950's vibratory relaxation." I know this, because I asked a friend of mine when I caught her side-eyeing it with a confused, furrowed brow. "I know it isn't what I think it is...but I don't know what it is.")

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | The Pink Handheld Steamer: Confusing Non-Sewists Everywhere.

What it is is a fantastic companion to my iron. This little pink thing will steam your finished clothes into billowy goodness. You fill the roomy base with water, plug it in and let it heat up while you choose your outfit for the day, then steam away the wrinkles, sans ironing board. I like to hang whatever I'm steaming on our closet's drapery rod, to get it from all angles, but you could easily use your shower rod. 

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | The Pink Handheld Steamer: Confusing Non-Sewists Everywhere.

Those great big steam holes never drip, they just produce beautiful steam! And the cord is nice and long-- about 97 inches. I suppose, if you had the space, you could even steam out yardage, but I like to do that with my Maytag iron on my ironing board. (Oh yeah...and I'm researching ironing boards next.)

I don't like to recommend any equipment to y'all before I've had it and loved it for several months, and I've actually had my Jiffy Pink E Steam for over two years now! I've just been a slowpoke in sharing it with you. It hovers around 60 bucks, and also comes in black (but really why would you get black when you can haz TECHNICOLOR). My Maytag Smartfill iron (which you can see in the corner edges of these photos, with the water tank removed) is also still going strong, over three years-- I just bought a backup as the price has dropped to 30 bucks. Because OBVIOUSLY I need an iron for civilians who think steamers are...well...not steamers. (Fun fact! The first pleasurable device was powered by... steam! And was electrified only behind the sewing machine, fan, and toaster! I found this out when googling other words for pleasurable devices. Because I'm really looking forward to the weird traffic which will certainly follow my lead-in paragraph.)

Links in this post are affiliated and will whisk you to Amazon! Please let your fingers do the googling if you're not into that. Any pennies earned will go towards the sewing & blogging habit...and the occasional treat for my photographer.


Vogue 1239 : Wrap me in Rucci

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewing blog | Vogue 1239 : Wrap me in Rucci

Welcome, Summer. So glad you're here. A little bummed that I can't wear this maxi wrap dress, made back in Spring, but really, who knows with our new fickle seasons? I keep my closet all temperature now. Like a bottle of Cheer. Do they still make Cheer?

I'm getting too deep.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewing blog | Vogue 1239 : Wrap me in Rucci

You see how my brain flits about. Concentration doesn't come easily to me. To boot, there's very little space in there once something is done. I therefore remember only hints about the making of this pattern, Vogue 1239 by Ralph Rucci. I do recall it was LOADS of fun, super interesting seamwork, lots of topstitching and getting into precise corners...

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewing blog | Vogue 1239 : Wrap me in Rucci

Can you see those intersections where the sleeve meets the front & collar? No? It happens on the back too! Here, let me pull my hair up for you...

No? Still hidden? Bit of a busy print, you say? I KNOW!!! ISN'T IT AWESOME?!!! This was another find from the glorious AKN Fabrics (located both here in town and online). At the brick and mortar, this six yard cut of Ankara set me back 22 bucks. 

Ya heard me. Twenty two smackeroos. 

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewing blog | Vogue 1239 : Wrap me in Rucci


oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewing blog | Vogue 1239 : Wrap me in Rucci

Even with six yards, I still did a bit of jigsawing with this pattern, especially since I decided to maxify it, lengthening the hem panels to sweep the floor. I gained a little bit of elbow room by reducing the width of the side gussets by 2". Speaking of elbows, I messed with the sleeves too. I think maybe I raised the waist by 1 1/4"? Oh yeah, and I only used one side of the front wrap! And threw a wide horsehair braid in the faced hem...

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewing blog | Vogue 1239 : Wrap me in Rucci

OH HELL. You don't come here for the explicit sewing details, right? You come here to maybe laugh and hopefully get inspired to hack into some fabric, yeah? LOOK MAN. THIS IS A FUN PATTERN. GO MAKE IT!

(I know. Sorry. I'll try and dig up my notes on this, if there's interest in that side of my brain. It's wild in there.) 


Full Floral for Spring

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | Full Floral for Spring

It’s time to play Guess How Many Pattern Pieces Are In This Very Simple Looking Skirt. Ready?

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | Full Floral for Spring

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | Full Floral for Spring

If you guessed 17, you win no prize whatsoever, unless you’d like to laugh at my insanity.

I suppose I could have achieved this sort of swishability with a gathered circle skirt– and gotten to that achievement in a much timelier fashion– but I really had a hankering to play with some godets! I mean seriously...I JUST WANTED TO ATTACH GREAT BIG BUNCHES OF ISOSCELES TRIANGLES TO SOMETHING.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | Full Floral for Spring

This stretch twill hails from Mood Fabrics (sidebar: it was my May offering for the network, but the post mysteriously vanished from the MSN site, which is partially why I almost always repost! I like to have my stuff over here at my joint. Plus I'm *kind of* a control freak. Moving on.) The fabric is on the thin side, and wrinkles easily. It's a bit translucent in full sun, so I attached a half slip lining to the inner waistband. 

I gathered every other panel, just to incorporate a few more invisible elements into this “simple” skirt. HA. And, because I just can’t seem to stop tinkering with it, I am 100% going back in to that waistband and using a stiffer interfacing! Or maybe some petersham. The soft fusible I used just isn’t enough support, as you can see by the crease line running horizontal. No bueno.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | Full Floral for Spring

This hasn’t stopped me from wearing it as a floral talisman against the never-ending drizzle that is Spring…and getting some appreciative comments to boot. In fact, I went full head-to-toe floral yesterday, and got smiles all around. If only I'd stumbled onto that combo for these pics...but luckily I made Rob document the floral explosion on Instagram. Poor Rob. He doesn't quite get my reinvigorated passion for wearing ALL OF THE PRINTS. I blame it on Man Repeller (which is living up to its name nicely, considering my husband's bemused demeanor) and the general state of the world. Sometimes, you just need to wear all of the flowers.


Simplicity 8013: Sanity Sewing!

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | Simplicity 8013: Sanity Sewing!

YOWZA. I'm back from a shoot in Pittsburgh and playing catch up! I've been rabid to show you this dress since I finished it a month ago, so I'm going to give myself a pass on creating my usual, slightly incoherent paragraphs to go along with it.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | Simplicity 8013: Sanity Sewing!

Or maybe I have a couple of things to say.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | Simplicity 8013: Sanity Sewing!

I DO NOT DO WELL AWAY FROM ROB. That would be the first and main thing. Although I had a wonderful time with the people of Pittsburgh (the phrase "salt of the earth" is not only applicable but proven there), don't let my wackadoo grin fool you: when apart, we simply wilt like plants that need sunlight. 

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | Simplicity 8013: Sanity Sewing!

Also, we make questionable choices. Anyone around here remember Rob's One Man DIY Bathroom Renovation of 2013?*  Well, a month ago, when I careened through this dress, it was Rob who was out of town, and me making bad choices. While none of them involved a sledgehammer, I got drunk on a heady mixture of power and loneliness, and rearranged the entire apartment into my sewing domain. 

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | Simplicity 8013: Sanity Sewing!

The kitchen table was shoved out into the middle of the room, fully extended, covered in rulers and blades! Rob's desk was commandeered, all flat surfaces held a sewing machine! Small mountains of Ankara were piled on sofa and chairs! Lamps, railings, drawer pulls, ANYTHING HOOKABLE was repurposed as hanging racks for a dozen or more projects! Stitch centric podcasts blared! (with the occasional break for King of The Hill and Jill Scott.) It was a creative war zone, made to keep my sad brain occupied. But in the end, my war zone only reminded me that I was filling up all the space that Rob wasn't using, which just made me miss him more.

I've got three finished Ankara maxi dresses from that week to show you, and all of them are evidence of questionable choices made when apart. On this diddy, ooooo, take a gander at that back view! That's not just twinning, that's quadrupleting! The passerby might not mind it, but it makes my right eye do the boogie woogie--and not in a good way. 

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | Simplicity 8013: Sanity Sewing!

Nevertheless, I obviously feel good in it! (And I did make the very good choice of packing up some dresses to shoot during my downtime in Pittsburgh, as evidenced by the ever present remote in my right hand.) I'm happy to be back home and together, and happy to give myself a pass on a happy dress sewn to ease a state of sad brain!

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | Simplicity 8013: Sanity Sewing!

Pattern: Simplicity 8013
Fabric: Anakara from AKN Fabrics --a VERY early birthday gift from my girl, Carolyn!!💕❤️
Reduced the width in each skirt panel, eliminating the gathers at the waistline. 
Used only the "flat" side of the bodice
Straightened the front bodice side seam by adding 1/2" width, tapering to nothing at armsyce
Shortened the sleeves, and added a 1/2" horsehair in the sleeve hem
Added a box pleat to the back skirt panels
Cut the CF panel in 2 to make the faux wrap appear less faux
Cut a deep V back 
Added twill tape to the V neck , front and back



The Trees for the Forest

Heeeeere's to the LAAAAYdies who LUNCH, Rob crooned when he caught a glimpse of my getup. I hollered back laughter. Yep. Not my style, is it.

I don't know how to explain my fascination with this fabric. It's my Mood Sewing Network April offering, a scuba print from Anna Sui, found in-store. The more I looked at it, the uglier it got, and the uglier it got, the more I had to have it! Do you know what I mean? I truly can't explain it!

Making something for yourself that ultimately turns out to be not your style can be a bummer. And, in the middle of #fashrev week, it also points out the waste that we sewists can produce. But I like to look at the flip side of the coin. I enjoyed every minute of making this--I tried new techniques, and I made it well. Is that wasteful?

Everyone has their line in the sand. Leaving aside the myriad (important, ethical, needed) reasons for the focus of this week, my personal #fashionrevolution is about taking the reigns of my style, and making beautiful (or in this case, INSANE) armor with my own two hands. Do I save every scrap and try my best to use every inch of what I have? Just ask the bags of remnants waiting for their purpose in life. But my revolution also leaves room for discarding the things that keep me from moving forward. It leaves room for guilt free "failures." Creating, and trying, and succeeding, and failing, are all part of constant growth--the positives of creating something almost always outweighs any final outcome. As far as waste goes, time well spent isn't a waste.

What's more: the fact that I made it with my own two hands means it isn't going anywhere soon. Had I bought this piece RTW (likely at a fast fashion, cheap store, because that's what my wallet allowed when I shopped), it would be so easy to discard it. But when you know by execution the amount of work that went into it, it's not so easy. Luckily so! Just last week, I did a 180 and fell in love with a silk shirt dress that had languished unworn in my handmade closet for a full year.

Maybe a year's time will change my mind. Maybe this weirdo jacket would look exceptional on someone else! Who knows. It's not going in the bin, at any rate. There's too much thought in it for that. You can see it in a more sensible photo setting over at the Mood Sewing Network, including detail shots of the fancy bits that gave me hours of such tremendous glee.

What's your line in the sand for your Fashion Revolution?


Hemp time: Summer in the city.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewing | hemp negroni

Ain't he handsome? That's my Dad, all decked out in a Hemp Linen Negroni, with mother of pearl buttons. (I know, I know, you can't really see that sharp mug. He's keeping it incognito. Because of The Man.)

This rare sighting is many layered. Dad is wearing not only a solid color, but NON color. I inherited my sense of technicolorality from my parents, dontcha know. Come summer, Jams are his jam. So the request for this neutral shirt was a bit of a shock.

Not a shock: the desire for hemp. For years now, Dad has had a 100% hemp shirt on his wishlist, despite my protestations. Because LISTEN. I searched here, there, and everywhere for hemp fabric, and all I found were cardboard rolls of scratchiness, in the most unsatisfying color palette imaginable. Holidays would roll in, and I would hand over psychedelic Negronis in barkcloth...linen...rayon...cotton...his Charlie Brown closet was starting to fill up nicely, but there was a large hemp shaped hole. (I'll let you imagine what that might look like.)

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewing | hemp negroni

Then Organic Cotton Plus contacted me, and the heavens opened up and sang. Well, I mean, they didn't sing for me, the color palette is obviously very much out of the oonasphere, but OH SO MANY CHOICES for my Dad! I'm delighted when I can collaborate to sew something up for my people! (And although solids are not my style, I assume the range of color choices is excellent for about 99% of the population. I should perhaps dip my toes into the realm of "solids." I hear they are good for "coordinating.") 

This is exactly the classic, lightweight summer shirt my Dad wanted, hue and all. He went for this hemp linen (which is far less yellow than pictured, at least on my screen). 

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewing | hemp negroni

And although I hollered over the lack of color, it was seriously sweet to work with. It had such a crisp, lofty drape upon arrival, I decided to go the RTW route and sewed it up before washing the yardage. SHOCK AND HORROR! My reasoning was twofold: the hand was so beautiful, and it pressed so cleanly, I thought leaving it alone would make the sewing of it a delight. (I was correct). Reason number two: Dad prefers a slouchy Negroni, and although I've told him many times that we could go down a size and still get the slouch factor, he will have none of it. 


So, I thought, if I lose a little ease in the post-wash, no biggie. And since this is a cold wash, lay flat to dry fabric, going the post-wash route wasn't a problem at all.

LOOKIT THAT POSE! Where did you think I get my skillz from?

I can already hear what my Dad will say: You shoulda posted this on 4/20. Yep. Missed opportunity, that. Luckily I've found my hemp source for future themed posts. Stay tuned for 4/20/2018: The Return Of The Hemp. 

But don't expect to see his mug. That's top secret stuff.

Organic Cotton Plus supplied the fabric for this post. Thanks OCP, for making my Dad's hemp dreams a reality!


An Outfit for SewSew Def

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewsew def

A few short weeks ago, when there were still piles of weathered, traffic beaten snow on the city streets, three Californians wrapped in newly minted down coats arrived on my doorstep. Barefoot, grinning, and clad in a seasonally inappropriate crop top and pencil skirt, I bear hugged each of them before they could get a word out.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewsew def

Underneath their coats, Mimi G, Norris Danta Ford and April Hartsfield were as fashionable as you'd expect, and although we have a no-shoes rule upon entering casa Kalkatroona, I had decided in advance to lift this ban. There was NO WAY I was asking Mimi to take off her kicks. That would be like asking someone to take off their pants. Her kicks are a non-negotiable part of her ensemble. Norris, however, caught sight of my toes and immediately joined me in my bohemian vibe, which provoked laughter all around, a sound that continued for the next two lovely hours, while we videotaped an interview for their new multicultural sewing magazine: SewSew Def.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewsew def

Here's the thing: I had no idea I was even on Mimi's radar. Though I haven't talked about it much--if at all--I've been following Mimi since I started blogging. Many of my ensembles have been inspired by her eye for fabric and her out-of-the-pattern-envelope-box thinking. I've just...never mentioned it. I began to imagine how, once meeting IRL, I'd confess, you know, parts of my deepest soul. I'd say something super un-awkward like You are so pretty. I've been a little scared of you for years. I was fairly certain you were like the perfect girls in high school that didn't like me because I was a little too white or a little too black or a little too italian or a little too whatever-part-of-me-that-didn't-fit so I just kind of quietly lurked in the shadows and got inspired by your stuff.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewsew def

You know, the sort of lighthearted conversation you make when you're meeting someone you've only known via a computer screen for the first time.


oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewsew def

(Obviously, she would go body-con, and she'd whip it up without a pattern, which is exactly what I did. And she would wear the perfect kicks and sunnies for the shoot, which I *tried* to do. But look, I own two pair of sunnies, and don't even start me on my shoe collection. It's more like a shoe box.)

You can see us laughing our way through all manner of things on SewSew Def's youtube channel-- the interview is just under half an hour, and listen: she surprises me at the end. Actually, we surprised each other a few times. Fortunately, they made it SFW. And you can subscribe digitally to SewSew Def here, monthly or yearly. Bonus, two patterns are included with each issue, one for the gals and one for the guys. (Cue Rob's dance of joy. Soon, he will have very def t-shirts.)

I know I sort of claw my way through a story, picking up bits and thoughts here and there, so here's what I really want to say: I'm so thrilled to know the real version of Mimi, and not the person my high school mind created. She's the antithesis of that girl. Though we are a diverse and barrier-free community, that's not always evident at a high level--the companies at the top have been slow to catch on to that fact. Mimi has been the face of ethnicity in the sewing universe. It would be easy to corner that market, but instead, she's using that power to lift others up. This magazine is a burst of color in every sense of the word--take a peek at the contributors page: it looks like the world. I'm honored to be a part of the first issue, and I can't wait to see MORE.


Throwback Flares

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | embroidered birkin flares

Well, hello, Thursday. How YOU doin'. What's that, baby? You wanna throw it back? All right mama! I got you! It just so happens I have a handful of pictures and a mouthful of words all ready to go, from way back in spring of 2016. Lay back, Thursday. Let's #tbt this.

Take it away, voice of Marcy past...

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | embroidered birkin flares


Lemme get right to it, I'm not sure how long my time travel layover will last. What we have here are the Birkin Flares, done up in a non stretch denim. I KNOW! This is my third dance with this beauty of a pattern, and I have yet to use the actual suggested denim weight. What can I say, I fall in love with a fabric, and I make it do what I want.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | embroidered birkin flares

And I fell very hard for this fabric: a lovely, medium weight, all cotton denim that looks like it went through an Instagram filter. It hails from Chic Fabrics. (Future Me would like to note that they are indeed still open, go and give them some love. I wish I'd bought the whole bolt, because Future Me would also like to note that I NEVER run across denim like this. Le sigh of hindsight.)

In order to accomplish this zero-stretch matchup, I cut two sizes larger than my suggested size, and used 3/8ths SA. I find this gem of a pattern to be very fit-as-you-go friendly, so I just used basting stitches at the appropriate time, and then did a good amount of testing by walking around Ye Olde Apartment: sitting, squatting, karate kicking…after an hour or so with booty & side seams still intact, I sewed them up for real, complete with periwinkle topstitching.

Only I kept the basting in at the knee down to the hem, because I planned on absolutely covering the lower legs with flowers.
oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | embroidered birkin flares

Would that I could have basted-in my first embroidery try!! I decided on a heeeoooouge vase full of holly hobby-ish flowers, and at, oh, about the second to last color change, I realized it wasn’t the look I was going for. Many an instagrammer lamented the impending carnage that was about to happen with my trusty seam ripper, but I knew what I had to do. 

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | embroidered birkin flares

My next route was a collection of patterns from Embroidery Library: a handful of beautiful free floating blossoms, which I merrily hopped back and forth betwixt. Basically, I painted with thread wherever I wanted. 

Watching those flowers appear was like a magic show.  I didn't want it to end! Yet, just before embarking on the other leg, I recalled the hours spent ripping out poor embroidery decisions (y'all, I even went at it with a shaving razor). I quickly consulted my own personal Tim Gunn. “More? MOAR??! SHOULD I DO THE OTHER LEG?” I panted, drunk on embroidery. It was Rob’s opinion that the cacophony should be confined to just one gam: “Otherwise, it would be clear that you bought these instead of crafted them.”
oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | embroidered birkin flares

This gave me pause.

WHOOOOOSH. Oh, bye Past Marcy! Bye Girl! That's where you stopped typing! You take yourself too literally, Past Marcy. But thanks for coming by! Now let me tell you what, y'all... Present Marcy is seriously considering ripping out some stitches again. The denim is perfect...the flowers are perfect...but the variegated pastel thread makes me melancholic. MELANCHOLIC, I TELL YOU! There's enough melancholy out there, yeah? Who needs more on their jeans?!

So. You may agree with me, you may try to talk me out of it, but you should know that all versions of me are quite stubborn. But I'm open to suggestions before I grab my razor...