Hot Time! Tocca in the City!



What's that you say? It's technically still Spring? And drizzling outside? I'm sorry, you're mistaken. When you get six months of Winter, you get six months of Summer. I see nothing but blue skies. Them's the rules.

In celebration of this New World Order, I've finally made myself another maxi-fied Derby Dress, a pattern that hails from my summer-in-the-city girl Christine Haynes. It was high time to give my beloved rayon version a partner in Summer Crimes (read: drinking boozy cold things in hot sticky temperatures).

I maxi-fied this pattern for the first time about six years ago, for my birthday Promaballoona, to surprise Christine (she was one of the party hosts!). Then, pretty much immediately again in vintage rayon from mizz Lladybird Lauren, so this pattern has heaps of fond memories and good vibes in it. I honestly can't believe it took me so long to make another! I DO SO LIKE GOOD VIBES.

You can see more pics over at the Mood Sewing Network (aka the reason I missed posting a #wednesdaywip, as I had to get my monthly jam in over there. Also, yes, I've officially decided that posting a WIP every Wednesday is a silly rule. I know, it was worrying you. Shhhh. It's okay.)


#wednesdayWIP: McCalls 6044

When I don't know what to make, I make something for Rob. For no other reason than that I love him like words can't say. It occurs to me that this is the most selfish sewing I can think of, because it thrills me to no end to see him wearing something I stitched. And it's gotten a lot more thrilling since I've relieved myself of the pressure of getting it perfect. Don't get me wrong, I believe in perfection! I think that perfection, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Attainable perfection, if you will. But I have yet to make Rob a perfect garment. (To wit: check that buttonhole in the middle shot 😂)

Questionable buttonholes aside, this is largely due to the fact that I just don't have the reps in, man! I've made *who knows how many* dresses for myself, and they get better every time (well, sometimes it's a one-step-forward & two-steps-back kinda thing, but who's counting). Practice makes perfect, but with so few options out there for him pattern-wise, I can only practice so much.

I'm in the middle of McCall's 6044 at the moment, which has been used and abused errrrrywhere. (That's colorful language, there are myriad gorgeous renditions across the sewing blogishpere). It's...okay...but only after I abandoned the directions finish-wise, and removed some of that blousy sleeve cap ease. HOLY GATHERS, BATMAN.

It's hanging out, waiting for a try-on. 

Pam at Off the Cuff has some great tutorials on shirtmaking, I recommend devouring the posts on plackets & getting a pointed collar. Plackets! That reminds me, I want to make a tuxedo shirt for Rob! A proper one. To go with all my gowns.

I have no good finish to this post, and no idea how Wednesday snuck up like a stealth ninja! I SWEAR IT'S ONLY BEEN LIKE THREE DAYS IN KALKATROONAAN TIME. I haven't even had time to reply to your comments on the last WIP, but I'm stoked to hear that several of you went out and found that pattern for yourselves. You are gonna have a BLAST. (And I'm gonna rethink this whole self-inflicted Every Wednesday thing. 'KBYEEE!)


#wednesdayWIP: OOP Vogue 1806

#wednesdayWIP: OOP Vogue 1806

A package, covered in hearts, and filled with patterns, arrived last week. Prizes from a new friend and sewing sister who has the gift of knowing EXACTLY what song I'm sewing to at any given moment. (I don't know what you'd call this ability. ESP? Extra Song Perception?)

My sew-sister is into fancy!! This Badgley Mischka pattern immediately caught my magpie eye. LOOKIT THOSE STYLE LINES! Or rather, TRY TO FIND THOSE STYLE LINES ON THE ENVELOPE! A black dress and a back view does not a style line show.

#wednesdayWIP: OOP Vogue 1806

But gawdamighty there are some deliciously fun pattern pieces in this bodice.

#wednesdayWIP: OOP Vogue 1806

Last Sunday morning, I flitted merrily off in five different fabric directions, my scissors hovering in indecision, drunk on dreams of gowns...so I made myself stop and make a bodice toile, while I tried to pick the winner.

Then I went with all five candidates.

We've got: rose gold & blue floral guipure (both from Chic Fabrics), jacquard with the wrong side as public (Mood), some sort of textured doubleface woven (Trumart)...

...and another taffeta from Mood as underlining. (Maybe as lining, too, though I do have a sixth candidate for that. Naturally.)

The pattern calls for interfacing on all bodice pieces, which made me raise my eyebrows, but I did it on the front bodice pieces anyway. No bueno! See the rippling along the seam where the underbust meets the lower front bodice? GNASHING OF TEETH.

It's not as noticeable when it's on, but still. GNASHING OF TEETH. After my chompers relaxed, I decided to go with the taffeta underlining on the back bodice, instead of the recommended interfacing. 


So much more bueno, that I seriously considered ripping out that underbust...then I looked at all the clipping & notching and gave myself a reality check. Live & learn & wear the ripples. 

Perhaps they meant a non-fusible? Yeah, could be. It would have been better to go a little more highbrow and use silk organza as interfacing. But, as you know, classy isn't always my strongsuit.

To wit: my dressform, sized out in faux fur, and repaired in masking tape. UBER CLASSY.

Next up: deciding on what to use for the gown portion! YET ANOTHER FLORAL PRINT FOR SURE! And I'm going off-pattern on that slinky skirt. I like me a full sweep! 

I also like me more visits to this space, which my Mom tells me I'm not posting to enough, and should rectify. Mom is right! So, in an effort to do as I am told, I'm starting a Wednesday series in which I'll show you a work in progress. This first #wednesdaywip is very much inspired by my Mom, which I thought a fitting start (pun not intended, but heartily claimed.) We were rained out on Mother's Day, and so we postponed our visit to her fabulous jungle of a garden. As I threw this cornucopia of fabrics together, I thought about how she paints with a stunning variety of leaf and flower. It's really incredible. I wanted this dress to be like her garden in bloom.

So, whatcha working on? Join me in parading if you like, we all love some fabric porn! Tag it #wednesdaywip so we can peep it!


oonaballoona brain

Rob & I have spent the last seven days in a furious nonstop tornado of creativity, with some of the MOST WONDERFUL human beings around. Saying "I really can't tell you how much this week meant to me" is such a cop-out, but... I really can't tell you. For one, our recent capers are still top secret, and for two, English has left the building of My Brain.

I do, however, have the picture that perfectly encapsulates my feelings, with this shot captured by our fearless director, who joyfully jumped right smack dab in the middle of my technicolor head, feet first. This right here is what the inside of my brain looks like.

I can't wait to tell you more! But for now, I just wanted to say OH HAI, and HOW ARE YOU, and wish you a frenzied, freewheeling weekend of creating. More soooooon!


Four Faux Fronts.

oonaballoona | Four Faux Fronts.

It's been a minute since I posted a What Was I Drinking, but it's certainly not because it's not happening. I'm just not documenting it. Last weekend, however, I had the pleasure of cutting out a center front bodice for a strapless halter dress FOUR TIMES without a satisfying result. I snapped a pic, I threw my arms up in the air, I stomped away before I did more damage. 

Three were cut on the bias to create a chevron effect, one was cut on the fold, all are going in the "figure it out" pile. 

It's a Dutch wax print, actually labeled as a "Kente print" on the selvedge. This printed fabric is very different from a true woven Kente cloth, which hails from Ghana, and is made of interwoven cloth strips (here's a very cool short video on how Kente cloth is woven). It was originally reserved for Asante/Ashanti royalty only. And damn if I didn't end up making some sort of plaid tartan out of it. Not that I'm not down with plaid. Or tartan. Or mixing up cultures and races. Peanut butter and chocolate. Sauvignon and steak. Whathaveyou. I'm down with it. Obviously. 

BUT UGH WITH THOSE CENTER FRONT PANELS. I think what's really tripping me up is that forest green, a color I've never really gone for. So I must have been drinking something super strong when I put this jammie in my cart, because forest green is ALL OVER this stuff.

I'm probably going to cut my losses (a phrase borne out of sewing if I ever heard one, but probably having origins in accounting) and make a voluminous maxi skirt out of it, to keep the green out of my immediate sight. If I can work out how to keep just that orange up near my head, I'll go maxi dress. But that's another great thing about wax print, with all that yardage at hand, you have some room to play...

And play I will, as today looks to be all weather and not much else. I'm thinking of building a blanket fort out of all the ankara I've got. It would be like Planet Color. Where it is perpetually summer. 

Have you experienced a true Kente cloth? I'd love to fondle the real thing someday!


Ten Years In Fabric: A Decade of Sewing!

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | Ten Years In Fabric: A Decade of Sewing!

Well HELL'S BELLS! (I've been listening to a lot of AC/DC). It's my ten year blogging anniversary today! TEN YEARS! A decade of oversaturated photos accompanied by occasionally coherent yammering, and I have nothing prepared for this moment! ONLY MY CAPS LOCK BUTTON, BOLDFACE, AND MULTIPLE EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!

When I started this space, it was for my parents. Social media hadn't hit, and plastering your face all over the world wide web was still questionable. But a cross-country move made carving out a little visual corner of the internet a no-brainer, just to keep in touch with something a little more than a phone call, you know? It's grown into much more than I ever thought it would. I feel I ought to do something to mark the occasion, and I will...I just need a minute to figure out what that is. Because, y'all, I been BUSY. Like my mom says, when I'm radio silent on the blog, she knows I'm busy. (Cuz they still read my blog. I love my parents.)

For now, I thought it would be fun to whizz through my virtual closet and pick a sewn item for each year I've blogged. Up above, you've got from top left corner: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008. Everything in yonder collage still exists in my closet (save for the leather belt, which was for my Etsy adventures in 2009). The nice thing is...it got harder to pick a favorite as I got further along in my sewing escapades! I think that means I know what I like now. And I like what I sew.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | Ten Years In Fabric: A Decade of Sewing!

As for 2018, I haven't made my favorite thing yet, but the wax print on my dress form is driving me happily bananas. Although I'd sewn with it before, 2017 was the year I fell fully in love with this wonderful stuff. In fact, 2017's pick was the hardest...so much Ankara! HEY. HEY!!! I know what I want to do for my celebratory gesture! 

Okay but I'm not telling you yet. I gotta figure some shizz out. Soon! Until then...thanks for hanging out with me, beautiful people. Here's to future cocktails, capers, and above all, color!


Simplicity, With a Little Complication.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | a sewing blog

When we venture South for the holidays, my suitcase is stuffed with 20% everyday, 80% special occasion. Not that I don't dress for every day as if it were a special occasion! I do. I really do. But, this is the kind of bling that even I can't justify donning for what is, mainly, at-home family gatherings. 

Bling that has a slit up to here...

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | a sewing blog

And that likes to get frisky...

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | a sewing blog

With any little hint of a breeze...

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | a sewing blog

It just doesn't say "holiday brunch and Scrabble," you know?

Still, I pack the things I can wear for all of 15 minutes, in anticipation of documentation in more forgiving temperatures. It was 64 degrees when Rob & I ran joyously outdoors to snap this dress, and I am 100% basted into it.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | a sewing blog

YES YES Y'ALL, I had my first zipper fail of my sewing career!! Hair and makeup ready, jewelry set, I went to zip her up, and the coil came FULLY away from the tape, right in the middle of the seam. It wasn't too tight, it was too old. At the time, the only zip I had of an appropriate color was my "basting zipper," a plastic job that had been used and reused so many times, I've lost count. 

It could've been worse, it could've happened during its maiden voyage, while I was singing in it 😳

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | a sewing blog

When I trudged out of the guest bedroom in defeat, holding the wounded brocade in my clenched fists, Rob wouldn't take no for an answer. "You have a needle and thread? You have no problem."

I MEAN REALLY. He knows exactly how to goad me into competition with myself.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | a sewing blog

But I think I'll be inserting a nice, new, unused zip, now that we're home. 

Bodice: Mimi G for Simplicity 1115 (great!!) which I joined at the waist to...
Skirt: Simplicity 1099 (not great!! Why do I keep using this pattern?! I've made the skirt here and top here, and the draft on both cause gnashing of teeth at some point in construction. On the skirt, I always have to change the weird pleats on the front at the last minute.)
Fabric: Brocade from Janky Store in NY's garment district, lined with silk CDC from Chic Fabrics.
Zipper: In a trash bin somewhere in Arkansas.

Happy New Year, peeps! May you have all the closure you require... and needle & thread, should it fail you.