7.30.2018

Behind the Seams with Re:Fashion, our new series on bluprint!

Behind the Seams with Re:Fashion, our new series on bluprint!

WELL HELLO DRESSFORM OF MY DREAMS. Y'all, dreams *do* come true in Hollywood!

Though that leggy dressform didn't make it home with me, I really do mean that bit about dreams, because in the past year, sewing and acting have come together for me like fine champagne and dark chocolate; it's a dream come true that I didn't even know I had. Our new series, Re:Fashion, just launched on bluprint, and I am actually beside myself. I am most certainly and ridiculously happy to be beside Rob, who also stars in the show, bringing his special blend of sewing insouciance to the mix. (The looks, people. THE LOOKS.)

Re:Fashion is about, well, refashioning, but it's also about getting into what works for your closet, upcycling, looking past a pattern envelope, trying something new, shifting gears when something goes awol...it's Re(garding) Fashion. We wanted this show to be an extension of the blog, and so over the month of August (my birthday month!) I'll be highlighting each of the five "series 1" episodes in my usual blog style--i.e, a finished garment post, in which I talk very little about actual sewing. If it ain't broke don't fix it, eh? Don't worry, over on the series I do talk actual sewing.

We had an amazing team of stupendously creative people behind this, and hopefully, our efforts will inspire you to bust into your closet, your patterns, your building's recycling center, and wreak some havoc with fabric.

Most importantly, we hope to give you a break from the world, and make you smile.

(The detail type stuff: for those who don't know, Craftsy Unlimited is now bluprint, an extension of NBC U, the network that is also giving us the gift of Amy Poehler & Nick Offerman in Making It *YES IT HAPPENS TOMORROW NIGHT AND I DON'T CARE IF I SOUND LIKE AN AD, I AM DANCING WITH UNABASHED JOY OVER HERE*. Craftsy as we know it still exists-- you can still buy à la carte classes and enjoy your life there.  But for the cost of a handful of Craftsy classes, you can subscribe to bluprint, and get unlimited access to all of those Craftsy classes, plus new series like Re:Fashion. Details over! See you August 1st with the first behind the seams ;)

7.28.2018

McCalls 7745: Advantage, Jersey

McCalls 7745: Advantage, Jersey | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

Although I'm usually in the minority when it comes to what I consider to be "neutral," in recent years, a commonly held acceptance of "animal-print-as-neutral" has developed, and the “rule” is: animal print is a neutral so long as you don’t pair it with another print. (We watched an old episode of "Friends" last night, please picture me "air quoting" everything à la Joey.)

McCalls 7745: Advantage, Jersey | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

This "rule" is where I juke left; I have several coordinating pieces of various wildlife in my closet, and I swear they go with EVERYTHING! However, my wardrobe was lacking a full-on leopard print dress, for those times when you need an easy, solid basic--something quick 'n classy. Because quick 'n classy go together.

McCalls 7745: Advantage, Jersey | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

I scooped up this hybrid leopard/python/giraffish rayon jersey print at Mood Fabrics for my MSN July allowance, and informed Rob I was going Full Florida. I don’t know why I associate a leopardish maxi dress with Florida. But in my head, when you arrive for the 5 o’clock early bird buffet, you’re wearing this. QUICK 'N CLASSY.

McCalls 7745: Advantage, Jersey | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

This is McCall’s 7745, sized down to accommodate for jersey. I didn't have much luck with it in the recommended woven. It was sort of baggy on top, the darts as-patterned are kind of gigantic--but I thought a nice stretch fabric might take the wrinkles out. (I find that if you take a woven pattern down two sizes, you're good to go for jersey. But be ready for some shucking and jiving, it doesn't always go swimmingly!)

The bodice is fully lined in animal deliciousness as well, all seams are enclosed, and therefore reversible. This gave me the option to decide which side I preferred before attaching the skirt. I love using fashion fabric as lining for that reason, you have double the choices when starting to sew! Especially when using haphazard prints. Which I usually am.

McCalls 7745: Advantage, Jersey | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

I lengthened the ties, and made it a true wrap dress by leaving a gap in the right side seam of the bodice.

McCalls 7745: Advantage, Jersey | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

Now, if you’ll excuse me, Rob's making pancakes 'n bacon for my birthday week! PANCAKES 'N BACON!!!!!! I might throw this on and pretend we're at a "super" early bird buffet.

(ps: no tennis courts were harmed in the taking of these photos. I trod lightly.)

7.05.2018

McCalls 7745: The ¡Ay, Caramba! Kente Skirt

McCalls 7745: The ¡Ay, Caramba! Kente Skirt

My apologies for the smirky faces--I shot these with a timer on the side of the Henry Hudson Parkway, trying not to laugh at myself as cars just below me buzzed by in confusion at the lone chick twirling in twenty-two colors.

McCalls 7745: The ¡Ay, Caramba! Kente Skirt

Before I wander too far down the path of run-on alliterated sentences, lemme change things up and talk about the garment. I'm all talked out for the moment about everything else. So. Sewing talk, yes? OH LET'S DO.

McCalls 7745: The ¡Ay, Caramba! Kente Skirt

This skirt was borne out of the need to do something with a six yard cut of wax print, done in a traditional Kente pattern. (The fabric hails from Mood, as part of my fabric allowance for the Mood Sewing Network.) When it arrived, I was surprised at the amount of forest green and royal blue running through the print, which are not my colors at all! (Which is why I put it in my cart? Which is why I own a royal blue crop top?) There seemed to be little hope of getting just the warm tones on the bodice...but I tried to force my original plan of a strapless maxi dress with a circle skirt anyways. After FOUR unsuccessful attempts to cut a pleasing bodice, I abandoned ship and put the rest of the yardage away before I got into rage cutting. 

McCalls 7745: The ¡Ay, Caramba! Kente Skirt

As I mulled over some really great suggestions on piecing the bodice, it occurred to me that the planned circle skirt would definitely produce some frown lines in such a linear print. Y'all, I hate frown lines of all kinds. (Smile lines, in the cloth of humans, I'm good with.) This was quickly moving into the realm of Fabric Regret.


Emily Hallman's pink gingham skirt popped up in my feed back in May, and like many of her gorgeous creations, I wanted it, but in my colors. Our styles are completely different, and yet I so admire everything about her vibe. 

McCalls 7745: The ¡Ay, Caramba! Kente Skirt

It occurred to me that this squared Kente print had the same linear feel as Emily's large scale gingham print, and the prospect of using Kente to copy a gingham inspiration seemed pretty delicious--a southern gal in a traditionally casual, picnic gingham, and a city chick in Kente print, traditionally reserved for royalty, both sporting the same style lines? HOW COULD I NOT TRY IT. And as that ruffle came to be, a Spanish Flamenco vibe drifted on into the mix, and I pronounced it the ¡Ay, Caramba! Kente skirt. I can barely walk in it without lifting the side and pounding the pavement to the music in my head.  

Is any of this making sense? As I said earlier, I'm all talked out about everything, BUT, the gist of these multicultural fragments floating around in my head concerning these sistah-from-anotha-mistah skirts is: Melting Pot. The sewing community has it.

McCalls 7745: The ¡Ay, Caramba! Kente Skirt

Like Emily, I used McCall's 7745, skirt portion only, adding a waistband with long extended ties, with an opening on one side to make it a true wrap skirt (Emily went with hooks & eyes for closures, and a shorter tie length). I also made those ruffles wider than the pattern called for, which was delighting me to no end until I tried on the finished skirt...as patterned, the ruffles extend the full length of the hem, which meant a great big piece of gathered fabric was hanging out on my hip right under the wrapped portion. Emily wouldn't stand for it, I thought, and so, out came the seam ripper. To reduce the bulk, I removed the gathering from the "underskirt" portion from waist to mid-thigh, and cut a curve into the (de-ruffled) ruffle, tapering up to the waistline. It's probably not an issue when sticking to the width of the ruffle as patterned, but next time I'll do this right off the bat anyways.


Because there will be a next time! I love the shape of it...and even more, I love the the great big memory stew of it.