8.29.2018

Vogue 9253 & Clothes Making Mavens!

Vogue 9253 & Clothes Making Mavens! | oonaballoona | a sewing blog by Marcy Harriell

I'm under the wire for another top-secret misson, so it's a very quick one for my last post on series 1 of Re:Fashion on bluprint! 

Vogue 9253 & Clothes Making Mavens! | oonaballoona | a sewing blog by Marcy Harriell

Episode 5, The Festival Robe, dealt with refashioning a garment you've sewn from scratch. I know that many of us are loathe to remake something we've already made, but I myself am far more loathe to make something, dislike it, and decide the time spent on it was too precious to hack into it again! I wanna wear the shizz I make, man! One could say I also say I am far too stubborn to fail. One would be right. Vogue 9253 saved the day, no surprise, the pattern is glorious, and if you haven't tried it out, lemme say it again, DO. This is the second time I've sewn this in a sheer, but the first time I've done it on camera. Oooh, sounds kinky.

Vogue 9253 & Clothes Making Mavens! | oonaballoona | a sewing blog by Marcy Harriell

I am about out of time for typing, but oh, my friends, you are in SO MUCH LUCK if you're feeling cheated out of my usual nonsensical jabberings, as I can currently be found yammering with Helena and Lori on their Clothes Making Mavens podcast! The aforementioned Top Secret Mission began right before the podcast launched, so I haven't had time to holler about it yet. 

Laughter and NY Noise aplenty in our conversation--I've followed both their blogs for years, so it was like talking to old friends you've never met. I apologize in advance for the deafening, uncontrollable cackling that came out of my maw when Lori said I was a fashion icon.

Vogue 9253 & Clothes Making Mavens! | oonaballoona | a sewing blog by Marcy Harriell

Over and out, and back to the mosh pit! If you'd like to see the truly horrible "before," and complete visual steps of how I turn V9253 into a sheer open robe (and yes, almost wreck it again), check out Episode 5 of Re:Fashion, The Festival Robe! If you aren't a bluprint member, you can view the first episode for free here, and try the whole site out for free for a 7 day trial period here. OKAYBYEIHOPEYOUGUYSARESEWING!!!!!

8.22.2018

On Wednesdays, We Wax.

On Wednesdays, We Wax. | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

The first time I heard about AKN Fabrics, I was certain I was being led to my death.

Whaaat? I can hear many of you cry, having experienced first hand, at PR and MPB days and meetups, the glory that is AKN. Don't worry, the story ends well, I love the jam-packed joint as much as you do.

On Wednesdays, We Wax. | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

It was 2014, the year of my first wax print--a gorgeous, megawatt yellow spray can print sent to me by Sarah. It was so vibrant! So weird! So stiff with wax! I hammered out an Anna dress and lived in it the rest of that summer. 

On Wednesdays, We Wax. | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

One hot August day, I was stomping through a particularly seedy section of the city. This neighborhood is unexpected, almost right in the middle of Manhattan on Broadway between 27th to 35th streets. I wanna say it's the perfume/costume jewelry/wig district. I don't know why it feels so off, but it's one of those Stephen King zones. Know what I mean? All strangers suddenly feel dangerous, even the buildings are eyeing you. Shadows are thick and make you invisible even in broad daylight.

It was high noon and plenty of summer sunshine, my favorite kind of day--but I was in that area, and had to cross the gauntlet from the subway to a casting office on 28th. A stretch of two blocks populated with, as SK would call them, low men, possessing far-too-appreciative glances and bestowing "compliments" upon pretty much anything with legsIt was a no-smile zone. And although I had my spray can dress on, a dress which screams happiness, I also had my game face on. My I am not a friendly person face. Focusing on a dot in the distance, I passed an "admirer." From behind me, I heard a suggestive: you like wax print?

On Wednesdays, We Wax. | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

Huh? Did he just comment on my fabricThis gave me pause. I slowed to a stop and cautiously turned. Yesss...?

He gestured to a dusty, six-story building behind him. A building with papered windows and a dark, unmanned entryway. I have wax print. For sale. Come upstairs with me.

OH HAHAHAHAHA, I answered, bubble burst. I'm sorry, but there is ZERO way I am following you into a building, by myself, to a high floor. I'm not saying you're a creep, you know, you could be great, but you could also be trying to kill me. You understand. Thank you though. I'll bring some of my sewing buddies next time, and if you happen to see us in a gang of three or more, ask again. 

On Wednesdays, We Wax. | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

Follow him into an unmarked building! From a street! I laugh out loud at it even now. Who knew he was referring to an ACTUAL store?! Not I! The only fabric stores I knew of at that point were ten blocks north! Years later, when I finally found, and ventured up into, AKN Fabrics, I saw my old friend on the street, working the passersby, and rode the elevator up with him. He's great. Zero creep factor. He could work on his sidewalk sales pitch, though.  

Speaking of creep factor. What is it with me and once a week Wednesday goals? That damn Wednesday creeps up on you like its running a perfume joint on 28th street! Mr. Hump Day especially likes to creep on me when it's the end of summer and all hell breaks loose when things are normally quiet and the only thing on the to-do list should be SWEAT IN THE HEAT! ALSO WHERE DID ALL THE HEAT GO?!!


Sorry. I'm typing this at 2am with the windows open, because although it is oddly cold, IT IS AUGUST, and I refuse to close them! And I am chilly! CHILLY I SAY! Let me return to the point. It occurred to me, the hump day having crept up on me once again, that setting myself the task of sharing the finished garment for each of the five re:fashion episodes every Wednesday for a month was much like setting myself the task of putting up a work-in-progress every Wednesday for forever and ever amen. I abandoned ship fairly quickly on the latter, but with one more finished garment to go, imma power through the former... and the final episode features a sewn pattern that you'll likely recognize (and one that I bet you WON'T). Oh! And yes, the gorgeous floral print you see here hails from AKN, but you have to venture up into the store to get it. It's behind the cash register. Whatever you do, don't go pulling colors off the shelf. They've got a system. Ask my guy to help you out.

If you'd like to see how I made this flowery gal and you're a bluprint member, episode 4 of Re:Fashion is here. If you know how to sew, it's fairly easy...I added a full circle skirt to an RTW crop top on which I taped the seams for a little "extra." However, it is almost never smooth sewing for me, and I had a pretty awesome, ahem, flower placement snafu. Rob is also showcased in some lovely prints as well. He is, how do you say, a VERY good sport.

8.15.2018

Re:Fashion on bluprint, Episode 3: Come Join the Cult of Sewing

Re:Fashion on bluprint, Episode 3: Come Join the Cult of Sewing | oonaballloona by marcy harriell

Let's watch "Wild Wild Country," Rob said. MEH, I said.

I need my TV to take me away from real life, if you know what I mean-- alien races, superheros, out of this world circumstances for ordinary people. A cult in a dusty, faded, early 80s Oregon? Not so much. But I like to pepper my penchant for escapism with something a little more meaty for the Robster, so I resigned myself to an evening of mind-sewing whilst snuggled up on the couch. I can have a lot of fun mind-sewing. Escapism at its finest!

Re:Fashion on bluprint, Episode 3: Come Join the Cult of Sewing | oonaballloona by marcy harriell

To be fair, I'm stitching in my noggin' no matter what's on the screen-- a seamline catches my eye, and my head is off to the races. This time, I began with a totally off-topic dress, already in progress. But about halfway into episode one of this seemingly drab documentary, the haze lifted, and I realized a trend was happening on the screen in front of me...I was seeing a lot of pink...a little orange...and EVERY SHADE THAT HAD A SPECK OF RED IN IT. I rewound in my brain and realized those warm delicious tones, floating in blurry old footage, were the colors of the cult in question. From that moment on, I was ALL IN.

Re:Fashion on bluprint, Episode 3: Come Join the Cult of Sewing | oonaballloona by marcy harriell

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't want to start a Hell's Kitchen chapter of Rajneeshees, and I'm not going to get into the finer points of the documentary, per se. Nooooooo, my friends, this is not that heady. I JUST LIKE PINK AND RED. And when video footage of the ACTUAL CULT BOUTIQUE was revealed? FORGET ABOUT IT!! My brain went on a merry trip to the land where I was the owner of said boutique, and I began to mind-sew garment after garment for those sunset colored racks. On this journey, the boutique was the main reason for the cult's existence. Not the other way around. Facts! PFFT! Who has the time to pay attention to the TV when there's SEWING TO BE PONDERED?!

(Rob has to hit pause quite a bit on our nightly small screen adventures, dontcha know. Hey babe pause it I need to see that peasant blouse. Hey babe pause it why is the FBI in this scene. HEY BABE PAUSE IT WHY ARE THERE EXPLOSIONS HAPPENING. Et cetera, et cetera.)

Re:Fashion on bluprint, Episode 3: Come Join the Cult of Sewing | oonaballloona by marcy harriell

So, maybe I was wearing rose colored glasses, ahem, please forgive the cherry-picked inspiration (see what I did there?), but when it came time to think up a garment for episode 3 of Re:Fashion, I decided I needed to make my cult dress a reality. My brilliant friend & colleague, Elaine, dubbed it The Culture Dress ;). 

Re:Fashion on bluprint, Episode 3: Come Join the Cult of Sewing | oonaballloona by marcy harriell

The actual fashion inspiration, though fabulously hued, was FAR too plain for my tastes. (You can imagine, fashion not being the main priority of the real-life jam.) That's where this beast of a maxi dress came in--she started off floor length, and quite plainly in solid red (that's plain in my book). I got obsessed with some pom trim, some blingy mesh, some embroidery, and went nuts. Along the way, I severely botched it (this happens on just about everything I make) but I think I figured out a save! We show you what I did (and redid) all in the episode.

Re:Fashion on bluprint, Episode 3: Come Join the Cult of Sewing | oonaballloona by marcy harriell

HI MOLLY! This is Molly. She had about six titles on our shoot...set decorator, stylist, and wardrobe supervisor are the three that come to mind. But again, I'm usually thinking about sewing and missing pertinent facts, so don't quote me on that. I CAN tell you, without a doubt, she's awesome. This was halfway through our fashion shoot day, and it was about 300 degrees outside with no shade, hence the shawl. I have no reason storywise for including this shot, other than it makes me happy!

Hope you're feeling happy, and rocking your colors. I like to think we're all members in the cult of Sewing, where our obsession makes the world a more beautiful place, individual garment by individual garment. I guess the "individual" bit defies the definition of a cult? Facts! PFFT!  

Re:Fashion launched on NBC U's bluprint last July, and for the month of August (my birthday month!) I'll be highlighting each episode with a little behind-the-seams. Now, unlike the first episode, the rest of the series isn't a freebie. If you're already a member, you can see episode 3: The Culture Dress here, and see how I saved me from myself on this red tent of a dress! If not, you can sign up for a 7-day free trial here and dip your toes in for a whole week. You're gonna wanna swim around.

8.07.2018

Re:Fashion on bluprint, Episode 2: Jeans + Auditions

Re:Fashion on bluprint, Episode 2: Jeans + Auditions | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

I had an audition. A callback, to be exact. And as Murphy's Law would have it, this callback needed to happen when I was scheduled to be fully engaged elsewheres, and would have to move mountains to make it work. Usually when I get this kind of ask, it's a last-minute, NEED IT YESTERDAY "self-tape," and Rob and I are suddenly wrangling every source of light in our house into a jerry-rigged mini studio in our bedroom at the midnight hour, fifteen lamps blazing us into a sweaty mess while the camera rolls. (Sounds kinky, but we are not that professional.)

Re:Fashion on bluprint, Episode 2: Jeans + Auditions | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

This time, the day before we left for our bluprint shoot, we got the ask for a skyped callback, to be scheduled sometime during our first shoot day. ?!!! Pretty much out of the question, I told them, we'll cross our fingers and see if the lunch break jives with it.

Re:Fashion on bluprint, Episode 2: Jeans + Auditions | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

It did not. Instead, in the middle of the very first day of a very short week, the crew at bluprint stopped the shoot, set up a quiet, air-conditioned, beautifully lit corner for me, and removed themselves to the blazing outdoor heat while I skyped a callback, in which I improv-ed dialogue that should have lasted twenty seconds into twenty minutes of comedic banter. I WAS COUNTING EVERY MINUTE. I was sick that these beautiful new people had halted production for my ass! WE HAD SHIZZ TO SEW, MAN!!!!

Re:Fashion on bluprint, Episode 2: Jeans + Auditions | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

WOMP WOMP, I did not get that part (it happens), but the circumstances, being a regular life occurrence, made it into the second episode of Re:Fashion, Jeans + Tee. A segment of the show is devoted to a last minute callback 😂. Our wonderful-jump-up-and-down-I-love-him-so director was all about bringing our real life into the series, and that first day was full on art imitating life. 

Re:Fashion on bluprint, Episode 2: Jeans + Auditions | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

What's unreal about the episode is the fact that I'm wearing jeans and a tee shirt! WHO IS THAT WOMAN?!! I guess I wanted to try my hand at life imitating art? Really, what I wanted to do was give this everyday staple some twists, maybe inspire some fellow sewists into upgrading some basics, and definitely entice some civilians into breaking into what's already in their closet, busting out a needle and thread, and joining the fold! WE WANT ERRRRRRRYBODY SEWING YO!

You can see how I did what I did on episode 2 of the series. I hope it inspires you to add some awesome to your basics...

Re:Fashion launched on NBC U's bluprint last July, and for the month of August (my birthday month!) I'll be highlighting each episode with a little behind-the-seams. Now, unlike the first episode, the rest of the series isn't a freebie. If you're already a member, you can see episode 2 here, but if not, you can sign up for a 7-day free trial here and binge watch whatever you like! I would suggest you use that week to devour everything on the site, because there is A LOT OF DELICIOUS STUFF TO EAT. 

8.01.2018

Re:Fashion on bluprint, Episode 1: Of Glue And Girls

Re:Fashion on bluprint, Episode 1: Of Glue And Girls | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

It was my first Girls' Night Out, and I was TERRIFIED.  My co-workers, a bevy of Broadway beauties, had planned an evening of debauchery, and I had no idea what to wear, let alone how to behave in the midst of all...those...ladies. My career in feminine friendship at that point was pretty much nonexistent, having had very little to do with the female beast since childhood. My prepubescent interactions with most girls involved them making fun of my mix, my hair, my off-the-wall fashion choices, or just mistaking my shyness for disdain. As a kid, I would grab all manner of color and print and swath myself in statements of cloth, but my yapper was pretty much shut if I was confronted with a classroom of new faces. Unless it wasn't, which was whenever I was onstage. All in all, a confusing mix that did not lend itself to gal pals.

Come to think of it, I did have a few kiddo versions of a girls' night out! You know, sans adult debauchery. Most were with various little bands of merry misfits, but the one that comes to mind was the terrifying sort: I was invited to a sleepover party, by one of the most popular girls in school, somewhere around the 5th or 6th grade. I was shocked by this invitation; all we had in common was the receiving end of a rolled eye.

The party kicked off at a small carnival, where I stood holding Miss Popular's Mom's hand, too scared to go on the roller coaster or the Ferris wheel. (That earned me major points, lemme tell ya.) Later on, in a cavernous shadowed living room, I was careful to keep my movements quiet and small (so as not to alert the natives to my presence), as we made tiny bottles of perfume, ate pizza, and climbed into our sleeping bags for the night. Around 3am, I woke up and assumed I'd been crying, because I couldn't get my eyes open. This didn't surprise me, as the few sleepovers I'd been to at that point usually ended with me sobbing myself awake from homesickness. #WINNING. But I really couldn't get my eyes open, and that really revved up the waterworks, which brought Momma Popular in, who washed my face, got my lids unstuck, and asked gently if I wanted to go home. N-n-n-n-noooooooo, I stammered, determined to GET. THROUGH. A. SLEEPOVER. I gratefully received an encouraging hug from Momma Popular, climbed into my sleeping bag, and willed myself to sleep.

In the morning, I was the first to leave, and when I reached for my tiny bottle of perfume, Miss Popular said I couldn't have it. I whispered in my defense: but Allison said she's keeping hers...at which point all of the crew verbally descended upon me in the way that I was very much accustomed to at school. DAMMIT! Rookie mistake, opening my yapper! I'd been hiding in plain sight for fifteen hours and blew it in the last five minutes!

Re:Fashion on bluprint, Episode 1: Of Glue And Girls | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

Momma Popular intervened, handed me my eau de sleepover, and sent me on my way. She had a slightly disapproving look fixed on her little crew of pre-teens.

Years later, Miss Popular showed up backstage at the very Broadway show that started this whole tale, to congratulate me and get me to sign her playbill. I was still pretty shy at that point, but bold enough to tell her we weren't friends and she was never nice to me. Major burn, I know. Still, I raced home to tell Rob about my small victory, including the Saga of the Sleepover, as backstory. Babe, he said, you know they glued your eyes shut, right?

WHAT?! THIS IS A THING THAT KIDS DID?!!! I yelled, shocked. Well, yeah--kids did stuff like that all the time, flour and water paste, a hand in a bucket of water, you know, sleepover stuff. 

NO, I DID NOT KNOW.

So there I was, thinking I was hiding out, quietly infiltrating, when really I was an activity for the party, like those teeny bottles of perfume. That gave me a good laugh, which instantly turned to fear, as I was faced with my first adult invitation to an evening with the girls. Beautiful, popular, strange women. I was that naive kid all over again. ROB! I yelped, wide-eyed. What do women DO at these things?! How do they act?!! What do they wear?!! SHOULD I EXPECT HOMEMADE GLUE?!!!

Re:Fashion on bluprint, Episode 1: Of Glue And Girls | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

Rob had no answers for me, being versed only in the strange rules of pre-teen sleepover parties. So I steeled myself, put on some floral jeans and an ill-fitting tee from Gap Kids (I didn't sew back then, and thought Gap Kids was the bomb for my short-waisted frame), and headed into the fray.

Once again I was that kid at the carnival, only this time, the rides were a pitcher of something with a dozen adult liquids in it, a table with an inset grill upon which live jumbo shrimp were thrown on to "dance" before finally dying and being consumed, and several rounds of "marry/kill/bang" (the answers to which would surely be repeated to the wrong people at the theater the next day). GOOD GOD SO MUCH MORE TERRIFYING THAN A FERRIS WHEEL.

And the outfit? I got it dead wrong. My new gal pals were all in something barely grazing the curve of their collective booty, dancer's legs shining and free, faces sparkly with glitter and jewelry. It was like I was an alien visitor to the planet of Girl.

99% of the time, when I sew something, I'm thinking about where I'm going to wear it. As I was coming up with this maxi-to-mini dress for the very first episode of Re:Fashion, those dancing gals (and dancing shrimp) popped into my head, and it hit me that I was making an outfit for that Girls' Night Out. And suddenly I wanted to jump in with both feet...and pretty much alllll of my legs, and go MICRO mini. I'd never tried it before and saw no reason not to!

Today, of course, I know what to wear to an escapade with friends, because many of those friends--female, male, human--were met through sewing, that wonderful art which has provoked me into willingly venturing into many a night out, with roomfuls of strangers, met through the internet. I wear something handmade. Everyone will be in something handmade, the better to exclaim over whilst emptying that pitcher. And no one's gluing anything...unless we're talking glue guns. All bets are off with those things.

Re:Fashion launched on NBC U's bluprint last July, and for the month of August (my birthday month!) I'll be highlighting each episode with a little behind-the-seams. Click here to watch the first episode, Girls' Night Out, for free on bluprint, where I actually talk about sewing this garment, and see how I went from maxi to mini (and almost botched the whole shebang!)