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!) 

36 comments:

  1. Ah, childhood memories, excuse me while I sit in the corner rocking and crying for a bit. In school I was always 2 years younger than my group of "friends" - you can picture how that hierarchy played out.

    The dress is perfect, and I hope you saved the leftover fabric. It's just too pretty to throw away. (I did not see that final "twist" coming! Ingenious!)

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    1. I did indeed save the leftovers! Reaching possible hoarder levels on scraps. You never know when you're gonna need em. I'm glad you liked the "twist" 😜

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  2. I watched your mini-series and was delighted by your creativity. And, you and your hubby are the cutest together!

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    1. Thank you, Daisy! I can't get enough of that guy.

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  3. NO! People were mean to you in school? That just makes my blood boil! (Both as your friend as as a teacher - I hope to hell a student would tell me if they had their eyes glued shut at a party!)Here's what I hope: I hope there was a kid there who felt bad about it all but wasn't brave enough to speak up and stop them, and I hope they are a better person today for that lesson then! Also, yay for you telling that girl off for being mean when you finally had the chance!

    I love you show, love you, love everything about it!

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    1. HAHA! Eh, it's cool, everybody had some form of mean to deal with in school, but honestly, I was a really happy kid. And I'm pretty sure the glue was some sort of flour paste? Apparently it's one of the things you learn to do to your friends as well, as Rob knew of it from the tricks his friends played on each other πŸ˜‚

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  4. Dang.... I never knew that kind of stuff happened. Gluing eyes shut? Not a funny thing in the least. Maybe it was after my time (I'm 53). However, I can remember some nasty stuff from my time as a kid. No desire to be a kid again.

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    1. It was a surprise to me too πŸ˜‚As far as kid pranks go, this one was fairly innocent in comparison-- flour & water paste (which I just added to the post! Don't want to alarm anyone, y'know).

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  5. So am I wrong that I yelled yes when you wouldn’t sign the Mean Girls playbill? πŸ˜‚

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    1. LOLOL!!!!! (and for extra laughs, I got confused for a minute...my mind went to the actual "Mean Girls" playbill that's on bway now πŸ˜‚)

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  6. Ooh! I was an activity! I was the subject of group makeovers, which amusingly ricocheted back on the Emmas as they realized I had WAY more hair than they had sponge curlers, and then my curls stayed in for days...two middle school groups learned the hard way and I never got any more offers after that.

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    1. That first sentence CRACKED ME UP. Well, really, the whole paragraph πŸ˜‚

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  7. I’m sad that you had those experiences. I know from personal experience how deep the cuts go and how tender the scars can be, even so many years later. You are such a beautiful and kind soul!

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    1. don't worry my friend! I had a great childhood, to be honest, those were just blips that made me better 😊

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  8. It's so so sad when kids are mean and nasty. And you're right the scars are tender forever . I was 5 when the meanies got me and I can still feel it - I'm 70. But the meanies made me never be mean to others and i became a teacher to help kids because of them. Was a teacher for 43 years and I think I helped a lot of kids. You story will ring so many bells for loads of people. Love you mini by the way

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    1. I so admire teachers...and 43 years?!! What a run! Thank you ❤️

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  9. Ouch, that story is terrifying! So glad you can say that it was apparently not a too recurring theme and that you were, in general, a really happy kid!
    *Loved* the BluPrint episode! Nice twists, inspiring and fun to watch, thanks to both you & the editing.

    Sabine C.

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    1. Thank you, Sabine! Isn't the editing terrific? I think seeing the cut is like a non-sewist seeing what a dress looks like when it's finally sewn together.

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    2. Very apt analogy, I guess - all that magic happening behind close doors.
      And yeah, I totally love the editing and all these 'tiny' yet sparkling ideas that give it just that little extra pssshhh. That's a word too. I guess.
      I think I'll use that free trial week pass to bingewatch the series indeed! Any more eps on the horizon?
      Sabine C

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  10. Is it bad that I feel better for never having had *that* experience?
    I was that unpopular girl, too, but fortunately for myself I had a fast friend since age 3, so we kind of banded together against the popular crowd most of the time, and would have other classmates in *that* circle, too.
    I watched it on YouTube, and it was priceless. While I probably won't be watching the rest of it (it's not like I need any more ideas, really), I wish you many other people do, and you have a lot of fun with it. ;-)

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    1. :)) I had a band too, for some reason i was solo on that one! Here's to bands :)

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  11. OMG I didn't think I could adore you more until I watched you live in person. Amazing! You speak and move exactly the way you do in my head :-) and Rob is just great! Thank you for doing this and for your enthusiasm over refashioning, I am keen to reduce my footprint on the world but so far have limited myself to shortening things, dying things, beading things and rhinestoning them to sparkle heaven. I need to get a little braver I think!

    Like you, I also had a rough time at school and was never the popular one, but someone said to me a few years ago (now I'm mid 30s...erk!) that actually it's often the unpopular ones at school who do well later, after all, if you peak in your teens, it's a long time going downhill, whereas I like to think I was starting my meteoric rise at that point, and still going up! You are very definitely still ascending!

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    1. I love that!!! I wondered if people would imagine me differently than I am ;). Yeah girl, get brave with that clothing and do what you need to do to it to WEAR IT! We're ascending, after all ;))

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  12. Marcy, I would never in a million years have thought you weren’t one of the the “cool” kids. I think you are awesomely talented and I love how you are not afraid to be yourself. Thank you for sharing your story - makes me feel a bit better about myself. Loved the first episode; will be watching more on my next trip to the laundromat.

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    1. HAHA! Well, I was a cool kid in my circle. I *think.* I'm very glad to hear every bit of that. And I love that you're watching as your clothes get clean. I think that qualifies as meta?

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  13. Rotten girls. I echo sentiments already expressed. How could they??? I bet you were a tender little kid. I’m glad you told the one off as an adult.

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    1. Actually I was pretty opinionated, just quiet about it to those I didn't know! A strange mix for sure.

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  14. You have no idea how many of us readers would LOVE to be your friend. YOU are the cool kid so many of us would love to hang with. I knwo this is a sewing blog, but dammit, we've got to do better with this next generation of kids. Stuff like this sleepver happens all the time -only now it's plastered all over Facebookand YouTube and kids start feeling like they'll never be able to escape some of the crappy things that happen to them. Thanks for sharing your story - if only to remind those of us who are parents that we've got to make it better for the next generation!

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    1. Thank you, jill! To be honest...I meant it as a funny story, sort of a now vs then-- because kids today (and back then too) definitely have (had) to deal with worse than homemade glue paste, but yeah, I think emojis were made for me. Tone, Marcy. Learn it πŸ˜‚

      However! Yeah, I get worried about kids and the social media age. It was a group of theater kiddos that taught me how to Instagram, actually, and an awesome group they were. Hopefully they'll learn how to use it better than some of us adults are...

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  15. The only thing that made me semi-cool in high school was talent show senior year when they realized I could sing. Other than that, I was the smart girl who wore a brace until 5th grade. (small town, long memories). I thank my parents every day for making sure that I knew that I could be anything I wanted to be.

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    1. I love every bit of that! Everything makes us who we are-- I wouldn't trade a stitch of my childhood.

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  16. Well, you are definitely the cool girl now!! Love your style and your blog!

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  17. You are so awesome and inspiring! If I see you again in the garment district, I'll say hi this time!

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i thankya truly for taking the time to comment, i love a good conversation-- and hope you know my thanks are always implied, if not always written!