10.29.2018

Close Up on Suit Up! Aquaman (or, How I Got Rob in Pleather.)

Close Up on Suit Up! Aquaman (or, How I Got Rob in Pleather.) | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

Babe. DO. NOT. PUT. ME. IN. SPANDEX he said, in all caps. BABE. I replied, caps lock on: I GOT YOU. 

NO BABE YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND, I AM NOT WEARING SPANDEX. 

BABE I AM NOT GONNA PUT YOU IN SPANDEX YOU ARE GONNA LOOK AMAZING I GOT YOU

WE TALK IN INCREASING LEVELS OF ALL CAPS AROUND HERE BUT I MEAN LOOK AT THE RESULT

Close Up on Suit Up! Aquaman (or, How I Got Rob in Pleather.) | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

I *think* he ended up being down with it 😁

Close Up on Suit Close Up on Suit Up! Aquaman (or, How I Got Rob in Pleather.) | oonaballoona by marcy harriellUp! Aquaman | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

I'll tell you another thing: as the pieces came together, he was so down with this look, he demanded that I forge ahead with my idea of shoulder and hip gauntlets, when others were iffy on the extra-ness of it. I was like, EXTRA IS MY MIDDLE NAME. 

Babe, he assured me, if you see it in your head, do it. (We revert to lowercase, when encouragement warrants it.) And everyone ended up liking them once they were 3D.

Close Up on Suit Up! Aquaman | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

Also 3D: gloves! These things were flat and lifeless pieces of flannel backed pleather, and I was pretty mad at them, to tell you the truth. I wanted them to look like ocean waves, but they were flopping lifeless as a sad little kiddie pool, until I started folding them in frustration. Eureka! I made the folds permanent with some simple lines of stitching. Oh, and I attached them to combat gloves. And painted the whole shebang for depth. OH YEAH SPEAKING OF PAINT...

Close Up on Suit Up! Aquaman | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

Here's how I kept my no-spandex promise! Those are Levis, baby. Rob has about 20 pairs. I thought it would be very cool to take a little bit of biker/roadhouse/Momoa Aquaman (behold, Rob's weathered motorcycle boots), and mix him up with the classic green & gold Aquaman, by simply painting jeans to look as though they'd been underwater. I layered up some colors and went nuts on them with a tracing wheel dipped in gold paint. Rob liked the gold so much, he asked me to rub some of the paint into the creases of the jeans, "as highlights."

LIKE I SAID HE GOT SO INTO IT.

What he *wasn't* totally sold on was the color of the jacket. That burnished basketweave pleather...

Close Up on Suit Up! Aquaman (or, How I Got Rob in Pleather.) | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

...that Rob is displaying with SO MUCH BADASSERY...

Close Up on Suit Up! Aquaman (or, How I Got Rob in Pleather.) | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

...started out VERY! SHINY! GOLD! As you can tell, I am UBER EXCITED ABOUT THAT. Contrary to the smile captured by our awesome photographer, Rob was not of the same opinion. He's right, it's so wrong in its virgin form. I will say, in my defense, that our strange tv diet at that time included back-to-back episodes of Bret Michaels Rock of Love, and The Handmaid's Tale. I can't say why we were doing that to our brains. But I think it bled into the outfit. We started calling him Rock-quaman. That state of mind is also what pushed me into getting a blonde wig, rather than a Momoa toned 'do. I thought...I'm not going Gal Godot on my 'fro, why put Rob in anything but blonde Hair Band locks?

I digress. 

When Rob first got a gander of that gold pleather in full metal jacket form, he asked for a couple of swatches, walked mysteriously off towards the kitchen, and took matters into his own hands.


He returned with several hues of shoe-polished-pleather. I picked one, and yelped HAVE A GOOD TIME GIVING THAT JACKET A RUBDOWN BABE CUZ  THAT'S ALL YOU (we were back to all caps at this point, as Aquaman had well over a dozen embellished costume pieces. I went overboard, pun intended. THE HIP ARMOR ALONE HAS 7 PATTERN PIECES.)

Sorry, didn't mean to go caps lock on that last sentence.

Close Up on Suit Up! Aquaman (or, How I Got Rob in Pleather.) | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

But I mean can you blame me?! THIS IS MY DREAM COME TRUE!!!! ROB IN METALLICS AND PLEATHER AND WITH A FREAKING TRIDENT TO BOOT?! I DO NOT HAVE A LARGE ENOUGH FONT!!!

Out of this series, this was hands down the most fun to make. If Rob wanted stuff like this, welp, I'd be sewing for him alllll the time. As it stands, I'll be making another version of the jacket for him, in as wild a material as he will allow. Sans shoulder gauntlets. 

You can see how I (erm, we!) did it in Ep 2 of Suit Up! on Bluprint. If you don't have a subscription, you can snag a free trial, or peep Ep 1: Batman for free over at Ye Olde YouTube. (And if you want to make that jacket, I used Burdastyle's "Men's Pirate Jacket" pattern, with a few mods, natch 😉)

Alrightly then! I gotta go make my rocker birthday boy Coq Au Vin. His birthday week came with the promise of No Deadline Stress Sewing, so I've been cooking. Slightly poorly, if I'm honest. Who knows what'll come out of my machine when I'm back to sewing this weekend...

10.28.2018

Close Up on Suit Up! The Dark Knight (I'm BATMAN.)

Close Up on Suit Up! The Dark Knight (I'm BATMAN.) | oonaballoona by marcy harriell | dc comics

Do not adjust your monitors, I am indeed clad in head to toe black (literally--I mean, do you know how hard it is to get my mass of hair into a cowl?). This absence of technicolor is something I would only do for The Dark Knight.

Close Up on Suit Up! The Dark Knight (I'm BATMAN.) | oonaballoona by marcy harriell | dc comics

I loved comic books ever since my bigger bro (as he likes to call himself--this is, again, a quite literal description) started a collection as a kid. The collection was solely his, as the ballet barre and mirrors installed in my room by my Dad were solely mine. Though I would've been delighted if Bigger Bro wanted to join me for a plié or two. 

I can't remember if this no-trespassing-on-hobbies-thing was a rule, or simply an innate knowledge that the two of us had to have some interests that were unique to us. Maybe the understanding came when I switched from Michael Jackson to Prince? Prince was Bigger Bro's domain, until I came to my senses. He was all DO YOU EVEN KNOW ANYTHING PRE-PURPLE RAIN YOU POSER.

Close Up on Suit Up! The Dark Knight (I'm BATMAN.) | oonaballoona by marcy harriell | dc comics

Unfortunately for bro, I was HIGHLY interested in the plastic sleeved boxes of mini art that grew in his room. I was allowed in once a week to read a small pile of the latest issues, but really, I only ever got through one in a session, since it took me roughly an hour to get through fifteen pages. I was, and always have been, a speed reader, but comics had so much more than words to devour! They had color, they had art, they had lettering, they had story, they had layout. Usually about three pages from the end of my chosen issue, Bigger Bro would have enough of my presence in his domain and bid me farewell, the small pile of new issues mostly untouched.

(I would sneak back in later and read the rest when he was out with friends. Sorry bro. I felt it my reward for being the good kid who stayed in at night 😜)

Close Up on Suit Up! The Dark Knight (I'm BATMAN.) | oonaballoona by marcy harriell | dc comics

You know that feeling you get when you're away from your childhood home for the first time, and you understand that you can have ANYTHING YOU WANT for dinner? That's the feeling I got when I walked into Midtown Comics, just a half block from the theater I was working in as an adult. Frank Miller's work jumped off the shelves, in the form of a Batman I'd never seen before. This Batman had had it. This Batman was the anit-hero, a Dark Knight who considered his previous career of crimefighting a mere slap on the wrist! This Knight was ready to FULL ON THROW DOWN, and I'm talking physically knocking Superman out of the Batcave throw down. I was in love, and bought everything Frank Miller I could find.

Close Up on Suit Up! The Dark Knight (I'm BATMAN.) | oonaballoona by marcy harriell | dc comics

Out of the list of Super Heros for Suit Up!, Rob insisted I take Batman. Although his fandom equals mine, this ask was *mainly* because he thinks black looks great on me, and saw his chance. Civilian! I whispered, in my best Dark Knight bass rumble. You do not realize how easy an ask that is. I WILL ALWAYS CHOOSE TO DEFEND GOTHAM AS THE DARK KNIGHT. 

There's zero sew-speak going on in this post (I know, you're shocked) but the entire Batman episode is up for free on Youtube, and they're very good about making me talk about sewing (though I do still get to act a fool--that's pretty much impossible to contain). If you're a member, or start a free trial, you can view all four heroes on Bluprint...and tomorrow, I'll be plastering Rob's Aquaman look ALL. OVER. THIS. HERE. SPACE. We went a little rock with it. Let's just say that green and orange spandex was a...harder sell, and I had some figurin' out to do.

Happy Sunday, Super Sewists. From the middle of Gotham, I hope you are fighting the very best fight, and finding a moment in this world to bring something creative into existence.

 (all photographs by Dylan Osborne, check out his Instagram feed for a dose of beauty)

10.25.2018

Close Up on Suit Up! Wonder Woman

Close Up on Suit Up! Wonder Woman | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

For a solid three weeks in a sweaty end-of-summer, our entire apartment was bathed in a heady mix of novelty fabric, fusible, scraps of gold covered bits, and all manner of paint fumes. And as those heatwave prep days for Suit Up! grew shorter, so did my Wonder Woman skirt. 

Close Up on Suit Up! Wonder Woman | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

Not so much because of the heat, but because I was OBSESSED with getting the angles perfect. That leather just kept getting a haircut! "she's short" I would whisper scream every few hours or so, glancing wide-eyed over at my dressform, where the teeny leather dress chilled while I banged out scuba capes and S shields and bat ears. I've worn my share of miniskirts, but only onstage, and said several years ago with GREAT FINALITY that I was done with them. However, this recent marriage of acting & sewing has apparently brought it back full circle. I went super short for the first ep of Re:Fashion, and I don't think you can even deem this here jammie a mini. 

Close Up on Suit Up! Wonder Woman | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

BUT I MEAN. I'm supposed to be freaking Wonder Woman, right?! That's what the leather belt with gold taped accents says!! Wonder Woman has to have room to kick them gams and knock out villains!

Close Up on Suit Up! Wonder Woman | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

Of course, her footwear is a bit more kickable than mine. Hey, you know what's hard to find? RED WEDGE BOOTS. Even flat red boots. At least, any that come with a price tag of less than a couple hundred bucks. What I DID find was some pretty glorious, thigh high white pleather boots that, with such great height, could double as knee armor as well. All they needed was a little floral spray paint and some more gold tape! 

By the way, y'all: floral spray paint is a great adhesive for changing up any pleather action. And a great way to scare your neighbors, too! One early morning during the slamsewing fest, I donned a heavy duty ventilator mask, took my boots out into our trusty alleyway, and painted the town red. Literally. Could see small clouds of red wafting up into the atmosphere, no matter what angle I used. A lightbulb clicked, and I grabbed a giant cardboard box from the recycling area, stuck the boot in, and contained most of the red menace. 

Close Up on Suit Up! Wonder Woman | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

But New Yorkers heading to work looked down on me like I was Armageddon. Probably had something to do with the mask. And the crazyeyes. However, if you're looking to change up the hue of your footwear, this stuff is the way to go. Though I would suggest starting with, say, a sensible pair of low heeled pumps, if you're faint of heart and want a test run.

Close Up on Suit Up! Wonder Woman | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

I finished her off with some jewelry cuffs that I found at the eleventh hour--and I do mean eleventh. I had them shipped to LA where we shot these episodes. Rob, ever the voice of reason, placed dinner next to my sewing machine one night near the end of the line, and noted my wild stare as I wrangled EVA foam and gold tape into an armband and tiara. Can you use your gold bracelets for her cuffs? My pant was a sufficient negatory answer. How 'bout you eat, and we just find some silver cuffs online, hoss? We want some items "from the closet" in the mix, right?

I think I actually sat down on the floor in response. I had fully lost my grasp of English at that point and could only speak in Sew. He smiled, moved my dinner plate to my lap, and pulled up Ye Olde Amazon.

I LOVE THAT MAN.

Close Up on Suit Up! Wonder Woman | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

I hope you enjoyed looking at this hero in static form, I know that sewists hit the pause button when they want to ogle a garment in action, so hopefully this does the trick if you'd like a closer peek! Next time I'll remember to ask for some back shots (our AWESOME photographer Dylan was, of course, not thinking about the back angle). This last snap shows me inserting the gold exposed zipper, which you can see in action in the trailer here, or of course in the ep if you already get your "Sewing TV" through Bluprint. If not, you can peep the first full episode of Suit Up! on Youtube--and I'll highlight that dark hero this weekend ;)

Speaking of WEEKEND! If you're working on some cosplay or Halloween fun of your own, here are some of the things that I used and loved for this look. (They're amazon links, so let your fingers do the typing if you're not into that!)

Gold mylar film tape -- excellent stick without damaging the materials. And repositionable!
Silver cuffs -- Thank you Rob ❤️
Sky high white boots -- nuff said.
Design Master Floral Spray paint -- this brand is awesome and comes in ALL the colors.
(...and if you're gonna paint the town red, please do it with one of these!)

Happy creating, sewing superheroes! Holler if you're stitching something for the season 💃🏽

10.11.2018

Suit Up! Our New Series on Bluprint

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | Suit Up! Our New Series on Bluprint

Hiya peeps. This is a very quick PSA, as the week has gone upside down topsy-turvy. A kerfuffle, I tell you, A KERFUFFLE!

Our new series, Suit Up! in collaboration with DC Comics, launched on Bluprint last week. We had a rip-roaring, great good time doing this, and it was this comic book lover's dream to recreate some of my favorite icons--AND to dress ROB up too!!! (Y'all, I went absolutely overboard on his look. I saw my chance to get him in gold pleather, and I merrily took it.)

There are four episodes with four heroes in all--and although the goal of each is to create a costume, I think you'll get some cool stuff out of it in your everyday sewing life-- like how to work with leather. And the aforementioned pleather. Oh and I stumbled into a GREAT sewing machine that I'll tell you about soon!

But I digress. The main point of this quick post is to let you know that all content on Bluprint is FREE right now, through tomorrow (10/12). This event actually started earlier this week, but again, topsy turvy kerfuffle land over here. So! You've got, oh, twenty-four hours or so to catch Suit Up!, or Re:Fashion, or just go down the rabbithole of the gazillion things you can learn over there. Inspiration for a lovely weekend of creating that I dearly hope awaits us all. I'll be back next week with some costume close-ups, cuz I know we all like to get into the stitchin! 

Happy surfing, fellow creators...

10.05.2018

Fall...


Sometimes a garment gets stuck in your craw and sets up shop until you make it. This particular dress did just that, chillin' in my noggin' for THREE YEARS until I finally got it out of my head and right (ish). 


Sallie Oh's romantic beauty was the original vision in my mind, and at first, I set out to make a full on copy of my girl's floaty, liberty flowered, burdastyle midi dress. I had two attempts at my imitation: one fail, one fail-ish. I knew after the first try (the fail in Liberty silk cotton, huzzah) that the gathered skirt panels didn't suit me. 

I'm getting deja vu here-- have I typed this exact paragraph before? It's a little foggy.


Speaking of foggy. September. Right? September happened. I was out of my head for most of it, honestly didn't even acknowledge a numbered date, so much as a Wednesday. Maybe that's for the best, considering what September was in the larger world. In my smaller bubble, it's been happily (although batshit crazily) nonstop sewing, filming, singing, and traveling. Since the end of July, really. Which is just how I like it--but I think Rob would appreciate having some apartment space back. Our living room (which basically means, our home) has been entirely usurped by boxes, supplies, and fabric for two straight months now, with no sign of stopping. AGAIN SO NOT COMPLAINING. But I feel for Rob. It's like a game of twister up in here.


This is obviously not our apartment. This is a SUPER posh hotel, where I was housed for a job which marked the start of the nonstop rollercoaster. I can't say what the gig was (yet), but I can say the lodging was CHOICE. When I got wind of the location, I packed a suitcase full of sweeping dresses and used every minute of downtime to swan about and take pictures. My fellow guests didn't mind one bit--in fact, the technicolor parade opened the door to many a wonderful conversation with strangers on this solo trip.


The third try at this pattern is still an "ish," as you can see I've got a few wrinkles across the back. I added my own l/s lines, and did my standard short waist adjustment of one and a quarter inches. Usually, this does the trick, but I need a little more length taken out of the back bodice. 


It certainly ain't stopping me from wearing it! This sweepy gal got her debut onstage, in a concert reading of "Showboat" at Bucks County Playhouse. I got to sing "Bill" and "Can't Help Lovin That Man" in 5 yards of silk chiffon. WHAT EXTRA BACK BODICE LENGTH. At events like this, actors usually wear their own fanciness, so OBVIOUSLY, I was gonna wear handmade. I was slam sewing right up until curtain. At half hour, when the fabulous ladies of the cast were applying the usual war paint, I was madly stitching allllll those buttons along the front edge. Note to self: next time, start the placket lower, or add another button above. 


Oh! Last changeup, I used a half circle skirt to finish the job. The CB seam of the skirt became the CF seam, making it possible to extend the buttons all the way down, and removing the need for a zip! 

I think this might be the most haphazard post I've ever written. I BLAME THE ROLLERCOASTER!! Come on back Monday for some yammerin about the slamdance that was the end of summer, or if you follow me on Instagram, you'll get the deets later today ;)

Happy weekend, y'all!