9.12.2019

Behind the Seams of Re:Fashion, Season 2: MADMAXI !!!


On the streets of New York, most people hear me coming, and turn slowly in wide-eyed terror to get a glimpse of the large, intimidating beast that is surely barreling down upon them. Nope. Just me. 5’2 of clomping heels, swirling fringe, jangling bells and a large mass of curls COMIN ATCHA. 


My favorite clothing makes NOISE when I walk. I love it when I make noise! Sometimes I speed clean the house yelling BANGCRASH just to make it more fun. Ask Rob. It's one of his very favorite things. This little dress is noisy both in color and in volume! I think of it as my mad maxi. Thunderdome in technicolor. Partly because of the frantically paced trip I took while adding trim upon trim to it, in an effort to fix my miscalculations on that hemline. She used to be super long! And super weird! You really do need to see the before on this one:


YOWZA. That’s a SKORT under that open floor-length panel, a panel that displays the wrong side of this polytastic madness. AND CHECK THE BACK VIEW. Y'all, the back view of my dress was WAY WORSE...the technicolor warning bars of the tie occupied an entire side of the back, right smack dab across my booty, which I happily model for you in the episode

But I saw all that color on the hanger, and knew it was meant for my scissors. And when I went too haywire with the shears, trim came in....POM POMS! LACE EDGING! LANTERN BELLS!






I'm fond of all of the episodes, which I feel I can say humbly, because it is largely due to the wonderful crew that we shoot with. But I'm especially fond of this one! It's the last episode we shot, number 6 for Season 2. On most sets, the last shoot day is the hardest-- people are tired from a long week, especially as the hours grow longer, but not with this gang. There were so many bits and bobs on this one: panels, french seams, lapped seams, gathering, reworking the sleeves, hemming, reconfiguring prints, ripping and reinserting invisible zippers, and allllll that trim work...IT WAS A LOT! But the mood that day was just as fantastic as it was the first day. (And, at that point in the week, we'd found the sweet spot in the day for caffeine Nitro, so 🤪)

I've gone out of order in my recaps here, because I think these next two outfits are appropriate for Transitional September Styling, la di dah. I'll be back in a minute with another transitional look, that I think is probably the fan favorite for this season ;). Til then, you can catch all six episodes exclusively on Bluprint

Happy almost weekend, peeps!

Tips! If you don't get your sewing TV through Bluprint and want to scope it out, you can download the app and watch free for 24 hours. You can also sign up for a 1 week free trial on the website...handy for a weekend of Making All The Stuff.

9.08.2019

Sewing In the Wild...YouTube, that is.

Self-drafted floral maxi dress with tie front

I am nothing if not stubborn. To wit: this dress was a self-drafted job, wrangled when I HAD TO HAVE some version of several tie-front dresses out in the summer Big 4 offerings. 

Self-drafted floral maxi dress with tie front

I am nothing if not impatient. To wit: I was not near a Joann's, and could not wait for shipping. 

 
I am also nothing if not FORGETFUL, cuz my sewsister Sonja picked up this pattern for me like WHO KNOWS HOW LONG AGO and I have yet to carve out a freaking hour to squeeze her, and take whatever number of envelopes I've gone scatterbrained on, off her hands!


So, if you'd like to make this dress, do have a search through McCall's summer dresses. There are several there that fit the bill. And though I'm pretty pleased with myself for drafting it on my own, I'll readily and happily admit, I love Big 4 patterns. Especially McCalls, Simplicity and Vogue. (Are they Big 5 now?)


As usual, my photographer was a bit more concerned with the composition than the details,  like the tie front and exposed lacy zipper...


...so you get a flat lay of Sewing Splendor in the Grass.  


(I'm pretty sure that's inappropriate speech.)


ALSO IT HAS POCKETS.


I made sure he got the pockets 😂

SOOOOOOO.....these were snapped at the end of filming a little ditty for our YouTube channel, a ditty which includes footage of me actually moving and twirling in the dress, with closeups, courtesy of Rob "Shoots-From-The-Ground" Harriell himself! YES! We have not forgotten our YouTube promise! Our first bonafide, made-from-scratch video is live TODAY. In it, I climb a tree fort, battle some small children, tell some stories, terrify you with my lack of manicure, and maybe teach someone out there how to slipstitch a hem.

I hope it brings a smile to your face as we close out one of our last summer weekends (I'm finding it exceedingly hard to type that).

Happy Sunday, Sewists!

8.12.2019

Behind the Seams of Re:Fashion, Season 2: Fancy With Feathers!


Rob & Marcy Harriell, Handmade Vest, Feathered Cap & dress

If you didn't catch yesterday's Sunday Sewcial, check it out, cuz THIS THE PAYOFF.
(He. Made. That.)

Rob & Marcy Harriell, Handmade Vest, Feathered Cap & dress

And this is us in our naturally silly state after we try to be all fashion model-like.

Feathered floral dress

Hey y'all! Welcome to our photoshoot for episode 2 of Re:Fashion Series 2, in which I get crazy with feathers! I'll be honest with you, I decided to tackle this look because I've had a burning desire to get it right ever since trying it out in...oh, let's see...

Feathered floral dress

HOLY COW NOVEMBER OF 2012! YOWZA! Almost 7 years ago, back when I was with the Mood Sewing Network (and back when I wrote my blog posts ee cummings style), I thought it would be super cool to make a body con skirt out of feather trim. Here's the link to that post (you've been warned regarding Proper Capitalization).

Feather trim

When stomping 'round the garment district, I'm often asked where to buy feathered fabric. This happens more often than you would think. I suppose I come off as the kind of chick who would know this information, which pleases me. The answer (which is much the same as the answer to "where do you buy pretty bias trim") is: you make your own!! The how of it is detailed in the episode, and if you're looking to nab some feathers of your own to give it a go, these are the ones I used

The 2012 skirt wasn't a fully bad idea, but it had its problems--for example, sitting was not an option. In this jammy, sitting is no problem.

Feathered floral dress

Walking is another story. As usual in my sewing journey, I run into problems and figure out solutions as I go. Just, on camera this time. The end result is: the only walk you get in this garment is a wiggle. Which is just fine, when you have this guy on your arm helping you teeter down the street...

The handmade Harriells

This dress in its natural state ended just short of where the feathers begin, and oh, the back...let's just say it didn't leave much to the imagination. You can, of course, get your Sewing TV fix and see the A to Z Re:Fashion on Bluprint. This is one of my favorite episodes, it's a great way to add drama (and length) to almost any garment--and of course, we do fun things to Rob. Naturally. 

Feathered floral dress

It's a short post today, as I'm typing this from my lunch break on a shoot in downtown Boston. This summer has been a flurry of work, which is honestly unusual for the business! 

Re:Fashion 2 is live on Bluprint, as you prolly know from my yammering. If you're in need of a summer sewing fix, and fancy some feathers, catch episode 2! 

8.11.2019

Sunday Sewcial: What Scares You in Sewing?

Sewing for Rob, Blazer fabric

My birthday just passed with nary a bratty word from me here, mainly because Rob was giving me a stupendous birthday week. Family, food, sewing, unplugging, and MOUNTAINS OF FABRIC. 

And, drum roll please: the go-ahead to make some wilder options for his closet, which is PRETTY MUCH THE BEST BIRTHDAY GIFT HE COULD GIVE ME. Y'ALL. HE'S GIVEN ME THE THUMBS UP FOR A BLAZER OUT OF THAT YARDAGE!! I mean, I don't need his permission to stitch up any of my cray, let's be real, BUT HE SAID HE'S ACTUALLY GONNA WEAR IT!!

Osgood Textiles Fabric Haul

Only the bottom two prints, snagged at Osgood Textiles on a birthday weekend road trip, are Not Rob. When he realized there was nothing on the cutting table for me, he made me walk around the cavernous store and pick more out for myself. Was mad, in fact, when I only came up with two prints. The bright green is destined for a gown, the paler green-- well, actually, don't tell Rob, but I feel like he needs some floral linen pants. Shhhh. That's just between us. 

Most of these surprisingly vivid options were given the thumbs up for vest fabric, something I've been wanting to make for Rob since our last Re:Fashion shoot, when he wore a sweet wool vest for one of the episodes. Hey, did you know Rob knows how to sew? Yep. He learned long before I did. What's more, Rob knows how to sew WELT POCKETS. The first thing he ever stitched was a fully lined wool vest with TWO of those bad boys! (You'll see evidence of this tomorrow.)

Now, this might come as a surprise to peeps who have been around here for a minute, as I normally jump into anything sewing related with wild abandon, but I have avoided learning how to sew a welt pocket LIKE THE PLAGUE since I started stitching over a decade ago. I decided it was high time to conquer that fear, and where better to start than a pile of birthday fabric. Comparing Rob's handmade vest to Simplicity 8023, I did a quick toile for fit, then got ready to tackle those pockets. Except. EXCEPT. That's there's a false welt on 8023!!! OOOOOO I WAS SO MAD! I was ready to go ahead and faux it up-- I mean, what is today's vest wearer even putting in those tiny pockets-- but then Rob's vest looked at me. Mocked me, even. You've been sewing for a decade, hoss? Huh. You must be pretty good. Rob put welt pockets in me. Right out the gate. I think he'd maybe been sewing about a DAY. 

HOW DARE YOU, SIR I yelled in response to Beginner's Welted Vest. I CAN DO ALL OF THE THINGS!  YOU THINK I'M SCARED OF POCKETS?! I DO NOT RUN FROM POCKETS!!! 

Welt pocket

Using a combination of vintage sewing books, internet sleuthing, and a cocktail or two, I made two practice runs before going whole hog. I figured out a few little tricks along the way that make for a neater finish, which I'll share soon...

And now I can't wait to make eleventy billion welt pockets. Luckily I've got plenty of yardage at hand.

Sewing for Rob: fabric haul!

(Yes, even the magenta plaid is his!)

I don't run from much in sewing, but I sure ran from welt pockets. I'd love to know what sewing techniques make you hide in the corner. Maybe it's something you've never tried, or something you do repeatedly and hate every time...Horsehair hems? Gathering fabric? French Seams? Dish!

8.02.2019

Behind the Seams of Re:Fashion Season 2: Sequin Two Set!

Mermaid sequin gown refashion with Marcy Harriell oonaballoona on Bluprint

Actual shot of my face when I had to delete this post last month.

If you're experiencing déjà vu, mea culpa! I'm still learning YouTube, and human error meant I had to erase my Re:Fashion Series 2 kickoff posts across multiple platforms. Which is such a 2019 sentence. Then, you know, the whole acting-career-thing meant I had to push my course corrections back even further. SO. If you caught my July glitch, and wanna get straight to watching the first sparkly episode of Season 2 for ab-so-lute-ly free, you can head on over to our new Youtube channel! It's not going away this time, I promise.

Now let's get back to pictures & ramblings!

Sequin gown refashion before and after with Marcy hHarriell oonaballoona on Bluprint

GOOD LORD THERE'S TWO OF THEM RUN FOR YOUR LIVES

It made perfect sense to me to kick off the new season with a sequined, ombre, off-the-shoulder mermaid gown. SUCH AN EVERYDAY PIECE. But don't we all have that specialty item? The monster that haunts us each time we open the closet door? You know, the kind of beast one is *requested* to buy, in order to complete a bride's wishes...the kind of beast that lurks in the shadows, after its one day in the sun? Yeah. THAT BEAST. 

What, you don't have a horror story in your closet? Want one of your very own to refashion? Who am I to stop you.

True Bias Ogden cami and pencil skirt sequin refashion with Marcy Harriell oonaballoona on Bluprint

RTW beasties aside, you might imagine my technicolor racks are overflowing with sequins of the handmade variety. Nope! Nary an item! I'll tell you the truth, every time I fall in love with some blingy yardage, I dive straight in, sparkle flying everywhere...and when something goes horribly and immediately wrong, I keep stubbornly stitching until I've fitted the thing to within an inch of its life, and several inches smaller than myself. Then into the Time Out Corner it goes. I've got a whole pile of botched bling just waiting to be saved.

Sequin cami and skirt Refashion with Marcy Harriell oonaballoona on Bluprint

Sequins require extra work, extra patience, and extra cleanup. I'm down with two outta three of those. Depending on the fabric, you might need to remove each sequin from the seam allowance, so that you don't have great big galumphing lumps of seams running up the side of your bod. Lining is a necessity, to keep necklines and armscye scratch-free. And sequins. Get. EVERYWHERE. In fact, they are now a permanent part of the ambiance of our apartment. 

Sequin cami and skirt Refashion with Marcy Harriell oonaballoona on Bluprint

With all that in mind, I wanted to choose a project that would end in success, both for myself and for y'all! The gown I refashioned has an allover, scattered pattern of miniature sequins, sewn onto stretch mesh, with a separate poly lining. These guys were so tiny, I could do away with the painstaking removal of each little speck from the SA. And the stretch mesh fabric meant no fraying edges--an even cut was all I needed for my hems. Remove any amputated sequins from those edges, and voila!

Oh--recognize the top? It's the beloved Ogden Cami from True Bias, saving the day! I flipped the script on this gown and used the gold that was once the mermaid hem for the new top.

Sequin cami and skirt Refashion with Marcy Harriell oonaballoona on Bluprint

I went nose-to-tail on this refashion, using every bit of the gown to make my new look. The lining, zipper, and even that great big floofy shoulder tie, were all saved and used. The only new item was a length of petersham for the waistband treatment. It gave me an elegant, easy finish for this little two set.

Sequin cami and skirt Refashion with Marcy Harriell oonaballoona on Bluprint

OH AND SPEAKING OF TWO SETS

Rob and Marcy Harriell Sequin cami and skirt Refashion on Bluprint oonaballoona

I CAN'T I REALLY CAN'T.

We were thrilled to be back on set with our Re:Fashion gang! I'm pretty sure I was in Godzilla Hummingbird Mode the entire week. The nonstop Nitros definitely aided and abetted. SUCH HAPPY RAMPAGE! Watch me tame this blingy beast (the dress and Rob), and cover every surface (the apartment AND Rob) in sequins, in the Season two premiere on our brand spanking new Youtube channel

If you're jonesing a binge of all 6 episodes, and get your sewing TV through Bluprint, they are all LIVE now. You can also sign up for a free trial and play around for a full week. More to come on each episode, with loads of pics, my usual ramblings...and a couple of surprises, including a giveaway or two ;) It is my birthday month, after all!

Have you tried your hand at sequins? Maybe you've got a beastie in your closet that has you stumped? Do tell.....  

7.25.2019

Simplicity 8635 Sundress (Literally)

Simplicity 8635 Sundress (Literally)

Hiya. How YOU doin' in the world? In our neck of the woods, every human is at the end of their rope. THE END, Y'ALL!!! Yesterday afternoon, a middle aged woman did that back-and-forth jig, you know the one, where you don't know which way to go? She had a bag of groceries on one arm, and although she juked to the wrong side of the street, I happily stepped out of her way to allow her to pass. She repaid the favor by yanking her elbow up into the air as if to strike me. As if to strike me. Which surprised me into laughter, because who does that?! I am sure this did not help her mood.  

Simplicity 8635 Sundress (Literally)

That evening, Rob & I took a stroll together, because, strength in numbers, and were ordered by a young stationary duo taking up a 15-foot radius of sidewalk to walk around them and their toy dog on a fully extended leash. Toy Dog Chick called us some names, we yelled back about the magnificence of her self centeredness, and continued our stroll.  

Simplicity 8635 Sundress (Literally)

And those are fairly innocuous blurbs, compared to the strangers we've been running up against. Racial stuff, that I honestly don't want to talk about. Everyone is raging against the machine by living their own personal life with extreme belligerence. 

Simplicity 8635 Sundress (Literally)

Later that night, huddled up on the couch with a nice big cocktail and a Rob-centric flick, I wondered if those exchanges might have gone differently if I'd been wearing my usual garb. Mostly everything in my closet is currently in the hamper, as I've been back and forth between jobs and trains since June, so it's been jeans shorts & a tee for me since Tuesday.

Simplicity 8635 Sundress (Literally)

Because really, how are you rude to a person wearing a dress made out of technicolor suns? At the very least you're maybe a little happier for the color!

This was a point of interest in my sudden flurry of summer singing. Theater rehearsals are pretty much a dressed-down affair, leggings and loose shirts being the easy choice for movement. My closet doesn't have a lot of that anymore. Mainly because I keep making stuff, so, erm, SOMETHING has to go, and given the choice between a sensible rehearsal outfit and a maxi dress, whaddaYOU think is getting the ax. So, I've been entering rooms in maxi dress technicolor, tying up the skirt portion to dance and twirl as needed. And lemme tell you what, IT FEELS SO GOOD! And it makes other people feel good! I lost count of the number of co-workers who wanted to change their closet game after spending a few days together! I may have agreed to teach several people to sew!! BECAUSE FOLKS LET'S SPREAD THE HAPPY.

Simplicity 8635 Sundress (Literally)

A literal sun-dress was all I could think to create out of this print, which was lucky for me, because I'm usually stymied by 100% cotton fabric. I know this makes zero sense, given my obsession with wax print, which is essentially 100% cotton with a wax finish. But give me plain cotton and I'll sit on it for a year. Even a vibrant print like this! That Alexander Henry sun dictated the dress, and I made it the day it entered my sewing space.

Simplicity 8635 Sundress (Literally)

Would that I were as quick on the draw blogging about it, because I have no earthly idea what I used for the bodice. Wait. Let me check Ye Olde Instagram and see if I left any breadcrumbs... AHA!!!! Simplicity 8635!  


AY QUE WRINKLY! Sorry! This is one of the many dresses that went to rehearsals with me last week. With a little more yardage I could have had a seamless sun across the back zipper, but c'est la vie. I've tried the bodice of this pattern in both the strappy open-backed view (C), and the plainer version you see here. I prefer this closed view, the open back was super gapey. I omitted the V at the top of center back, and did double shoulder straps. 


The skirt as-drafted is gathered, which isn't my jam, so I went with a super simple half circle skirt, with a 2" horsehair hem.


This means no room for pockets, as it only has a center back seam...but LOTS of room for twirl...


Simplicity 8635 Sundress (Literally)

#TWIRLPOWER


Well y'all, I wish you some sun as you walk through the world and into the weekend. I plan on getting this laundry done STAT and getting back into my technicolor armor. Maybe it won't calm the savage beast, but if everyone's determined to go off the deep end, I'm at least gonna have something pretty to look at during the mayhem.

This shoot, by the way, was a very wonderful day, with a very wonderful friend, who wanted to go behind the scenes and see me act foolish in front of a tripod. WHICH I GLADLY DID. We laughed for several hours. But despite my open-mouthed grins, I know there's a lot going on (to say the very least). So truly...how's the water in your end of the pool? How are you handling the general human climate? If you can find a way to move through the world with some goodwill, we'll be over here, trying to do the same.