10.29.2020

McCall's 7745...ish.

McCall's 7745...ish.

I might be smiling here, but don't let it fool you, THIS DRESS TRIED TO KILL ME.

This is McCalls 7745, which I've made before in leopard rayon jersey. Funny that when I made it in a fabric it wasn't meant for, it turned out great--I just sized down 2 sizes to account for the negative ease you need in stretch knits, and BOOM. DRESS.

This version, not so much. I used the proper size for wovens, and the neck came up as wide as the political divide in this here country. Gaped all over creation like I was aiming to be crowned Queen of the Tata Parade.

McCall's 7745...ish.

(I don't know which party would hold a Tata Parade, but it ain't the look I was going for.)

McCall's 7745...ish.

After skimming that July 2018 leopard print post, I realize I actually ALREADY SEWED THIS in a woven with the same tata trials. That tribulation was abandoned completely. Nice that I left myself a trail of breadcrumbs! Buuuuuut that only works if you REMEMBER THE CRUMBS.


With only the pros of that story in mind, I sewed this bodice up again, in the correct size for wovens. And I mean SEWED. IT. UP. Fully lined in fashion fabric, seams graded and understitched, cut sleeve treatment added, ready to rock!

Exhibitionist style. 


I was FUMING when I tried it on. With only 2.5 yards of this fabric, I couldn't afford to lose an inch of it, so I shoved it in a bag to wait for inspiration. Then Brittany popped up in my feed with an off-the-shoulder beauty, in the sunshine, and it was June in NY, and we were stuck behind bars, and I decided I WAS FINISHING IT OR IT WAS FINISHING ME


Smackdown: Sewist came by way of center back-- I took a whopping 3-inch dart out of center back, tapering from a giant chunk at the neck to nothing at the waist. Not easy, or pretty, to do once the bodice is fully lined, but luckily, my penchant for busy prints saved me. Pro tip: A busy print can hide all manner of wonkiness, y'all.


Once I took that ginormous chunk out, the open sleeve treatment needed some help. Gone were the fluttery, romantic wings I'd given myself. So I made a coupla spaghetti straps and tied them closed. With a bow. To save the romance. Though I was feeling VERY LITTLE LOVE at that point.


Having zero desire to use the rest of the pattern, I draped the skirt with what I had left! This is a border print, and I just needed to adjust my brain to let the floral border lie vertically to get the most out of what I had left.


Although it is a wrap dress, it isn't a true wrap style-- I added a few small pieces of twill tape for interior ties, and then attached the main tie belt down at the "wrap" edge of the outer bodice, at center front. I just tie it shut on the interior, and wrap the belt around myself on the exterior. Way better than buttonholes in rayon, especially when you're ready for a garment to be done-zo.

(I'd show you the interior tie situation, but without a dressform, I'm not sure how to do it without throwing my biddies back in the Tata Parade.)


She's swishy enough, and I'm glad she's DONE! But I might start writing my breadcrumbs right on the pattern envelope from now on...

10.08.2020

Dress For the Day: All Temperature Cheer.

Dress For the Day: All Temperature Cheer.

It’s so beautiful outside this week, my maxi dresses have come back out to play. Mind you, they’re never really benched, they’re just confined to indoor costume changes during the colder months. But today. TODAY. WE WAX PRINT.

Dress For the Day: All Temperature Cheer.

BOOTY SHOT, TIMES TWO.

This is one of three prints picked out by MomNDadInc for my birthday prize, from House of Mami Wata. And it is the print I never knew I wanted! Lookit these beautifully saturated cool tones! Apparently, my parents know the technicolor gaps that need filling in my closet, and they know how to pick the hue that will FIT, cuz when I held this up to my face (and Rob’s, to be honest)...fireworks. Under-the-sea, blue and purple fireworks.  

Dress For the Day: All Temperature Cheer.

If I hadn’t made this bodice two times before, I would have been shaking cutting into this print. Why yes, yes, I am fearless (dare I say, caution-less?) when diving into yardage, but it’s very different when it’s a gift. Especially a parental gift. You want to do them proud, y’know? You can’t just shove a UFO in a pile to be fixed at a later date--not when the people who gave you fabric also GAVE YOU LIFE!!!

Dress For the Day: All Temperature Cheer.

Yes, it IS still an all caps situation around here, and no, we did NOT consider that a creature was showing ALL OF ITS ASS in most of these shots WHY DO YOU ASK

With the bodice fit secure and my hands steady, I added a couple tweaks, to give it a different feel from my previous versions (here and here).

Dress For the Day: All Temperature Cheer.

I get a lot, and I mean A LOT, of inspiration from Instagram. Let me clarify, I get a lot of inspiration from our fellow sewists on Instagram. Then IG tries to tempt me with poorly made Amazon fast fashion. I’M NOT BITING, INSTAGRAM.

Dress For the Day: All Temperature Cheer.

But I’m completely biting on two sewists here: @keechiibstyle and @kateevadesigns. These supersewists having me throwing hearts down on the regular. There's Kate Eva on the gathers, and Marcia on the drop shoulder! 

And the pom poms are me. BECAUSE POM POMS. 

Finishing it off with a half circle skirt and a small gathered tier was all she wrote out of this yardage. I have enough left for maaaaybe a mask. But I might start saving up my wax print scraps again for a quilt...

Don't gimmie that look. I COULD QUILT. In 2020, anything’s possible...

10.05.2020

New Video: How to Sew a 3D Face Mask with ONE Pattern Piece!

New Video: How to Sew a 3D Face Mask with ONE Pattern Piece!

Making light of a dark situation is how we try to roll around here. If you gotta make a mask, you might as well make it FUN.

After wearing this 3D face mask in a "Dollar Store Video Haul" on my YT Channel last week, I received a ton of personal requests for a tutorial on it. Apparently, like me, a lot of us are still looking for that perfect DIY. Lemme tell ya, I wish I'd known about this style when all this ish began, because as far as masks go, it is the bomb diggety. So, I whipped up a step-by-step for ya! With some...intriguing assistance from Rob.

New Video: How to Sew a 3D Face Mask with ONE Pattern Piece!

This is our favorite mask. No center seam, no darts, and easily adjustable for all schnozzes. Marie at A Stitching Odyssey hepped me to this style via her Instagram. I changed it up to include an all-in-one elastic casing and an optional nose bridge. One pattern piece, and so easy to make! I just wish I'd known about it before sewing up the other 999 masks I've made.

Watch the step-by-step (with the usual hijinks) on the channel! Just click here:

How to Sew a 3D Face Mask: With ONE Pattern Piece!

Stay safe, and keep smiling, y'all. Or smizing. See you later this week with a garment post :)

9.28.2020

The Man, The Myth, THE JAMS.

The Man, The Myth, THE JAMS. | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

HEY NOW! THAT is what I call a celestial body! ARE YOU MY LUCKY STAR, BABY?! Yes, I am catcalling my man. I CAN'T HELP IT. He's looking right down the lens of the camera and I'm DONE. IN A GOOD WAY. Can you blame me? Would you lookit that mug? Are the technicolor, handmade shorts even the focus of this leadoff picture on a *sewing* blog? No, they are not, and YOU'RE WELCOME.

The Man, The Myth, THE JAMS. | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

I'm sorry, I'm feeling very ALL CAPS lately. Belligerently so. I think it's because such a large portion of the -ish going on in the world points to a severe lack of listening (among 12,000 other things), SO ALL CAPS SEEMS HANDY.

The Man, The Myth, THE JAMS. | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

These shorts, however, point to a very different issue. AN ISSUE OF GQ, BABY! THAAAAAT'S RIGHT! I swear, I didn't intentionally create a starburst at crotch level. Well I mean, I DID, but I didn't consider just how bursty it would be once stitched up.


This picture was meant to showcase the zip fly, but yeah. That's a lotta crotchburst.


Can you believe, the BACK is where I really thought we'd have issues? To be clear, we do, in more ways than giving Rob his own pink portal. There are no pockets. This is what Rob said as we walked out the door to take pictures. I gave him a substantial pause and several calm breaths before promising him back pockets on the next pair.


BECAUSE DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG THE FRONT POCKETS TOOK? A LONG TIME!!! A VERY LONG TIME!!!


If you can pull your eyes away from "Star Marks The Spot" and look to the left of this shot, you'll see a little silver clip. That's my model's pocketknife. This southern man goes nowhere without it. So, right around the time I was considering pivoting and making him a good old elastic waistband, I remembered working front pockets were a necessity.


Apologies for mangling the edges of this fantastic mural, part of Sprayetteville. I had to extend the width of the JPG to fit my blog. I blame the model's gravitational pull, I just wanted to be close to him. But Sideview! Sideview, to give your peepers a break from phenomenal print placement! 

The Man, The Myth, THE JAMS. | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

Speaking of print placement, Rob is pointing out the logo of the best brewery IN THE UNIVERSE, run by two of our closest friends and favorite humans. If you're in the hood, check out Crisis Brewery, y'all.

Hey! Now that I'm at the bottom of the post, and no longer distracted by the HotNess Monster™️ gracing my screen, lemme talk about the sewing for a minute.

These shorts are actually a copy of his favorite pair of RTW shorts. They finally got old enough for him to sacrifice them to science. Various methods of making a pattern from RTW have been attempted in the past, none worked to my liking! I find it tedious to trace with thread and silk organza, or rub off seam lines like hieroglyphics....and, yes, I have tried commercial shorts patterns, which always fail to give him space to roam free. I am SO GLAD I finally tried cutting something to pieces, because it worked like a charm! And no, I don't feel bad copying a piece of RTW, especially as he can't find this cut in stores anymore. BELIEVE ME HE CAN'T. I'VE SENT HIM ON MANY A QUEST. Anything to keep me from having to deal with the anatomy of the male membered crotch curve.   

The traffic on this post is going to be stupendously baffled.

For this method, you will absolutely lose whatever you're copying, but it's a pretty solid way to get an exact copy. I decided to document it all, start to finish, on our YT Channel, and dealing with sewing-without-a-net while filming basically put my brain on backorder. But now that I know it works, I'll be looking for more candidates to go under the knife, and I'll share a more comprehensible A to Z with y'all soon! For now, if you'd like to get an idea of how this worked (and be entertained by our fitting session) you can check out the video by clicking right here: Watch: Copying RTW Shorts!

I hope you're digging the video content, for myself, I don't think I would have dove into these shorts otherwise! Lemme know if there's anything you'd like to see in the future. (And, I have no intention of becoming a blogger whose blog posts only include embedded video content, so although I'll alert you to videos here, I'll still be rambling aplenty. In fact I think it'll make me ramble MORE. AIN'T YOU LUCKY? AIN'T YOU ALL CAPS LUCKY?!!!)

9.22.2020

Copying Rob's Favorite Pair of RTW Shorts!

Copying Rob's Favorite Pair of RTW Shorts!

OH MY FLIP DOESN'T ROB LOOK SOOOOOOOO HAPPY?! Truly, this picture is everything he ever wanted in life!

Something he actually *has* been wanting in life, for quite some time now: shorts. The perfect shorts, to be exact. I apparently possess the skills to make this happen, but no commercially produced shorts pattern has accommodated his, er, nether regions. So, we decided it was time I cut up his favorite pair of ready-to-wear shorts and create a pattern. Wanna see how it went? It's live on the channel now!

I'll be back later this week with details, and plenty of still shots from my SUPER cooperative model. If you've ever wondered what I'm like when I sew...wonder no more:

Watch Copying RTW: Make Your Own Sewing Pattern here! 

Happy last day of summer, y'all. Hopefully, he can sneak in a few more wears. But I have a feeling I'll be using this pattern to make pants soon....

9.17.2020

Outside the Spectrum of Color...and the Pattern Envelope!

Outside the Spectrum of Color...and the Pattern Envelope! | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

Don't you dare tell me summer is over when I am sitting here, RIGHT THIS VERY HOT MINUTE, in the sunshine, in seven yards of wax print.

Outside the Spectrum of Color...and the Pattern Envelope! | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

Did I say seven? Indeed I did! I nabbed one lonely yard of this gorgeous explosion of flowers from House of Mami Wata, and then my parents, completely on the same wavelength and completely unaware, sent me a standard six-yard cut for my birthday! They sent me a BUNCH of goodies, actually--this is the first of four technicolor prints they chose.

Outside the Spectrum of Color...and the Pattern Envelope! | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

A dear friend of ours--a civilian non-sewist, mind you--has been peeking in on my adventures in fashion, and told Rob he thought I lived "outside the spectrum of color." After hearing that, forget it. You could use my inflated head to power the Goodyear Blimp.

I get my penchant for technicolor from my parents, no question. Our house, our clothing, even our taste in music was as colorful and mixed as our family of four. (Though I must add a disclaimer, Brother Beast went rogue in high school and started dressing all black, head-to-toe. His color comes from head-to-toe tattoos. Now THAT is commitment to color.)

Outside the Spectrum of Color...and the Pattern Envelope! | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

With seven yards suddenly on my hands, I wanted to make the sweepiest, fullest maxi I could think up. All that's left from the making of this bad boy is one long strip of fabric, about 6 inches wide by 2 feet long. Enough to add a little ruffly sleeve, or maybe a contrast fabric for another dress...

Outside the Spectrum of Color...and the Pattern Envelope! | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

YES IT IS ENOUGH FOR A MASK AND NOPE I AM NOT MAKING A MATCHING MASK FOR IT. THAT'S RIGHT! I STAMP MY FEET AND CLENCH MY FISTS!!! 

Outside the Spectrum of Color...and the Pattern Envelope! | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

Sorry, after sewing around 400 masks, I needed that. Don't get me wrong, I'm a thousand percent #TeamMask (and also Science Is Real, please vote, please god vote), but on the sewing front, I'm a little...spent. Besides which, this baby is a poly-cotton blend, and me no likey the poly for breathability around the mouth and nose region. Who would have ever thought that would be a consideration in garment making? Who would have ever thought a LOT of things, for that matter...

(HoMW is very good, by the way, about listing fabric content. Many of her prints are 100% cotton. And many of them became aforementioned masks.)

Outside the Spectrum of Color...and the Pattern Envelope! | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

This is a self-drafted bodice, which I used to make three versions of this dress. On my YT channel, I mentioned I'd be putting up suggestions on what you can use to get this look--here's the thing, any bodice pattern with princess/prince/vertical seams will get you here, and I'm wrangling up a how-to video for you on that. But, for example, if you've got McCalls 8108, 8103 or 8094 in your stash, you're golden. Just take your underbust measurement, throw it in a circle skirt calculator, and attach the skirt at the bodice seam for 8108 and 8103. For 8094 (the closest match to what I did) you would slash the pattern at the underbust, adding seam allowance.

I used a half circle skirt (my favorite, lots of fullness with just one seam at CB!), and the addition of two gigantic gathered tiers, cut on the crossgrain, gave me the maximum swish I wanted.

Outside the Spectrum of Color...and the Pattern Envelope! | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

By the way, notice there are three current pattern options you can use to get this look, all of which came out this Spring/Summer? At an eventual point in your sewing, you learn that a lot of the new big 4 releases are versions of what you already have. And, while it's lovely to buy another pattern and go to town from start to finish, it's also wonderful to look at what you have, and how you can achieve a new look by adding your own tweaks.

Alright, I've got some shorts to make for Rob, who said that this dress makes me look like I'm carrying around my own personal spotlight. HOW CAN I REFUSE HIM SHORTS AFTER THAT. 

I'd love to hear about what you've been sewing! Wherever you are in the world, are you sticking with summer? Or onto The Season That Shall Not Yet Be Named? Do tell. You know, cuz I'm going to NEED breaks from figuring out my man's crotch curve. And sewing talk is the best break.

9.13.2020

New on the channel: What I Made in August!

New on the channel: What I Made in August!

This is a quickie post, cuz I was up till 3am getting this video up on YouTube. THAT'S a ridiculous sentence, ain't it? Last night, as I edited out yammering, and watched spinning uploading balls, I kept telling myself: we're in ridiculous times, might as well act the part.

Summer is waning, and so is the shelf life for these wax print maxi dresses, so I wanted to get this out today! (At least, the shelf life for their public consumption--I'll be wearing these well into 2021 where, and when, ever possible.) Plus, I've got another very important summer-sew to finish. You'll see.

Here's my August Sewing Output (I have a very hard time calling it "makes," as the youtubers do...) hope you enjoy it, and truly hope you have some happy in this Summer Sunday 💕

I'll be back with still photos later this week, and suggestions on how you can get this look!

Watch What I Made In August: Wax Print. EVERYWHERE here!

8.30.2020

What’s In My Closet

What’s In My Closet | oonaballoona by Marcy Harriell

Hands down, when we decided to get some breathing room away from the city this summer, the thing I stalled on THE MOST was what would make it into my suitcase. Well before I learned to sew, clothing was my armor, and once I learned how to sew my own armor? Forget it! Sewists know the meaning of a garment!

But. I gotta have a LOT of choices to feel right. I’m rarely in the same garment all day long. If the color I’m in suddenly feels out of sync, the music from the Emerald City scene in The Wiz plays in my head, I shout COSTUME CHANGE, and stomp off to the closet, Quincy Jones grinning at me from my mind palace all the while. Maybe this need is borne out of all the quick changes I’ve had to make as an actress? All that wriggling into gowns, into pants under dresses, out of bras and blazers; offstage in little cloth booths, in public LA parking lots, in empty NY stairwells, in just about anywhere but bathrooms (because public restrooms: gross)...maybe it trained me to want change.

One of my favorite casting directors once asked me to read for a different role than I was initially called in for, and said: “You can go home and change first. I know you like to have the right outfit on.” AND THEN SHE BECAME MY VERY FAVORITE CASTING DIRECTOR.

Costume changes have been infinitely easier these past six months, as a swap is no problem when you’re already locked down twelve feet from your closet. Silver linings, y’all. The collage above is some of what’s in my handmade, truncated closet, and you can see ALL of what’s in it, on my shimmying body, on Ye Olde YouTube. I was in the middle of boogying through this closet runway video, questioning my sanity, when Renee wondered what I’d packed. I took that question as a green light and forged ahead. You’ll either get a laugh out if it, or get a laugh at me. I’ll take either option. Most times, when I look at my filmed frolicking, I’m doing the latter.

(Oh, and jump to the end for a dancing Rob.)

How ‘bout it? Do you change your look to change your mood? If not, I highly recommend it! Making this video made me grin, ear to ear.

8.20.2020

Finding Happy

Finding Happy | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

Though the joy in these pics is 100% real, I’ll be honest with you, I started this week out plain DONE. Sad, angry, ugly crying, DONE. I don't have to tell you why, the great big bulk of us is experiencing this on the regular, for any number of well known reasons. Just keepin it real.

At the moment, however, I am whatever is the opposite of "done." I don't know what that qualifier would be; I'm sure there's some new term for it that would make me slightly queasy, but I'm hanging on to it when I get it (as I'm also sure the great big bulk of us is doing). 

Finding Happy | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

Those little bows from my last post started the shift back to happy. I had planned on making full on barrettes, but four stores and no dice proved that there's been a pandemic run on...plain metal barrettes? Interesting. I have no idea what people are doing with barrettes, but there it is. I decided to forge ahead anyways and use the humble bobby pin, which gave me such immense satisfaction when it proved to be the perfect solution, I couldn't even be mad at the aforementioned fruitless search.  

I didn't want to usurp that post with any amount of frustration, just as much as I don't want to usurp this blazingly happy pink print with general world shock. For now, I think it's better to say again, and as always, creating is a cure, and I'm grateful to have the means to continue to do it. We'll get into all the rest for sure, because it has to be talked about. But HOW BOUT WE HANG ONTO THIS HAPPY FEELING FOR A MINUTE AND TALK ABOUT CREATING.

Finding Happy | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

This dress is the first garment from my Birthday Fabric Haul, and the print hails from House of Mami Wata. It's a riff on one of my self drafted patterns, but quite simply: if you have a princess seamed bodice in your pattern stash, you can get here. I'll do a little video on it, if you'd like to see how!

With six yards in a cut of wax print, there's really no excuse for poor print placement. And yet, as you can see, those angles don't match up under the bodice....

...and those curves at center front are serving you Georgia O'Keefe.

Always, always strive to have a manufacture's emblem down center back. Though with this print and social distancing WHO'S NOTICING

Plus the emblems don't start till below my butt anyways.

I have an EXCELLENT excuse for any dodgy print placement: Rob wants Jams out of this print. JAMS! I HAVE DOCUMENTED EVIDENCE OF THIS!!! 

Do y'all remember Jams? For those that don't, they are the most fabulous shorts in existence. Knee length, wild prints, with about twelve candy colored hues in every glorious pair. My Dad used to wear them on summer weekends, when he'd grill up a bunch of goodness on his speck of time off, on a deck he hammered together over more of those weekends. I loved helping him on those weekends! Once I helped by dropping an entire plate of barbecued chicken. Aside from that, I was an excellent beer-getter and plate-holder. 

That memory of my Dad's weekend uniform is one of my earliest inspirations to get to my current technicolor closet. 

So yeah. When Rob asked for Jams, I decided to re-prioritize print placement.

However I'm pretty thrilled with the side view at the bustline (cuz I cut the bodice twice, dontcha know).

And really. When have I ever shied away from highlighting reproductive organs, anyways?

Alrighty y'all, we're almost at the weekend! May you have Jams to wear, and a plate fulled of something grilled. And if you're at a "done" place... may you find a little time to create.