Monday, October 20, 2014

perfect student


I love school. I really, really do. If I could prove the 1/16th of Lakota Indian running through my veins and go back to school full boat, I totally would.

Because let's face it. SCHOOL AIN'T CHEAP. And at the moment, that DNA daydream is the only way this gal is getting back in class.

For now, I shall content myself with the School Of Google, the Further Education Of Sewing Blogs, and the worthy cause of helping kiddos and teachers out there who are in the thick of the repeatable truth that SCHOOL AIN'T CHEAP.

Pattern Parcel #6: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win

It's time for Pattern Parcel 6, that beautiful beast thought up by Jill and Danny of Made With Moxie, and I'm happy as a geek in Staples at the end of August to be a part of getting the word out again. Last time around, I played in Pattern Parcel 3, which raised over $5,100. Go on, peep the snazzy infographic and breakdown of the supplies galore that were donated through Donors Choose. To date, over $12,000 has been raised. Awesome.


This time I chose to dive into Jennifer Lauren's Bronte top. Though there are many beauties to choose from, my school supplies are dwindling over here, and I had just enough for this top. University of LIFE, yo. SCHOOL. AIN'T. CHEAP. It took about an hour to make up, including taping the PDF together. Which Mizz JL gets an A+ for! I would call myself a PhD in PDF taping, always working out my own thesis on how to make the ginormous maps work with the little space I have-- Jennifer Lauren did all that math for you. Brilliant pattern, easy top, and no, you don't need a serger, this was all done on my beloved Pfaff.


As usual, you only have a limited amount of time to snag your package. School doors close on this parcel October 31st. And wouldja lookit that, I made it super easy for you and threw a buy it button in the sidebar! Well, further on up the sidebar. But how cute would that have been if I was looking right at it?


Click on over and see if a thing or six strikes your fancy. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

What was I (drink)thinking #1


So! Welcome to What was I drinkthinking, a little series dedicated to wadders. This gem has gone to the great Thrift Pile In The Sky, so it's of no use to tell me how cute it is. ALSO I WILL NOT BELIEVE YOU. I MIGHT EVEN CALL YOU A LIAR! FRIENDS DON'T LIE TO EACH OTHER! (Of course, there's the danger that someone out there might truly think a wadder is cute, in which case, no offense, but this thing felt like I was wearing a candystriper's hairshirt.)

Let's begin, shall we?

In one of those recycled fashion stores that are all the rage in LA, I was in the dressing room, going through the aggravating experience of finding appropriate audition attire. It wasn't always so vexing. 


But at that point I knew a bit more about fit. A BIT. Because this romper, this janky carnival ride, this was what I thought photo worthy. Come on, y'all.  Feast your eyes on that front crotch curve and the sumptuous excess baggage. FEAST. Plus too tight legs! I WAS A POSTER CHILD FOR FIT!

Even so,  I had just enough knowledge about how things should fit to make me dangerous, and the RTW dressing room was therefore not the Candyland it used to be. Mais, I had no desire to sew audition appropriate clothing (still don't). So there I was, looking for bargain priced designer hand-me-downs.


(Ooo look what a badass I thought I was. I invite you to gaze at my crotch. That's not a shadow. Hey oona, for all your careful placement, how'dja manage to get the two DARKEST STRIPES in the yardage RIGHT IN YOUR FRONT CROTCH? Embarrassing tampax commercial every time I stood legs akimbo. Which I often do.)


Where's my waist. Anyone?

How does my butt look?! How many calories were in that dessert?! Did that guy from last night call you?! This was the stimulating conversation wafting from the dressing room next to me. Well, honestly, it wasn't that inane, it's absolutely appropriate dressing room talk. But I was so utterly disgusted, I could feel my eyes roll back in my head. The kind of roll that makes your eyelids twitch from the force of it. Dressed in my ridiculous attempt to look like a lawyer, I caught the roll in the mirror, and laughed at myself. I hated those chicks because, at the time, I had zero girlfriends in LA. And I wanted to go shopping with my girlfriends, and laugh in dressing rooms, and go eat ice cream.

I bought zilch, called a girlfriend on the walk home, and yammered about every silly trivial thing possible.

It was a good reminder that most people who are hating on you for seemingly no reason have reason of their own, usually having very little to do with you. 


This romper ended up on the counter at that very same store, along with a pile of clothing I couldn't imagine carting back across the country. Unsurprisingly, the buyer behind the counter did not bite.

What Was I Thinking: 
The fabric was way too heavy for this pattern (Suede Says 2222), a medium weight cotton with zero drape.
The print placement! EGADS!
Extending the crotch curve out and crossing my fingers didn't work.
The Armsyce extends down to Mexico.

What Was I Drinking:
I believe Ruggy was very into perfecting the perfect Manhattan at the time. Mostly due to the fact that we missed New York.

What I Learned:
Even though I failed miserably on that crotch of questionable color, I did take my time with those stripes. I was starting to think seriously about print placement (and doing lots of failing. No really, lots). And I was beginning to figure out where my real waist sits, and where the pattern should sit in relation to it. For a while after this, I was hiking errrrrrrthang up to my natural waist, a la Ed Grimly. Also, I learned that Suede Says he is not the pattern maker for me (although that lesson took some time, and several more tries of several more Suede Says patterns). 

I sincerely hope you found this little gem as catastrophic as I did! And lest you think all the candidates in this series will be ghosts of stitches past, just wait. I've got a wadder from last week that's amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Irrational Catastrophe

oonaballoona | go get catastrophic

Several weekends ago, under my maniacal supervision, in a mere fourteen hours, one of my very favorite girlfriends Brilliant Chica sewed up the Kate & Rose Giselle dress from start to finish. She walked away with a garment, I walked away with a bigger head. No, really. I literally command myself to LISTEN AND RETAIN INFORMATION when the two of us are together. Intelligence seeps off of her like a heady perfume. I love it. My favorite observation of her beginner's view on sewing:

It's all about the avoidance of catastrophe. 

DAMN STRAIGHT, I hollered back happily. That's why I love my seam ripper. 'Cause stitches be TRIPPIN. (We were singing a lot of Iggy Azalea that weekend.)

She, however, was hellbent on not using her seam ripper. Until she saw that I too had to use that most important tool. Lots. Even with careful planning for catastrophe avoidance. Whatever level you're at, the seam ripper is your Number One Pal. Her surprise turned our conversation to the assumption, propagated by beautiful blogs and eye candy instagram and what have you, that once you reach a certain level, perfect garments appear with very little strife on the maker's end. Sort of like that Facebook syndrome everyone was hollering about. A kind of Irrational Reality. The number of people stitching has grown like some gorgeous untamed vine over the past few years-- I think the last 365 especially has seen an absolute eruption of people picking up needles and joining in the fray. It's wonderful, but also misleading: Everyone is doing it, and look how easily. 

Lately, I've had a lot of emails asking advice on how to begin, how to get a good fit, how I choose my wackadoo combos, how much do I really drink... well. I AM QUITE BRATTILY FLATTERED! But let's be real, not everything in Kalkatroona is a winner. I'm just not showing you the wadders. I mean, I could start a weekly series on What Was I Drinking Thinking. (I'm also not putting Coca Cola in my Gin. The horror.) 

But while some things come (seemingly) easy to me, others don't. I look at the great big beautiful pool of sewing blogs, our version of Reality TV, and fall headfirst into the trap. I look at the reality of Sallie Oh's silks, and Cashmerette's coats, and Amy's undies, and I irrationally think I CAN DO THAT! I TOTALLY HAVE THAT TALENT SIMPLY BY VIRTUE OF HOW INSPIRED I AM!!!! MY HIGH WAIST AND PROTRUDING DERRIERE WILL LOOK AMAZING IN AN EMPIRE TUNIC! AND WHY AM I NOT MAKING ALL OF MY OWN CORSETS?! I WILL BE SUCCESSFUL AT THAT RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE!!!

And maybe I will, but in all likelihood I so won't. I'll dive headfirst into whatever shiny thing has caught my eye, I will try, and fail, and try again, and maybe get better, and maybe fail some more, and maybe decide I don't wanna wear that ever again, and maybe be the best there ever was...which is ALL great. IT'S ALL LEARNING. Sink or swim, you've simply got to jump into the pool. And the deep end is different for everyone. For some, it's couture sewing. For some it's knits and an overlocker. You won't find out until you're standing on your own high dive board, ready to jump. More and more, I find I want to climb up to the top rung, stomp on out, and leap off.

It's where the irrational vibe can work in your favor. Turn it into inspiration, and have your seam ripper ready.

Go get irrational. GO GET CATASTROPHIC. Go sew something.