May 5, 2015

behind the curtain

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | behind the curtain

Yesterday, I had to be three kinds of human. Mysteriously Sad Human, Blossoming Activist Human, Slightly Broken Human. And I needed to be a particular race for each of these humans, requiring an entirely new hairdo for each role. (My hair is not happy with me today. SO MUCH STYLING.)

Having nothing and everything to do with my chameleon tricks and my pounding of the city pavement, I was struck once again by how rare it is to encounter a human OF ANY TYPE these days. It broke 80 in the city, which always brings out questionable behavior in force. As I strolled to my first subway ride of the day, determined to set a relaxed pace for the hours ahead, a biker casually coasted onto the sidewalk, bringing a wide eyed stare and his sweaty mug inches in front of my face. A baffled toe on his front tire, I glared: Really? Seriously? That's what you're going with? That's the choice you've made?

What he replied, emotionless and bored, as if speaking to me from another plane, one in which I did not exist further than my apparently captivating beauty. I rolled my eyes and shook my head and moved on.

Running the gauntlet of purse and perfume hawkers at 28th street, Mysteriously Sad Human headed into the first call, which involved multiple takes of crying on cue. My competition was more cutthroat than usual. It was a callback (the second and *usually* final round before getting a job, though god knows I've been to ninth and tenth callbacks), so the stakes were higher. This is when some actors will employ mind games to psyche out their competition. IT'S SUPER FUN! The waiting room was filled with mostly quiet ladies, respectful that any female in the room was readying herself to get all teary eyed. For my turn "on deck" (where you stand and wait before heading into the audition room), two actors parked themselves inches away from my face and embarked on a banal, loud conversation, shooting me odd pointed looks, emotionless and bored. Really? Seriously? That's what you're going with? That's the choice you've made?

(This time, I said the mantra of the day in my head, because I'm used to silly actors and their silly ways and I refuse to validate actor silliness. I rolled my eyes and shook my head and moved on.)

In the sunshine filled streets of the West Village, Mother With Baby and a stroller the size of the Grand Canyon set her sights on me, pushing her charge directly into my path, fixing me with what can only be called a murderous stare. Walk to the right, IT'S NOT HARD I intoned, emotionless and bored, as I planted my feet on the pavement and waited for her to move around me. At this point I was Blossoming Activist Human, so no-nonsense mode was in full swing. Dirty looks all around. I think even the baby was glaring at that point. 

A roll of the eyes, the day went on, the auditions went on, the hairstyles went on, until I landed in Midtown. My competition was invisible, I was the only human in the waiting room. Truly, it was the cherry on top: Slightly Broken Human on one side of the table, twenty five Humans With Power on the other side of the table, and as far as I could tell, the definition of emotionless and bored. A handful of words were spoken apart from the audition material, most of them mine. Turnabout is fair play: their "thank you" had a double meaning; translation: Really? Seriously? That's what you're going with? THAT'S THE CHOICE YOU'VE MADE?

As I left the building, I rolled my eyes and shook my head and broke the pencil in my hand in half .

Now don't go worrying, two out of three ain't bad; there are far worse things in the world to deal with than a bad day. And hey, I returned home to the best human that I know, who is currently making some of the tastiest meatballs in Manhattan. LUCKY DOESN'T COVER IT. But a day like that does beg the question (and I question myself, as well, I'm sure I was no ray of sunshine for about 8 of those 10 hours): whatever the day might be, what if we tried to be the best definition of Human that we can personally come up with?

The day might get better.

May 1, 2015

butterfly brain

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | vogue 9075 + by hand london holly trousers

My man is so good at making me look tall, I went for my annual physical last week, and almost slapped the nurse when she told me I was barely 5'2. Surely there's something wrong with their equipment.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | vogue 9075 + by hand london holly trousers


oonaballoona | a sewing blog | vogue 9075 + by hand london holly trousers

You know, I do so enjoy my delusions. Like the belief that I can keep track of multiple sewing projects. I cannot. As my beloved Nan always used to say, I got a head like a sieve.

Actually my noodle is pretty good at multitasking. I'm at my most happy place when I'm infatuated by multiple projects. But not so much when I'm so entranced by the fabric at hand that I can't decide what to sew it into, and want to sew ALL OF THE THINGS.  Two projects and two prints were filling up any available space in my brain during the making of this combo. When I couldn't choose a straight course for either of them, I decided to crossbreed Vogue 9075 of the current culotte craze, and By Hand London's Holly jumpsuit. Here we have Holly pants and Vogue top (and the rest of this pattern monster will make a very colorful appearance shortly). Indecision at its best!

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | vogue 9075 + by hand london holly trousers

Ruggy tells me this is "monkey brain." I prefer a prettier handle. My brain floats like a butterfly from fabric to fabric! AND WHEN IT STINGS ME IN THE BOOTY I MAKE UP A SOLUTION! 

Sometimes. Not so much here, per se. I judiciously decided to wait to cut out the sleeves, in case I had to mess with the (non muslined) bodice fit-- well, I did mess with it, I shaved 5/8s off the back shoulder, then floated and flitted like a drunken butterfly over to my other whimsical crossbreed, then floated and flitted back DAYS later and went and cut out the dang sleeves without accounting for the 5/8s. I was working on fumes of fabric at this point, having played with the border print until it could take no more. 

Cue me wagging an unearned finger at Vogue's pattern drafting.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | vogue 9075 + by hand london holly trousers


Speaking of my forgetful noggin, this top zips from north to south and slips right over my head. That was my solution to making this colorful non-separating zipper work...that, and scooping out a wider bateau-ish neckline. I have a surprisingly large noggin for 5'2 of woman.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | vogue 9075 + by hand london holly trousers

And let's not forget the derriere. She fits nicely in the back, yeah? NO WEDGIES! I'M STOKED! This is Holly without any pattern adjustments, I  just decreased the seam allowance in the crotch curve when the first try-on showed frown lines. Or was it smile lines? Lines, either way. I decreased the SA to 1/4 at the crotch and turned my frown upside down.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | vogue 9075 + by hand london holly trousers

However, as you can see here, the front crotch length is still a little long, which is noticeable in certain positions and totally disappears in others. Since then I've played with shortening the pattern at the hip line (as you would shorten a bodice pattern for a short waist) and wow, is that better! 

How do you deal with pants fitting? So many areas to play with!

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | vogue 9075 + by hand london holly trousers

I think my weirdo decision to crossbreed these patterns worked out in the end--this stretch cotton is glorious but kinda heavy, so making it up into a full length jumpsuit and walking out to dinner in it would have felt like a workout. Which only would have served to double ordering of post workout libations. So yeah, actually, on second thought, maybe not the best decision. Some regrets.

Butterfly brain. Toldja.

this is my mood sewing network project for april, made with my monthly fabric "allowance." sadly, and you know what I'm gonna say, this bad boy sold out shortly after I tweeted about it...
I like to enable so I'm TOTALLY taking credit for that!  

April 24, 2015

page turner

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | burdastyle bustier dress

The moment we climb into bed, I suddenly find ALL OF MY ENERGY and talk nonstop. Last night the subject was books. I used to collect them, reading favorites two or three times over, displaying little carefully chosen piles of them around the house. Ruggy called them my trophies.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | burdastyle bustier dress

I yammered at my sleepy eyed man: I USED TO LOVE BOOKS!!! I'd get so excited to get into bed and read, then I'd get so excited to wake up and find out what was happening next, then before I'd know it the book was done and I'd get SO EXCITED TO START ANOTHER!!!

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | burdastyle bustier dress

And now I get so excited to get to my desk and sew, and I get so excited to see what happens next, and when it's done I get SO EXCITED TO START ANOTHER

Bonus: unlike a poorly chosen title, when you're making the rules, every garment is a page turner, a choose your own adventure story. At the moment, this silk burdastyle bustier dress is capturing my attention. I underlined the fabric with muslin instead of organza! How will that change the drape? Will those convex and concave curves fit?! SHOULD I HAVE NEON ORCHID OR SAFETY CONE ORANGE NEAR MY FACE? DID I GET THE PIVOT POINT RIGHT?!!! I WILL NOT KNOW UNTIL I TURN THE PAGE!!!

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | burdastyle bustier dress

(The Center Bodice and Bust Cup did meet up at The Pivot Point. I'm so glad those two found love.)

It's all consuming, I barely crack a book open anymore. Ruggy deemed my sewing-for-reading substitution A Most Excellent Realization. I mean, it's great to be so passionate about something that you honestly can't wait to see what happens next, right? But I miss reading, I really do. I even tried to get back into it on a six hour bus ride, bringing along one of my all time favorites, The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. (Heads up, I plain old linked to it, and then was like um, duh, it's one of your top three reads, that's Amazon linkworthy.) Still, even at number two on my hitlist, couldn't get further than twenty pages. There was a floral cotton dress waiting for more hand embroidery in my bus bag of tricks, it was staring at me, and it won. I thought I would get bored, but no, it was like watching a story unfold.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | burdastyle bustier dress

And then there are those times, those nerve wracking times when you're pretty sure things are going swimmingly for all the characters in your garment, but you feel something might be lurking around the corner, and you won't be totally sure till you turn the page...

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | burdastyle bustier dress


The plot thickens. I spent a full day carefully choosing the print placement on this, I could've read like twenty chapters in that time, I even cut Upper Right Bodice Cup out twice, and my brain still didn't see that angular ghost of a giant white flower coming. Yes, I have more fabric, but I refuse to do a rewrite! IT WILL BE SO MUCH MORE FUN TO DEVISE A PLAN. I'm thinking a combo of fabric paint & markers. And a very hot iron. 

I love a good cliffhanger.