Remember Water Cooler Chats?

Remember Water Cooler Chats? | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

My subconscious obviously knew my somber-hued mood wouldn't last forever, and with a great amount of foresight, chose this FANTABULOUS TECHNICOLOR PALM TREE BIG CAT IN THE JUNGLE PRINT. I have been LIVING in this longline sweatshirt slash turtleneck since I whipped it up a couple weeks back. And I do mean whipped it up, in an absolute frenzy of sewing, brought on by two fully filmed, fully BOTCHED, attempts at a coffee video tutorial. The sound engineer, she was *not* on her A-game. In fact, I'm in the middle of editing our third attempt at bringing Rob's black gold to the masses, so I'm just here for a hot second.

Remember Water Cooler Chats? | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

Side hustles notwithstanding, have you noticed that working from home means you're ALWAYS AT THE OFFICE? And the boss can't tell you're on lunch, or your pipes are frozen, or your kids are starting a dumpster fire (I'd be the kid in that situation). 

Hey. Let's take a quick coffee break together: we're out back in the employee parking lot, jackets on, but I'm just stomping around in this here sweatshirt thingamajig. Extremely caffeinated. Assuring everyone that I am totally warm enough, encased in the softest organic fleece ever...

Remember Water Cooler Chats? | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

George asks me where I got it, to which I reply I MADE IT (George is new to the office, I love new hires, they haven't been bombarded by my coffee break sewing yammering yet). His eyes widen, maybe from the newly acquired information, maybe from the volume at which I have given him the newly acquired information.

I tell him all about how I DIDN'T NEED NO STINKING RIBBING!!!!! I used the fashion fabric to attach bands at the hem, and at the cuffs! (Blinking, he wonders what "ribbing" is.)

And then Delilah from accounting says, LIKE SHE ALWAYS DOES, When are you making me one? And I laugh and laugh, and as usual she doesn't get that my laughter does not mean what she thinks it means, and yeah, eventually I'm going to have to tell her my rates so she can get offended and avoid me at conference room birthdays, it's inevitable.  

But y'all, I assure, when a few of the folks from HR say they wish they could sew...Y'all! You can totally make something like this, you really can (I've said this maybe a thousand times, much like Delilah, I'm hard-headed). I didn't even use a pattern for this! For real! I've got a video on it. 

Some eyes roll a little bit...they know allllllll about my YouTube channel that I mess around with on the weekends. A few of them watch the videos and laugh, a few of them never watch the videos, and laugh. The few of us that count sewing as a superpower give each other a knowing look, and make a mental note to gab WAY more about what handmade goodness we're wearing today, when we go out for margaritas later. 

So, my homebound office mates, there's ten minutes of warp speed, music video sewing up on the channel, if you want to see me make this from stitch to finish. It's copied from an old, worn-out RTW cropped sweatshirt. No instruction...purely for inspiration!

And, laughs.

Okay, break's over. I'm off to record a voiceover audition, upload a self-tape, edit an article, and get on that coffee video. I hope you're safe and warm, wherever you are, and taking a break when you need one.

I immediately turned my honorarium into fabric when I collaborated with The Fabric Godmother for my last post. I've got three decidedly neon animal prints to play with--well, two, now that I've sewn up every bit of this bad boy, which sadly is out of stock, or I'd buy it all. Might have a scrap or two for a headband. MAYBE A MINI TURBAN!!!


Fabric Godmother: Silhouette Vs Sewist

Fabric Godmother: Silhouette Vs Sewist

What happens when you choose a beautiful fabric when you're not in the *best* frame of mind? If you're like me, you probably rage sew it up, ending up with something that goes in a bag until you're ready to revisit.

I chose this absolutely gorgeous viscose sateen from Fabric Godmother last year, in the middle of the upside-down whirlwind of packing up for a break from NYC, and by the time it arrived on our new and temporary doorstep, I was in a better frame of mind...with very little idea of why I picked such a somber print out of all the eye-popping, technicolor offerings Josie has in her viscose collection. But, I couldn't slam sew this one. This luscious fabric was intended for a collaboration, so I had to sew something up, and, I had to do this elegant (though out of my color wheelhouse) fabric justice. 

So basically I had to squelch all my usual impulsive tendencies. Which maybe is not a bad thing to do every once in a while.

Fabric Godmother: Silhouette Vs Sewist

Fabric Godmother: Silhouette Vs Sewist

Justice is not served *just* yet. 

I was intending on making another one of these beauties, then realized I hadn't packed that particular pattern in my suitcase. Whomp whomp. So, I decided that I'd jog myself into stitching by choosing an out-of-the-ordinary silhouette for this out-of-my-ordinary print, with McCall's 8104.

I was pretty stoked at the fit of the bodice, and the fluttery sleeves. But I was determined to use all 5 yards of this watery, supple yardage, so I maxi-fied the dress, and added a gathered tier.

And then came the front band. Which tried to kill me. And when I say it tried to kill me, I *might* mean I tried to do myself in, because I'm not sure if it was the fault of the pattern instructions, or my own battle to sew sans rage. But it most certainly was NOT the fabric, which handled like a dream. I'm talking Lamborghini dream.

I think the combo of silhouette and color is where things went south...although, looking at these pictures, I think the silhouette is pretty great! Probably because the smile on my face is real. But, somehow when I walk around in it, or catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I just don't feel like me. 

So, that said: if you squint at these pictures, you'll see a few staged bits underneath that smile. The hemline is just the raw selvedge edge (which actually is a lovely edge, I don't mind that bit), the center back waist is pinched with a safety pin, and that rebellious front band is pinned shut. Putting buttonholes in this gal was where I drew the line. 

But I think it's important to share the things that don't turn out the way we want, and admit that whether it looks great or not, it might need to change! I decided this dress needs to be a memory changer. I want to be able to look back on photographic evidence of what this 2020 sew was, once I do reconfigure it in a better mindset. Maybe a jumpsuit! Who knows when it'll happen. But it WILL be restitched. Because honest to 2021, this fabric really is beautiful. In case I've buried the lead there, imma put that in all caps:


On top of that, Josie is one of those rare birds who's on board with valuing her collaborator's time and effort, and this is a compensated collaboration (although I did immediately exchange my payment for more fabric from her shop. And I chose technicolor fabric! Go past me!). I truly appreciate her doing what she can, so that creators and shops support each other.

Go check out her collection, you really won't be disappointed, I love every bit of what I got, even if I did make a somber color choice on this soon-to-be reborn baby. (And, if you have any ideas on what that rebirth might be, go on ahead and holler at me!)


All Dressed Up. Always.

All Dressed Up. Always. | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

Our bags were packed with summer clothing when we headed down South last July. Rob also schlepped twelve pairs of jeans, and I brought...a portable watercolor set? (We might not have been in the right headspace when packing for our Escape From New York.)

Dressing up in the summer is easy for me: throw on a maxi dress. (Which I DID bring plenty of. I guess they're my equivalent to Rob's jeans.) Since we've decided to stick around a bit more, top on the sewing list is beefing up my colder weather garb. And that's where this sequin, faux fur and brocade comes in. 

I nabbed ALL of it at the local JoAnn. Madame JoAnn might have moved the quilting fabrics upfront, but the back of the store holds a few sections of fancy bolts, and allllllll the way 'round the corner by the bathrooms: a boatload of cosplay and outdoor fabric. Including a full TWO aisles of faux fur! Shocked, I was. 

All Dressed Up. Always. | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

I carried a small army of fancy bolts up to the cutting tables and had, as usual, a wonderful time talking to the employees and shoppers. Every time I go to the JoAnn here, it's lovely. I met a woman who was buying backing to surprise her 90-year-old sister, by finishing the last step of her handmade quilt. A mother-daughter duo who recognized me from our YouTube channel (hi, new friends, if you're here!) told me a story so amazing, I lost my brain for a good fifteen minutes. And everyone is always masked up in the most brilliant, colorful coverings. Never your normal, everyday surgical mask in a crafting store!

I decided that in this supremely abnormal year, I would stick with my regular tradition of making my maxi-fied holiday skirt. This time I went with my favorite kind of circle skirt: the half circle, married to a 2 inch wide, faced waistband, and an exposed lacy zipper. 

All Dressed Up. Always. | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

Of course no one will see all that yardage on Ye Olde Holiday Zooms, so from the waist up we've got a blinged-out, super soft shrug.

Our holiday was pretty lit, as the kids say. We pulled a mattress out in front of the fire for Christmas Eve, shot a video (not that kind of video), played games (maybe those kinds of games), ate meatballs (this is where the innuendo is getting ridiculous), and zoomed with family. The sequin shrug is so warm I actually had to leave it for a colder day...but the new skirt made an outing to a very socially distanced, outdoor weekend dinner with Rob's folks. In which the temperature hit the high 60s.

Maybe my wardrobe won't need *that* much wintry beef...... 

Happy holidays--and I mean ALL the holidays, the world is a great big place--to all! And if you're looking to get fancy from the waist up for all those New Year's virtual celebrations, check out our tutorial for this super easy, one-hour shrug (if that...y'all...it's a rectangle) here on the channel. 

eta: happy new year to EVERYONE, thank you for your comments! Obviously, a rocky start to 2021 kept me quiet here. But I appreciate all your words💗