Performance Gowns…or, Back Onstage!


I had an epiphany last week (which will read as “plain common sense” to some): I didn’t need to sew three gowns for my return to the stage. I had plenty of dresses in my closet that hadn’t seen the spotlight for almost two years. Basically a closet full of brand new homemade couture!

Then I tried on a few…and a few more…and realized we’d, uhhhh, grown apart during our pause from the spotlight. Some relationships had grown more distant than others, by like, a good three inches. And then, after such a sensible yet squashed epiphany, I decided it would be enjoyable—easier, even—to sew three gowns start to finish rather than alter a few candidates. 

So seven days of slam sewing began, on top of everything else that life currently entails. At one point, Rob said to me we can buy you dresses if we need to. And then backed away slowly, as if from an approaching bear with her three cubs, when he saw the look on my face.

Yes, I could have made ONE look for all the dates of this mini jazz tour, but each venue is so different! And as a casting director once said to me: You like your clothes to match the part. 


Somehow they’re all done to the point where I *believe* I won’t be sewing in the dressing room. 

The songs of Bacharach, Hal David & Dionne Warwick are the set list. Our first venue (tonight!) is the Mabel Tainter in Menomonie, WI. Ethan’s hometown! Oh did I mention I’ll be performing with The Great Ethan Iverson? Y’all remember Ethan from the thong debate of 2012? His hometown boasts a gorgeous Victorian theater with exquisite backdrops (expect Instagram spam, if you follow me there).  Tomorrow night, Sept 16, we’re at Crooners, a Minneapolis supper club. Then Saturday the 18th we travel to Pinehurst NC for the grand finale at the Bradshaw Performing Arts Center. All venues have measures in place, so if you’re in town and decide to come see us, you won’t be shoulder to shoulder with anyone. Unless you count rubbing shoulders with us after the show, because we’d love to meet you. And by “we” I mean me ‘n the chrome dome. The Rob chrome dome. Although the Ethan chrome dome is very approachable as well. We got chrome domes aplenty.

Time to go sing in the shower and steam a gown. I won’t lie, I’ve got butterflies. But I’m going to remind myself that butterflies mean you’re alive and DOING THINGS. 

Hope you’ve got some good butterflies going on today 💗


The Handmade Harriells

As I was lamenting for the seventeenth? Seventieth? Uncountable-eth time about the slipping away of hours and months and days, a wise friend said to me: Time is an accordion.

Ain’t it the truth! I yelped back. TIME IS AN ACCORDION AND LIFE IS A GAME OF JENGA.

And we all know I'm not talking 'bout a breezy cocktail hour game of Jenga either.

It’s been a year since we started creating technicolor content for the channel, and in that year, The Handmade Harriells have gained 33,500 friends. HI FRIENDS. Are you one of them? If you’re not, and you’re wondering where we went, well, it’s been a handful being the actor/writer/editor/sound engineer/art director/best boy/pa/grip/wardrobe supervisor (see: lament). I didn’t even holler about my birthday over here!

But I did over there. So come on over and see us. 

The latest video up is all about pattern hacking, and yeah I call it hacking. A lot. 

If you like your content written, lament not, I like words, even words used improperly like hacking, and I have purchased a whiteboard calendar to try and get a circle of life thing going on with all this content. It’s got a lovely space for the blog. My plan is to get full shots of the hacked dress up in this lonely space...and maybe I can talk Rob into wearing his handmade, matching wax print pants. OH YEAH I SAID MATCHING PANTS! I'm finding I can talk Rob into all manner of adventures for the channel! Even if you aren't a video person, I highly suggest peeping evidence of matching outfits at the end

How bout y’all? Finding any game metaphors in life now? Chutes and Ladders? Jumanji? Hopefully not Sorry. I think we all need a break in Candyland. Meet you there at six.


Threads Magazine, Diana Vreeland, 'n Me

It's been six months since I joined the Threads Digital Ambassador team. What? You didn't hear? You mean to tell me I just threw that little blue badge up on the sidebar and never properly hollered about it RIGHT HERE IN MY OWN LIVING ROOM? 

Like most of us, my hold on reality has been screwed on about as tight as it will go, so, I'll save you that sob story of a full plate and no time. I have, however, been hollering about it over on Ye Olde Instagram, in the middle of slam sewing, zooms, shooting videos for The Handmade Harriells, and the usual slew of auditions. Oh, and moving our lives back to New York.

(What? You didn't hear? We're back in New York! Evidence here and here.)

Since joining the ambassadors in December, I've been taking the words of one of my favorite fashion icons, Diana Vreeland, and morphing them into a monthly sewing challenge. It's jumpstarted my sewing more than once, in a time when inspiration can be easily engulfed by any number of world traumas. As I brush the cobwebs off this space, if you're in need of a colorful break, have a look at six months' worth of content over at Threads, as collaged above ;) If you're an Insider, the digital content is yours for the peeping--if not, the first post is free, and showcases my very favorite Vogue jacket pattern in some scrumptious yardage from the Nina Ramel Fabric Box.

I've read Threads since I taught myself to stitch over thirteen years ago, and had an out-of-body experience when I wrote my first article for the magazine in April of 2019. The pages of Threads, and Burdastyle, and the blogs of so many newbie and advanced sewists were (and are!) my teachers. I'm still surprised whenever I find myself in the role of "teacher." And, I still look to those same magazines and blogs, though my own upkeep has been spotty...

I intend ONCE AGAIN to rectify that--we're adjusting to being back in the city and getting reality set right again. I hope you & yours are staying safe, or venturing out, as this upside-down world permits!