does not play well with others

Dear Mrs. Balloona,

I regret to inform you that Oona is in danger of expulsion from Summer Sewing Camp.  She is simply not playing well with other bloggers.

Last week, she asked for advice on what fabrics to match with a maxi length dress.  The skirt portion, in my opinion, was quite loud, but I applauded her desire to seek help. Her sewing mates chose a winning fabric, but she did NOT use it to complete her project.  Instead, she used up all of the fabric in order to make this:

Not only did she completely ignore (solicited!) advice, when confronted, she had the audacity to blame it on her fellow sewists.  Little Tilly, sweet Sofia and our star pupil Mokosha have each made darling skirts, which Oona accused them of taunting her with.  In truth, she could not control her jealousy.    

To boot, it is my opinion that her "hand-drafted" pattern is in fact a direct copy of Mokosha's latest beautiful creation.  Oona denies this, claiming some sort of "mind-meld", but let's face it; Mokosha brought her skirt in to class first.  

I also worry for Oona's well-being mentally.  She insisted that this linen fabric smelled of "burnt chai tea" whenever her iron was too hot (which, I can tell you, was often, the girl simply refuses to set the iron to anything lower than full blast).

I am, however, proud of her work on the innards of this skirt.  She took the time to hand stitch a blind hem, and used a bias tape closure for the waistband seam.  Although she continually picks a contrasting thread, at least she didn't go with her first choice of fire engine red lace hem tape.

But don't get me started on zippers. Why she cannot pick an invisible zipper that matches her fabric is beyond me.  I keep telling her it defeats the purpose of an invisible zipper, but the girl is quite headstrong.  I'm sure you know this about her.

It is my fervent hope that she will mature as a sewer and blogger, and learn many useful skills this summer. But you should be ready for an early pick-up.


Mrs. A. Cisco
Summer Sewing Camp For Girls


quoth ruggy: is that a steelers dress?

this week, mena tried to kill me.  i'm not lying, see for yourself.

(but before you go, please dig the clockwork orange vibe my curl is pulling.)




no really it's totally their fault.  it has nothing to do with me.  i'm thinking of getting me some new friends.  and when you meet an extremely cool blogger-sewist-writer-chica in person, who just happens to live a subway ride away, lemme tell ya.  old crazy standbys, WATCH OUT.

several weeks ago, i had the enabling, sugary sweet pleasure of meeting daughter fish.  do you know her?  she's all kinds of awesome.  she sews incredibly, mixes a mean cocktail, speaks french, and will throw down a macaroon and tromp through the garment district in the rain with the most discerning eye.  (macaroon and garment district being the enabling sugary sweet part, pleasure part being daughter fish.  enabling being the mulah dropped on fabric.)

we bought all kinds... and with her gentle help i didn't stray too far into the realm of polyester.  there was one fabulous print that i really wanted.  it was stretchy, a yard weighed about two pounds, and when i yelped, oooo, this is so cool!  daughter fish calmly replied yes, that's interesting.  i knew the proper response was to walk away. not that she dissuaded me.  she just knew where the good stuff was.  i actually bought silk... and cotton... and this solid colored fantastic jersey goodness:

oh hello i made a pattern magic dress!  when i finally cracked that hard won book open, i was amazed at the fabric origami!  the twists!  the turns!

the MATH.

stopped me dead in my tracks, it did.  i decided i would not do the math.  i would just draw the shape i thought it should look like, and cut, math be damned as it most certainly should be.  and here's where daughter fish's magical powers must've worked some mojo on this fabric, because it WORKED.  yes, i was off at the center by a big old triangle of peep show happening, but i just added a center panel et voila!

i gathered the sleeves at the shoulder seam like i likes to do.  now, don't get me wrong, i must repeat, this is not my SW refashion challenge.  i made this weeks ago.  wore it to a fancy dinner which ended on a four wheeler.

all fancy dinners should end on a four wheeler.  and they should always be enjoyed in the company of friends.

got some i could borrow?


a friend in need

is a friend you should run screaming for the hills from.  i'm serious.  run, don't walk.  GET OUT OF DODGE.

i have spent the last two and a half days using up all of my creative juices on a favor for a friend.  and i can't even tell you what i've been doing.  apparently, it's hush hush, and i would have to kill you.  not illegal.  just secret. were it illegal, it might be more fun.  but not by much.

i'm nearing the light at the end of the tunnel and gearing up for the oh, let's say, three hours of sewing i'll be able to get in this week before i turn into a pumpkin.  but as stated before, mon brainpower est TAPPED.  so, erm... i'm in need, could you do a friend a favor?


a wise group you are.  ahem.  i'm getting pretty good at mixing up prints and trim, if i do say so myself.  if you consider a riot of mismatched color good, which i do.  but i'm stumped on this skirt:

miss fugly!  cover up them bodacious saran wrapped tatas!

at this point, it's a maxi length, jersey knit skirt.  it wants to be a dress.  i used a bit of it on the yoke of this extremely purple dress, and i thought it should take center stage in its next life.  i knew i wanted ivory lace for the wasitband for a bit of a summertime girlie peep show... but all attempts to pick a fabric for the top have failed. i'm thinking wide triangle cups that tie at the neck.  here are the candidates:

what's that?  use a solid color?  i'm sorry, there is no solid color here in kalkatroona.

yellow & green striped linen? purple-y mod rayon?

teal synthetic flammable striped jersey?  slate blue polka dotta sheerness?  (alessa, i'm looking at you.)

okayfineherearesomesolidsorangesalmonblue.  don't pick any of these.

what would you pair it up with?


Super. Frigging. Cool. Announcement!!!

oh HAI!

won't you come on over to the sew weekly with me and have a drink?  i'll be there once a week now with a column entitled oona does it! (exclamation point included, mais oui), the brainchild of sew weekly mistress marvelous mena trott.  read all about the challenging bar she's set for me here-- which you can help set each week!  

i am so excited i might hurl.


sew weekly sunday: it don't matter if you're black or white.

here in kalkatroona, we're a little bit of both, dontcha know.

a certain petite kalkatroonan is also a little bit loser today, as i did NOT complete this sew weekly challenge.  chalk it up to flying home mid week, then getting hornswaggled out of state for two days, and returning home with a boatload of beadwork that needs to be accomplished in 24 hours.  and no last minute cramming; father's day is not a day for sewing.  no, this most holy of days is reserved for ordering a godzilla sized pitcher of margaritas and taking over a mexican joint by storm.  the place was quite crowded when the eight of us arrived.  that didn't last long.

but i lie.  it could be a day for sewing, if kalkatroonan dad decides to dive into his brand-old singer featherweight 221.  i found this abused baby in brooklyn for twenty smackeroos, and after a lot of cleaning and oiling she runs perfectly.  expect big things from big daddy, y'all.

(as for my first failed challenge: i was actually going to finally make the dress of my eighth grade dreams.  the pattern is assembled and ready.  the fabric is waiting.  the hornswaggling ensued shortly thereafter. the first time i posted about my princely dress was three years ago-- actually it will be exactly three years by the time i finish it for a double feature next sunday.  i will not be beaten!)

happy dad's day big daddy and brother beast, and a very merry to alla y'all peeps who are pops!



my plans for sewing this weekend have been completely and utterly thwarted.  i'm currently sitting on a picnic bench outside of a noisy shop full of boys using massive power tools.  i like the boys, so that's okay.  so, what does a kalkatroonan do when she can't sew?  fondly remember drinking adventures, mais oui!

ruggy spied a write-your-own-label contest from fat tire ale, and thought i should enter.  it's called joyride, and you can win the sweetest bike ever.  thirty enjoyable minutes just whizzed by as i wrote up my label (it's not on the site yet, but if you have something to holla about fat tire, go!  scribe!).  it so happens i've had my first fat tire just this past week, during my very first floating trip.  which is not actually floating.  it's canoeing.  and rapids. with nice relaxing stretches of floating.  i was told i'd need sunscreen, a hat, and sturdy shoes.  then, the night before the float, i was informed that there would absolutely be snakes.  water moccasins, to be exact.  that would not only be present in the water; no ma'am, they could very well drop from low hanging trees as well.


obviously on the day, a little liquid courage was in order.  but horror of horrors... no wine to be had in the cooler. only beer.  i do not drink beer.  until i drank two fat tires.  they were delicious, and the ride was unforgettable.  it was NOT the dark tree covered scene from deliverance.  just look at those cliffs!  or maybe they're called bluffs! and yes, we saw two snakes!  one FIVE FEET from where we had just been swimming!

come to think of it, it's been a dangerous couple of weeks...


which came first


turned into this:

which will become this:


we are back, and breaking from the shells of our suitcases into new york.  last night on the plane, as we headed down into glistening mirrors and glass and light and noise, i was stunned as always.  we took off from a downy bed of trees and fields and landed in something so cut and shimmering, green would simply be... out of place.  yet it's beautiful as well.  i'm glad we have both sides to stare at in wonder.  


how to create a compatible vacation wardrobe

packing up and heading home: the bottom layer of my bag, courtesy of hancocks.  tres coordinated.  


sew weekly sunday: still a pill

Last week, while relaxing and sipping some of Ruggy's sweet tea, I mentioned that I needed a pillowcase for this week's sew weekly challenge.  Ruggy was out with his friends, so his mom & I were wheel-less for the evening.

Or so it would seem.

Mother Ruggy's eyes lit up, as this situation had only one solution: we'd have to take the four wheeler down to the evil empire megastore located at the base of our pretty mountain top. We love to take the four wheeler down to the Evil Empire. It makes shopping there an adventure, a covert operation, somehow, more glamorous. And as we only have to ride on 20 feet of actual road, it's really not illegal.

Or so it would seem.

Onto the ATV we hopped, and as we circled the shopping goliath, Mother Ruggy spotted new parking spaces designed especially for motor cycles. How convenient! Our four wheeler fit perfectly, we climbed off, and tromped in. $13.94 later, I had everything I needed for my challenge. Also, a gallon of bubble solution. You know, for blowing bubbles.

As we rounded the corner, gaily discussing what we'd imbibe that evening, we discovered a police cruiser parked directly behind our glorious machine. Blocking it in, actually. Complete with cop on walkie-talkie standing next to the not-a-motorcycle, speaking with several Evil Empire employees.

Mother Ruggy: turnaround turnaround walk the other way

oona: okay whatshouldwedo whatshouldwedo

Mother Ruggy: act like we can't remember where we parkedthecar yes hmmmm I think we parked it over here?

oona: mmm, no, no, I believe it's over there...

(Mother Ruggy throws a not so subtle glance over her shoulder)

Mother Ruggy: he's still watching!

(oona and Mother Ruggy wander around the parking lot, making no less than five changes in direction in an attempt to stupefy the officer. Finally, they head back towards the Evil Empire for shelter. The cop catches on, catches up, and calls out behind them.)

Copper:  Ma'am.

(The women have completely lost their sense of hearing.)

Copper:  Ma'am.  MA'AM.

(Sure that they are going to jail, oona quietly braces herself. Mother Ruggy spins around to face the cop.)


(oona is speechless. If this was going to be the way it went down, she would have suggested proudly marching right up to the cop in the first place.)

Copper:  Well, ma'am, is that your four wheeler?


Copper: I understand ma'am. But the Evil Empire does have the right to decide what vehicles are allowed on their property.

Mother Ruggy: Well, that is STUPID.

(oona stares. Mother ruggy is a badass. The extremely polite, chastised young officer jots down their names as he almost apologetically explains the letter of the law, and the women go on their merry way.)

Our names are surely on a list somewhere in Evil Empire's headquarters.

Oh yeah, and I made the pillowcase dress. Which, unlike Mena's stunning mod dress over at xojane, looks exactly like a pillowcase.

This is the ONLY pose this dress looks good in. Not a keeper. But SO worth the trip.


in the beginning

Once upon a time, Ruggian Mom rang us in Kalkatroona, quite excited over some impending permanent guests. These magical visitors would soon serenely wander her mountain top home, spreading their feathers, gracing us with their prehistoric presence. Isn't it exciting? She asked, bubbly, just knowing I would share in her excitement.


Ruggian Mom was surprised at my passionate response to a situation she was sure I would jump into with both feet. Yes, I am ordinarily game for most things out of the ordinary, but you must understand, at this point, I had heard several horror stories about these creatures. (I may have also been hormonal.) Hands down, the funniest cautionary tale was emilykate's australian mafiosa peacock. I quote: "you're never going to have a good encounter with a peacock."

But the homing pen was already built, so in they came. We visited, sure to be repeatedly accosted physically and mentally by the things... and instead found a docile peacock and peahen, timid really, and only too happy to sit in their pen and eat blueberries delicately out of our outstretched hands. And for the rest of that visit, I was teased: Oh ooooooona, those peacocks are SO mean, aren't they? I'm scared to go outside!

Alright, whatever, I can admit it when i'm wrong. (I can, really, just not out loud.) Maybe only australian peacocks are lunatics, I thought. After all, isn't everything more dangerous over there? I fed them berries, and gazed at their feathers, and ended up oohing and aahing with the best of them.

And now, just one short year later, oh! They've grown so much. One might even say they're teenagers, the boy being very interested in the girl, the feathered plumage growing in color and length, ah! Such a wonder is nature.

Cut to: Four-in-the-morning wake up calls from what you're sure must be a coked out woman in dire peril or a housecat on steroids. That would be the boy one. He's ticked off because the girl one is SO not into him.

Ruggian Mom says, we'll just let the girl out of the pen. He'll calm down, and she's so sweet. It's true. Juliet picks berries from Ruggy's hand and proceeds to follow him from window to window throughout the house like he's her new boyfriend. And Romeo ceases his incessant yelling for the night.

So yeah, let's let that cock out too. How bad could it be?

This morning, I awoke to a trail of brilliant feathers gliding past my bedroom window. Seconds later, Romeo was gazing at me, beautiful blue head clicking from side to side. I AM wrong, I thought. It really IS nice to have these strange birds floating around. It's magical! So special to wake up to th---


Romeo hurls himself at the window inches away from my face in what I am told is an attempt to battle the peacock he sees in the reflection. It looks more like he wants to battle ME.

I sit up, blink, get dressed, as boy bird continues to brain himself against the glass. By the time I leave the bedroom, he's caterwauling.

That's him, poised to strike.

BIRD. Just so you know: I am always right. And I would WIN. You best bring an army.


sew weely sundu: perfet summer wacay

last night, after a delicious meal out complete with monster sized glass of prosecco, flight of three roses, bottle of cotes du rhone and a chocolate martini, i quickly typed up a title for this post before going to bed.

i think you can see we did not need the chocolate martini.

this is my idea of a perfect summer dress: maxi length, jersey, loose, colorful and comfortable.  the only thing missing: pockets.  but i couldn't see them hanging well with this drapey material.  also, i am surprisingly reluctant to try new-to-me techniques, such as in-seam pockets.  one might say stubborn.  once i finally try the damn things, i'll probably hack open everything in my closet in a mad rush to have in-seam pockets galore.

same idea as my meeting mena dress, only this time i used jersey all around and lace as trim...

but i'm so not digging this stitch job.  check the line.  i wasn't drinking, officer.  for reals.  just working on a janome 5812 which, lemme tell ya, kinda BLOWS so far.

the woman at hancock's corrected me and called it "ja-noh-mie".  you can call it crapola, far as i'm concerned.  

but hey!  listen, do you think i should change the trim to this beauty?  grabbed it at joann's.  it's not beaded, it's rayon-- isn't it cool?  i'm ripping stitches either way, so opine away if you got one.  maybe the lace should go too?  while i'm at it i guess i could try pockets...

by the way, the title was supposed to be "sew weekly sunday: perfect summer vacay." which it is, and which is why i've been MIA (mired in alcohol.)

fabric: stretch jersey ($5 yd), knit jersey ($5 yd)
pattern: burdastyle's modified azalea pattern
year: current
notions: braided trim ($1 yd), vintage lace (ruggian mom's stash!)
time to complete: 4 hours
first worn: yesterday morning
wear again: yes, probably to a wine tasting this friday.  glutton for punishment, or just glutton?
total cost: $13

EDIT 05.21.2012:  i did change the trim to the "beaded"stuff, and removed the lace.