round up!

I caved. I didn't cave so far as to do Gillian's Top 5, which is brilliant, and only goes to further show what a motivating and inspiring teacher she must be for her lucky kiddos. I did try to do that round up, but well. I got as far as "hits" and threw my hands up in the air, because I AM TOO AMAZING TO PICK A MERE FIVE HITS. 

oonaballoona | 2014 on the sewing blog!

I used Aviary to create a wee collage of 2014, and went black n' white on the Misses & Reworks. 

First row: Devoid of color on screen and IRL, those two are in the basket for full on renovation. The first is already reborn into my quilted princely party dress, the second needs hacking on the sleeves and neckline. (You can see both at MSN...they never made it to these parts, which is telling.)

Second row: My BHL Flora dress needs a high lo hem, that length plus that drape is dowdsville on me!

Third row: A victim of rushing to meet a deadline, my ill fitted boucle BHL Charlotte skirt is a rework. Not a full on miss, because the Charlotte pattern is a TNT for me so if I don't fix it, it means it's my fault. AND I DO NOT CURRY TO TAKING THE BLAME.  Further in, my "sew sexy" was about as opposite of "sexy" as you can get. Reduced to girls-only loungewear.

Fourth row: Hey waistband! My Gabriola skirt was a dream until I wore it out to a meal. I'm not a fan of where it sits, and I think I'll change it to a petersham treatment that Dev and I discussed over pizza. Mmmmmm. Pizza. Pizza always trumps fashion.

oonaballoona | 2014 on the sewing blog!

Top row: Two perps taken in for indecent exposure. My draped maxi dress is sheer as the day is long. Something I didn't realize until a bolt of rebel sunshine found its way through the city skyscrapers and I was informed that my underwear was a major motion picture. I don't want to deal with lining her, but I'll have to find the will in order to wear. In my Nettie, the denim-look jersey shines like the skin of a jellyfish in the right light, especially on the curvy parts. A shame, because I wear that floral version of BHL's Charlotte skirt CONSTANTLY, like, I have to hold myself back, and she was a perfect partner.

Second row: SBCC maiden voyage, sunk by shitty material! This cotton voile feels like paper and only gets worse after washing. Sea worthy, she is not.

Third row: YEAH YEAH YEAH I know you like that Bronte Top, but even that shade of red cannot save it from my aversion to solid colors! She's excellent audition wear, but when something is tagged Audition Wear, it usually means Everyday Wear, which usually means Back Of The Closet. Because I live in Opposite World. A world where the Zac Posen circle skirt and brocade crop top are Everyday wear. They're grayed out for refashioning, and have become, happily: my New Year's Eve dress, and sadly: a saftey pinned shenanigan. Last in that row is another fabric fail: the floral vintage Simplicity explosion under my wooly houndstooth cape. The fabric has no recovery, the surface feels painted. I may hack her into a two piece setacular.

(Oh, and that last shot is the last make of 2014, Lord help me I succumbed to quilting cotton AND I LIKED IT. Soon to appear in these parts! You can always hop over to my closet and have a peek at any of these, complete with links to my original ramblings.)

A very Happy New Year to you, with my fondest wish: may your 2015 closet be everything you want it to be!


the view from up here

oonaballoona | new year's eve dress | zac posen silk brocade | simplicity 1803 

oonaballoona | john roberts coat | new year's eve dress | zac posen silk brocade | simplicity 1803

That's better. Oh so classy, oona, with your John-Baldwin-Made-Of-Magic-Coat, found at a favorite vintage haunt hidden in the southern hills! Seriously, there's no content label, so I'm assuming magic. Or a silk wool blend. Which has a sub-definition of Magic, obviously.

oonaballoona | john roberts coat | new year's eve dress | zac posen silk brocade | simplicity 1803

I mean check out that center back seam! On the coat, not so much on my dress-- although in real life, it lies nice and flat. You know, when I'm not shivering in a field hopping across cow patties in four inches of heels and three yards of silk brocade, cackling as Mama Ruggy shrieks in delight over silly poses, angling the camera a lá Baby Boy. 

Similar shooting style, Mama and Boy, but very different volume control. Actually, the ladies in this equation are both Quite Loud.

oonaballoona | new year's eve dress | zac posen silk brocade | simplicity 1803 
EYYYY RUDOLPH! Where did you really get that red nose?

Before we went all country, I set out to stitch up a New Year's Eve dress for another positively luscious lady. It suddenly dawned on me: I too would need a new dress! Neveryoumind that I haven't worn this one, this one, or, if you can believe it, this one out yet. Criminal! Tee hee, and tra la.

I spent 60 marvelously maniacal minutes refashioning this circle skirt, adding a (hacked) Simplicity 1803 bodice with the help of every precious scrap I saved, before returning to the task at hand. When we get back to The City That Never Shuts Its Face, I'll have a few scant hours to finish m'lady's party dress (almost done, I swear!) and fix the droopy neckline on this bad boy. 

Zacky Poo's bodice is lined in the same eye searing orange poly as the skirt. I think it might be fun to tack those right angles down with a couple of vintage buttons and have that pop of orange. Or, open up the handstitching and throw some horsehair in there? What say you, sewists? Possibly try out some embroidery stitches on my Pfaff?

oonaballoona | new year's eve dress | zac posen silk brocade | simplicity 1803

I just got a li'l homesick for the view from my Pfaff! But I'll tell you what. It's ever so nice to see sky...

What are you wearing New Year's Eve?


I'll Have A Quilted Christmas

oonaballoona | vintage holiday dress | vogue 8874 | mood fabrics

This is the dress that Ruggy made.

No really. Although he didn’t stitch an inch of it, he was the full on Dictator Of This Here Dress. (And by the way, he has sewn, I keep threatening to show y'all evidence, I’m talking wooly welt pockets and silk skirts, but that’s a subject for another time.)

When I came home with this riot of peach and black batting-filled quilted poly organza, I laid it out on the floor and laughed and laughed. Its warmth surrounded me like an electric blanket. With U Got The Look on repeat in my head, I guffawed: RUGGY! THIS IS GOING TO BE THE BEST WINTER PROM DRESS EVER!

I took his bemused silence as total acceptance. However, as the dress progressed, he found his voice. Well, if I'm going to be completely honest about it, the sight on my Wolfie actually left him speechless for several days. Luckily, I was on my usual kick of working on multiple projects, and he had time to truly consider the view: A bodice made of peach embroidered cloud.

Him: Is that really what you want?

Me: ABSOLUTELY! It's a winter dress. I'm going to be TOTALLY warm!

Him: Yes. Yes you are. And totally lumpy.

Mmmmmmmm. LUUUUMPY. One lump or two? MY LOVELY LADY LUMPS! I could go all day.

oonaballoona | vintage holiday dress | vogue 8874 | mood fabrics 
Convinced, I set about recutting the bodice.  And, altering the pattern (Vogue 8874) to allow for allll black boucle on top, allll quilty goodness on bottom. I had snagged everything left of this peachy stuff for my MSN December allowance, visions of a full length quilted ballgown dancing in my head. The change of direction meant I had to get creative on the top. Articles of clothing had to be sacrificed. I took two old MSN projects that suffered from maniacal overfitting (here, and here) and tried my best not to sausage myself this time. And there are plenty of pieces in this bodice to overfit! 

But, little open pleats over boobage allow for breathability...

oonaballoona | vintage holiday dress | vogue 8874 | mood fabrics 
Gaze upon my little hook and eye that I ALWAYS COMPLETELY FORGET TO CLOSE...

oonaballoona | vintage holiday dress | vogue 8874 | mood fabrics 
And a little neck gaping that I am TOTALLY FINE WITH. I SAID I'M FINE.

Happy with the new bodice, The Rugster approved a voluminous skirt, so long as it was knee length.

oonaballoona | vintage holiday dress | vogue 8874 | mood fabrics

oonaballoona | vintage holiday dress | vogue 8874 | mood fabrics 
oonaballoona | vintage holiday dress | vogue 8874 | mood fabrics

In fact, Ruggy requested MOAR BOTTOM, “to really allow for that classic line,” (GET HIM) and I was ever so happy to oblige! Having abandoned ballgown length, I had ample yardage for a drop waist crinoline of sorts...even after he made me recut the front skirt panels.


The pattern calls for a seam right down center front. Against my better judgement, I did as I was told (really, what's going on with this story? Must've been the gin). After carefully gathering the giant five piece skirt to the new, underlined bodice, after pressing and binding and catchstitching seams…RuGunn entered the workroom and once again gave my dressform the side eye.  

Him: What's up with that seam down the front?  Do you really want a seam down the front?

Me: No. But the pattern calls for it.

Him, Pausing For Effect: You’re better than a pattern, babe.


oonaballoona | vintage holiday dress | vogue 8874 | mood fabrics

Now, I should have exacted my revenge by making him take the photographs, but Mama Ruggy came to the rescue. I LISTENED TO HIM AND LET HIM OFF THE HOOK FOR PICTURES. Ruggy must have been extra good this year, non?

A happy holiday, or reg'lar day to you, may your home and heart be as warm as a two tiered poly batted skirt!

this poofy frock was made using my monthly fabric "allowance" as part of the Mood Sewing Network.


I never get my shoes in the shot.

oonaballoona | vintage vogue dress | sewing blog

Two things this dress gives me: Bigger Mouth, and Bigger Boobs.

oonaballoona | vintage vogue dress | sewing blog

For real, look at the size of those things. I'm like a 48D version of Steven Tyler.

oonaballoona | vintage vogue dress | sewing blog

The front neckline was originally supersized as well. It had the refs throwing flags for intentional horse collar.

oonaballoona | vintage vogue dress | sewing blog

But they gave extra yardage for the bow. To go with the linebacker proportioned boobs and yapper. 

oonaballoona | vintage vogue dress | sewing blog

Luckily, I already had the appropriately voluminous derriere.

Pattern: Vintage Vogue 1084. Um. If you feel like sticking into something satisfying, grab a Vogue reprint at the next Joann's sale. I'm on my second envelope and am wildly eyeing my stash for ways to frankenstein bits and pieces into the required yardage for the handful of reprints I snagged at the last sale-- most of these eat up at least 4 yards. And that's pre-crinoline, which of course now, I must haz. (Hey vintage ladies, any good sources for cheap but decent RTW crinoline?)

Changes: Shortened the sleeves and lowered front neckline by about two inches. Used silk organza to reinforce the top bodice corner (as you would a gusset). Made an extra larger bow shape, layered with organza, and threaded it through the original bow. There was a little sagging in the back with just that one sad bow, and the added bow created a tighter backline! Bonus! There's no lining in this, which is...aggravating. Instructions let the exposed seams slide, so I ended up binding each and every seam.

Fabric: Both fabrics were Christmas booty circa 2013, snatched up at Mood, and HOLY IMPOSSIBILITY, both fabrics are still there. This never happens with my MSN posts, which I feel pretty bratty about ("hey I loved this fabric whoopsy daisies sorry it's all gone kaybyyyeee!") so leave it to me to make a non-MSN dress where the yardage is still in existence. Here's the main dress, and here's the contrast bow.

Photos: Flagrant Foul called for Overuse of the Surface Blur Option; to give a vintage feel, and make up for Revolting Injured Camera. Apologies. No dress was harmed in the 'shopping of these photos.

Have you got a holiday dress on your table? I'm on my fifth. HOLIDAY SUPERSIZE ME, YO.



On the train last night, there were six or seven cops at one of the doors, looking out at the tracks as the subway operator made a jerky way down the rails. The operator stopped too abruptly at the station, and one of the male officers fell forward. Ruggy immediately put his arm out to stop his fall, a knee jerk reaction of a gentleman, though it wasn't seen or needed by the cop. A female officer did notice it, and said Thankyou as the small group left the train.

Ruggy told me this story late last night after he got home. He'd been at a play, and I'd been at dance class, afterwards enjoying the (relative) quiet outside after the past week. We've had nightly nonstop helicopters and sirens since Tuesday, and of course you know why. So... it was, simply, nice. And Ruggy's story was also, simply, nice. But I did wonder aloud if his arm quickly extending out like that would have been taken as a threat if it were a different shade. 

I'm not getting into any facts, whole or half truths, or lies, in any of the recent events. I don't even think "event" is the right word. I don't have a word for this week. It just seems wrong to continue parading holiday dresses when the days bring more unnamable happenings. Yes, I'll be back with another dress on Monday, because we live, but I do feel the need to say something. 

We are, simply, trying our level best to spread joy. Protests, marches, arguments, we've tried those in the past. For us, they don't work, though much respect for those who choose that.  For us, walking down the city street together, holding hands that span a dozen races and twenty years together, is one of the most joyful acts, and peaceful protests, that we can think of. 

If you don't mind, I'll leave the comments off on this one. Sending much love and joy to you all.


running my mouth.

oonaballoona | by hand london kim dress

Okay so here's the thing. I'm sort of worded out at the moment. And I'd like to let the pictures do the talking for me, but my camera is imaged out at the moment. It no longer wants to play. It has taken its toys and it has gone home. This may have something to do with the fact that I dropped it from the top of a fully extended tripod height, popped the jammed lens out as one would a dislocated shoulder, and left it with a squinky eye that no longer closes.

oonaballoona | by hand london kim dress

(Sarah, recognize the story? This is exactly what I did to your camera.) 

oonaballoona | by hand london kim dress

But semi blurry pictures be damned, I MUST TELL YOU ABOUT THIS DRESS. This is my tester version of By Hand London's newest party girl, Kim. Normally I don't parade my test version until I've sewn it up again from the actual released pattern, but this gal was such a joy to stitch, I took maybe three notes on the test run. I've heard tell most testers had this experience, so I'm shouting now.

oonaballoona | by hand london kim dress

DO YOU LIKE THE CRAZYFACE LUREX?!!! I got it at Hancock's like 4 years ago. And the burnout velvet is a major 3 year old score from an unintentional LA sale! Both had been cut into and set aside when previous plans went wrong. I dug them back out for this.


I chose the sweetheart neckline with faux wrap skirt. Traced her up in a straight size 10/14, took 5/8s off the back shoulder to account for le back du sway, and pegged the skirt in 2 inches. I took another 5/8 off the back shoulder during sewing, and probably should do those extra eighths at the waist next time. 

I've been thinking about back length on me. The size and shape of my booty obviously creates a peak, right? So that peak makes my back measurement shorter. This is news to no one. Like I said, words.

oonaballoona | by hand london kim dress

Please do grab a magnifying glass and check the print matching on the center back zip. Camera was exacting its (justified) revenge on me, and this is the best back shot I gots, yo.

The skirt is underlined with a satiny burgundy viscose (not per pattern instructions; the velvet is sheer), and the bodice is lined (per instructions) with the viscose as well. Even with grading, that's a lotta bulk in that poor waistline seam. But the insides are purty.

oonaballoona | by hand london kim dress

At the last minute, right before cutting the skirt panels, I decided to take two inches of length out of the skirt. You know, accounting for the BHL temptresses being of tall stature and all. I SO DID NOT NEED TO. While the back hits the sweet spot...

oonaballoona | by hand london kim dress

The front, she is not made for a breeze. Of any sort. Like, a gnat could sneeze and it's R rated up in here. Since then I've added the inches back.

Well, listen. I wish I had a better story to share, and better pictures to boot, and I wish these things 'cause that's the kind of ship I prefer to sail around here, but the Kim dress is quickly reaching Anna heights on my sewing desk, and as the festive season is upon us, spreading the word trumps my self imposed post quality control.


'kay bye!


a weapon of cloth

oonaballoona | a weapon of cloth

Growing up, our extended family looked like The United Nations. Only not so much with the United part. Holidays found our nuclear foursome piled in the Jeep, heading out for a day of ham, greens, biscuits, and raised eyebrows. We weren't dark enough to suit half the table, we weren't light enough to suit the other half, and let's leave aside the fact that the table itself was a mix of about seven races in the first place.

But in my mind, I was a gorgeous exotic bird! Some alien life force, gracing the scene with my plumage! I gazed with benevolence at the humans I was strangely related to, knowing that their inferior brains could not process the abstract language of my mismatched cloth! 

As Ruggy and I discussed the upcoming avalanche of holiday occasions, we cringed over the one or two events that will likely be more chore than play. There's always a couple of those, aren't there? Now, I plan to dress to the nines at all of the festivities, naturally, but when we spoke of these particular little wrenches, I breathed, through clenched teeth and with fisted hands: I AM GOING TO LOOK FABULOUS.

And it hit me: I use clothing as a weapon! Of course you do, Ruggy soothed. 



Long before I learned to sew, my childhood self would rifle through an eye searing closet, and assemble the most outlandish ensemble I could think of, adding a few stars on my cheek to top it off (I held a high rank in my own personal army) before racing down the stars to the delight of my Mom, who loved to see what I'd come up with next.  (Actually, the delightful Corinne and I just talked about this very memory in a recent episode of The Sewing Affair that I've been remiss in linking! I guess it's on my brain.) By the time my Dad got home from work, I was in hand painted oversized tees, practicing arias under my breath while we made midnight ice cream sundaes together. I regarded my brother's black ensembles with confusion, but respect. That was his mark.

But man, I put a lot of responsibilities on my colorful childhood closet! Though I could stand on stage completely alone and sing out in a spotlight, when it came to walking around in everyday life, I was super, crushingly shy. So I let my clothes speak for me. My ensembles did the talking, the fighting, even did the socializing for me: every weekend was spent at the mall hand in hand with my Nan, shopping sales, strolling happily past the cliques draped about the food court. My daily outfit was my technicolor armor, meant to blind the popular girls before they could come up with a sour glance, meant to raise my cousins' eyebrows to skyscraper heights, meant to trumpet for me: I AM DIFFERENT AND I KNOW IT. YOU ARE TELLING ME NOTHING NEW.

Not much new being said here either. Ruggy received my realization sans surprise. He assumed I knew what I was doing. Always a bad assumption. Of course we use clothing as a weapon, a crutch, a bandage. A spotlight! By nature of our skill set, we're very much aware that it's more than cloth. But it really hit me: my passion for this woven arsenal came from growing up in a family that was branded as "different" in society, in school, in our own extended family. My parents' mission to make that branding be a positive sent me charging out of the house to fight a colorful battle enswathed in the most outrageous version of "different" that I could be. 

Thanks, Mom. Thanks, Dad. For real. 

What do you use your clothing for?


boom boom boom

oonaballoona | #bpsewvember | early make


oonaballoona | #bpsewvember | early make


oonaballoona | #bpsewvember | early make

Anyone? Anyone? Black Eyed Peas at Superbowl XLV 2011 simultaneously dating themselves with a past hit whilst trying to prove how modern they were 3 years later? Actually pretty impressive, if you think about it.

Also pretty impressive: the rawring beast created by Amanda of Bimble and Pimble, the thing taking over your IG feed, your internet, YOUR LIFE, #bpsewvember.  Today, the challenge is "early makes," so I thought it appropriate to take a closer look at two of my earliest makes-- the second and third dresses I ever made, blogged in March 2008. (Thing One was a mud brown fiery phoenix print that never got photographed. Or worn out. It felt like wearing polyurethane.) 

Both dresses were made from the Danielle pattern, a Burdastyle jam from waaaaay back, when we used to walk uphill to school both ways and the patterns were free. Both were made from quilting cotton, both caused my head to swell in the most terrific way, and both had invisible zippers of PHENOMENAL QUALITY

oonaballoona | #bpsewvember | early make


oonaballoona | #bpsewvember | early make


oonaballoona | #bpsewvember | early make

Even though I cringed like my thong was showing at a cotillion when I pulled these dresses out of a storage box, I'm still proud of them. They were going to be a What was I drinkThinking post, but I decided that wasn't right--after all, they're level appropriate when you're teaching yourself to sew through the internet circa 2008, n'est ce pas? 

I now possess them only in memory. The last cross country trek left them in a donations box. Hopefully they've regenerated themselves into napkins. My memories of how I felt when I made them, and wore them, are much better than having them in my closet.

And I had So. Much. Fun. Making them! Deciphering the patterns, talking in the Burdastyle forums with fellow newbies (guys what the hell is a facing?), uploading headless projects, giving advice I had no business giving...seriously. I learned to sew on Burdastyle. Did I learn well? Obviously the evidence proves otherwise. But I learned voraciously and with GREAT INSANITY. I dove into fabric and patterns and made something new to wear every evening. And eventually (at least, in my opinion) I got better. Some of y'all share that opinion, as in a bit of full circle, I was recently voted a Burdastyle top 50 blogger. Now that it's (apparently?) official, I haven't properly said thank you yet-- so thank you, very much, for that. And thanks, Burdastyle, for starting me off in the deep end before I knew how to swim. Maybe one day I'll master a couture stroke or two...

Are you swimming with us in #bpsewvember? How did you learn to sew?


the end of the spool

oonaballoona | the end of the spool

It's Rapunzel's hair, golden floss, silky strands that glide effortlessly through everything I've thrown at it, and though it's been like the loaves n' fishes for several years running, it's coming to an end.

As I finished up the hem of my mohair cape with this magical stuff, I realized: I am going to be supremely sad when this spool of thread is finished! The realization hit me like a well intentioned, but poorly planned, surprise party. The end of an era wound around a little plastic tube. 

It was purchased at Greenberg & Hammer. Years ago, when I walked into that elevator-accessed store, I was not greeted warmly, I did want help, I had no clue what I was doing, and felt very aware that the staff instantly knew ALL OF THOSE THINGS ABOUT ME. I spent fifteen minutes trying to act like I belonged there, hesitating before unmarked drawers, stammering out a question about some advanced tool which completely gave me away...they were so totally over me. In their defense, it was September, and they were plagued with students coming in for class materials. I was a freshman of the internet with no list in hand.

I ended up walking out with two spools of thread plucked hastily out of a bowl by the counter, purchased to prove that I was indeed Someone Who Sews. Chosen for their color: one turquoise cord, one gold floss, neither of which I had any clue what to do with. Obviously I knew I should sew with them... but WHAT. Were they meant for buttonholes? Basting? Handsewing? Topstitching? For about a year, their only function was to remind me of my poorly executed shopping trip. 

Finally, I decided the universe would not implode if I just started using Goldielocks for... whatever I wanted. She was too pretty to languish in a drawer. Then I started topstitching with Cordy.  They're magical because I've invented their function. I do wish I could stroll back into that store, and open drawers and pick up new notions with confidence. But, Greenberg & Hammer reached the end of its era in 2012. 

Who knows what other magic I missed.


technicolor depths

oonaballoona | wintry vintage simplicity patterns ensemble

Are you ready to see what's underneath that GIGANTIC HOUNDSTOOTH?

oonaballoona | wintry vintage simplicity patterns ensemble

oonaballoona | wintry vintage simplicity patterns ensemble


If you didn't see my post over at MSN yesterday, here's my November allowance offering. Capety Cape Cape!! And, bonus (non-Mood) CRAZYFACE DRESS!!! 

This schizoid ensemble was all about opposite directions and course corrections. At first, I'd made the cape up in full with a Hong Kong finish. The houndstooth was so pretty! Why hide any of it? Well, for one, it sheds little baby wool hairs. And for two, I'm starting to appreciate the weight that a lining gives. The look, for three. OH THERE ARE SO MANY REASONS TO LOVE LININGS THAT MOST OF YOU ALREADY KNEW.   

Seconds before landing, I changed course and seam ripped a bajillion hairy stretchy seams, adding the red superheroine ponte. Under the wool and mohair, I'm all ponte, all the time.

oonaballoona | wintry vintage simplicity patterns ensemble

The floral ponte hails from my neighbor to the north, Oh Canada. I had a Top Secret Super Quick Spy Mission that left me with a little time for fabric hunting (and very little for socializing. Next jaunt!).

You guys. You guys in Toronto. King Textiles is awesome. AND IT WAS FIVE BLOCKS FROM MY HOTEL. WHAT ARE THE ODDS. I came home with 5 pieces, one for every block, and ate supermarket haute cuisine to make up for it. WORTH IT. FABRIC IS MY FOOD.

oonaballoona | wintry vintage simplicity patterns ensemble

But! Do you ever get that small yet consuming feeling of complete and utter dread, just after the proprietress cuts the first snip of your choice? This is not the droid you were looking for. This droid is defective. And this droid is now YOURS.

The print feels painted on with some crafty substance, even after washing, and it has zilch in the stretch recovery department. But I refused to change course! I eagerly plunked down my super pretty Canadian money! I'd deal with the saggy wrinkles for that palette of Holly Hobby flowers!

oonaballoona | wintry vintage simplicity patterns ensemble

Later, in the hotel room with my feast of deli selections, I sighed and realized it was probably best suited for pajamas. Or pillowcases. Which, in Opposite World, made it the perfect choice for Vintage Simplicity 7398, hacked into a dress. 

oonaballoona | wintry vintage simplicity patterns ensemble

With coral neon elastic stretch topstitched zigzagged embellishment. As you do. 

oonaballoona | wintry vintage simplicity patterns ensemble

As for the cape: I often succumb to trends, in that I squirm uncomfortably over an endless parade of a suddenly coveted item, finally break down and snag everything I need to make it mine, sit on my supplies until the trend is over, and ultimately make something else.

oonaballoona | wintry vintage simplicity patterns ensemble

This ginormous houndstooth wool threw me in reverse. When she arrived, I fell on her, and thought I'd make a sleek tailored blazer. But you know, super chunky, and not sleek in the slightest.

However, as the days passed, she whispered to me---actually she hollered at me, I mean, look at the size of that print: DON'T YOU REALLY THINK I SHOULD BE A CAPE. COME ON, MAN.

oonaballoona | wintry vintage simplicity ensemble

Of course capes aren't a passing trend, they're in every Fall, and this pattern (vintage Simplicity 7866) harkens from 1968. So I guess they're here to stay.

Ruggy says I look like Christmas. Yeah! Vintage Christmas! I took that literally and hamhandedly painted the backdrop with yellow and blue mulitcolored photoshopped holiday vintage glow. I guess I should have gone red and green. But I'm often running in the opposite direction of my original intention.

And you? Do you stay the course? Or run where your whim takes you?

the wool cape was made using my monthly fabric "allowance" as part of the Mood Sewing Network.


before and after

This project was just a mo-hair's breath away from becoming a What Was I drinkThinking. When I embarked on this cape, I was so in love with both sides of this wool and mohair yardage, I just couldn't bear to line it. So I made the questionable decision to bind each and every seam with some of that loaves-n-fishes Betsey Johnson floral jersey, shown above.

And the garment drooped and sagged, and called me names, and looked crazyface.  So I ripped out every. Single. SEAM. (Including every seam of the wool itself, which I actually did not need to do.)

But I soldiered on and I'm glad I did... it's one of Ruggy's favorites! I LOVE IT WHEN I MAKE SOMETHING THE RUGSTER LOVES! You can see her today, in full, up on the MSN blog... and tomorrow, I'll show you what's lurking underneath: another technicolor floral jammie that could be Betsey Johnson's Canadian cousin.

Though I don't know if a technicolored floral ponte could really lurk if it tried. Like an elephant trying to tiptoe. 


King Of The Library

oonaballoona | laurence king review | the swatch book

Mystery fabrics at rock bottom prices always get me. Postage stamp sized New York joints filled to the rafters with random goodies, gimmie. But, at under $5 a yard, there's little chance a fabric tag will accompany the myriad bolts threatening to crush patrons.

Should you find yourself fondling questionable items, the clean, mostly white samples in Clive Hallet's and Amanda Johnston's Fabric For Fashion: The Swatch Book hope to aid you in understanding fabric, through text and touch.

oonaballoona | laurence king review | the swatch book

Though I'll be honest...it's the pretty pictures that have my eye. I almost don't see fabric when it's not patterned, or technicolor. I just sort of glaze over on neutrals. I totally get the why, but it's hard for me to buckle down and read the text. That's the point of course, the pale swatches are meant to help you focus on the characteristics of the fabric.

oonaballoona | laurence king review | the swatch book

And maybe that's where I'll prove a bad student, because YES GIMMIE THAT WHATEVER IT IS

oonaballoona | laurence king review | the swatch book


oonaballoona | laurence king review | the swatch book


oonaballoona | laurence king review | the swatch book

DAMMIT, WOMAN! FOCUS! Let's be real, if I'm going to continue to be seduced by bargain bolts, this is medicine I need to take. When I'm enamored of a particular fabric type (usually through Mood, where things are nicely marked), suddenly every unmarked bolt I touch is that fabric by virtue of my current obsession. Back when I was working on my silk chiffon Anna, I swore everything I picked up in the shadowy streets of the garment district was silk. IT WAS NOT. 

As Ruggy says, I can tell myself a lie in the most truthful way.

oonaballoona | laurence king review | the swatch book

But here you go, silk and poly CDC right next to each other, waiting to prove my silk colored glasses wrong. Um, yeah. THEY DEFINITELY FEEL DIFFERENT. Of course I know this. I just need proof every now and then.

oonaballoona | laurence king review | the swatch book

Although the whimsically bound tome (I feel like I could definitely find some cool blank insert pages to insert for my own stash reference!) has 125 fabric samples in all, it's not just swatches. Overviews on Animal, Plant and Man Made Fibers, plus chunks of info on each little swatched subdivison, and the usual beautiful layout of a Laurence King tome grace 88 pages.

oonaballoona | laurence king review | the swatch book

Those 125 swatches do add up, over a buck a page at 95 smackaroos. Not something I would splurge on myself, but definitely something I would put on a wishlist! And the holiday season is coming, isn't it?

oonaballoona | laurence king at FIT

I most brattily thank LK for Christmas Come Early in Kalkatroona... it's a beautiful addition to my shelf. I do so love my little sewing library! Speaking of which...

There's a splendiferous FREE event happening at FIT tomorrow, hosted by Laurence King, with draping demos and raffles and lectures, oh my. I was drooling in anticipation until I realized it fell on my wedding anniversary, so you probably won't see my fabric dazed face there. Unless I can convince Ruggy that this would be a totally romantic start to the evening. 

There's a minute chance that I can actually do that. Last week, on his birthday, he asked if I might like him to build me some fabric shelves under our windows.

Which makes him King For Life.

this book was provided to me by Laurence King in exchange for an honest review.