The Fabric Of The Universe

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | fabric of the universe | free people

I'm finding it hard to remember the last time I put Actual Garment Fabric under my sewing machine. It probably wasn't that long ago...maybe a little over a week...but I think a day in sewing is something akin to dog years. IT'S BEEN ROUGHLY 56 YEARS SINCE I'VE STITCHED CLOTH. 

I'm also the girl that woke up on Sunday knowing it was Monday till my IG feed proved otherwise. The rules of Time are optional around here.

But everyone in the world should wake up on a Sunday knowing it's a Monday! WHAT A DELIGHT WHEN YOU FIND OUT OTHERWISE! (Preferably, before you're on your commute to work.) It was like I bent time to my will and graced myself with ANOTHER FULL DAY OF WEEKEND! I AM OONA, RULER OF THE UNIVERSE!

(We had an in-house screening of Flash Gordon on Saturday night. So.)

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | fabric of the universe | free people

Settled in my sewing queendom that Super Sunday, I contemplated my subjects like Ming the Merciless. Stretch Velvet from the Planet Velvaxus (so dubbed by Ruggy, my right hand Klytus) tried to tempt me with its lustrous ways, but no dice. Minions from the Silkworm Moon presented floral lengths, I was severely displeased. Let's face it, we might as well be living on Frigia, I have no time for your summer silks! 

No fabric could charm me. No, lately, my toy of choice has been rope. Don't know why. I've been cutting and stitching the stuff with no real plan, but Empresses don't need a plan. I was ravenous for more thread and texture. Suddenly, I needed to weave! I needed to weave a medallion, yo! A SYMBOL OF MY ULTIMATE RULE! 

BLAST IT ALL, I thought, shaking my fist at the heavens, I NEED MORE ROPE! AND I NEED IT TO APPEAR BEFORE ME RIGHT NOW!

My ruthless eyes fell upon the subjects of the Planet Boucle. Excellent. I started harvesting organs from every scrap I could find.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | fabric of the universe | free people

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | fabric of the universe | free people

As the day lingered (and it did linger gracefully, ending in a phantasmagoric meal that I am still wistful for), I would occasionally bellow to the room, THIS IS THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER MADE. Really? my friend queried. Well, pretty much any new thing I'm working on is THE BEST THING I'VE EVER MADE until I'm working on something else. 

The look on his face said that this was a rule he was keen to adopt.

I used this tutorial from Free People to get me going (HA! DELICIOUS IRONY! There are no Free People in my Queendom, only subjects who bend to my will!) and a cardboard box for a loom. (I would have preferred something a bit more blingy, in fact I almost wrapped the board in washi tape before I embarked.)

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | fabric of the universe | free people

So far the ideas for this medallion are: 1. Back of a cropped jeans jacket, 2. Train on a dress with added peacock feathers, 3. Hat.*

*Because of the whole Frigia thing, dontcha know. I'm working on obliterating that planet with my awesome powers this weekend.


What was I (drink)Thinking #2

This dress was destined for the chop shop, like its rainbow striped predecessor. A full on What Was I Drinking in effect. But then this happened...

oonaballoona |uptown funk nettie dress | bruno mars


oonaballoona |uptown funk nettie dress | bruno mars


This Closet Case Nettie dress was stitched last summer, intended for a Brooklyn block party. After spending many hours on it, including figuring out how to fully line it in one continuous unbroken swoop (don't ask, my memory does not go back that far, I blame it on the booze), I donned it with glee...and couldn't stop guffawing. 

oonaballoona |uptown funk nettie dress | bruno mars

Considering I chose a body con dress for this bodacious print, I'm not sure what I could have done to avoid the questionable pattern placement on display. Perhaps that's why Brain raised the white flag and just decided to go gorilla on it (GET IT?! GORILLA!! Yeah, I am the last person on the planet to discover Bruno Mars.) 

I labored to make sure a wreath of sunshine infused flowers adorned my neckline...

oonaballoona |uptown funk nettie dress | bruno mars

And, um.... my fallopian tubes. 

(I also have dangerous boobs. BEWARE MY BOOBS, MY BOOBS WILL CUT YOU.)

oonaballoona |uptown funk nettie dress | bruno mars

HOT DAMN. Can I get a witness for a seaweed covered booty? Come on, you can't go wrong with a seaweed covered booty! All the men like a seaweed covered booty! Except Mark Ronson, he's not really into algae.

oonaballoona |uptown funk nettie dress | bruno mars

ALRIGHT ALRIGHT here you go, the dress with normal boring backdrop, for your careful consideration. Loses something here...makes you rethink its wearability factor without the posse, no? 

oonaballoona |uptown funk nettie dress | bruno mars

THAT'S BETTER.  It's one hundred percent a "What Was I Drinking," don't worry, I am fully aware of that fact, but FRIG IT. I'M WEARING IT. It will certainly require a beverage or two when sporting, again, don't worry, I'll be sure to adhere to that rule. But I will rock this like Bruno rocked gold hair rollers on live television. Don't believe me? Just watch. Put yo theme song on and own it.

If you see me stomping around in it, do join me for a glass and a chorus of Uptown Funk. It'll be on repeat in my head. My do-rag covered head. 


Pfaff So Far

Alternate titles for this post, courtesy of Ruggy, none of which jive with the proper pronunciation of Pfaff, all of which give me the giggles:

Bigger, Louder, Pfaffter.

Pfaffter than a speeding bullet.

Pfaffter Pussycat.

Pfaffter is the best medicine.

Phonetics aside, all of these titles are true. And we all know IT'S FUNNY BECAUSE IT'S TRUE. When my Ricky went on strike, I went on the hunt for a Bernina-- and was left unimpressed. Several of you chimed in with your love for Pfaff, and several more asked to have an update after really trying her out. It's been nine months since Lucille Tiptronic Baller landed in Kalkatroona, and it's high time we talked. Before we get down to the nitty gritty, here's what me and the girl have made so far:

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | pfaff fashion
oonaballoona | a sewing blog | pfaff fashion
oonaballoona | a sewing blog | pfaff fashion

Plus the black quilty Valentine's vest and a host of yet to be blogged items!

I love her. I kiss her several times a week. Literally. Right on her flip up top.  Okay, let's get down to it.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | pfaff fashion

Let Your Pfaffer do the Walking

First up on the hit list: The IDT system. It is a wonder. If I'm careful with my cutting, pins are an afterthought, as there's simply no seam slippage. None, nada, zip. Sometimes I forget to re-enage the IDT when I change feet, which causes a string of colorful language. Leaving the IDT off is like drinking grape juice when you could be having bordeaux. It's possible that disengaging isn't necessary, but with no manual, I play it safe. If I'm doing something cray cray, like sewing four layers of wool, basket weave silk, leather, and plastic, sometimes the little IDT foot will catch on the uppermost layer at the start of a seam, like this:

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | pfaff fashion

See the little lip of leather curling between the feet? I just I disengage the IDT, lift the presser foot, re-enage, and go to town. Sometimes you have to take a few stitches without the IDT to get going, but it's really no biggie. I will say that I wish there was more real estate under the presser foot at times, especially for winter sewing.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | pfaff fashion

Subbing for My Serger

You know that my maniacal Elna serger has been plotting to kill me for years. Well, several months ago, I banished her from my desk and let my Pfaff take charge of my knits. The stretch stitch (which I think is akin to the dreaded Lightning Stitch on other machines) is amazing. In fact, there are times I like it better than an overlocked edge-- it produces less bulk and flatter seams. I made the Bombshell Bathing Suit completely on my Pfaff, and the guts are beautiful.

However, I know I'm going to need a a serger solution eventually. Sweater knits that unravel, for one. And although my Pfaff does twin needle stitching, I have to put the tension all the way up to eleven to get a good result. (I lie, she doesn't go to eleven. But everything in life should.)


Man, she likes all of the fabrics. Which is especially wonderful for someone who likes to MIX ALL OF THE FABRICS. Pictures will say it better:

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | pfaff fashion

painted jersey knit with elastic encased cording (done with a regular old presser foot!)

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | pfaff fashion

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | pfaff fashion

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | pfaff fashion

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | pfaff fashion

fringed madness with three kinds of leather (coming soon...)

Extra, Extra

You can read all about the included items and setup here in my introductory post, this is more about how she's held up. But the extras continue to charm me-- buttonholes are beautiful, all three needle positions working like a boss, as are the host of stitches that can be made using the push button system.

Whatever machine you're looking at, be it vintage or new, let me say this: GET A NEEDLE UP DOWN OPTION. I never knew how useful this feature was! I used to hand crank away on my older machines at the beginning and end of every seam. That adds up. And this feature doesn't just save you time, it saves your hands. While you're at it, consider saving your eyes with a needle threader, something I also scoffed at until an activity that took me 30 seconds started taking 3.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | pfaff fashion

Vintage Pros Have Their Woes

It's fantastic to have a vintage machine. Especially if you are into tinkering. I found the service manual for my model, and have opened her up completely. I've gazed at her innards, adjusted the needle thread tension, and oiled her (if you're afraid of that, you must at least give a drop of oil in the bobbin case area after every project!). Ruggy has come to the rescue as well, opening up and fixing the foot pedal (which took the both of us to hold all those springing parts closed. Open with caution, my friends). It feels great to fix your own machine, it feels substantial! It has stood the test of time.

That said, time is not the vintage lover's friend. As a matter of fact, whenever I shout about how great my vintage machine is, it seems to want to give up the ghost. Yesterday, as I filled a bobbin (from the needle--you can fill from the needle as well, another how did I live without that feature) my machine suddenly made the jump to lightspeed and kept merrily racing along after I took my foot off the pedal. I raised an eyebrow, set everything back to zero and tried again. Same maniacal blur of speed...but only when filling the bobbin, which leads me to believe it's something up with the machine end of that function, and not the pedal. The helpful bobbin sensor works intermittently, only flashing when I've cleaned the bobbin area and never when actually sewing. Possibly, the problem is within, dare I type it...the circuit board. And the older a machine gets, the harder it is to find replacements for those types of woes. One day, it simply might be too vintage to fix.

And that is most definitely the worst con about owning vintage! Still, after nine months of stitching on her, I can't see wanting to stitch on any other brand.

Hope this was helpful to those of you looking into a new, or a "new," machine. My opinion is of the vintage persuasion, though you up-to-date Pfaffers seem to adore yours as well. I've had tweets & emails asking for advice on making the jump to Pfaff, and if you did, I'd love to know if you're digging your machine! ETA: and by the way, not to exclude the non Pfaffers out there, I'd love to know what you love about your machine. Everyone has their favorite, non?


a valentine's day break up

oonaballoona | a sewing, drinking, creating blog

Old Man Winter, it's time we had a talk. This relationship has fizzled. You've become overbearing. Predictable. Boring. All you want to do is stay home and sit on the couch and keep me from taking halfway decent photos. 

oonaballoona | a sewing, drinking, creating blog

Sure, I know Sexy Springtime has his problems as well, what with all his blue skies and luscious breezes, beckoning me to wallow in his grassy fronds rather than fondle my Pfaff. Sexy Springtime is a monogamous sort.  Whereas you definitely allow me the freedom to play with my machinated lovers in your dimly lit, cold dusky hours...

oonaballoona | a sewing, drinking, creating blog

...yes, ours is an open relationship. But even so, I'm beginning to feel claustrophobic. This fancy double ended open zipper stays altogether shut these days.

And let's not even talk about why I'd make a sleeveless quilted jacket. I must be acting out. As if you'd allow me to show a little skin. You might be okay with me fooling around on the side, but you sure don't want me flaunting it. 

oonaballoona | a sewing, drinking, creating blog

I mean, I even went off the rails and cinched the waist of this jammy in for you. Would you notice? Throw me an appreciative glance, a flirtatious word? Noooooooo. And I don't blame you. It's a puffy jacket, godsakes. But check the technique:

oonaballoona | a sewing, drinking, creating blog

oonaballoona | a sewing, drinking, creating blog

I encased in leather for you, man. LEATHER. WHAT IS SEXIER THAN LEATHER.

oonaballoona | a sewing, drinking, creating blog

Yeah, whatever Winter. It's too late, I don't want to hear it. We're done. Go be Australia's Valentine.

(I love you Australia.)

(ps ETA: it's a Burda mag pattern circa 2008. Too cold to find it. I'll groundhog it out soon!)
(further ETA: it's Burda mag, 10-2008-123 *not an affiliate link, obviously I'm super on top of that so far* aaaand check out Amanda's gorgeous version, which helped me visually during construction.) 


getting cent-sible

oonaballoona | a sewing blog

I'm a junkie. It's really the only way to describe it. I'm a junkie with an addiction. 

addiction |əˈdik sh ən|
the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity

junkie |ˈjə ng kē| (also junky)
noun informal
a drug addict.
[with adj. ] a person with a compulsive habit or obsessive dependency on something : power junkies.

Oooooooh hold up scratch that-- I'M A POWER JUNKIE. Whaaat! Have you ever heard that term in your life? Man, that chick sews 24/7. She's a power junkie, yo. YES!!! I LOVE IT! I CACKLE WITH GLEE!!!!!

I spent the last few months of 2014 obsessing over irons. As a sewing power junkie does. My third Black & Decker Classic bit the dust in September, and my ditzy Panasonic backup choked on me after two days, obviously offended by its time spent in the back of the closet. I scoured blogs and Instagram and Amazon reviews, and went down rabbitholes of links. And I bought an iron based solely on my fellow power junkies' advice. No commercials, no visits to brand websites. Just your opinions.

Yeah, you know where this is going. DON'T RUN SCREAMING YET HEAR ME OUT.

Ads, Affiliate Links, and Sponsors. We already know what makes us twitchy about that trifecta. Hell, it's one letter off from the delightful acronym of ASS. But we also get super ornery about bloggers being used as free testers, free reviewers, bloggers giving up that most valuable thing, time, for free. I know the sewing blogisphere is the moral conscience of the internet, we tend to stay behind the curve of questionable activity for longer than most...but in this case, erm, maybe our high horse is...just an ass...

I would love for the people who freely gave their time and advice, leading me down the path to my new iron, to see some coinage. Is it their job? No. Do they deserve it? In this actress's opinion, hell yes they do. I'm in a unionized industry that pays people to advertise. We don't do it for free. You better believe companies are over the moon thrilled with the no-strings-attached constant stream of free advertising that is Social Media. And whether a person is reaching ten people or ten thousand-- free advertising is free advertising. If the thing you're shouting about is something I want, and you can get a kickback, I want you to have it. I want me to have it. I want US to use those kickbacks to buy MOAR SEWING STUFF to create MOAR WONDERFUL THINGS.

So here's the drill!  I'm not into paid ads and sponsors myself (and more power to you if that's your bag, hell, I'm obviously down with receiving products from companies I love, sans cash). But, in the next few weeks I'm looking at joining the Amazon and Burdastyle affiliate programs (ETA 03-16-2015: I've joined Amazon, and am still pondering Burdastyle...). That means things I normally link to, not suddenly shilling crock pots and kiddie pools. You already know I don't happily holler unless I truly love what I'm talking about. You don't hear about things I don't love because critiques are not how I prefer to spend my time. I like to spend my time creating, and as I live in one of the most expensive cities in the world, the fourth most expensive city, to be exact*, I have to spend my money living. If a few affiliate links provide a little mad money to support this power junkie habit and keep the sewing on this blog looking snazzy, then I hope you'll forgive the inclusion. 

So far that's it, and when I pull the trigger you'll see that list on my "story" page. Any post that includes an affiliate link will also include a little orange colored disclaimer note at the end (I've added these notes to MSN posts, and book/pattern freebies as well). You'll also still see ordinary, non-affiliate links to everything from pattern companies to gin mills, and all manner of things for which I'm happy to not earn a red cent.

Why is it a red cent?

*Disclaimer: Not an affiliate link. Though, if you have the money to buy New York, please be my friend. 
And PS, ETA: if you've been on the fence about this for as long as I have, I invite you to join me. After all, there are so many other real things to be worried about, y'know?


live from new york...

oonaballoona | sewing blog

It's FEBRUARY, and my installment over at the Mood Sewing Network is LIVE!

oonaballoona | sewing blog

With Musical Guest, Spirit Bird of Manhattan.

oonaballoona | sewing blog

I'll sport it over here before Valentine's Day in a parade of coats... this is my third topper of the new year! What the what?! I've been catchstitching and quilting like a woman possessed!

(Oh yeah and thanks y'all for giving me the quilting disease. It's reaching plague proportions.)

oonaballoona | sewing blog

But for now, fly on over to MSN if you'd like to see it on a human form. One which could not be sicker of gray skies and no fancy events. Maybe it's time for a quilted ball gown?