page turner

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | burdastyle bustier dress

The moment we climb into bed, I suddenly find ALL OF MY ENERGY and talk nonstop. Last night the subject was books. I used to collect them, reading favorites two or three times over, displaying little carefully chosen piles of them around the house. Ruggy called them my trophies.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | burdastyle bustier dress

I yammered at my sleepy eyed man: I USED TO LOVE BOOKS!!! I'd get so excited to get into bed and read, then I'd get so excited to wake up and find out what was happening next, then before I'd know it the book was done and I'd get SO EXCITED TO START ANOTHER!!!

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | burdastyle bustier dress

And now I get so excited to get to my desk and sew, and I get so excited to see what happens next, and when it's done I get SO EXCITED TO START ANOTHER

Bonus: unlike a poorly chosen title, when you're making the rules, every garment is a page turner, a choose your own adventure story. At the moment, this silk burdastyle bustier dress is capturing my attention. I underlined the fabric with muslin instead of organza! How will that change the drape? Will those convex and concave curves fit?! SHOULD I HAVE NEON ORCHID OR SAFETY CONE ORANGE NEAR MY FACE? DID I GET THE PIVOT POINT RIGHT?!!! I WILL NOT KNOW UNTIL I TURN THE PAGE!!!

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | burdastyle bustier dress

(The Center Bodice and Bust Cup did meet up at The Pivot Point. I'm so glad those two found love.)

It's all consuming, I barely crack a book open anymore. Ruggy deemed my sewing-for-reading substitution A Most Excellent Realization. I mean, it's great to be so passionate about something that you honestly can't wait to see what happens next, right? But I miss reading, I really do. I even tried to get back into it on a six hour bus ride, bringing along one of my all time favorites, The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. (Heads up, I plain old linked to it, and then was like um, duh, it's one of your top three reads, that's Amazon linkworthy.) Still, even at number two on my hitlist, couldn't get further than twenty pages. There was a floral cotton dress waiting for more hand embroidery in my bus bag of tricks, it was staring at me, and it won. I thought I would get bored, but no, it was like watching a story unfold.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | burdastyle bustier dress

And then there are those times, those nerve wracking times when you're pretty sure things are going swimmingly for all the characters in your garment, but you feel something might be lurking around the corner, and you won't be totally sure till you turn the page...

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | burdastyle bustier dress


The plot thickens. I spent a full day carefully choosing the print placement on this, I could've read like twenty chapters in that time, I even cut Upper Right Bodice Cup out twice, and my brain still didn't see that angular ghost of a giant white flower coming. Yes, I have more fabric, but I refuse to do a rewrite! IT WILL BE SO MUCH MORE FUN TO DEVISE A PLAN. I'm thinking a combo of fabric paint & markers. And a very hot iron. 

I love a good cliffhanger.



oonaballoona | a sewing blog | vogue patterns magazine star blogger

And gals, of course, hey #girlbosses wassup #runtheworld and all that jazz...


Yep, someone over at Headquarters got a little tipsy and I said YES before they sobered up. No really though, I was pretty sure they meant another oonaballoona, but the truly lovely writeup proves otherwise. (The "onnaballoona" in the title does give substance to my theory, but hey, they got Harriell right! THAT'S a tough one! Thanks, Great-Great Grandfather Ruggy, for being too proud to admit you spelled your own last name wrong when signing up to work on building the railroad. WE WOULD HAVE LIKED EACH OTHER!) 

(Admittedly, both handles have far too many vowels and consonants for their own good.)

I was shocked, and of course honored, to be asked. I know people say that all the time when receiving any form of recognition, but really, I was. And even moreso when I read the beautifully written article and saw the colorful layout.

(As I went through pics to send their way, I stressed: these aren't colorful enough! These aren't dressy enough! Sometimes I think I need my eyes checked. There are over 25 dresses in my closet, and only one of them is black.) 

It's out now, iffn you want a read, and there's a preview of the issue up here. Thanks Vogue, for the honor, and for all the party dress enabling!


bosum buddies

Over the past 24 hours I have had more concern about the veracity of my bust measurement than I can shake a measuring stick at, AND I LOVE IT! Since posting about the jump up in cup on my Watson bras, peeps have hollered in all manner of media outlet, worried for the comfort of my girls. 

But seriously, let's reflect: ladies I've never met (and several I've been very fortunate to meet), are pondering the size of my knockers, and not in a sexy way. Wild. (Actually, I guess I'm used to the lack of sexy thought when it comes to my mammary glands. For real, there's a complete absence of cleavage going on around these parts. I hear that attribute makes up like 80% of the "sexy" equation. I once lost a very awesome role due to only having 20% of the goods.) 

So of course I had to measure again, for the sake of science, and here are the results per Amy's chart: 

Rib cage 33" = Band size 36
Full Bust: 38" minus Upper Bust: 35" = Difference of 3", Cup size C

Yes, that 38 is a shocker. Hanging out in tabletop gives me a full bust of 38, versus 36.5 standing! And maybe this table is different if one is making a wired bra? I'm a babe in the lingerie woods, dudes, you tell me. Here's how she fits...

(Sorry, Rugster. I know you thought you'd escaped me posing in my undies on the web. It happens.)

I really love the fit. I also added 2" of length to the band for more of a tankini feel. I'm looking down my own shirt right now as I type, and there's not a bit of gap. But maybe you see something else?

What I've always hated about bras is the absence of fabric where bust meets upper armpit--wired bras push on me and create a display of what Jennifer Lawrence so charmingly called "armpit cleavage" on the red carpet. All that time I spent cramming my tatas into a teeny size probably displaced some mass-- K line wrote at length about that awhile back, she writes fascinating stuff about bras, and it was an aha! moment for me (which obviously didn't stick). So that could be the source of my bra rage.

Maybe the surprise of size has something to do with all the ballet and singing? My erect dancer's back definitely presents fit issues, so why wouldn't the years of dance play tricks on my boobage? Holding my arms in second position during barre work... years of filling up my lungs to capacity from the top down for those held high notes... hell, even doing my hair might contribute to those numbers. (You wouldn't believe the arm definition I've acquired just from coiffing my MASS of locks every morning. It's a workout.) And, my broad, straight shoulders are the widest part of me. (Well, in a 2-D view. The booty is a small planet.)

And types of boobs! Maybe they're perky and sit straight out? Or carry most of their weight in the bottom? SO MANY QUESTIONS! LINGERIE IS A DEEP DARK RABBITHOLE!! 

And do remember, Ruggy is a whiz at making me look twelve inches taller. Maybe he's working unknown juju on my hooters? Well, I can answer that question, but it's a PG blog.

All that said, I LOVE that y'all felt comfortable jumping in and telling me I might be off base. Please do that! That rocks! The wealth of knowledge out in the blogisphere gets me giddy, and sharing it constructively is gold. I may even take a friend up on her offer to get remeasured by a fancy bra shop in town. 

I haven't had time yet to respond to everyone from that first post, but do you have more thoughts? Maybe there are work or hobby related activities that affect your fitting, that you hadn't thought of till now? Maybe you know of some patterns for our better endowed H cup ladies? (HH. That exists?!) Do tell!!! LET'S TALK BOOBIES YO!

ETA 6/20/2017: sorry y'all, I've had to turn comments off for this post! Apparently, the subject matter attracts a plethora of anonymous 'bot comments. Do take a look at the comments section, though, there's a lot of great info there!


lovin' cup

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | watson bra

It wasn't until I stripped down to my thong on a Broadway stage that I realized I was not a 32A. 

The show was Lennon, as in John, the tune was "Woman Is The N****r of the World," already eyebrow raising, and the thought was, I'd wail through this number, and then all four ladies of the show would angrily rip our black shapeless scuba-esque suits off, revealing white lacy lingerie of the peep show variety underneath. YEAH! we all said, fists in air. They're not going to know what to do with THAT! It'll kill!

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | watson bra

We were correct, as evidenced by the stunned awkward silence emanating from the full house. We did this for one performance and then scrapped the ending.

But before that, we had a field trip to Bratender's in NY, where we were properly measured for our racy outfits, and I learned with much shock that I was a 36B. This was well before I sewed. I'd blindly stuck with my high school 32A for years. And today, although I measure my Bust-Waist-Hip every third garment or so, like a good sewist, I've blindly stuck with that Bratender's cup measurement

Hey man, they're the professionals of boobage! CUPS DON'T CHANGE! I went on buying 36Bs and wearing them only when absolutely necessary (read: when auditioning for Lawyer Type Parts).

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | watson bra

Accordingly, my first Watson Bra was a bust (HAHAHAHAHAHA YES). When my 36B came up too small, I thought oh great. I'm the one chick in blogland who doesn't fit the Watson Bra right out of the gate. 

Then I tried the ever delicious Amy's tip: measure your full bust with your back parallel to the floor (essentially in standing tabletop position), and suddenly the extra inches I needed to get the right size appeared out of thin air.

Honestly, I didn't think there was much there to hang, if you know what I mean, which is why I measured myself standing up in the first place. But some good old fashioned naked yoga in the bathroom was the ticket. The new numbers revealed that I am truly a 36C. Ooooh 36C! Look how pretty that C is next to that 36!! I've been shorting my cup size for years! MY CUP HAS BEEN HALF EMPTY(Or half full?) 

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | watson bra

If memory serves, I sported half cups, or maybe even no cups, in that peep show outfit. Considering my fury regarding women being forced to cover up while men get a chestful of sun at the beach, probably no cups. The costume designer for that show had to come to my dressing room and plead with me to wear a bra under my regular costume. But darling, she said, everyone is looking at your nipples and not your face.

I was never really afraid to be naked onstage. It's pretty invigorating. I went the full monty once (not in The Full Monty, in a play in Philly), and it made me feel like The Most Powerful Woman On Earth. Suddenly, all these Juilliard graduates who had been giving me a lofty side eye couldn't even look me in the eye as I stomped around the stage with gladiator's shield, plumed helmet, golden booties, and, erm... golden booty...

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | watson bra

As a matter of fact, I tried to sew something for that gig. (This was still pre-sewing.) A lavender ruffled robe, for the chilly time spent dangling 30 feet above the stage waiting for my entrance. I cut out shapes that bore a passing resemblance to a robe, with no regard to grain (what's grain?), and handstitched it during tech with great galumphing inch-long running stitches. It was pretty bad. But I didn't know that.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | watson bra

I also didn't realize the "short nude scene" was not so much "short" as SUPER CRAZY LONG. I descended from the rafters on a swing entwined with flowers, and then yelled my way in Cockney dialect through twelve minutes with a hilarious King George and wincing Court. The box office took a particular interest in seating any guests of the cast in the first row, extreme house right, as they were some of the best seats in the house. These seats had the added bonus of leaving me no safe quarter to give the eyes of my family members a moment of respite by artfully positioning myself behind my golden shield.  

Again, awkward for them, but in all likelihood they'd had a glimpse at that point. It's hard to get me to behave properly. Bras are annoying! So what if I'm nipping out! So what if you see the goods when I lean over more than five inches in my off-the-shoulder top! OR JUST STANDING ERECT! I continually forget that almost everyone is looking at me from a Higher Vantage Point, and can see right down my shirt.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | watson bra

But these bits of cloth are comfortable as skin, and have quickly become a habit. (See what I did there?) Much to the delight of Ruggy, the goods beneath my clothing are truly becoming for his eyes only! And, let's be real, with the takeover of social media, I don't see myself signing up for a third round of naked stageplay anytime soon. Instagrammed shot of Act 1, scene 2? No thank you.

You've already heard everything there is to hear about this little gem (except maybe the full bust tabletop measuring part? Do that!), so if you're on the fence about jumping on The Watson Bra bandwagon, climb aboard. Naked dance party at my house! (Only the classy version, in soft cup bras.)

Retro Floral Bra: the softest jersey EVER from Elliot Berman (My favorite so far!)
Pink Roses Floral Bra: a waffle-y stretch from Fabrics For Less in NY (Sam is THE BEST)
Blue Sheer Bra: stretch net from FunkiFabrics (this was a gift, I went the bra route when a planned bathing suit went awry. YAY FOR SCRAPS. And damned if I didn't pick the plainest stuff they have)
Notions and such: mainly harvested from old, ill fitting, B cup bras. WIN.