Painted silk bustier dress

oonaballoona | a blog by marcy harriell | silk bustier dress | burdastyle sewing

Somebody call Guinness (or better yet, pour me one) because I'M ALL WORDED OUT. I don't even have a catchy title in me.

oonaballoona | a blog by marcy harriell | silk bustier dress | burdastyle sewing

I mean, I've been making this dress since last July. First it was my birthday dress, then anniversary dress, now it's a candidate for New Year's Eve...

oonaballoona | a blog by marcy harriell | silk bustier dress | burdastyle sewing

(I say "candidate" because I haz made a secret pajamas maxi dress. YOU GUYS ARE SO TOTALLY BANG ON RIGHT ABOUT THIS SECRET PAJAMAS THING. It is currently the front runner.)

oonaballoona | a blog by marcy harriell | silk bustier dress | burdastyle sewing

Don't be sad, dress. You will be worn.

oonaballoona | a blog by marcy harriell | silk bustier dress | burdastyle sewing

Honestly, I'm glad it took me this long-- firstly, because a big beautiful box of Ruggy's Grandmother's hats were waiting for me on our holiday trip. Secondly, on Christmas Day, it was a balmy 65 degrees, and when I decided to gussy up on the spur of the moment, Ruggy took one look at me, took the tripod out of my hands, and happily tromped around the yard with me. 

oonaballoona | a blog by marcy harriell | silk bustier dress | burdastyle sewing

We ended up out by the shed for a shoot. SO GLAMOROUS! This Italian silk is actually crying at its lot in life. Seriously, dress, I promise you'll be worn in a real life situation, not involving wet gravel or peacock poop. (Yes, that bird is still hanging around.)

oonaballoona | a blog by marcy harriell | silk bustier dress | burdastyle sewing

Shall I talk about the actual dress for a minute? Yes, let's do. It's the Burdastyle bustier dress, included in the no-longer-available Craftsy bombshell course. This time I refitted the bodice and did most of the steps on my own, referencing the course to be sure I was on the right track. Although it's nice to have all the info you need in one series of videos, if you're itching to make a dress like this, you can certainly get by piecing together info from the world web webby web. And Susan Khalje's courses on Craftsy & on her site are, no surprise, brilliant.

oonaballoona | a blog by marcy harriell | silk bustier dress | burdastyle sewing

Having very little speech left about this dress, I have no way to smoothly segue into the painted aspect. Ahem. Using jacquard paints, fabric markers, and healthy helping of cocktails, I painted onto this digitally printed silk, when the white flowers proved too prominent for the shape of the dress. You can play where's waldo if you like-- they're all pink hued! 

(answer: one in the right upper bust cup, and two on the skirt (right waistline, and almost smack bang center.)



Boundless Style in the wild!

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | holiday plaid set

OH HAI! Here's my crazy ass trying to pull off one of those ever-so-quaint "Blogger By The Christmas Tree" shots! A bit of a fail. I only broke one ornament in the process, when I tried to go Full Blogger and hold a vintage bauble in my hand just so. As if the plaid corduroy and merry red free standing lace embellishments weren't holiday enough.

(The shoes are another story. One day I'll get around to painting the other heel gold.)

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | boundless style review

Ah, but this post is not so much about the ensemble as it is about the book that brought it to be! I was a tester for Kristiann's new book, Boundless Style, and I don't know how I kept this choose-your-own-adventure delight under wraps. 

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | boundless style review

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | boundless style review

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | boundless style review

At the time, I only had private eyes on the super cool app: Lookbook. You know the drill by now; you choose a configuration, like a Frankenstein's monster of fabric-- only, the good doctor Kristiann has done all the work of fitting the connections together for you. Pattern hacking without the work of hacking! Using Lookbook, I chose to test the Georgia Bodice + Farrah Sleeve, done up in some truly awful cotton voile. My stash & workload didn't allow for a trial skirt, but it was a very successful (hideous fabric notwithstanding) test. Beautiful bishop sleeves, and lovely little bodice details...I believe my notes said something like YOU KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK GIRL.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | boundless style review

Here's the Georgia Bodice + Bardot Sleeves + Sophia Skirt. As a thank you for testing, Kristiann handed me a copy of this beautiful tome at her launch party at Workroom Social. Fun fact: Kristiann has a voice like dusty church bells. Tell me I'm lying.

I went with the Jackie Bodice + Sophia Skirt for my second round of Boundless Style, and my latest round at The Sewing Party. The holiday corduroy was a lovely surprise from my girl Alicia at Pandora Sews! THANK YOU BEAUTIFUL! You can read and see more about it over at The Sewing Party...

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | boundless style review

But back to the book! I read this cover to cover, and although I'm not a newbie, I still thoroughly enjoyed the comprehensive chapters on skills and techniques. Kristiann packs a lot of solid information into this book, and doesn't skip things for the sake of "dumbing it down" for newbies. She talks about all the good habits that are great to employ from day one-- like grading to reduce bulk, the importance of pressing, setting in a sleeve cap. The patterns are approached in the same way-- for example, there's a specific lining for the vented Sophia Skirt, rather than the usual "cut 2 fabric + lining." The Jackie Bodice uses twill tape to stabilize the wrap neckline. Although many of us might use those techniques based on our own knowledge, I find that a lot of new books aren't thoughtful enough to include them. And you get finished garment measurements as well, we all know how much we want that!

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | boundless style review

There's a map for the finishing touches on your beautiful monster...

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | boundless style review

And a disc of all your patterns in the back! HOW PRETTY IS THAT SKIRT. GIVE IT TO ME. (Don't fret if you don't have a disc drive, there's a digital link available for the patterns.) You print exactly what you want, which is ever so brilliant. I'm a PDF lover, but printing out all pattern pieces, when maybe you only need the top half out of a giant map, well, it saps your printer ink AND your mojo. That juice is 'spensive. Here, you print out exactly what you need as you go, which gives me great big digital hearts for eyes. I now have a TNT bodice, skirt, and lining, all printed out and ready to go.

There are a gazillion places to grab a copy...if your Santa happens to have eyes on an Amazon wishlist, you can find Boundless Style here, or you can get it through Kristiann's shop. Only the Amazon links are affiliated (ETA: if you're new around here, I use my Amazon affiliation to further my sewing and blogging habit, and I will always tell you if I use an affiliate link), and Kristiann did not ask me to review--I'm doing it because I really love the book and the outcome! She truly did a bang up job, and out-of-the-box thinking to boot. I think you'll love it too!


Wildly Chic

Guys, Saks Potts and I are sharing a brain!

Only their brains are more chic and more expensive, while my brain is less expensive and more Clan Of the Cave Bear. Maybe I should hack my Genghis Chic coat off at the sleeves, and make sleevewarmers? I'm being totally serious here! I wear my faux fur legwarmers like most people wear a beloved pair of jeans.

Speaking of Chic, if you're in the NY area, and itching to buy fabric, run and see the beautiful folks at Chic Fabrics (225 West 39th st) before the end of the year. I've heard from two peeps now that they're officially closing come December 31, and have yet to find new digs. Hard to believe I might miss them before this happens...Chic has been a favorite of mine since this sewing monkey climbed up on my back. And 39th street in particular is my favorite block in the hood! There's Vardhamm & Daytona for trims, Janky Store for jankiness, Steinlauf & Stoller for specialty supplies... and then there are the great, good good people of Fabrics For Less and Chic Fabrics. Surely, I am about to misspell his name, but Souk (? pronounced kind of like shooook, but shorter) of Chic Fabrics always makes my day better. He's much like the infamous Sam, of Fabrics For Less, who is often over at Chic. They're kind of companion stores, from what I've gathered. Both are tiny and stuffed to the ceiling with fabric. Chic always has an entire wall full of insanely beautiful silks, and bolts of things that are the stuff of dreams, like this silk and sequin print that I've yet to cut into... 

I hope that they find another space. If I can swing a kamikaze December 29th visit, I'll holler here-- maybe we can descend upon them and do our best to lighten their moving load. (I'm employing good feng shui here, and saying moving in the hopes that we're not really just lightening their closing load.)

ETA! The good mistress of Stirling Knits has reported in the comments that Chic is moving 4 doors down! They'll be closed next week for the move, but happily open in 2016. Thanks for sharing the great news, m'lady!


What Was I (Drink)thinking #3

No one, including me, should be seen in this TRAIN WRECK OF A COAT.

I have therefore altered these photos to protect the innocent, although I am, most assuredly, also the guilty party. Hey, what can I tell you, I'm a Jekyll 'N Hyde sort of gal. I'm every woman, it's all in me.

And what a sexy woman! HEY BABY! Check out those quilting lines! What curves you have, Mizz Jekyll!



But wait.... there's more....


Listen, I can't with. I can't with MYSELF. I CAN'T WITH EVERY INSANE SIDE OF MYSELF.

What Was I Thinking:

Well, Ruggy and I had been binge watching Marco Polo last January, and actual historical events not taken fully into consideration, I wanted to be Kublai Khan. Go on, watch it, you will too. The costumes! The textures! THE FLOOR PILLOWS! It was the winter that Ruggy dubbed my style "Genghis Chic." I didn't get to throwing the button loops on this reversible monstrosity (A 2008 Burdastyle magazine pattern, the pattern itself should not be blamed) till very late in the seasonal game, so I put it aside. Threw it on a few weeks ago to run out for cocktails, and couldn't stop laughing. It did not come out drinking with me.
What Was I Drinking:

Gin, chilled, straight. Broker's, I believe. This is my drink of choice whenever Ruggy forces me to watch a new show that I am certain I will loathe. When I am that certain, I am usually proven wrong, as was the case with Marco Polo. FOR REAL WHEN DOES THE NEXT SEASON START. I did admit defeat, and I did make Ruggy pause episodes repeatedly, while I eye fondled costumes and hollered Mongolian style.

What I Learned:

Even when it doesn't work out, faux fur is fun. Hacking up trim is fun. Quilting curved lines is fun. And Photoshopping censor bars is MAJOR fun.



oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | vogue 1172

'Tis the season to have something other than a Halloween post gracing the pages of Ye Olde Blog, whaddayasay?

It's the last day of #bpsewvember, and although I didn't play every day, I got a few grams up. As usual, the prompts reminded me of longer stories that could be told on the blog, and as usual, I got sucked into all of the eye candy and never got to typing. Not that it's any great loss, my stories don't make much sense anyway. This is something I'm beginning to understand, as my friends become really comfortable with me-- you know, the kind of comfortable where you see your girl making a bad decorating choice, and you can eye her judiciously, and say imma let you work that out. And she does. That was actually the theme of this Thanksgiving's crafting, as Brilliant Chica and I embarked on our yearly tradition of glitter and feather bombing various inanimate objects. This holiday, it was placemats. Again, evidence on Instagram. But I digress, and have lost the original point of the story. Hashtag full circle.

(Yes, I'm going to type out "hashtag" for the remainder of this post. Like typing HAHAHAHAHA instead of LOL. Because It makes me HAHAHAHAHA.)

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | vogue 1172

I fell prey to the siren song of this weekend's online sales, and grabbed a b e a u t i f u l designer book from my wishlist: Valentino. I gotta show you this book very, very soon, because Santa should bring it to you. IT IS GLORIOUS. Even Ruggy was able to tear himself away from Denver beating The Cheating Patriots (hashtag THERE IS A GOD) to gaze at a few pages.

What struck me, aside from the sheer jaw dropping amazingness of Valentino, was the layering of fabrics, and the weaving of fabrics to create new fabrics. And the amount of fabric used! To have that much yardage at your disposal!! Can you imagine? Enough to sew with abandon! Throw on a sweeping train! How about a dozen fabric melon sized roses? And cut! And recut!

RECUT. I did that today. I recut the side back bodice pieces of this dress, Vogue 1172 (hashtag bpsewvember "next up"). THIS IS SOMETHING I RARELY IF EVER DO. When I read posts that sensibly and carefully state, "I had to recut the sleeves, as the print wasn't quite matching up" I get all misty eyed. You had to recut?! BUT WHAT DID YOU DO WITH THE FIRST SET OF SLEEVES? AND HOW MUCH MORE FABRIC DID YOU USE?! HOW WILL YOU EVER HAVE ENOUGH FOR THE REST OF THE GOWN?!??!

Because really, what I want everyone to make, pretty much all the time, is a gown. 

But recut I did, when the side seams were off by a half set of plaid. Even with the knowledge that I'd be layering lace over plaid, and semi camouflaging it, it hurt my eyes. And nothing in the book which inspired me to get sewing today hurt my eyes.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | vogue 1172

Not that this ain't on the road to doing some serious retinal damage, plaid matched side seams or no...

Ok, a wee bit of housekeeping linkage for those that wants it! Since Halloween, I've been popping up around the web, in some expected places and unexpected places... there's another Anna Sui dealio up on MSN, and some feathery lace earrings are live at The Sewing Party today. George made LACE, yo! I've also been graced with another Burdatsyle blogging award, though honestly, I don't know why, considering it's hashtag Haven'tPostedSinceHalloween up in here. Imma let me work that one out. Thank you to whomever nominated and/or voted for me, seriously, it brings a great big goofy grin to my face!


The Science Of Sui

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | anna sui linen mini dress

If I were a dog, I would be one of those mutts that sniffs out truffles. DESIGNER TRUFFLES.

Guess who ran into some more Anna Sui at Mood. I hunt around, I pull out a bolt, BOOM, it's The Sui. It’s not like she has a specific named shelf or anything. Sure, I find her in the “Designer” section…but this yardage was lounging on the bottom floor, in a colorful little bin of medium weight cotton & linen bolts. Next to shirting. NEXT. TO. SHIRTING.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | anna sui linen mini dress

No offense, Shirting. You’re just not my cup of tea.

But this craziness was right up my alley! My first thought was a maxi skirt, like my last dance with Sui, yet in the end, it wanted to be short. It told me so, in very loud tones. And luckily (tragically?) the weather is playing nice… I had zero problems wearing this out on the street last week. Ladies and Gentlemen, I think we have arrived at that period in humanity’s history where the closet needs to be All Seasons All The Time. Like an All Skate for temperatures!

(Just imagine Fall and Summer, clumsily careening hand in hand, a couple of awkward teenagers…makes it way less apocalyptic, no?)

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | anna sui linen mini dress

Oh, would you like to know about the dress? ME TOO. Let’s just get full armageddon here, and talk about how fast time is flying. Time is literally fleeting at a hopped up rate! Something about the earth's rotation slowing down, and hertzs, and Einstein's calculations of the speed of light and whatnot. SCIENCE! PHYSICS! THINGS I CANNOT COMPREHEND! Go on, google it. Like Climate Change, this is an Actual Thing Happening Now. (Sewing Scientists, I invite you to holler, elaborate and/or refute in the comments.)

Too much fleeting time has passed for total recall. My brain has just enough space for the twelve things I’m working on at any given moment. When something is completed, GET OUT. NO VACANCY!

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | anna sui linen mini dress

I do recall using the By Hand London Polly Top, and the bottom portion of the Salme Yoke Dress. It was intended to be a playset, but I didn’t like the proportions. I ripped off the skirt waistband, and used the box pleats as a guide to cinch in the top, attaching it to the dress. With 8, 5 inch long pleats spanning my waistline, it feels as if I’m wearing a super comfortable belt– which, actually, I probably would do, when wearing in “real life.” Do you find that you don’t accessorize as much when taking blog shots? Gotta see the sewing!

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | anna sui linen mini dress

GOTTA SEE THE CRAZY TOO. Changing the playset up on the fly meant adding a side zipper in the eleventh hour. It's lucky that I have a penchant for off-the-wall zippers, because I was inserting this weirdo plastic job about ten minutes before I needed to get pictures and post to MSN. October was half over and I full on forgot to have this month's post ready! Time flying for real, yo.

I did a semi-exposed, upside-down zipper insertion, which I like to employ when the zipper head is some gigantic piece of machinery that would feel uncomfortable under the arm.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | anna sui linen mini dress

My favorite part of this dress is also the part that gave me the most headache: the hem. 

It started out well. Banging out that decorative stitching in neon thread was super fun! On both this skirt and my Dad's Guayabera, I used wash away stabilizer under the stitching, to support the fabric as the wing needle made its merry holes. Mrs Mole, whose blog is chock full of detailed examples and techniques, asked for some sample shots on the decorative stitching, which I was on my way to happily providing. BUT HEY GUESS WHAT. Incorrectly done, yo! I used the plasticky, slicker wash-away stabilizer, rather than the more papery vilene wash-away. It still worked out, but I'll be hitting pause on those detail shots in favor of getting you correct information :)

Still, it worked out. The real problem with the hem came when I fringed the edges of the linen. It hung so stiffly, I looked more vintage Cher than trendy Bohemian. So I cut off the fringe, turned the (unseen) third row of diamonds under, and added two more rows of stitching. The hem stands out now, almost as if I had inserted horsehair. I love it!

Also loving: 80s remakes of Dionne Warwick songs. Ruggy & I were at a hipster coffee shop, and all these 60s girl groups were crooning hits that we only recognized from the 80s counterparts. Check it out! Ruggy DJ'ed breakfast, and I shimmied to the tunes in my head, to feel a little less odd in front of this parking garage. 

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | anna sui linen mini dress

Because odd on top of odd equals normal. Mathematical fact. WHOAH. I've got science, physics, and math, all in one post! Truly, the world is as upside-down as my zipper.

this dress was made using my monthly fabric "allowance" as part of the mood sewing network. no actual scientific, mathematical, or physics-type (physical?) facts included. 


This might be why it's called a Manhattan.

DUDE, I said to the smoker, repeat offending on our front stoop for the fourth day in a row (his short term memory is, apparently, 50 First Dates short), you have GOT to be kidding me. Aren't you tired of me nagging you? Aren't you tired of SEEING me? Just go somewhere else. JUST. GO. ANYWHERE. ELSE.

Mumble mumble, he said, crushing his half-finished smoke on the step, sauntering off with his pizza box.

At least this time he didn't bark at me to CLOSE YOUR WINDOW. That was the gem he offered up on day three. Strangers telling me what to do in my own home are awesome! If you'd like to buy me an apartment in a high rise, that'd be just fine, I retorted sweetly. He rolled his eyes and walked away.

I have decided on several options for further courses of action, should he grant me the pleasure of his company for a fifth day. One involves me going full-volume-nuclear on him, and yes, I know I know, that is not the course of action I'll take. While I sincerely believe that I am 6 foot 3, and able to physically annihilate just about anything, I am also aware that this belief is helpful only in terms of boosting my self confidence.

Helpful is a rare breed nowadays in the city. I'm starting to wonder if it's specific to New York, though. I was away in Seattle/Portland last week, doing an absolutely gorgeous workshop of a new musical (apologies to every sewist I was in spitting distance of...so busy!!). And the people. The people! Were SO! FRIENDLY! I had a conversation with just about every stranger that crossed my path! Back at home, I swear, people are crossing my path... BUT IT'S BECAUSE THEY'RE AIMING FOR ME.

And how is it possible that I'm home at the exact time of Short Memoried Smoker's random daily visits? Maybe the universe is putting me in his path. Maybe the universe is trying to get New York to behave itself! MAYBE IT WANTS TO SEE WHAT WE'LL DO! ALRIGHT THEN, UNIVERSE! I'LL TAKE THE BAIT! HEY MANHATTAN! Baby, whassamatter? What the problem is? Why you goin' around smokin' in people's faces and growlin' and shizz? You need a cocktail? Come on over. Chill. I'll mix you up something good. Ruggy even brandies his own cherries. They're delicious.

(Don't let my sardonic tone confuse you, I really am in a lovely mood after that trip. A mood made all the more lovely by being back with my man, who is imitating Michael McDonald as I type. We had a very enjoyable city excursion this morning, to snap some shots of my latest MSN project. It's live at the Mood Sewing Network now, and I'll have some more pics up here in the next few days. Cuz it's my house, yo!!!!!!!  Now, just let me get on humanizing Manhattan. I've got a lot of drinks to mix.)



oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | IRL

I had a brilliant idea during #sewphotohop, inspired by the cacaphony on Instagram, and the crickets on blogs. It was "The UNstagram Challenge." The goal was to write, instead of squeezing life into a snap, a blurb, and 800 hashtags.

And then my cat died.

That challenge never happened, partly because I felt that I was being mean to Instagram (see above for the rest of the reason). I pictured an UNstagram button on the sidebar, pointing its accusatory finger at the happy little social media platform, and it made me feel bad for the app. (Because obviously, inanimate objects and pieces of code have feelings. See; Kenny, Ellie, Ricky, LucilleGeorge.) And besides which, I love Instagram! Hell, I've been looking forward to #sewvember since last November! So, I abandoned the idea.

And counteracted the stress of obsessing over the sick critter on the couch by posting fabric filled shots. 

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | IRL

Yesterday, I went to get my quick fix of inspiration and pleasing life moments, and the first six shots were advertisements. Not IG sponsored stuff--I mean shots that were swiped from the web and reposted, or carefully composed colorful text, or GIFs shimmying and shaking in a little square box. Announcements, links, reposts. I think of them as Fakegrams. This is all fine, of course, as Digital Underground so rightly crooned, dowhatchaLIIIIIIIIIKE, but I think this shift might be what knocks IG out of its current first place standing in social media. There are fewer and fewer Actual Life Moments, snapped and posted within minutes. Now, even when one does go old school, that Moment needs to be masterfully edited, if the preponderance of tutorials meant to help you beautify your pics have anything to say about it.

(Don't get me wrong, I'm totally guilty of throwing a fakegram up on IG when I post here. I'm fakegramming at a level, oh, I'd say, three? Haven't been able to bring myself to use text yet. That gets you to like, an eight. No shame if you're a ten. And I love photo editing!!! In fact, I'm seriously considering throwing down a whole two dollars for SKCRWT, an app designed to correct lens distortion on your phone. What?! I would go on to say, WHO AM I, but let's face it, I have nine photo editing apps already, and it makes total sense.)

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | IRL

When we lost our big guy this past Labor Day, I posted a shot of an organized thread drawer. It was how I spent Labor Day, but it was how I spent Labor Day because despite our best efforts to keep him from any suffering, our cat of 16 years took a major turn for the worse over a holiday weekend, when there was nothing to do but wait to give him a way out.

Oddly enough, for all my talk about wanting to get back to blogging and sharing Actual Moments with each other, many of you probably don't even know we had a cat. We've had five, actually. The most we've had at one time is three. Those three cats made cross country road trips, forced us to keep feline hours in doorless apartments, and gave us incredible amounts of happiness. Cody was our last musketeer. I stopped posting about them long ago, because it was too hard to post about them when they were gone. It sucks, and pet people get it, and non-pet people (sometimes) don't. It's super fun when the response to No, he's not here is When are you getting another. Easier to not bring the subject up, but I'm bringing it up anyways, because it was a quiet reminder of what deserves concern.

The rise of Instagram! The demise of blogging! Cars that drive themselves and Amazon Obelisks that will spit out everything you need to know! It's a little silly, isn't it? I don't think that any of it is cause for true concern (save for the fact that the machines will one day take over, and they'll be ruling a whole generation of people who will have completely lost the ability to hold an off-screen conversation, no biggie). Social media, in whatever form earns our passion, shouldn't gain our everyday thought. It can't replace real life. (But, it can be real cool. Example: the wonder of color in the second shot, that brightened some very sad days, was a gift from Lusty Wench, who I met on...you guessed it...Instagram.)

I don't have any specific snazzy questions to end this post, but I'd love to know what you think. About pretty much anything. You're more interesting than a blurb has room for.


BACK IN BLACK + giveaway

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | marimekko midi skirt | back in black

Guys, we have every AC/DC album ever produced, and it is GLORIOUS. I can throw on the dulcet tones of Bon Scott at ten in the morning, and still be slam stitching to Brian Johnson's serenades at ten in the evening.

That bit of information has nothing to do with this skirt. Except that, considering the amount of horrifically wrong turns that I took in the making of it, one would assume I was imbibing Bon Scott levels of intoxicants.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | marimekko midi skirt | back in black

Hey, easy pleated cotton midi skirt! Look how simple you are, with your six equally spaced pleats!

Record needle screech. It took me roughly 30 days to make this skirt, during which time, said skirt was shoved back into the bag it came in, for some truly furious time outs. Sometimes, the bag hid the remnants of a dress. Sometimes, a cape. Before the final product, the bag held 8 pieces of ripped cotton rectangles, all trued up and waiting for a reincarnation.

Why would I work so hard to save a print that was obviously trying to kill me? Well, like Sonja of Gingermakes, I was contacted by Always Mod with the tempting offer to play with some Marimekko yardage, and like Sonja, I screamed yes.

Unlike Sonja, I did not pick a a pattern perfectly suited to fabric, I did not consider that the iconic black and white print I chose was not comprised of perfectly aligned ovals, I did not, I did not, I did NOT.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | marimekko midi skirt | back in black

Hey, easy pleated midi skirt! Why, you don't even have anything going on in the back save for two flat panels! WAY TO BAIL!

Yeah. As much as I hate it when the back is an afterthought, I actually did put quite a lot of thought into the derriere region. The carefully pleated ovals created the super pleasing effect of Baboon Ass. Away they went.

Oh wait, there's more! I also intended a super chic, colorful little motorcycle jacket to go along with the black-n-whiteness! And then switched to a vintage 50's cropped cape coat! Made out of PVC! PVC IS SUPER CHIC! 

If this isn't a candidate for What Was I Drinking, I don't know what is.

(I invite you to picture that jacket with Baboon Ass skirt.)

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | marimekko midi skirt | back in black

The PVC coat, she is still folded up, and awaiting rebirth as a giant purse. But I soldiered on with the skirt, and I'm glad I did. I wish I'd had the foresight (or the strength) to take a shot of the giant box pleated monstrosity I tore up-- when I left the print as designed, the off centered ovals created some very unpleasing shapes, and not just in the behind.

It seems completely ridiculous to rip up fabric, only to rejoin it to create, essentially, the same length of fabric, but my god, it worked out so much better. You'll just have to trust me.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | marimekko midi skirt | back in black

And I do love how each side reveals a different form of hacked up print. Kind of M.C. Escher-ish!

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | marimekko midi skirt | back in black

Or it could be that I'm just relieved to have escaped with a wearable skirt, free from baboon ass.

Okay, are you scratching your head at my machinations? Would you like to try some Marimekko machinations yerslef? Always Mod is offering up a giveaway of one free yard of your choice of fabric! Click here for the (very official looking, kind of scary) giveaway page (ETA: as mentioned in the comments, fine print says US peeps only. Sorry international friends, I'll be on the lookout for ways to show you some love!), enter your email address, and you're in. The contest closes Oct 8 and they'll announce the winner Oct 9ish.

Just, please, when stitching, remember the cautionary tale put forth here. Remember the Ass, my friends.

Always Mod supplied the fabric in exchange for this post. I'd like to thank them for letting me ruin some really beautiful stuff.


been awhile

After a long and furiously lovely week of workshopping a musical that renewed my love for the word, I had a day off to relax, and try to fight my body's desire to break down completely in a mess of allergy-slash-cold. 

I won.

Netflix was partner in this battle. Although I hadn't stitched in well over ten days, Ruggy left the house on Sunday with the order that I would chill and take it easy. This was a struggle. My petite stash called to me with its siren song, Gorgeous George gleamed purple, reflecting the light of the soft fall day outside the window... 

I turned on the TV.

(I hate to turn on the TV.)

I scrolled through Netflix.

(I HATE to scroll through Netflix.)

And then...after endless categories created to lure you into mindless bouts of bingewatching, I landed on Iris, barked WELL YEAH to the empty apartment, and settled in. About three quarters of the way through, the parade of color and texture was undeniable. I got up to cut out a bodice or two. The film ended, and Netflix slyly suggested Advanced Style. I shrugged my shoulders and I left it on, thinking I'd keep stitching with background noise. Two minutes in, I realized this required my full attention, even more than the Liberty tana lawn on my table. (Yeah.) I ordered some fajitas and sat my ass in front of the boob tube.

If I ever see Ari Seth Cohen on the street, I'm going to hug him, and ask if I can walk with him for a few blocks. Well, no, first I'm going to tell him that we shared the same best friend growing up. Then I'll continue with the inappropriate physical contact. What a beautiful film! I felt like I spent the evening with my Nan, or with the fashionable gal my Nan was, but could not be. Don't get me wrong, she had style, but she had too much generosity of spirit to embrace that style fully for herself. And too many years of making ends meet to be comfortable with spending a dime on herself.

She was a huge enabler of style for me, though. Almost every weekend, my Mom would drop us off at the mall, or we'd take the bus sometimes, and arm in arm we'd hit the stores, her applauding my choices and using her Social Security check to fill up bags for me, accompanied by a slice of S'barro pizza midway through. And chocolate cake to finish, of course.

If you've read the yammering around here, you've heard this story before. But what struck me last night was a deep regret, that I didn't know how to sew when she was with us. I think she would have delighted in it, in a way that a best friend would have, in a way that someone whose every Saturday was spent, literally arm in arm, in a New Jersey Mall would have: You can make those things for yourself now? IN ANY COLOR YOU CAN DREAM OF?  

I would have made her such things. I would have had to assure her that the cost wasn't much, I would have had to assure her that the time was so well spent, as in hindsight all our time together was, I would have had to tempt her into taking those things, but I would have draped her in color. 


the met + meeting iris apfel: regrets

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | meeting iris apfel at the met

I will do my level best to never miss a Met Costume Institute Exhibit again. And if I happen to run into Iris Apfel (and I mean LITERALLY RUN INTO IRIS APFEL), I will simply tell her she's amazing and leave it at that.

I actually don't bother celebrities, much less ask for pictures. People are people, man. Some are famous, some are not. There are many Wondrous People worthy of a brief interlude, or a photo, in every walk of life. Several of y'all would get leveled by the sheer force of my hug were we to unexpectedly meet on the street. But still, in the Celestial Celebrity Realm, there have been a few I couldn't resist...

(lotsa museum shots in this one... click "read more" below to hear the rest of the story!)