Braid Brain

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | braided maxi dress

As I happily hacked my way through editing these pictures, I realized I like messing with photos as much as I like sewing. Indeed, I go about my amateur editing a lot like I go about sewing-- pushing buttons and trying out tools until I get what I want, with only a vague idea of a plan. Hence, the glitch-in-the-matrix backdrop of buildings. 

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | braided maxi dress

Maybe if I spent as much time learning about editing as I do stitching, I'd level up. Yeah. That's not gonna happen.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | braided maxi dress

And so I call myself LIAR! STOP LYING OONA! Obviously I like sewing better. But hacking photos is still fun. AND I LIKE FUN MOST OF ALL.

I yammered on about the sewing of this viscose jersey maxi dress over at The Mood Sewing Network-- well, there wasn't much to say, actually, as there's no pattern-- it's a draped job. It began life as a column dress, then I sliced it up center front & back to add seams for the insertion of godets from mid-hip height to hem. There are four in all, at CF, CB and side seams.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | braided maxi dress

That was partly for swishability, and MOSTLY because there was a very interesting piece of print placement going on, right smack dab on my hoohaa. Can you make it out in the picture above? Something in a glowing shade of deep orange? Something longish, something...ribbed? I mean, I don't really shy away from reproductional organ print placement, but this particular shape made my eye twitch for about a week, until I finally sliced it in half with that first godet, then kept the swishability train going.

I don't normally go for godets at CF, I feel like it's the Georgia O'Keefe of fabric placement...but it's better than a schlong.

The braided straps were made out of those godet scraps, and the placement came about after much hemming and hawing.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | braided maxi dress

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | braided maxi dress

Hemming and hawing. I wonder if that phrase has anything to do with sewing? What is hawing, exactly?

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | braided maxi dress

WELL. I'M A VERITABLE HUMMINGBIRD BRAIN OF THOUGHTS TODAY. I have so many summer sewing ideas in my head, I can't think straight! That's me, looking off into the hot city sky, imagining ALL THE DRESSES!!!!!

How 'bout you? Got any perfect summer dress patterns planned? Do tell, I'm stocking up!


Spinning Wheel

So. I SWEAR Instagram is giving me vertigo! I'm saying it now because I'm pretty sure news of this phenomenon will break in a month or so, and I would like to be documented as one of the first to experience this Social Media Affliction. Facebook has cornered the market on battering your mood, Instagram will soon create a subculture of dizzy people wandering around in great loopy paths, wondering why the world is scrolling at odd angles around them.

Another reason to love blogs.

Speaking of which, this very short (I blame the tiny device on which I am typing) and off-kilter post (I blame the tiny device which is messing with my brain) is just to let you know about another blogger, Faye, who blogs at Faye's Sewing Adventure. She never fails to bring a smile to my face. We did a little interview together, as part of her recent collection of blogger interviews. Throughout the highly entertaining series she's asked great questions-- you oughtta scroll through and read up on some awesome sewists, if you're tired of spinning though pictures. Or, you know, spinning in general...

Happy Friday, y'all!

(PS: I've been cuttin a lotta steel bonin, yo. I might do a little video on it in the near future, it's easy if you have the right tools!)


New York, Go Sit In The Corner.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | true bias colfax dress

Although Mother Nature is doing her best to give us a cookie after the time-out we've been in, New Yorkers ARE NOT HAVING IT. We punished children, we who have done time for our transgressions, we are side-eyeing this sunny olive branch and blowing a raspberry at the general vicinity, taking it out on the parent who rightfully made our disrespectful planet-torturing-asses sit in a corner for the first few weeks of Spring.

Nothing will make us spurned brats happy! Case in point: a trip to buy flowers is always a reason to smile, no? And when it's 72 degrees and blue skied as you please, and the local farmer's market transforms a block of Broadway into a patch of technicolor blooms, pleasant folks should be a given!

Sorry, my boss says anyone with poofy hair is banned from the market, sorry the sales gardener lamely jested. Ah! I thought. A jokester! A slightly tired jokester, but nonetheless! I LOVE JOKESTERS!

I grinned, ready for repartee with my new friend. Well then I'm about to implode, because my hair is reaching Marie Antoinette heights of poofdom today. I was rewarded with a pained half smile, and an allowance of two brief grunts on pricing before he poof! disappeared.

Boss man was in the truck, chilling in the shade. Lounging, even. Maybe that was the reason for the less-than-stellar atmosphere. Employee number two appeared, a fellow curly haired girl. AHA! We kinky chicks have an Instant Secret Club connection, borne out of years of learning how to deal with the mass of unmanageable coils springing from our noggins! Surely we will share a smile and the usual exchange! But the I love your hair which, by rule, leads to yours too what do you use instead produced a blank, cold stare. The natural progression of Hair Product Suggestions left unfulfilled, I asked instead for a spot to place the large amount of plants I was about to purchased. She waved at an area and walked away.

I spent a good hour navigating their small patch of market, alternating between wrangling flats, cajoling stunted answers out of Employees One and Two, and politely persuading shoppers to please leave the flats that I'd already selected alone. Because that was my job, you see, to be the employee to my customer.

People were actually angry with me when they couldn't have my plants. Multiple people. PEOPLE WHO WERE THERE WITH ME THE WHOLE TIME AND KNEW I WAS SETTING THINGS ASIDE. When one co-shopper, who'd already tried to pick from my flats, reached once again for a loner in my bunch, I said, you know what, actually that's okay--you can have that one, I'm planting several boxes and that little guy has no mate. She blinked at me as if I'd cursed her out. No, really, I smiled reassuringly, you've made my decision for me, he should go with you. I'm not even sure she said thank you. She sort of just crept away with her prize.

Maybe my hair really was alarmingly poofy.

The final straw was slapping down 200 bucks for five flats of happiness, only to have 4 customers steal from my flats as I tried to find one of the suddenly MIA employees to bag up the order.

I lie, the final straw was a little ole lady, a sweet little ole lady, who grabbed one of my already paid for plants, and took it to one of the suddenly very available employees. I went off to find a replacement, and realized that was the last one. Hilarity ensued, as Sweet Little Ole tried to charm me into giving her the plant. But, you see I've already paid for this--I'm sorry, this is for my building, so I really do need a lot of plants, I explained.

She squeezed her soft eyes into a endearing grin. Well, a building? I'm just one little person, so I'm more important, she sang. As I sighed and prepared to repeat myself, I was reminded of my grandmother, and how much she loved flowers. My eyes searched the market for a solution, as Sweet suggested we shoot for it. Rock papers scissors at the ready, Employee Number Two finally found her voice and ended the debate, and suddenly Little Ole dropped the act and yelled WELL I'M NOT GOING TO ARGUE WITH YOU I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THIS I'LL JUST COME BACK TOMORROW THANKS A BUNCH HONEY.

Suddenly she didn't remind me of Nan anymore.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | true bias colfax dress

I then positively careened through the market, Marie Antoinette on a bad day, losing all cheer and turning full New Yorker, slamming my paid-for flats out of reach of e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e. I AM DONE, I glared at the employees, ordering them to get me bagged up.

Suddenly both employees were at my side, protecting the flats, hailing cabs, saying things like you've been so nice this whole time, we're so sorry, mean customers suck, blahblahblah, but I couldn't find a smile for them. I had been there a long time, and I had been nice the entire time. But nice did nothing for me.

It was a silly little annoying hour, nothing earth shattering, but I find that the small things are indicative of the bigger state of things. At the end of the day, the boxes planted, I thought I'll be surprised if these plants don't collapse under the weight of all that irritation. I was fed up with nice. Now, no, I don't abhor the word "nice" in the way that some people do, the word has not fallen out of vogue for me, I'm just getting tired of that misunderstood, pleasant little word not being returned.

Especially when I got home and realized Little Ole made off with the plant anyway.

I told Ruggy, in all caps, HUMANITY IS GOING TO DIE OF BEING INHUMAN. People die of that all the time, he said. But we're going to be the few. The proud. The humane.


Oh hey, I made a dress! This is True Bias' Colfax dress, and the creator, Kelli, a truly nice (and super chic) lady, just happens to be a friend--a friend who passed her new pattern on to me in case I wanted to try it. Well I do and I did! AND IT IS NICE!!! And I should have worn it to the flower market as I intended, but I just didn't trust Mother Nature enough to go for it! SURELY THIS GODDESS DRESS WOULD HAVE CHANGED THE ENTIRE EXPERIENCE. I lengthened mine to maxi proportions, and reversed the placket. I plan to wear it a ton this summer, on the days that Mother Nature feels like rewarding us. I'd like to say I'll wear it to that same flower market, but methinks I'll find a new spot for my slightly abused green thumb...


party crasher

I dreamt last night that Karen of Did You Make That had to drop out of Me Made May, and challenged me via Instagram to take her place. It was a hashtagged dare, something like #oonaisapussy. (Sorry, that's what she said. Guttermouth.) Fiona of Diary Of A Chainstitcher then immediately messaged me, begging me not to take the bait, as my participation would mean she'd have to join in the fray, and she just didn't have the time.

Either I have a bit of (obviously silly) residual stress over not participating in #memademay for the first time in years, or I have an obsession with London bloggers. One could also say that I think the world, or at least the sewist world, revolves around my choices.


Big head and big need to wear and holler about my own makes notwithstanding, so far, in this dreary gray rainy May, I have worn ONE handmade item out into the actual world. ONE. You see it above, devoid of color, and indeed, it is black in real life. It was angrily stitched over a year ago, during an equally dreary February, when I was  d o n e  with winter. And today was its virgin outing. Could have something to do with the lack of color...but come on! OVER A YEAR IN MY CLOSET?!!!

The dream popped up into my consciousness when I looked for something appropriate for today's drizzly errands, and on it went, in an attempt to appease the part of my brain that apparently feels like a draft dodger. I've loved participating in this May Parade for that very reason-- it's always forced me to wear something that I might be on the fence about. Some of my favorite outfits have come from trying to think up pairings!

Although I'm late to the party, I think I will do a little challenge of my own (after all, I'm a Leo, but I'm no pussy). I'll be donning an item that has yet to see the light of (public) day, once a week for the duration of May, and I mean for actual activity, not just for blog photos. BOOM! TAKE THAT BRAIN!

Care to be late to the party with me? I could use some more crashers! And those of you with lampshades on your head already--how's the shindig going? Are we good on booze?