Throwback Flares

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | embroidered birkin flares

Well, hello, Thursday. How YOU doin'. What's that, baby? You wanna throw it back? All right mama! I got you! It just so happens I have a handful of pictures and a mouthful of words all ready to go, from way back in spring of 2016. Lay back, Thursday. Let's #tbt this.

Take it away, voice of Marcy past...

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | embroidered birkin flares


Lemme get right to it, I'm not sure how long my time travel layover will last. What we have here are the Birkin Flares, done up in a non stretch denim. I KNOW! This is my third dance with this beauty of a pattern, and I have yet to use the actual suggested denim weight. What can I say, I fall in love with a fabric, and I make it do what I want.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | embroidered birkin flares

And I fell very hard for this fabric: a lovely, medium weight, all cotton denim that looks like it went through an Instagram filter. It hails from Chic Fabrics. (Future Me would like to note that they are indeed still open, go and give them some love. I wish I'd bought the whole bolt, because Future Me would also like to note that I NEVER run across denim like this. Le sigh of hindsight.)

In order to accomplish this zero-stretch matchup, I cut two sizes larger than my suggested size, and used 3/8ths SA. I find this gem of a pattern to be very fit-as-you-go friendly, so I just used basting stitches at the appropriate time, and then did a good amount of testing by walking around Ye Olde Apartment: sitting, squatting, karate kicking…after an hour or so with booty & side seams still intact, I sewed them up for real, complete with periwinkle topstitching.

Only I kept the basting in at the knee down to the hem, because I planned on absolutely covering the lower legs with flowers.
oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | embroidered birkin flares

Would that I could have basted-in my first embroidery try!! I decided on a heeeoooouge vase full of holly hobby-ish flowers, and at, oh, about the second to last color change, I realized it wasn’t the look I was going for. Many an instagrammer lamented the impending carnage that was about to happen with my trusty seam ripper, but I knew what I had to do. 

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | embroidered birkin flares

My next route was a collection of patterns from Embroidery Library: a handful of beautiful free floating blossoms, which I merrily hopped back and forth betwixt. Basically, I painted with thread wherever I wanted. 

Watching those flowers appear was like a magic show.  I didn't want it to end! Yet, just before embarking on the other leg, I recalled the hours spent ripping out poor embroidery decisions (y'all, I even went at it with a shaving razor). I quickly consulted my own personal Tim Gunn. “More? MOAR??! SHOULD I DO THE OTHER LEG?” I panted, drunk on embroidery. It was Rob’s opinion that the cacophony should be confined to just one gam: “Otherwise, it would be clear that you bought these instead of crafted them.”
oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | embroidered birkin flares

This gave me pause.

WHOOOOOSH. Oh, bye Past Marcy! Bye Girl! That's where you stopped typing! You take yourself too literally, Past Marcy. But thanks for coming by! Now let me tell you what, y'all... Present Marcy is seriously considering ripping out some stitches again. The denim is perfect...the flowers are perfect...but the variegated pastel thread makes me melancholic. MELANCHOLIC, I TELL YOU! There's enough melancholy out there, yeah? Who needs more on their jeans?!

So. You may agree with me, you may try to talk me out of it, but you should know that all versions of me are quite stubborn. But I'm open to suggestions before I grab my razor...


alice + olivia + oona + marcy

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewing alice + olivia

Ahh, little mesh embroidered top. Hi, you. Snapped on my bod in the 70 degree days of February, stuck on a hanger in the 10 degree days of March. 

I have a feeling we'll soon be seeing an onslaught of blog posts entitled 10 Ways To Seasonize Your Wardrobe! and Temperature Tricks With Goop! or Climate Change Your Closet! It'll become the next thing we're all "doing," like Kondo-ing. Ugh, Kondo-ing.

(Deeper and infinitely more terrifying ugh, CLIMATE CHANGE. Not so much ugh as silent unending scream. Alrighty. In the interest of getting a day of sewing in, I'm going to stop that rollercoaster train of thought there before I careen down the first of many slopes, and talk about this little top.)

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewing alice + olivia

Lately, I've been wanting everything to be pretty, and fancy, which in my mind precludes "everyday wear." At least in the eyes of the general public. Mind you, I will gladly go out overdressed every day, if permitted. And when I get my hands on a fabric like this, my tendency is to really go for the gold and make something ridiculously complicated, meant for full-on party mode. 

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewing alice + olivia

However, I’m glad I reigned myself in on this one, because this fabric is a garden party right off the bolt. I only had one yard of this Alice + Olivia embroidered mesh to play with, and eventually went with my first instinct of crop (ish) top. Yes, I had to talk myself down from wiggle dress... sheer skirt... bell sleeve jacket. I'm glad I did! Methinks I've struck middle ground with this little fancy every day top! I'm not sure yet, since its only test drive was that weirdo springy winter day. But, drugstore/grocery/errands wearable, yes? I DON'T KNOW YOU'LL HAVE TO TELL ME. I'm wearing it everywhere when the climate allows.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewing alice + olivia

Going simple was also the right choice for a complicated fabric like this. Even for a little self-drafted top, there was a lot of (HIGHLY enjoyable) work involved. The seams were stitched up with tear-away stabilizer, then trimmed & bound in a wonderful flocked velvet ponte from Chic Fabrics. After much deliberation on creating a cutaway neckline to mirror the hem, I decided that a defined outline on the neck was best– it’s encased in the same ponte. (And when I say deliberation, I mean I spent several hours trimming and pinning and placing flowers all around the neckline on my dressform, took two steps back to admire my handiwork, and realized it didn't work. What was surprising is that I didn't mind that it didn't work-- I tried it, I enjoyed the trying of it, I made a different choice. Not long ago, I would have gnashed my teeth over all that work and forced myself to keep going. 


For the sleeve, I carefully cut the mesh away right up to the embroidery. The sleeve hem is the border “print” of the fabric, that brown embroidered motif ran parallel to the selvedge. As for the hem, I cut away a free form path, and appliquéd extra flowers in where needed (that little white daisy at center back, and the extra flame-y orange & yellow leaves at center front, for example).

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewing alice + olivia

So, I promised the showcasing of this baby's guts when I posted over at The Mood Sewing Network for my February fabric allowance project, but that's going to have to wait a minute. Mea culpa, I'm going full-tilt during the week, so I'm saving a great big chunk of my weekend time for creating! Details, like Spring, will come. Just not on a promised schedule. (Much like Spring).