The Trees for the Forest

Heeeeere's to the LAAAAYdies who LUNCH, Rob crooned when he caught a glimpse of my getup. I hollered back laughter. Yep. Not my style, is it.

I don't know how to explain my fascination with this fabric. It's my Mood Sewing Network April offering, a scuba print from Anna Sui, found in-store. The more I looked at it, the uglier it got, and the uglier it got, the more I had to have it! Do you know what I mean? I truly can't explain it!

Making something for yourself that ultimately turns out to be not your style can be a bummer. And, in the middle of #fashrev week, it also points out the waste that we sewists can produce. But I like to look at the flip side of the coin. I enjoyed every minute of making this--I tried new techniques, and I made it well. Is that wasteful?

Everyone has their line in the sand. Leaving aside the myriad (important, ethical, needed) reasons for the focus of this week, my personal #fashionrevolution is about taking the reigns of my style, and making beautiful (or in this case, INSANE) armor with my own two hands. Do I save every scrap and try my best to use every inch of what I have? Just ask the bags of remnants waiting for their purpose in life. But my revolution also leaves room for discarding the things that keep me from moving forward. It leaves room for guilt free "failures." Creating, and trying, and succeeding, and failing, are all part of constant growth--the positives of creating something almost always outweighs any final outcome. As far as waste goes, time well spent isn't a waste.

What's more: the fact that I made it with my own two hands means it isn't going anywhere soon. Had I bought this piece RTW (likely at a fast fashion, cheap store, because that's what my wallet allowed when I shopped), it would be so easy to discard it. But when you know by execution the amount of work that went into it, it's not so easy. Luckily so! Just last week, I did a 180 and fell in love with a silk shirt dress that had languished unworn in my handmade closet for a full year.

Maybe a year's time will change my mind. Maybe this weirdo jacket would look exceptional on someone else! Who knows. It's not going in the bin, at any rate. There's too much thought in it for that. You can see it in a more sensible photo setting over at the Mood Sewing Network, including detail shots of the fancy bits that gave me hours of such tremendous glee.

What's your line in the sand for your Fashion Revolution?


Hemp time: Summer in the city.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewing | hemp negroni

Ain't he handsome? That's my Dad, all decked out in a Hemp Linen Negroni, with mother of pearl buttons. (I know, I know, you can't really see that sharp mug. He's keeping it incognito. Because of The Man.)

This rare sighting is many layered. Dad is wearing not only a solid color, but NON color. I inherited my sense of technicolorality from my parents, dontcha know. Come summer, Jams are his jam. So the request for this neutral shirt was a bit of a shock.

Not a shock: the desire for hemp. For years now, Dad has had a 100% hemp shirt on his wishlist, despite my protestations. Because LISTEN. I searched here, there, and everywhere for hemp fabric, and all I found were cardboard rolls of scratchiness, in the most unsatisfying color palette imaginable. Holidays would roll in, and I would hand over psychedelic Negronis in barkcloth...linen...rayon...cotton...his Charlie Brown closet was starting to fill up nicely, but there was a large hemp shaped hole. (I'll let you imagine what that might look like.)

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewing | hemp negroni

Then Organic Cotton Plus contacted me, and the heavens opened up and sang. Well, I mean, they didn't sing for me, the color palette is obviously very much out of the oonasphere, but OH SO MANY CHOICES for my Dad! I'm delighted when I can collaborate to sew something up for my people! (And although solids are not my style, I assume the range of color choices is excellent for about 99% of the population. I should perhaps dip my toes into the realm of "solids." I hear they are good for "coordinating.") 

This is exactly the classic, lightweight summer shirt my Dad wanted, hue and all. He went for this hemp linen (which is far less yellow than pictured, at least on my screen). 

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewing | hemp negroni

And although I hollered over the lack of color, it was seriously sweet to work with. It had such a crisp, lofty drape upon arrival, I decided to go the RTW route and sewed it up before washing the yardage. SHOCK AND HORROR! My reasoning was twofold: the hand was so beautiful, and it pressed so cleanly, I thought leaving it alone would make the sewing of it a delight. (I was correct). Reason number two: Dad prefers a slouchy Negroni, and although I've told him many times that we could go down a size and still get the slouch factor, he will have none of it. 


So, I thought, if I lose a little ease in the post-wash, no biggie. And since this is a cold wash, lay flat to dry fabric, going the post-wash route wasn't a problem at all.

LOOKIT THAT POSE! Where did you think I get my skillz from?

I can already hear what my Dad will say: You shoulda posted this on 4/20. Yep. Missed opportunity, that. Luckily I've found my hemp source for future themed posts. Stay tuned for 4/20/2018: The Return Of The Hemp. 

But don't expect to see his mug. That's top secret stuff.

Organic Cotton Plus supplied the fabric for this post. Thanks OCP, for making my Dad's hemp dreams a reality!


An Outfit for SewSew Def

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewsew def

A few short weeks ago, when there were still piles of weathered, traffic beaten snow on the city streets, three Californians wrapped in newly minted down coats arrived on my doorstep. Barefoot, grinning, and clad in a seasonally inappropriate crop top and pencil skirt, I bear hugged each of them before they could get a word out.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewsew def

Underneath their coats, Mimi G, Norris Danta Ford and April Hartsfield were as fashionable as you'd expect, and although we have a no-shoes rule upon entering casa Kalkatroona, I had decided in advance to lift this ban. There was NO WAY I was asking Mimi to take off her kicks. That would be like asking someone to take off their pants. Her kicks are a non-negotiable part of her ensemble. Norris, however, caught sight of my toes and immediately joined me in my bohemian vibe, which provoked laughter all around, a sound that continued for the next two lovely hours, while we videotaped an interview for their new multicultural sewing magazine: SewSew Def.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewsew def

Here's the thing: I had no idea I was even on Mimi's radar. Though I haven't talked about it much--if at all--I've been following Mimi since I started blogging. Many of my ensembles have been inspired by her eye for fabric and her out-of-the-pattern-envelope-box thinking. I've just...never mentioned it. I began to imagine how, once meeting IRL, I'd confess, you know, parts of my deepest soul. I'd say something super un-awkward like You are so pretty. I've been a little scared of you for years. I was fairly certain you were like the perfect girls in high school that didn't like me because I was a little too white or a little too black or a little too italian or a little too whatever-part-of-me-that-didn't-fit so I just kind of quietly lurked in the shadows and got inspired by your stuff.

oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewsew def

You know, the sort of lighthearted conversation you make when you're meeting someone you've only known via a computer screen for the first time.


oonaballoona | by marcy harriell | sewsew def

(Obviously, she would go body-con, and she'd whip it up without a pattern, which is exactly what I did. And she would wear the perfect kicks and sunnies for the shoot, which I *tried* to do. But look, I own two pair of sunnies, and don't even start me on my shoe collection. It's more like a shoe box.)

You can see us laughing our way through all manner of things on SewSew Def's youtube channel-- the interview is just under half an hour, and listen: she surprises me at the end. Actually, we surprised each other a few times. Fortunately, they made it SFW. And you can subscribe digitally to SewSew Def here, monthly or yearly. Bonus, two patterns are included with each issue, one for the gals and one for the guys. (Cue Rob's dance of joy. Soon, he will have very def t-shirts.)

I know I sort of claw my way through a story, picking up bits and thoughts here and there, so here's what I really want to say: I'm so thrilled to know the real version of Mimi, and not the person my high school mind created. She's the antithesis of that girl. Though we are a diverse and barrier-free community, that's not always evident at a high level--the companies at the top have been slow to catch on to that fact. Mimi has been the face of ethnicity in the sewing universe. It would be easy to corner that market, but instead, she's using that power to lift others up. This magazine is a burst of color in every sense of the word--take a peek at the contributors page: it looks like the world. I'm honored to be a part of the first issue, and I can't wait to see MORE.