New Year's Eve, 2021

Sewing Vintage Simplicity Patterns

This is a post to mark the passing of time. Full disclosure, ya might wanna skip it. It’s not the usual mood around here, but as everyone’s aware at this point, the glossy half of social media is just that: half of it. This post is for that blip in the future when one of us turns to the other and says oh yeah that christmas was crazy. What happened that year? And I head to the digital journal of blog and instagram to check my trail of breadcrumbs.

Future Me won’t find much on the grid at the end of this misbegotten year. 2021! The year Covid reached legal drinking age, invited all its irresponsible friends over for a house party, got TOTALLY WASTED, and in the morning left the rest of the world to clean up the wreckage. 

The Handmade Harriells Youtube Eggnog tutorial

The party landed on us both at exactly the same moment (because we do everything together), right after we’d spent an evening making an innuendo filled Egg Nog video (because nothing says innuendo like Granddaddy’s Egg Nog). Of course we didn’t know it was covid until later, since New York turned up the volume to Threat Level Eleven overnight, and testing meant an hours long wait on cold streets. We just assumed we were part of the avalanche of (vaxxed and boosted) omicron cases, canceled the handful of dates we’d made, kept ourselves isolated, and worked from home through sore throats & body aches. After a few fever free days, I masked up and ran out for new toothbrushes, and—a Christmas miracle!—rapid tests. Our corner drugstore was hiding them behind the counter with no signage, only handing them over if requested, like some morbid version of ordering off the secret menu at In ‘n Out Burger.

To be honest we’ve both been sicker—Rob had a case of food poisoning a month ago that was worse, and I recall a 2018 post Thanksgiving garden-variety-plague where a hoard of water-soaked Gremlins set up a mosh pit in my head. Ah, fond memories of just being plain sick, instead of being interminably wrapped up in a preventable pandemic! 

Comparisons aside, these past weeks were still worse. Because the worst part about being this kind of sick is that we don't have to be. 

Hanging with Ethan Iverson at ZInc Bar NYC

Christmas Eve came with the unsurprising announcement that our NYE concert at Zinc Bar was canceled (like many indoor events in the city at the moment). On Christmas day, we watched a little Bake Off. Then a little Die Hard. Rob went to bed early and I stayed up looking at the lights, and our weird little peppermint striped tree that I bought because it reminded me of my Nan.

Peppermint candy christmas tree

We’d planned on taking y’all on a stroll around the city to share some real holiday diplays, and just how pretty it can be here at Christmas, but that night found me with zilch to edit, and just about as depressed as I’ve felt, ever. We’ve certainly been in worse situations, but we tend to put on our game face and head into battle. Like everyone else, I got to the point where I had no more game face. 

But they say you have to figure out why you’re putting content out there, what you’re doing to serve your audience. We decided early on our goal was to make people smile. So I thought about what I wanted—to laugh—and thought about what our goal was with our content—to make others laugh—and I sat up on that quiet night making a bloopers reel. It cheered me up to splice togeher our generous amount of ridculouness. It's nothing that's going to, you know, end a pandemic or bring about world peace; but maybe it’ll give you a giggle.

What I'm Sewing | oonaballoona by Marcy Harriell

It’s New Year’s Eve, and although we’re 95% good, I’m shelving the 95% finished metallic-gold off-the-shoulder concert dress in favor of something a little more housebound. Though I’m normally down for sewing a gown for no reason whatsoever, I’d rather not look at the thing I should be performing in tonight. All is not lost though, as you can see, I'll still be rocking technicolor--inspired by our week of binge watching Gillian Anderson float around in billowy yards of jewel tones. (Side note: watch Sex Education. It is BRILLIANT. For a mixed chick, this series looks like the world. It is made up of every type of human coexisting in every type of situation with no need to explain the why or how. And that is a *very small* part of what makes this series one of the best things on Netflix. If you’re not into sex, the title is, erm, an obvious warning. But if you want kaleidoscopic, beautifully created characters set to a hilarious and heartaching soundtrack of high school, don't walk, run.)

That’s it, that’s the blip in time! If you’ve made it this far, here's the most important part: although I've spent a good bit of the end of this year in that decidedly 2020s mood of being furiously depressed by the situation, I'm also acutely aware of the larger situation of the world, and those who have things FAR worse. I’m extremely grateful that I can head out to the store, pick up something festive, and toast whatever the hell is coming our way in handmade technicolor.

I hope the switch to 2022 finds you doing something enjoyable, or even just something manageable. Me, I'm off to pick up the makings for a New Year's Night in. I'm thinking nachos. New Year's Nachos, baby. Sounds achievable! 

Happy New Year, friends 💗


Sewing an Off The Shoulder Dress with The Confident Stitch

The Picasso Top from the Sewing Workshop

How blue you look today, I hear you cry! And yet, how joyful! How did you come to this combination?!

Kate's Swatch Experience Cards

Well, my friends, this usually warm-toned gal has gotten a makeover once again from the marvelous crew at The Confident Stitch. Last time, I covered my mane in little swatch butterflies-- this time I thought it might be fun to pick a pattern and yardage from Kate's Swatch Experience to make a full-on garment. 

Of course, I figured I'd end up in warm tones...but I was surprised to find how many bits of fabric goodness complimented my kisser on the "cool" card (pictured on right). The floral was calling my name, but that sweet rectangle of tie-dye caught my eye in my mirror test, and I thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to add a little indigo into my handmade closet...

Sewing in Viscose Knit | Marcy Harriell

This is a viscose knit, always a favorite for me. It feels so wonderful on, like you're enveloped in crystal clear waters, on some island shore, where the water is always the perfect temperature. And I like having someone doing the tie-dyeing for me. I'm the kind of crafter who ends up with clown-colored hands and sludge-colored fabric when DIY-ing it. (Apparently pouring *every* color on your fabric does not necessarily produce technicolor results.)

New sew: Off the Shoulder Tunic Dress

Kate's cards paired the Picasso Top from The Sewing Workshop with a different swatch, but I was encouraged to mix and match to my liking. An 80s lightbulb went off in my head and I was sure this combo would give me an easy path to an off-the-shoulder throwback. 

Sewing the Picasso top as a dress

Adding a little length with a wide foldover hem band gave me another leg-baring sew. I swear, y'all. I am ALL IN on maxi dresses in the heat of summer, and hellbent on sewing shorties as soon as the temperature drops. I am definitely in denial. Winter is not my jam.

But our apartment is also Africa hot all year round, and this band gives me options. It's always good to have options. I've got an apartment loungey dress, and I can throw it on over leggings if I'm braving the elements sans leopard stilettos.

Another little pattern hack (which is not so much of a hack as a last-minute effort to save this project from my ham-handed print placement)...this top is worn back to front! I managed to give myself headlights, as I am wont to do. Whenever something's not going my way, I try flipping my sew around to kickstart a new path. All this fix needed was the flip, since I'd cut a roomy XL. Check out the "before" here 

Zig Zag Topstitching

Of course I couldn't keep my cool completely--I highlighted the sleeve pieces with my trusty "neutral" neon coral zigzag topstitching thread. The construction of this pattern is very cool--I went off the map with mine, but Kate has videos on how to sew this baby up here and here.

Marcy Harriell | Sewing the Picasso Top

I'm thrilled with this result, and I never would have considered adding this pattern to my stash, or this fabric to my closet, without seeing them in Kate's picks! I wore my new "dress" to our very intimate Thanksgiving dinner for four (we had thrice baked potatoes and NY strip steak. Because Steak.)

These cards are so thoughtfully curated, and chock full of information, it's like getting a mini-book of fabric in the mail. I honestly can't say enough good things about them. They'd make a great gift for a sewist of any level, cuz you know, 'tis the season...

Kate and Co will be packing up Winter 2021 Swatch card goodness to everyone who signs up by the end-of-day December 8 (tomorrow!). You can hone in on your sewing habit with two color-curated options: {gar}Meant For You or We Quilt This City

The wordplay. I MEAN. If I'm ever in Missoula Montana, I'm going to barge right into the Brick and Mortar and laugh for hours.

Wishing you a silly season full of swatches and sewing!💗

This is a sponsored post, but as always, I only holler about products and businesses I love, and I thank The Confident Stitch for supporting my own small business with these awesome adventures!