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! 


A (Very Mini) Runway Inspired Look

A (Very Mini) Runway Inspired Look | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

Who's this hussy and what have you done with the chick that's usually stomping around here in maxi-length dresses?

Got some eye candy for you today, in this short and hopefully sweet post, in this short and hopefully sweet week stateside. WE COULD USE A LITTLE SWEET. I'm not referencing myself...I'm talking about this itty bitty jumble of technicolor that came together for Thread's Runway Challenge. The digital ambassadors were tasked with choosing a designer to inspire our own handmade looks, and behind the scenes, I fought it kicking and screaming ALL THE WAY. Because in order to get my required ambassador posts ready ahead of time, I had to sew with a plan. And I. HATE. Sewing with a Plan!!!! I like to figure out things as I go, and make lemonade out of lemons when things go wrong. Sewing outside of the box is my jam. 

But sewing inside-a-box ended up being a very good thing, because I stitched up something I never would have made otherwise. And it's good to get out of a rut sometimes, even if it's a rut of technicolor floor-length wax print! 

A (Very Mini) Runway Inspired Look | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

It also forced me to look at the current world of design. Although we could choose any designer from any era, I decided I might as well pile on the challenges and step outside of my Dior New Look comfort zone. Something a little more 2021. The design duo behind Romance Was Born was a treasure trove of inspiration, their output is the Willy Wonka of fashion. If you're into color, fun, and texture, check them out.

A (Very Mini) Runway Inspired Look | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

A (Very Mini) Runway Inspired Look | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

A (Very Mini) Runway Inspired Look | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

Speaking of checking things out, ya want a better look at what's under that shrug? Cheeky. Here lemme take it off for ya.

That zipper needs some help. And that is currently all I have to say about that.

She is SHORT! As is this post! Although I have a lot more to say about this ensemble, we're gearing up for a very small Thanksgiving celebration--so small, in fact, that it shouldn't be so time-consuming...but also so small that we've decided to go super decadent. I gots things to prep. But if you're in need of a break, you can see all three posts over at Threads, and I believe they're not behind the paywall!
Inspiration post: highlights the designer inspiration and my use of a digital croquis 
Technique post: showcases underlining with unconventional materials 
Garment reveal: is exactly what it says! Only, with up-close dress form shots that are maybe not as boudoir as these ones...

A (Very Mini) Runway Inspired Look | oonaballoona by marcy harriell
...okay mmmaybe definitely not as boudoir as these ones.

I'll be back later with more on this baby, I actually took in-process shots of the guts, like in days of yore when I used to share the actual making of things! I miss reading about people's sewing process, so you know...be the change you want to see.

Do you find inspiration on the runway? Dish! 💗


Catching Up: 9 Months of Sewing

Quite a few things got sewn in the past nine months, and only a handful made it to this space. It's easy to lose track, innit?! I keep thinking this past summer was our summer down South. Also, Christmas was yesterday. And maybe comes again before Halloween? LIFE IS A GAME OF JENGA AND TIME IS A ROUND OF WHACK-A-MOLE. Is it summer? WHACK. Nope, it's autumn. Is that murmur the sound of a gentle breeze in Fayetteville? WHACK. Nope, that's the dulcet tone of a New York City garbage truck.

This carnival game isn't helped by the multiple time-sensitive balls in the air. My creative life is one big piece of content, whether it's shooting for sewing, or film/tv/theater work. That might sound a little whiny--actually, I prefer holding the reigns on what goes out there. But when your main job is almost always ruled by an NDA, and your side gigs are a jumble of deadlines for future projects, the timeline gets a little blurry.

Some of these things might eventually make a proper appearance on le blog, but *just in cases*...I think it's time for a stroll down topsy turvy lane.

A Linen Jumpsuit | Sewing by Marcy Harriell

Pattern: Bootstrap Cinch leg jumpsuit

Fabric: @chicfabricsnyc 247 W 38th street, NY

Spring had burst out at the seams when we were gearing up to leave Fayetteville, much like this poor linen jumpsuit. Cut in March 2020, finished in January 2021, shot in April 2021, and promptly ruined when I accidentally washed it on hot. I loved this thing so dang much! It saw me through a sew-jo boosting video and several self-tape auditions--and got me into the final rounds on a few (one of which would have cast me as a rollerskating queen. Dream job). I might have to see if Chic has more...

How to sew a Half Circle skirt

Pattern: Half Circle Skirt

Fabric: NY's garment district (a store I don't usually frequent. Shopping there made me remember why.)

The merry month of May found us back in the city, and our return came with an avalanche of deadlines, one of which was the Sewing Weekender, hosted by The Fold Line and Charlotte Emma Patterrns. I taught a class on using wax print to make a half-circle skirt. Since everyone attending was there to sew, longer classes were welcome, and it was actually a relief to make a thirty-minute-long video and not worry about the usual YouTube attention span!  A shorter version of this tutorial lives on our channel. You see me use a half-circle skirt CONSTANTLY. It's got one seam, y'all. Fast track to drama. 

Marcy Harriell: Wax Print Maxi Dress

Pattern: Simplicity 9041. Muchly hacked. Muchly.

Fabric: @fabricsusainc

After two online galas, a demo recording for a freaking brilliant new musical, and some general malarkey (unpacking and busted pipes), the end of May found me hellbent on JUST SEWING SOMETHING FOR NO REASON AT ALL. Like in the olden days. But it took me until June to finish this yellow baby. I must have spent a full eight hours on the floor placing the print, which of course I loved every minute of. Come warm weather, she's getting a proper shoot.

It started out "as drafted," with sleeves--oh wait I'm lying, this was a trial run for an autumnal dress for Threads, there was a reason for sewing this. Why else would I be sewing sleeves with the promise of Summer around the corner? I am not that chick! The armsyce was hella tight, and the center front was hella frumpy, so sleeveless she went.

Sewing lesson: The Centered Zipper

Pattern: Self Drafted & Draped

Fabric: @fabricsusainc

More June, more wax print, more sewing for the channel...this was my demo dress for the centered zipper tutorial, which includes a serenade from Rob. I cut the bodice of this one seven times until I got the print placement I liked. No exaggeration! I have evidence I'll share here someday...

Quilted Dress with Mister Domestic x Marcy Harriell

Pattern: Self-drafted bodice + half circle skirt 

Fabric: Stonewall from the Love is Love collection (affiliate link)

June ended with this little baby-hued number, a collab with Matthew of Mister Domestic, to celebrate the launch of his fabric line. This pattern was designed in honor of Stonewall--I have it in the red colorway as well and am still considering a matching purse. Matthew unknowingly beat me to the punch on that one with a woven clutch, and I'm glad he did, because weaving a clutch would be waaaay more fetch than just sewing a few rectangles together. 

Although it's quilting cotton, it's quite drapey and worked well with this combo. I don't know what drew me to these hues, but I feel like a pretty pretty pastel princess, as can any human of any persuasion. Shout out to all my humans out there being who they are!

You can see the dress in action in this Baby Hem Tutorial.

Butterfly Rayon Dress with Joann Fabrics | Marcy Harriell

Pattern: True Bias Ogden Cami

Fabric: Joann

The return to NY was a shock to the system, I'm not gonna lie, and shooting four tutorials in four weeks in four square feet of space had my brain over-easy. So we welcomed the chance to house sit in Connecticut for some of our oldest friends. Whilst listening to July birdsong and scrolling through my insta feed, I stumbled upon the Ogden Cami Hack month hosted by Kelli of True Bias. It reminded me that 1: it was JULY, and 2: I hadn't made my annual Ogden maxi dress! I found this butterfly fabric at Madame Joanns, and lemme tell you what, the Madame, she was maybe a little tipsy when she released this fabric. The print is obviously my jam. But the hand of it feels like a cross between vellum paper and popcorn. I refuse to do a burn test on it cuz I don't wanna know.

There's a decent chance I'll modify again, and hack this up into a floaty-sleeved top before I ever get a full-length snap of it....

Sewing a Swimsuit with Makerist

Pattern: Camille Swimsuit by Sirena Patterns

Fabric: Stretch House, NY, 218 W 37th street

I guess my penchant for modifications is showing....in July, Makerist invited me to be a guest ambassador for their "Make It Yours" challenge. The brief was to modify a pattern and, you guessed it: make it yours. I was looking forward to jumping in a creek during our staycation, but ten thousand mosquitos had other ideas, so maybe next year she'll get wet.

(yes, that is what she said.)

The Handmade Harriells

Pattern: Pants, RTW Shorts Copy. Dress, Self Drafted

Fabric: @waxprintslacesnmore

WHACK! Suddenly it was the first week of August! I was in a race against time to sew for my birthday! Twelve yards of wax print arrived at our very temporary address, and I cut two dresses, one pair of pants, and a pair of shorts. In other words: MATCHING OUTFITS. Over the course of 24 hours, I sewed two out of four: this dress (another practice run for the bodice tutorial) and Rob's pants. Rob's pants suffered for my sewing delirium, that pose unwittingly disguises some very questionable print placement.

I didn't get the other dress and shorts knocked out in time, so we got...coordinating outfits? Cuz these prints so go together.

I got my matching outfit moment anyways, at the end of the long-promised bodice modification tutorial. This is also where I finally noticed, during editing, the unfortunate crotch area.

These might be #oonapants now.

Sewing lessons on Youtube: Stitch to Finish

Pattern: Self drafted bodice + half circle skirt

Fabric: Outdoor canvas from Madame Joann

Rob, probably seeking a break from all that matching, went away on a Rude Red adventure, and I was all tutorial-ed out. I spent a week eating like a frat boy and making this dress, for a stitch-to-finish video. I have to say I love doing these speed ramped semi-music-videos. I know they're not step-by-step, but they give me a little breather, and hopefully they're inspiring!

And now, it's time to sew something! Unfortunately for me, the "something" is hemming Rob's dress pants. Fortunately for me, this means we are about to dress up. Silver lining, baby. SILVER LINING.


A Jacquard Gown for a Jewel Box Theater

A Jacquard Gown for a Jewel Box Theater | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

I’m coming to you from a little hiding place in my mind, where I live in an intimate jewel box of a theater that only houses about 250 of my closest friends. Come on in, I have a seat reserved for you. There are plenty of turrets and boxes to keep you cozy— and distanced, if the situation calls for it. Some are even way up high in the rafters, if you really want some personal space....

This beauty was our first stop on September’s mini tour: Ethan’s hometown of Menomonie, Wisconsin. He grew up thinking every town had a theater like this. As did everyone we met that night after the show! 

(I snapped my dear friend and cohort at the piano, unawares. He practices for hours before each show. The music coming from those hands, I'm telling you, we could sell tickets to soundcheck.)

Somehow, after the concert, I ended up perched with Rob in one of those velvet draped boxes, and we enjoyed meeting a masked-up Menomonie immensely from our whimsical vantage point, talking to all our new friends like we were on some sort of Victorian designed float:

Of course I researched every stop and stage beforehand, and made a dress that went with each. I had a head start on this pink jacquard gown—but really, three weeks ago, it was just a prop for camera. The half-boned, self-drafted bodice was pinned to some hastily draped yardage for our “Tea for Two” at-home singing Valentine, recorded across states with Ethan and a highly mischievous Rob. Who needs to finish the back of a dress when you’re only shooting the front, eh? And with nowhere to go, I didn’t see the point in putting a ring on it come February 15.

Stitching it up for real was the obvious choice for our first live performance together in twenty months.

I love jacquard. I love the duality of it. And I love how it suits this scenario: going from a prop on a little screen to a 3D gown in real life ties a neat little double-sided bow in my mind.

There's a bow in reality too: it sits at waist level, right where I used the flip side of this shimmering jacquard. Both sides of the pink floral fit the space to a T, although one of our new friends lamented that the thick rug placed onstage under the grand piano needed to suit my dress better—something in burgundy, maybe? Next time? she promised.

And I promised to come back, with a new dress. Gladly.

I'm gonna address the elephant in the world: yes, it’s kind of scary, after this endless year of doing our best to stay away from folks, to suddenly be taking gargantuan gulps of air for high notes and hugging new friends after shows.

But it’s also not. We’ve done everything we can to be safe and smart, and that includes Le Vaxx, folks, which our trio is, proudly and fully. Four states, three planes, three hotels, two rental cars, a dozen handmade cloth masks, and a 20 pack of KN95s. That's a lot of numbers. And we're all good. Plain and simple, here’s the equation after twenty months away:

Opportunity + Precaution = Work

I understand that equation isn't possible for a lot of the world right now. But if we’re lucky enough to have the opportunity, and have taken all the precautions we can, the only choice for many of us is to do it. The artists that society relied on to bring a smile in this upside-down world simply have to get back to work. If we don’t, the art you’ve scrolled to see won’t be around the day you’re ready to experience it in person.

I’m not talking about stars. I’m talking about working-class musicians, actors, comedians, dancers, costumers, technicians, carpenters, stagehands. The people who make their living through concerts, through content, through performance. The people who are on their way to becoming stars, the people who work days so that nights can be filled with art, the people who will live under the radar forever but are your treasured secret favorite that you can’t wait to introduce your crew to.

Art has always been viewed as a luxury. These endless months of insanity have taught us that it’s a necessity. Those who count sewing as a superpower know for damn sure that creativity is the air we breathe. As for us, we’re doing everything we can to breathe that creative air safely, and with care for our fellow humans. We hope you feel the same, we hope you do the same, so that when you're ready, we can see you again outside all of these tiny screens.


Performance Gowns…or, Back Onstage!


I had an epiphany last week (which will read as “plain common sense” to some): I didn’t need to sew three gowns for my return to the stage. I had plenty of dresses in my closet that hadn’t seen the spotlight for almost two years. Basically a closet full of brand new homemade couture!

Then I tried on a few…and a few more…and realized we’d, uhhhh, grown apart during our pause from the spotlight. Some relationships had grown more distant than others, by like, a good three inches. And then, after such a sensible yet squashed epiphany, I decided it would be enjoyable—easier, even—to sew three gowns start to finish rather than alter a few candidates. 

So seven days of slam sewing began, on top of everything else that life currently entails. At one point, Rob said to me we can buy you dresses if we need to. And then backed away slowly, as if from an approaching bear with her three cubs, when he saw the look on my face.

Yes, I could have made ONE look for all the dates of this mini jazz tour, but each venue is so different! And as a casting director once said to me: You like your clothes to match the part. 


Somehow they’re all done to the point where I *believe* I won’t be sewing in the dressing room. 

The songs of Bacharach, Hal David & Dionne Warwick are the set list. Our first venue (tonight!) is the Mabel Tainter in Menomonie, WI. Ethan’s hometown! Oh did I mention I’ll be performing with The Great Ethan Iverson? Y’all remember Ethan from the thong debate of 2012? His hometown boasts a gorgeous Victorian theater with exquisite backdrops (expect Instagram spam, if you follow me there).  Tomorrow night, Sept 16, we’re at Crooners, a Minneapolis supper club. Then Saturday the 18th we travel to Pinehurst NC for the grand finale at the Bradshaw Performing Arts Center. All venues have measures in place, so if you’re in town and decide to come see us, you won’t be shoulder to shoulder with anyone. Unless you count rubbing shoulders with us after the show, because we’d love to meet you. And by “we” I mean me ‘n the chrome dome. The Rob chrome dome. Although the Ethan chrome dome is very approachable as well. We got chrome domes aplenty.

Time to go sing in the shower and steam a gown. I won’t lie, I’ve got butterflies. But I’m going to remind myself that butterflies mean you’re alive and DOING THINGS. 

Hope you’ve got some good butterflies going on today 💗


The Handmade Harriells

As I was lamenting for the seventeenth? Seventieth? Uncountable-eth time about the slipping away of hours and months and days, a wise friend said to me: Time is an accordion.

Ain’t it the truth! I yelped back. TIME IS AN ACCORDION AND LIFE IS A GAME OF JENGA.

And we all know I'm not talking 'bout a breezy cocktail hour game of Jenga either.

It’s been a year since we started creating technicolor content for the channel, and in that year, The Handmade Harriells have gained 33,500 friends. HI FRIENDS. Are you one of them? If you’re not, and you’re wondering where we went, well, it’s been a handful being the actor/writer/editor/sound engineer/art director/best boy/pa/grip/wardrobe supervisor (see: lament). I didn’t even holler about my birthday over here!

But I did over there. So come on over and see us. 

The latest video up is all about pattern hacking, and yeah I call it hacking. A lot. 

If you like your content written, lament not, I like words, even words used improperly like hacking, and I have purchased a whiteboard calendar to try and get a circle of life thing going on with all this content. It’s got a lovely space for the blog. My plan is to get full shots of the hacked dress up in this lonely space...and maybe I can talk Rob into wearing his handmade, matching wax print pants. OH YEAH I SAID MATCHING PANTS! I'm finding I can talk Rob into all manner of adventures for the channel! Even if you aren't a video person, I highly suggest peeping evidence of matching outfits at the end

How bout y’all? Finding any game metaphors in life now? Chutes and Ladders? Jumanji? Hopefully not Sorry. I think we all need a break in Candyland. Meet you there at six.


Threads Magazine, Diana Vreeland, 'n Me

It's been six months since I joined the Threads Digital Ambassador team. What? You didn't hear? You mean to tell me I just threw that little blue badge up on the sidebar and never properly hollered about it RIGHT HERE IN MY OWN LIVING ROOM? 

Like most of us, my hold on reality has been screwed on about as tight as it will go, so, I'll save you that sob story of a full plate and no time. I have, however, been hollering about it over on Ye Olde Instagram, in the middle of slam sewing, zooms, shooting videos for The Handmade Harriells, and the usual slew of auditions. Oh, and moving our lives back to New York.

(What? You didn't hear? We're back in New York! Evidence here and here.)

Since joining the ambassadors in December, I've been taking the words of one of my favorite fashion icons, Diana Vreeland, and morphing them into a monthly sewing challenge. It's jumpstarted my sewing more than once, in a time when inspiration can be easily engulfed by any number of world traumas. As I brush the cobwebs off this space, if you're in need of a colorful break, have a look at six months' worth of content over at Threads, as collaged above ;) If you're an Insider, the digital content is yours for the peeping--if not, the first post is free, and showcases my very favorite Vogue jacket pattern in some scrumptious yardage from the Nina Ramel Fabric Box.

I've read Threads since I taught myself to stitch over thirteen years ago, and had an out-of-body experience when I wrote my first article for the magazine in April of 2019. The pages of Threads, and Burdastyle, and the blogs of so many newbie and advanced sewists were (and are!) my teachers. I'm still surprised whenever I find myself in the role of "teacher." And, I still look to those same magazines and blogs, though my own upkeep has been spotty...

I intend ONCE AGAIN to rectify that--we're adjusting to being back in the city and getting reality set right again. I hope you & yours are staying safe, or venturing out, as this upside-down world permits!


Remember Water Cooler Chats?

Remember Water Cooler Chats? | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

My subconscious obviously knew my somber-hued mood wouldn't last forever, and with a great amount of foresight, chose this FANTABULOUS TECHNICOLOR PALM TREE BIG CAT IN THE JUNGLE PRINT. I have been LIVING in this longline sweatshirt slash turtleneck since I whipped it up a couple weeks back. And I do mean whipped it up, in an absolute frenzy of sewing, brought on by two fully filmed, fully BOTCHED, attempts at a coffee video tutorial. The sound engineer, she was *not* on her A-game. In fact, I'm in the middle of editing our third attempt at bringing Rob's black gold to the masses, so I'm just here for a hot second.

Remember Water Cooler Chats? | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

Side hustles notwithstanding, have you noticed that working from home means you're ALWAYS AT THE OFFICE? And the boss can't tell you're on lunch, or your pipes are frozen, or your kids are starting a dumpster fire (I'd be the kid in that situation). 

Hey. Let's take a quick coffee break together: we're out back in the employee parking lot, jackets on, but I'm just stomping around in this here sweatshirt thingamajig. Extremely caffeinated. Assuring everyone that I am totally warm enough, encased in the softest organic fleece ever...

Remember Water Cooler Chats? | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

George asks me where I got it, to which I reply I MADE IT (George is new to the office, I love new hires, they haven't been bombarded by my coffee break sewing yammering yet). His eyes widen, maybe from the newly acquired information, maybe from the volume at which I have given him the newly acquired information.

I tell him all about how I DIDN'T NEED NO STINKING RIBBING!!!!! I used the fashion fabric to attach bands at the hem, and at the cuffs! (Blinking, he wonders what "ribbing" is.)

And then Delilah from accounting says, LIKE SHE ALWAYS DOES, When are you making me one? And I laugh and laugh, and as usual she doesn't get that my laughter does not mean what she thinks it means, and yeah, eventually I'm going to have to tell her my rates so she can get offended and avoid me at conference room birthdays, it's inevitable.  

But y'all, I assure, when a few of the folks from HR say they wish they could sew...Y'all! You can totally make something like this, you really can (I've said this maybe a thousand times, much like Delilah, I'm hard-headed). I didn't even use a pattern for this! For real! I've got a video on it. 

Some eyes roll a little bit...they know allllllll about my YouTube channel that I mess around with on the weekends. A few of them watch the videos and laugh, a few of them never watch the videos, and laugh. The few of us that count sewing as a superpower give each other a knowing look, and make a mental note to gab WAY more about what handmade goodness we're wearing today, when we go out for margaritas later. 

So, my homebound office mates, there's ten minutes of warp speed, music video sewing up on the channel, if you want to see me make this from stitch to finish. It's copied from an old, worn-out RTW cropped sweatshirt. No instruction...purely for inspiration!

And, laughs.

Okay, break's over. I'm off to record a voiceover audition, upload a self-tape, edit an article, and get on that coffee video. I hope you're safe and warm, wherever you are, and taking a break when you need one.

I immediately turned my honorarium into fabric when I collaborated with The Fabric Godmother for my last post. I've got three decidedly neon animal prints to play with--well, two, now that I've sewn up every bit of this bad boy, which sadly is out of stock, or I'd buy it all. Might have a scrap or two for a headband. MAYBE A MINI TURBAN!!!