Hot! Oona Does It!: silk would (but not this time).


the second week in and i almost bit it.


see them fancy half done pants up there?  them there's yoga pants.  yes, i thought it would be an excellent idea to have leggings made out of bumblebee-on-crack knit jersey. highly meditative, non? much disturbing of chakra would these pants have caused.  had i walked into the joint trying to ohm in these, they would have gently tossed me out on my yogi ear.  

but i digress, before i have even properly begun.  

this week's oona does it! is brought to you by our Head Chick In Challenge Mena Trott.  yes, this is the very first brick she lobbed over my wall– and such a heavy brick it was, my subconscious mind decided it was too much to deal with and found a way to avoid it, with the help of 1,315 miles and a peacock.  

how about making your version of probably the best thing ever sewn on television — the gordon gartrelle shirt that denise made for theo on the cosby show?

Picture 9

how about it INDEED, mena.  i watched this episode on youtube to try and get some mojo going, and now that i'm sewing, i found much more laughter (and terror) than i did years ago. do y'all remember this episode?  were you sewing when it aired?  did you just about faint when denise pulled the thread towards her when finishing a seam on the machine?  and our theo is quite the fashion hound. it's a gordon gartrelle! he excitedly quips to a bemused bill cosby. check out the details: hidden buttons!  flap on the back!  two tone pockets!  but the REAL thrill is the fabric.  pure SILK!  

ah, theo.  you have the attention span of a gnat, your best friend's name is cockroach, but you definitely know a thing or two about quality fabric.  well, at a whopping $95 price tag, dr. huxtable is not feeling mr. gartrelle.  he, too, is a fashion critic:  it's a one of a kind original design.  you make the shirt and burn the pattern.  back to the store the designer shirt must go, and theo stares death in the face as his friday date looms (christine expects a gartrelle, natch). enter denise, breezily promising brother theo an exact copy of the silk shirt in two days, for a third of the price.   comedy ensues.

now, mena specifies i should be inspired by denise's version.   do you see that horror up there? okay. off center.  angular.  twisted.  bunched up.  HOT MESS.  gotcha.  i had a silk shirt– yellow, even– that had gone horribly wrong, much like denise's attempt was destined to.  i intended to oonafie this challenge with it, and got this far:


i stared at it on miss fugly for twenty minutes, immobile,  before coming to the conclusion that this was entirely mena's fault.  was she crazy?  she challenged me to make a shirt that, in the end, went horribly wrong.  what the what, mena?!  denise was also to blame.  she did not have the skillz for silk.  denise; if we are to believe mama huxtable, she installed the zipper in your last garment, and, um, you forgot the wristholes.  (actually, i can relate to that).   you should NOT be working in silk.

apparently, neither should i.  fancy schmancy silk scrapped, i dove into the trenches of the stash and resurrected the aborted bumblebee pants.  i justified this by deciding the stripes in this jersey played with the angular quality waaaaay better than the silk did (and umm, yes, it was easier to sew.  ahem).

but lemme hep you to the main reason this shirt went wrong for denise: it was not for HER.  first and foremost, sewing something for someone else is an absolute DON'T.  girl, theo didn't even ask you! you just up and OFFERED!  it makes sense that you sew.  you have a very unique style.  you must create like a banshee to have as many ensembles as you do. making a mens shirt only throws a wrench in the works.  so denise, in your honor, i made a dress.  which you should have been doing in the first place.  that, or one of your bananas batwing sacks.


maybe it was the spirit of the ruined gordon gartrelle messing with me, but this dress sure did get hacked to pieces.  also because, like denise, i quite stupidly offered my help to a friend in need this week, and it was down to the wire.   this challenge was in danger of stash trash no less than five times in four hours.  on friday, my only day to sew, i hacked waaaaay too much off the hem at the eleventh hour, and because the pattern is so loud, i suddenly had hoochie mama gear on my hands.  GOOD ENOUGH, i thought, as i headed into a jam packed saturday.  but come sunday morning, the type A in me would not have it.  in a last ditch effort i sliced the dress in half across the waistband and reattached the skirt upside down.


the center back neck is the crotch of the yoga pants.  just imagine the "legs" dangling down the front, which became kimono sleeves…


and then i pieced and pieced away with remnants. and used the scissors so much they need sharpening.  


i'm not sure if it's still hoochie mama, or if small children will think i am a large toy, but i'm happy with it.  especially now that the length is agreeable.  but mena: karma is a female dog.  and it's coming for you.  (denise, being fictional, is safe.  and she is redeemed anyways, christine pronounces her designer copy hot– it's the new look!  and the huxtable household embraces family bliss once more.)

all right, sew weekly: lady katza and mena have been up to bat… who's next???  

Have a challenge for Oona? Want her to try to turn a really bad situation (pattern, fabric) into something Oonafied? Then send us an email with your request!



oonaballoona, from kalkatroona, first started visiting the sew weekly in 2011. since then she's made new clothes, new friends, and many many new drinks.


Comments are closed.

  1. Oh believe me, I’ll get what I have coming to me! :) Love this dress and love this post. You’ve done Gartrelle proud.

  2. Girrrl! You are sooo crazy! I love it! I have to say this episode of the Cosby show is also near and dear to me. Bravo!
    On a side note, I have been trying to rack my brain to figure out why your face was soooo familiar. Could it be DEATH PROOF!!!!???? One of my favorite QT flicks? I’m just saying!
    Anyway, great post (as always) and awesome dress!

  3. Oona, you rock! I’m in awe of the fact that you turned those loud yoga pants into such a fun dress.

  4. I think the dress is WAY better than the pants :) Alas, I have NO IDEA about the show lol Maybe I watched it. I can’t remember…

  5. LOVE LOVE LOVE! You cannot even tell those were pants :) I am dazzled by your brilliance and fab sense of style – this dress is truly one of a kind and totally amazing!

  6. It looks amazing! So totally not hoochie mama gear. From disaster to success! Congrats!

  7. fame and fortune mena, fame and fortune! by the way… found out in my research, GG was actually a writer and producer on the show. cool, eh?

  8. you would be correct! and QT was all kinds of awesome.
    glad you like the dress!

  9. thanks! i’m still a little stunned i ever thought they could be yoga pants….

  10. i had forgotten till mena sent me the link! maybe i blocked it out.

  11. well, they were halfpants really… i’m sure you could’ve made a small army of outfits out of them with your refashionista skillz!

  12. YAY not hoochie mama!!! thanks stephani !

  13. If that’s a hoochie mama dress, i want one too!

  14. Definitely NOT “hoochie mama”! Yhis is one very cool dress …… you are amazing!!!! I love reading your posts – they brighten up my day – thank you!

  15. That is STUNNING! What a fantastic way to play with the fabric.

  16. :D Ah, you definitely made my night with that piece of prose (well, the glass of wine in front of me definitely helped, too…). Awesome crazy stripe dress, you definitely pull it off! (Also, love the face in the first pic. Very classic! :D)

  17. Wow…I can’t believe those were once yoga pants…Definitely not meditation inducing! but AMAZING as a dress! I can totally see us going out to drinks in a chic bar in this dress…wait a minute….:)

  18. I am officially in love with Oona, what an awesome post, and the dress is amazing!!

  19. I am always way crazy amazed at how you piece stuff together. Actually my first thought on looking at the inspiration shirt was the “neon-twister-dress” pattern from Burdastyle you used on your Stella Luna dress. But this is definitely in the spirit of the original! (I must confess I remember very little of the Cosby Show. I mean, I remember it being on, watching it, but I don’t remember any actual episodes.
    I used to wear yoga pants for dance all the time, and those would TOTALLY have worked for dancy-pants. Now I might have to photograph my most crazy pair of dance/yoga pants (even though they’re not me-made) just to share…

  20. Oona you crazy minx, you are fabulous LOVE the dress and the write up You are so right Denise should NEVER of offered. Well done, cant wait for the next installment.

  21. You have such an eye for design! I can’t quite figure out how you pieced this together, but the dress looks great!

  22. margueritedesigns

    What a crazy, mad, great looking stripy thing! Far more interesting than matching stripes up!

  23. Love it! The stripes (and the post) have me reeling!

  24. Oh, this dress is fierce! The pattern looks awesome all mixed up like that. And, of course, you look fabulous in it!

  25. Oona, you’re a genius!! I adore this dress!! You’ve totally oonafied it and Gordon Gartrelle is salivating with envy!!!

  26. oona, this is my new favorite dress of yours, that’s for sure.. it’s just frigging amazing.. wish i have some pants to chop chop, but my house is not pants-friendly..

  27. let’s all be hoochie mamas!

  28. :))) you are SO welcome. and thank you for the compliments, it brightens MY day!

  29. thanks corvus! had i not played with it (sliced it to death) it would be in a bag right now…

  30. wine makes everything better.


  32. ha! i haz an admirer! i like chocolates and liquor, come valentine’s day.

  33. i could COMPLETELY see you rocking this fabric as pants. and looking hot in it. please, please photograph your non me-mades…

  34. kazz you ferocious feline! i’m working on the next right now. with way less fabric than i thought i had…

  35. for the life of me i couldn’t tell ya. it was a disaster before i hacked the skirt off and put it on upside down :)

  36. and far more EASY than matching the stripes up :)))

  37. hiya don! the stripes are a bit hypnotizing, now that you say it. i should ask for expensive things i want in this dress.

  38. :) thank you sarah!
    mr gartrelle, it turns out, was a writer/producer on the show. in the interest of making him feel better, i’ll trade him my dress for his gazillion cosby show dollars.

  39. the only pants i’ve seen on you are those fabulous crazy capris. if you chop them up i will find you and make sure you never get near a pair of scissors again.

  40. Whoa- Awesome stripe-y goodness! I’m a huge fan of playing with stripes. This is incredible.

  41. Fabulous! Always loved how you play around with jerseys and this striped piece is a masterpiece!

  42. This dress is freaking incredible – I LOVE everything about it! Jaws were in the region of the floor when looking at these photos! I do love it when you go to choppy, drapey town. Is it kind of wrong that I am mildly amused by the fact that your head is essentially where the crotch of the pants used to be? I can’t promise that my amusement isn’t at least partially related to the wine I may or may not be consuming in the process of writing this comment…
    And thank you for reinforcing the “do not sew for others”. I am working on my own manifesto based around this premise. I’m also practicing my “I will slap you down where you stand” face for anyone who asks me to sew something for them or their foetus.

  43. girl, fetuses (or feti, as i like to call them) do not care what you make for them. and in that they have broken a cardinal rule of sewing for others: the recipient must appreciate the item. parental joy does not count.

  44. thanks adey! there’s more jersey in the future…

  45. yes you ARE, you know i’m in love with your stripey skirt!