Oona Does It!: Oona’s Bird Brain
i was thrilled when miss mena trott, sewist extraordinaire and all around rocking gal, asked me to contribute to the sew weekly. she wanted a weekly mini "oona challenge", and i was game. she sent me the inspiration for my first challenge days before my summer vacay, and i flew away without my material.
however, lady katza, a member here at sew weekly and at burdastyle, came to the rescue. during my vacation, i wrote a cryptic update at burdastyle: a peacock is watching me sew. lady latza quickly responded: that peacock wants you to use its feathers.
EEK and EGADS were my second and third responses. my first being gales of laughter. the peacock in question was a new acquisition of my husband's mom– mama ruggy, as i like to call her. last week, when we visited her peaceful mountain top retreat, we were awakened at sunrise by the wind in the trees, delicate chimes, and the insane shrieks of a jurassic thing named romeo. his silent partner, juliet, had about as much love for him as we did. that bird owed me several hours of sleep. the least he could do was give up some feathers.
but i really couldn't imagine working them into a garment. plus, the first morning there, le bird hurled himself at our bedroom window in an attempt to either brain himself or attack me. so i put it out of my mind… until i realized, this was the definition of an oona challenge. something i was slightly afraid of… something a bit off… something that might require a drink or two while planning. thus, lady katza's fiendish response was born into the first "oona does it".
so how'd i do it? well, as i've said, there was no getting close to romeo. he'd skittishly pick a blueberry out of my hand, but was out of plucking range a nanosecond later. mama ruggy and i had to go hunting for stray feathers in the woods. aw yeah, baby. my kind of notions shopping. we didn't find many, as romeo is only a year old and hasn't given up much. my chardonnay doused schemes of enveloping the neck and waistline of a fifties style cocktail dress in iridescent down quickly changed. in hindsight, for the better, as my first idea probably would have looked like i had chest hair. chest hair made of peacock feathers. star wars canteen, anyone?
instead, i turned eagerly to sarai's new (free!) colette pattern, the sorbetto top. i've lusted after sew weekly member cathe's versions, and had been waiting for the right moment. i found this printed rayon remnant at the local hancocks, and thought the eye shape was very fitting. i wanted a swingy, light summer dress, so i just extended the bottom of the pattern to create an a-line. i cut a size bigger than i needed, and used the excess width to make a wider center pleat. next time i think i'd go even further. (and there will most definitely be a next time… i am now officially on the colette bandwagon. she rocks bigtime.)
the baby feathers were tucked under the pleat and stitched down, the rest of the pleat left loose. the trim was chosen by ruggy (i always go to my man on the big decisions). it's a twine-y sort of material, with yellow braid on either side. he suggested folding under one strip of the yellow, to make it "more natural and contrast the color of the feathers without overpowering them."
tim gunn, watch out.
and the bird? he exercised some caution of his own. as we merrily grilled out on the deck one warm night, the combination of roasting turkey thighs and the increasingly inebriated glare i gave his tailfeathers was too much for his wee brain. although the dress was "done", i could totally see lining each side of the pleat in feathers all the way down… suddenly, romeo and juliet were running through the dusky woods! where do you think they're off to? i innocently queried.
the last night of our trip, photos and dress officially completed, romeo returned. sans juliet. you be the judge.
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!