Hot! oona does it!: snake eyes



oh, hallo.  please to meet my best model pose.

back when june was still a month we were enjoying (hello? july?!), daughter fish, sew weekly community member and tres awesome blogger, commented on my bird brain post:

"Can next week's challenge involve snakes? Keep these animal adventures coming!"

you like the beasties, eh miss fish?  maybe it has something to do with the surname?  whatever the reason, i am more than happy to oblige.  snake it is.  for this week's oona does it! i immediately thought of the 6 or so yards of stretchy, thick, snakeskin printed denim i had gathering dust in my stash.  it had been languishing there for several years and i knew what i wanted to do: take that tacky snakeskin print and make a classic silhouette, a dress with princess seams, an a-line skirt, and matching belt.  turn the 50's on a slithery ear. i had the perfect petite pattern, which i spent two days carefully cutting and fitting a muslin from.  yes, i did a muslin. truly a first for me.  happy with the style and fit, i skipped over to my stash closet and pulled out the snakeskin.

of which i had exactly half a yard.

foiled (and wondering if it might be time to add a multivitamin to my morning coffee), i thought to myself: who ever said i couldn't oonafie an accessory?  NO ONE!   i printed out a purse pattern and laid out my material.

FOILED AGAIN.  my weapon of choice, burdastyle's charlie bag, is roughly the size of maine.  i like my bags big, but maybe a 5'3 kalkatroonan should occasionally carry something a bit more svelte. okay, thrown another curveball, i made some lemonade, spiked it with a little vodka, and hacked about 4 inches of width off the pattern.  perfect!  every inch of snakeskin used!  and the center front would look so cool with a little embellishment on the f– oh you have got to be KIDDING me–

i dropped the scissors in disgust as i realized the extra wide selvage was about two inches wider than my seam allowance.  "made in taiwan", right on the side seam.  that would really class this bag up, no?

my defeated gaze wandered to a little prezzie from a friend who'd recently usurped my life for a week.  a nice big hide of beige leather.  (now LOOK.  i didn't go out and buy the stuff.  it was a gift. so, political moral and ethical commentary aside for the moment: waste not want not, yes?) i've heard tell that leather purses are quite the height of class.  'specially when you add a 4 inch swath of hot pink sequins down the front.


have y'all ever worked with leather?  there are a few tricks to keep in mind: firstly, you can't use pins. all seams need to be taped together.  and your machine needs to have some cajones.  it takes a bit of power to needle through this stuff. a nice long careful straight stitch or zigzag will do– and once you put a hole in it, it ain't comin out again.  so be careful. 


your pattern pieces also need to be cut out through one thickness, as it's pretty tricky to fold this stuff in half– so i laid down the snakeskin and got to tracing with my ballpoint (one of the best leather markers around).


what's that?  i'm sorry, you don't see the original snake influence? look closer…


well, lookee there!  an apple to distract you from the fact that it's really only used in the lining!  oh go ahead, have a bite… what's the worst that could happen?


in honor of daughter fish, i paired my new purse with my pattern magic dress, made from jersey purchased at a garment district spree together (yeah, we're homies).  but homie or not; i'm done with yon beasties for the moment… anyone got a non-animal related challenge to toss my way?



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. Oona, you’ve done it again! I so look forward to your fab-oo posts and this one definitely did not disappoint! Sequins? Check. Snakeskin fabric? Check. Thriftily used leather? Check.
    And those glasses? Awesome!

  2. Love the sequins and the snakeskin! I should’ve known someone as awesome as yourself would have a bit of snakeskin lying around :) Well done, dear!

  3. Oh Oona, you are such a beacon of light! When I dispare at a failed project, or too little of an adored fabric, or a print that my friends awkwardly decline to approve of – your blog and this column bring me hope :) Always a good read. Thanks for being awesome.

  4. Well done! I love the sequin touch, and the unexpected element of the lining. I love reading your posts; your never-say-defeat attitude is fabulous!
    As for future challenges, what about men’s ties? I’ve got a stash of retro ties from my dad and have always wondered if they could be incorporated into a fabulous outfit somehow. Well, somehow that isn’t knotting them at the waist as a belt.

  5. I want to see you take a semi-hideous batik print and make it fabulous. I was given a lot of batik (green and purple, if ou can imagine) and I have no idea what to do with it.

  6. Who knew, but we should have! Snakeskin, well of course, just right here laying in the stash…cr-a-zy!
    What fun and so well done…Again!

  7. All I can think of now is Snakes on a Plane, because that would make one awesome travel bag!! Way to go lady!

  8. Oona darling, you rock!

  9. YAY! Gorgeous bag, lovely lining, amazing glasses…thanks for this, Oona, some great leather-sewing tips.

  10. Love that bag totally and you are so rocking it!

  11. What a tragic tale! That was truly some sneaky (or snaky) fabric. I LOL at your big bag fetish—I like mine as teeny as possible. If I could still get away with shoving everything in a back pocket like I did when I was 18, I totally would.
    I hope you get to make that carefully-muslined dress with some other fabric!

  12. Love the bag! I also love the way you always get involved in some kind of unfortunate saga, and then turn out with something brilliant!
    Plus you make me laugh, in fact you made me giggle so much that I dropped my pre-lunch snack on myself. Can you make something that is a tribute your favourite food?

  13. What I didn’t tell you is that my first boyfriend was named Snake. Yeah! This purse is amazing! You’ve totally channeled Eve here. She totally wanted to line a purse with that nasty serpent. Great job!

  14. So cute–and I love the sequin accent against the cream leather. Very snazzy!

  15. a) I love that you would just have six yards of snakeskin denim lying around the house. Sorta like you keep it in supply, like milk, bread, tp.
    b) I love that when you discovered that your supply was down to a half-yard, you prevailed.
    c) like always :o)

  16. thanks sarah :)… ruggy hates my glasses!!!!!

  17. teehee! thanks girl!

  18. ack! what an awesome comment! thank you! tell your friends: it’s more fun to live in technicolor.

  19. i think it’s the type A in me; i can’t not finish a challenge!
    men’s ties; on it. now i just have to find a bunch of them.

  20. OH. i will be searching for some appropriately hideous batik in le garment district.

  21. you cracked me up– i never even considered that it would be odd to have snakeskin denim in the stash. get this: i need black, or white, for the next challenge… i have ZERO.

  22. aaaaaaaaah i love that movie!!! i went to a special screening of it, and they had bottles of sam adams beer with samuel jackson on the label. i still have my bottle.
    funny too because i envisioned this being my airplane laptop bag!

  23. m’lady, RIGHT BACK ATCHA!

  24. you’re welcome & thanks! if you want a few more leather tips, i did a post on le blog a whiles back:

  25. thanks adey! but sadly, it goes perfectly with your latest dress….

  26. i know, you were the camo girl! when i used to rock the clubs, my sock was my purse. now i lug double my weight on my shoulder.
    i’m totally making another of the muslin dress!

  27. OHHHHHH. i have the PERFECT idea for that, but nothing in my stash!!! noted and coming soon…

  28. oh my god you were a TRAMP. only hussies date boys named snake. how i wish i had known that before.
    i’m digging eve’s revenge!

  29. thanks casey! ruggy thought it a bit… loud… but then again i’m not a quiet person :)

  30. a) i seriously didn’t think twice. however, i need a solid neutral color this week, and have NADA.
    b) type A, baby, type A
    c) also a little OCD.

  31. Best combination of fabrics EVER!! I love that you had snakeskin denim (though am wondering what happened to the other 5.5 yards you had?!) and fluro pink sequins in your stash. Thank you for your lessons in effective and technicolour accessorising, it is contributing very much to my education!

  32. OMG. I LOVE this so much! I’ve never tackled a purse before but this looks amazing!!! Perfect for stashing a few miniature bottles of wine :)

  33. i’m wondering too!!!! where the hell did that run off too?!

  34. it even has pockets so the open ones don’t spill :)