Hot! oona does it!: hurry down doomsday, the machines are taking over

do you find yourself giving voice to household appliances?  personality traits, a history, maybe even behavioral flaws?  

this week, i was challenged by an inanimate object.


but don't tell her she's inanimate.  meet ellie.  proper name elna– and believe me, it takes some time to get on friendly terms with this gal.  ornery.  controlling.  temperamental.  and extremely jealous.   she sits next to kenny on my desk, several inches higher and quite judgmental of his capabilities.  she scoffed at marmota's request to honor him with a challenge.  she was, she shrieked, FAR MORE DESERVING.  and as i like to stay on good terms with ellie and her cutting blades, i was happy to oblige.


for this challenge– well, really, let's call a spade a spade, for this order, i brought an unfinished garment out of hiding.  its life began over a year ago as 4 yards of silk chiffon that i cut into triangles, squares and rectangles; folded, pleated, and draped.  kenny then had his raucous, toothily grinned topstitching way with it.  he attached shape to shape, throwing leather and metal in for good measure, until i had a strange and floaty belted, asymmetrical top.  (you can see its past life on my blog.)  but he couldn't bear to finish the job of all those loose and rapidly fraying edges.  not that he couldn't, mind you, kenny can make a perfect rolled hem with the best of them, he just felt this creation needed something different.  as usual, kenny and i were in total agreement.

had kenny known the answer to this problem would be the loud, imposing, abrasive female i dragged home with me one hot summer day, he might have committed hari kari. 


luckily elli deemed the top worthy of her twin needles.  there are times i'll bring a lesser garment to her teeth, and the horror that ensues would make any sewist scream in abject terror.  but, quelle suprise, not only did she enjoy racing through the unfinished edges of green silk, she actually requested MORE to play with.  ellie decided this silk's secret identity was a dress, and who was i to deny her?


i picked out another shade of green at my favorite garment district dive.  ellie (barely) approved, and we raced through strip after strip of the stuff, creating a long rectangular panel.  we joined it to the newly serged top to wrap around the hips.  (oh, excuse me.  ellie would like me to point out that she did the joining, not kenny.  i swear she'd castrate him if she could.)


fortunately i'm around to keep the peace.  erm, that is, usually… i pulled a mena, you see, and brought two finished challenges with me whilst away in the machine-less mountains of canada.  by the time this hits the page, i'll have returned home.  who knows what i'll find.  i'm hoping the bloodshed will be minimal, but it would be naive to think there wasn't some kind of scuffle.  i'll get them focused on the next challenge post haste.

how about you?  got a machine with personality?  i'm looking for one to serve as referee.  



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.


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  1. Nice to know I’m not the only one with a temperamental serger! My Ms. Baby Lock seems to be very choosy about what she will and will not choose to stitch on, and likes to let the second needle not make actual stitches on my fabric just to taunt me. (She was fine until about a year ago, and she’s not that old of a machine… I think she’s in her tyrannical three’s or something.)
    I love this dress, though! It looks so fun. Reminds me of a fairy dress, but one that actually works in the real world.

  2. Oona, you look like a woodland fairy princess! This is by far my absolute favorite garment you’ve made thus far. Or should I lavish my praise on the tempermental Ellie? ;)

  3. I am always stunned by your draped pieces. They’re so cool, really there is no other word. This time you look like a warrior elf. In a sexy, good, awesome way. I hope you wear this on the 30th!

  4. Oh yay! I’ve missed your layering, edging and draping! AND that belt pull, what a style!
    These are your signature dresses Oona! (like in Masterchef, when they say a chef needs a signature dish!) xoxo

  5. I love that last picture of you. You look like a smokin’ heroine in a sci-fi flick looking out for your lost love. Is Ruggy standing on a mountain?
    My sewing machine is tame. Brand new, he still lacks personality so hasn’t got a name. How can you name something so compliant? Sometimes he skips a stitch if I’ve been working too long on something. One day, his emotions will burst into a frenzy of gathered stitches and torn fabric. It will be sublime.

  6. My elderly serger is remarkably good-tempered, considering I overwork her terribly and am rather lax in the oiling department. She’s a bit finnicky with her tension these days, however, and doesn’t want to be bothered with any fabric that’s too light and thin. This chiffon would be the end of her (well, unless I wanted it ruffled…)
    You TOTALLY should’ve been wearing this when we met up. I love your crazy Oona-organic creations. Mine are so boring and standard…

  7. it reminded me of woodland sprites as well :)
    i love that your serger is going through her toddler stages!!

  8. egads, give ALL credit to ellie, especially since i’m about to feed her more silk!!!

  9. thanks lisette!! i’m actually about to start on another draped piece :))
    this dress would match the park pretty well…

  10. thanks so much you darling!!! these comments have made me itch to start another draped one today :))

  11. HAAAA!!! i love it!!! i was totally thinking of the two of us on a mountain in that shot!!!
    your description of your meek machine had me laughing out loud. especially picturing the sublime breakdown.

  12. could you imagine me going through customs in this?! waaaaaay too many layers. i would’ve been detained, you would have got your wish, an extra day to play and fabric depot.
    i so should have worn it.

  13. Its amazing. I love how the contrast edging highlights all the different pieces. I didn’t even notice it was 2 shades of green until after I read the post. THIS is a fab way to do solid colors!

  14. My old Lucznik definitely has a personality – a stubborn one. No name, though.
    The new Singer hasn’t shown his personality yet, apart from being cooperative, but a bit on the diet-abiding side (i.e. not dealing with several layers of velvet as easily as the Lucznik probably would.)
    Send my congratulations to Ellie. She did a good job. (And, shh, don’t tell her – you too. Those two shades of green seem perfectly intentional.)

  15. thanks girl! come to think of it, with the 2 shades of fabric and 4 shades of thread, i guess i sort of made a print out of solids….

  16. i love that your singer watches what he eats…
    ellie thanks you, rather haughtily i might add. she’s still sore at you for the whole kenny thing.

  17. Ha, I’ll send you a picture. It will probably be me with a ball of twisted fabric, watered mascara, and wine. Hopefully I look as good in messy mascara as Beyonce does!

  18. … I am speechless and with no alcohol in hand. I don’t think I have anything in my current collection that would do matchy justice to this freaking incredible dress! (And I’m not currently feeling charitable enough to offer sewing services in exchange for alcohol. Though the terror workmate did ask me to hem 20 pairs of jeans for which she could “probably” pay me).
    I would have a relationship with this dress. I really would. You are insanely talented and I love seeing what happens when you visit drapey town. You and Ellie make a great team, though you and Kenny make an equally fantastic fabric fighting duo of course! (I don’t want to contribute to any potential machine based blood shed). Hope you had a lovely time in Canada xx

  19. Your dress is gorgeous!

  20. AMAZING outfit! I love it so much! oh and I CANNOT WAIT TO MEET UP!!!! yippeeee

  21. This dress reminds me of River Song’s totally rocking outfit when she is running around with the Doctor, and thus, I am a HUGE fan of this dress. Love. Love. Love!

  22. This is totally an art piece, a sculptured dress! Bravo!