Hot! oona does it!: out of arkansas


juliet, that crazy gypsy, is headed on vacay and had a parting query:

in a few months I’ll be in South Africa on holiday and I’ll be there for my birthday. I’ll be dropping heavy hints for a party in a game reserve, you could be my perfect inspiration. Think you could come up with a totally awesome birthday dress, fit for a game reserve, with online sourced fabric (so little old me in NZ can copy)??


we’re on holiday ourselves at the moment, which gave ruggy cause to wonder aloud, can’t oona take christmas off?  feh.  as soon as i fed him the keywords: safari, game reserve, africa, his eyes grew wide and we were of one mind.  i had to go the meryl streep route.  a big sweeping skirt, leather boots, cinched belt and blazer.

but, juliet, it’s your birthday in this scenario, yes?  that means meryl goes party frock. put that lassie in a strapless, please.  let’s use cynthia rowley’s simplicity 2250,  just add some length to it.  eighty six the gathers, pleat the skirt.  give her pockets for prizes (or, you know, leopard spray, if such a thing exists), and swath her in fancy mosquito netting (lovely crochet knit mesh lacey stuff, an approximation to be had here. who knew hancocks had cornered the market on this stuff).  for kicks, how ’bout a polyester khaki lininglisten here, chap, is that the birthday girl’s birthday SUIT, or have i had too much whiskey?


i made that sound pretty easy, yes?  you should have seen me ripping out the side seams when the pockets ended up at knee and calf.  or bribing mama ruggy into running out to grab a zipper for me on a lazy sunday.  and speaking of too much whiskey, juliet! careful on that ambrosia should you choose to go completely ditto. the bodice has twelve darts and two pleats, and though the instructions are stellar, those darts had to be marked on crochet knit. Not.  Easy.  (so not easy, i gave up marking when it came time for the skirt.  hence the drunken pockets.)

so, crochet knit: i would strongly suggest underlining it and marking the underlining. i suggested it to myself right at minute 29 but did not listen.  HEY ME:  don’t tell me what to do.


y’all, however, are very much allowed to tell me what to do.   if it weren’t for your challenges, half the stuff in my closet would be UFOs…

happy birthday in advance juliet!



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. Meryl never looked this good!! Thank you so much for all that you do – your posts never fail to make me smile … you are AMAZING!!
    Wishing you and Ruggy a wonderful christmas and a 2012 filled with much happiness … and sewing! xxx

  2. I look forward to your challenges every week! Yet another fantastic ensemble.

  3. Hell yeah! Love this dress and the backdrop is perfect! Way to go!!!

  4. OH MY GOD OONA THIS IS PERFECT!!!!!! And here I was thinking I’d sew me something with zebras on it… pah, this is a dress that I will adore! 12 darts and pleats will test my skills big time but I am. so. copying. this. dress!
    As for whisky, I followed your advice on tequila while sewing (a la Double Agent) and found that French seams get even better with a glass of Agavero to my right.
    Merry Christmas… thank you for taking time out of your holiday to inspire me!

  5. sA-WEET! 12 darts? Impressive (isn’t it winter where you are??)bare shoulders and bare trees – wow

  6. i like it.. and i’m completely puzzled with you wearing white..

  7. thank you… and MERRY MERRY to you and yours debbie!

  8. i must say ditto, lizz.

  9. :)))! it was like 60 degrees out that day. WEIRD.

  10. oh i’m SO GLAD!!!! i hope you copy it! i went back to hancocks yesterday to see if i could get the exact name of the fabric (figuring that anything i bought there could be found online) but it was marked “value mesh lace”. feh.
    now, really, i don’t know what i was thinking, advising you against too much whiskey embarking on this dress. perhaps i was drunk.
    merry merry juliet!

  11. yeah, freakishly warm! hooray for global warming. i guess we might as well enjoy it.

  12. mokosha…. it’s a christmas miracle.

  13. Happy Holidays to you and your Ruggy!
    This. Is. DIVINE! I so very much so want it. Want. It. NOW!

  14. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas! The dress is awesome and your inner dialogue had me in stitches…

  15. Merry Christmas Miss Oona! I love this…it looks just like a Vogue spread they did with Kiera Knightley in Africa in the past year or two, which I ADORED.

  16. great use of 2250!! you look so rugged and FIERCE.