I know we’ve all said it at some point or another.

I love you guys so much. Seriously. It is such a joy to be involved in this community and I feel like every other day I discover some new amazing sewist who is making beautiful things while wittily writing about her escapades with silk and sergers. My {real life} homies tease me all the time when I say things like “Oh my pal Sallie said….”, or “My girlfriend Elisalex lives in London and….”

Because I have not actually ever, um, met any of you. But it’s inevitable that a close knit community of women with the same interests will fall a little bit in love with each other, even if we are basically pen pals with DSL connections. One of my sewing crushes/long distance buddies is the vibrant, the inimitable, the spectacular, the bold, Ms. Oona Balloona (aka Marcy). When I initially started following sewing blogs, Marcy was one of the first women I discovered on the Sew Weekly, and she blew my mind with her fearless, kaleidoscopic approach to pattern and colour.

I can’t think of anyone else I know with such a trailblazing, idiosyncratic sense of style. It was inevitable that I would want to steal just a little of it for myself. So, WAAAAAAY back in September we started discussing doing something together. That rough zygote of a plan turned into the idea of switching sewing identities. We agreed to mail each other a Mystery Project. Everything we would need to make said project would be included: pattern, fabric, notions, thread etc. It took us a few months to get our shit together, but some time before Christmas, I got THIS in the mail:


Two colours I never in a million years would have thought to pair (chocolate brown and raspberry), along with a gorgeous plaid metallic threaded georgette that I would have caressed, pondered, and inevitably backed away from in terror at the fabric store. And what pattern did our Oona send me? The Nicola dress by Victory Patterns (don’t be confused by the Simplicity number – that was just a bonus gift). Delightful. However, by the time I got the package, Christmas was coming, and then I had to pack and move, and then get settled in the new place. So here we are, months later, and we are finally posting the results of our Sew Bossy Initiative.

When it came time to working on my Oona baby, I forwent a muslin. Don’t ask me why, since I’ve made it a habit to mock up most of my new projects these days, especially when I’m working with a new company. I was just so excited to get started couldn’t be bothered. According to Kristiann’s measurements, I *probably* should have cut out a size 10, but I had just enough georgette to eke out an 8 so I threw caution to the wind. The wind almost bit me in the ass. When I tried on the bodice it was way too tight, but seemed to fit okay once I minimized the seam allowances to ¼”. I also took about an 1.5” off the length.

In terms of construction, I followed Oona’s lead (she made a gorgeous Nicola back in September) and underlined the georgette with the raspberry poly-silk lining and serged all my seams. The instructions were incredibly clear and it came together fairly easily. The georgette proved to be very manageable, and listening to the mix she made me while I assembled it and drank a stiff cocktail in her honour, I felt positively Oonatastic.

Feeling Oonatastic means making lots of really expressive faces, btw.

There was a snag, of course. Which was that once I tried the finished dress on, there was a huge gap at the bust. Spring was busting out all over (and by spring, I mean my cans). I’m not blaming the pattern as I keep having weird fit issues with everything I make. I’m not sure yet if it’s my shoulders, if I have a short torso, or whether I need a FBA but the only way to fix it was to sew weird pleats at the shoulder to gather all the excess fabric. It’s not ideal but I don’t think it’s super noticeable with the drape of the sleeve and the busyness of the print.

The final verdict? I think this is one of my favourite things I’ve ever sewn. It fits beautifully (besides the weird shoulder issue), the fabric is WONDERFUL and it makes me feel like a hot plaid disco ball (IN A GOOD WAY). There were other Victory Patterns I probably would have sewn first if given the chance, but I fell really hard in love with the Nicola once I started working on it. A classic wrap dress with a few really feminine, romantic details, I just feel really special and lovely in it. And I have the fantastic Oona to thank. There is nothing like the challenge and vision of someone you respect to push you outside your comfort zone.

So thank you My DopSewGanger, My Singer Dictator, My Tailoring Taskmaster. I really enjoyed visiting Oonaland.

But don’t worry my sweet; I won’t Single White Female you. But I may Take a Bus to NYC to Come Hang Out With You.

Now guys, if any of you have a long distance blog pal whose style you admire, we are throwing down the gauntlet. SWITCH SEWING IDENTITIES! I can’t stress how fun this whole process has been, and how much it has opened my eyes to what I can make. No more fondling beautiful, scary fabrics and backing away in terror. Now I will ask, “What Would Oona Do?”

Here is a badge you can add to your site if you want to participate:

The Sew Bossy Initiative needs new recruits! Keep me posted if anyone else decides to join in the fun, and we can do a big roundup post later and feature all the sewing style switcheroos!

Core Fabrics


Closet Core Patterns

Hi! I'm Heather Lou, a pattern designer and sewing educator for the modern maker. At Closet Core Patterns, we transform your imagination into step-by-step implementation that helps you create a wardrobe you love - not one you're limited to buying off the rack.

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