Monday, October 20, 2014

A Devil in a Blue Dress?

The last week and a half has a been a hectic everyone gets sick in a row.  Two days Alex, two days Conor, then two days dear husband.  After everyone is better, dear husband goes and sprains his back. This has meant he's been out of commission since Friday.  It was a long weekend, and my have involved me muttering whilst walking the dog.  Anyway, busy family life + busy work = not a lot of sewing, which sucks, since I have three major sewing projects I want to get done before November 8- one of which is my Marine ballgown.  Well, of course, when one has deadlines looming, one makes a completely different dress.  I've been thinking about this dress for over a year now- since August 2013 to be exact, when I bought the trim on a Russian trim buying spree.

I am going to keep this post to mainly pictures, because I have some fabric to iron, dryel bag to find, and some pre-treating to do.  One of the perks of living abroad, is that I can have a housekeeper who comes twice a week.  One of the pitfalls is that if I don't put everything away before she comes, who knows where it might end up.  So let's take the dress in a little bit more?  It's Butterick 5556, with about four feet taken out of the hemline- my god what a lot of fabric it is- I believe it's a 1.5 circle skirt. (Can you have such a thing?  I don't know, all I know is that it's at least one full circle with all the extra taken out, so I can only imagine.

I am going to have to ask you to ignore the slight creasing and the belt slippage.  I took these pictures right as I got home from work, but I had to quickly change to a. walk the dog (who had missed her 4 pm walk because dear husband's muscle relaxer made him fall asleep), b. play with a cranky baby (see a. above), and c. make dinner.  I really wanted to take pictures yesterday, but did not finish the dress in time, mainly due to the ridiculously long hem.  If I remember correctly, I bought 4 meters of the bottom trim, so if I do my math correctly, that's 13ish feet of trim?  And this is all I had left
Yup, 8 inches, or in metric 20 cm.  I am working on working in metric.  I doubt it will ever happen, I still convert everything to imperial.  Don't even get me started on trying to convert kilometers to miles, I will say I am thankful that my car's speedometer has both, because it's just not natural.

Here are some closer ups of the details.  The coloring is off in just about every photo- it was already dusk when I was taking these, and therefore my camera was over compensating.  I haven't quite figured out to to consistently fix color in photoshop, it's a work in progress.  The fabric is a cotton sateen, with a weft interfacing.  I made two changes to the pattern- I turned the gathers in to pleats and I made a hem facing to help support the weight of the trim.

You might have noticed that I shot these pictures in the sewing room.  It is getting close to being done.  I am having issues with the rugs, so I need to buy the rubbery things that go under rugs, so that they don't move around.  I also have to hang the shelves so I can finish putting everything away and organize my fabric.  But it's getting there.  And I love the walls.  I just wish my landlord had never put in pink/red carpet.

Work in progress right?  At least it's usable and I have my big cutting board.  I am excited about the artwork that will hopefully be going up on the walls.  I need to still print out the photographs, but if I can get them to turn out, it will be awesome.  I haven't really made any art in the last several years, so it will be nice to have some new stuff.  Mostly I tend to decorate with my senior thesis photographs, way back from my undergrad years.  I minored in photography, so it's really a love of mine.   (Which is shameful and embarrassing that my blog photos aren't perfect, I really need to up my game.)  

Anyway, with a 1.5 circle skirt, one must have obligatory twirling shots and here is mine.
One last note- a question for you dear readers- which one do you prefer? The one on the left is a wool/cashmere blend and the one on the right is a cotton sateen with some stretch. 

Let me know what you think in the comments.  Until next time- happy sewing! 

P.S. Sorry mom- no pictures of the boys.  I promise next post.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Spring Dress in a Ukrainian Fall

It's amazing how a couple of days will put some perspective on a situation.  After I stopped complaining, I started doing, and have fixed almost all of my complaints.  This post will be super short, as it's past my bedtime.  Where should we start?  After careful deliberation and staring at the dress, I decided to not change the length, but take out the majority of the poof in the sleeves.  What a difference 5/8ths of an inch will do to a dress.  I wore it yesterday, and within the first 20 minutes of work, I received at least five separate compliments on it. 
This is how I wore it.  The jacket is from JCrew circa 2009/2010.  I think 2010.  In real life the pink/red in the dress and coral in the jacket match.  

Here is the side/back view.  You can really see the flowers.  Funny story, one of the babushkas (old ladies) that man the entrance of my apartment, called me Carmen Miranda when I came home from work.  It made me giggle.

Here it is without the jacket.  Much chicer with the lower sleeve poof.  For future me's sake, here are the rest of the pictures of the dress.

I will admit that I wasn't all to concerned about matching prints.  Also, the center pleats turned out to be different sizes.  Somehow I didn't notice it while making them.  I bet if I didn't tell you you would have never noticed.  Anyway.  Let's talk about the elephant in the room...  I've started (and almost finished) the remodel of the sewing/guest room.  My household effects came on Monday, and in it was peel and stick wallpaper I had bought for a room in Sao Paulo.  (We had a lavender wall which at first I wasn't too keen, but in the end it didn't bother me enough to do anything with it.)  So before I organized my sewing room, I decided that I needed to do the wallpapering and painting.   Then fortuitously my first round of carpet squares came.  So you can see the total effect in this picture.

So much better right?  I have done two coats of painting, and tomorrow I will just have to fix two spots where the paint didn't want to go.  But other than that, I get to clean up the mess and put my room together.  I can't wait!  And I have a three day weekend.  Maybe I'll get started on my Marine Ball gown?  Hmmmm.  Perhaps!
 And just so you know what a state of disaster the room is.  Egads!  Anyway until next time Happy Sewing!  

P.S.  I'm thinking I might dress up this year for Halloween.  Who do you think?  Josie from Josie and the Pussy Cats or Claire from Clueless?  Are you dressing up?  As who?  Leave me a comment!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Complaint of Sorts and a what would you do?

Hello dear readers, sorry I haven't been blogging nearly as much as I want.  First things first, we have been sleeping in the guest room/sewing room, making it much more difficult to sew.  Second of all we're still waiting on the rest of our stuff, so if I want to cut something out, I have to bring everything out to the kitchen table, and then clean it up.  Third of all, can I be frank?  The color of the carpet and the walls in our bedrooms, all of them, makes me cringe.  I honestly hate being back there.  Red carpet, pinky beige walls. 
This is what we have in our room.  I really shouldn't complain, as our apartment is huge, and is for the most part really nice.  We have two giant bathrooms, both with jacuzzi tubs, and one even has a built in sauna.  (I don't know if we'll ever use the sauna, but the boys love the two person jacuzzi tub aka small swimming pool).  Anyway, my sewing room is not inspiring me to be creative.  I have some carpet squares on the way in a grey, some peel and stick wallpaper, and I've talked Tony into painting (which means we'll have to paint in 3 years to get it back to beige), so I think in a month or so, it will look a lot better.  Also not having all my stuff organized is driving me nuts.  Luckily, our stuff is arriving tomorrow, so things will start getting better.  I hope!

I've also been in Odessa for half of the last week for work.  It's a beautiful city, and I really enjoyed it.  I forgot my camera, so no pictures.  But I can check off my Russian nerd list- seen the Potemkin stairs.  

Enough complaining!  In preparation for getting our stuff, yesterday Conor, Alex, and I trekked out to Epicenter.  Epicenter is pretty much Home Depot mixed with Walmart.  We ended up at one of the not as nice ones, but we still got what we needed.  I bought a new sewing table and some shelving to put on the walls for better storage. This is my new sewing desk:

What I love is that it is large enough for both machines, there is storage, and there is even space for my transformer on top of the desk.  I hated putting it together, though, it was completely unassembled, but without IKEA like instructions. 

This was it.  There were at least six different types of screws.  Luckily, I've put together a massive amount of furniture in the past, so I figured it out.  I even got help from my lovely husband.  That made it go a heck of a lot faster.
So I am pretty sure that there was a second box that we didn't receive.  I guess I could have gone back to Epicenter to check it out, but that would have involved a 40 minute bus ride, and arguing in Russian, and then getting back home.  What was missing, was all the plywood for the drawer bottoms.  To make due, I used pieces of the box.  I thought it would work fine, as I'm not putting anything heavy, but then Alex stepped in the bottom drawer, so um no.

Anyway, there has been some sewing.  In fact, I am almost done with a dress.  I went to the fabric store last Sunday to get some bias binding, and also came back with three meters of a printed cotton.  I used the same bodice pattern as my last dress- B6094, but I closed up the back.  I also added sleeves, and made a pleated full length skirt.  Everything is done, but the sleeves are just basted in, and not hemmed.  I tried it on tonight, and I'm not sure about it.

The fit is spot on, and I love the pattern, but I kinda feel like it's a little too modest?  Here in Kyiv, the full length dress or the long midi is really on point right now.  You must wear the dress with high heels, but other than that, it's very turn of the century chic right now.  (And I'm not talking about this last century.)  Anyway, I can do one of the following things.  A. nothing, hem the sleeves as is.  B.  unpick the skirt, raise it to midi length, hem sleeves as is.  C. leave the skirt as is, reduce the poof or the length in the sleeves.  D. raise the skirt to midi length, reduce the poof or length in sleeves.

Let me know what you think in the comments!   Until next time happy sewing.