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Seattle Star Ball 2014

7 Aug

It was a hot one.   Like really hot, hot, hot.   At least by our feeble West Coast standards.  It was the kind of hot that even though we were in a chilly air conditioned ballroom, the sweat from dancing was still damp after sitting in the chill for over an hour waiting for results.  For those unfamiliar with competition etiquette, it is considered bad form to change out of costume until after the awards are presented, so after basically sprinting indoors off and on for an hour or so, the ladies pull off their shoes, the guys rip off the soaking jackets and we wait.

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Then we get really, really cold and start putting (mostly wet) clothes back on and wait some more.

If we are really smart, we take photos before the results.  Especially wise when one is moving up a category for the first time!

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We did ok in spite of feeling a bit inadequately warmed up and Bill pulling a calf muscle part way through.  We were not a bit intimidated by the idea of a floor full of faster moving Novice and Pre-Champ dancers.  Perhaps we should have been….

Nevertheless, we came 5th in Senior II Open Novice Standard (not last!) and 6th in Senior I Open Novice Standard.  Last, but with just a few non-last place marks.  This is how one adjusts expectations when moving up.  LOL.  Third in  Senior I Gold Standard which was very close to a 2nd place.  The tie had to be broken by some magical algorithm that, as it is math, I won’t attempt to explain.

Then, we take photos:

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Hair – get the hair!

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My ballroom sister Candy, also with a new dress and fancy new hair.

And then the silly photos.

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The new gown performed really well and I am excited to get working on it again – finalize the way the floats connect, get some rhinestones on the skirt and a few other little details.  should be gorgeous-er in time for The Snowball Classic.

Oh – one more thing!  Since this gown has lovely flowers in the organza over skirt and the rhinestone flowers on the top look more like fireworks, I am naming this one The Butchart Gown after the fabulous Gardens that have amazing flowers and a breathtaking fireworks display every Saturday night throughout the summer.

Done enough to wear – magical day.

27 Jul

Finally at the DAY!  Done enough to wear.  If an emergency competition broke out tomorrow, it could be safely worn.  Of course there is still work to be done!  Of course some things are attached with safety pins!  But this is all par for the course.  It is a great feeling to imagine the dress as it will look out on the floor.

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We, the Design Helper and I, have gone with the wispy, feathery bits of floats that seem so popular now, plus some ribbons, which are fun

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I think perhaps a few more to add some volume are called for.  Will know better when we get some video of the dress in action at practice.

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More rhinestones are in the mail.  Will be adding more dark stones to the top to make a better contrast and something will be added to the skirt.  Not sure just what yet.

 

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Drat – still seeing the belt overlap.  Something will have to be done with that.

That’s it for the sneak peek!  Hope to dance this lovely dress in Seattle very soon:-)

A box of linen thread

18 Jul

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Who doesn’t need a 12 spool box of No. 35, 3 cord white Barbours Linen thread?  They are all intact so I couldn’t test it to see if it is even useable.  It is just so gosh-darned cool looking!

Lovely little dressform

16 Jul

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Such a little cutie, just sitting in the thrift shop and only $5.  It is a Perfect Fit Ajust-o-matic dress form made of heavy card stock.  If you zoom in you can see the little slots where you adjust for the Perfect Fit!

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Back view.  This lady was petite, but had a long waist and teeny, tiny hips.

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I desperately wanted to bring her home with me, but just could not justify the purchase.  Brilliant concept though, as it could have been flat packed, assembled by the owner and has quite a lot of adjustability.

My rule for such purchases is that if it is still there the next time I go in, I can buy it.  I somehow doubt she will still be there the next time I go a-thrifting, but you never know.

A Google search turned up an ad/article about the Adjust-o-matic.  Read all about her here.

Two birds

14 Jul

I have been playing with McCalls 6571 for loose fitting pants for ballroom practice.  I made a test pair, a working pair that I made from wicking fabric and I LOVE them.  They are nice and cool and don’t look too horrible with the black oxford style practice shoes I usually wear.

But I wanted something dressier, yet not quite as dressy as this skirt and top. A friend had given me a chunk of slightly stretchy pinstripe that I thought would look great, but it didn’t stretch anywhere nearly enough.  Hmmmm….  So I cut out the pattern with 2 1/2″ margins all the way around (except length) and made up a muslin out of an old sheet.  It kinda fit!  So I made up the pants, took them in a bit along the sides, which effectively made a side seam and was quite sure I would have to put a zipper in the back.  Nice surprise – they slid on over my hips but weren’t too wide at the waist.  a nice wide elastic in the waistband made a nice fit all around.  Yay!

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The magenta top and chain belt are bargains from Ross:-) I asked on Pattern Review about how to wear the belt over the top and have found through just wearing it around the house that it just stays put and looks pretty good.

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And yes, I know the shoes are undone.

Remember that belt?

2 Jul

Here it is now:

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Ha!  Didn’t know I caught my feet in the photo. Either that belt is waaay too big, or my feet are waaaay too small!

Remember the flowered organza?

 

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I realized there was no way to really copy the flowers on the organza, so I just went with the general “feel” of the flowers.  On the sleeve points, I have done a bit of the same idea and then will do silver stems around the rest of the black.  I think.  And maybe the same on the neckline with rhinestone flowers spilling over onto the turquoise?

 

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Portland Rose Festival and River City Ball

22 Jun

One of our all-time favourite competitions for so many reasons!  We met our good friends Terry and Candy there six years ago and we love meeting up with them, dueling on the dance floor and going for beer afterward.  What could be better?

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Here we are in the new hall at the Ballroom Dance Company in Tigard, near Portland.  Lovely floors, lots of mirrors to distract us as we put our first Open choreography on the floor (eeeek!) and wonderful people running the comp and cheering us along whether we deserved it or not.

Hair and makeup took 2 full hours.  We heard an interview with Dmitri Zkarkov where he said, “if we have nine hours, it takes nine hours1  If we have 20 minutes, it takes 20 minutes.”   I need to learn the 20 minute kind…..

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Front of the hair.  Isn’t the upholstered wall lovely?

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Side view.  This was the first time I had a near hair malfunction, but was rescued before the first heat by a fellow competitor who had LOTS of pins to lend me.

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Back view.

Results were good!  First in Senior II and Senior III Gold, second in Senior III Novice and third in Senior II Novice.  Gotta love a small field!

Great beer afterward at Max’s Brew Pub.

Quick post…

19 May

A local sewing friend decided to de-stash her fabrics and I scooped several nice pieces.  Yay!  Thanks Sue!

Time for a new practice outfit.  I did not get photos of the process, but I expanded a skirt panel and made the bottom of the skirt straight (after viewing a few pattern backs and seeing they were simple shapes) and made a 4 panel skirt with a sort of handkerchief hem.

Voila!

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Making a belt

24 Mar

It seems that I build in a new challenge for myself with each gown and this one is the belt.  This is a pretty much involuntary thing and typically I arrive at a place or two where I wonder why on earth I decided I needed this special element in the gown, but there you go.  Why do simple?

Here is the beginning of the belt.  Naturally, there were great intentions of more photos through the process that didn’t get taken. I get a little cranky with bloggers who do this, but this time I did figure out a couple of  reasons why this happens.  Either the thrill of having a project go well or the intensity of focus during a tricky part of the process seem to keep the “take pictures for the blog” portion of the brain turned off.

Anyway, here it is – three pieces of heavy power mesh, 5 pieces of poly boning sewn in place.

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A closer look.  The boning is sewn into one layer, which will be on the body side of the belt.  Plastic sew in snaps will be in the front panel and nice flat purse magnets will hold the back of the belt more or less in place.  I hope.

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Notion inspiration. The thread tree.

3 Mar

The thread tree.  Basic cheapy from the fabric store.  Plastic and wobbly, but does the job.

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It has holes for screwing it onto the sewing table, but as I move machines and things around all the time, I was not interested in that.  Plus, it would put holes in my lovely Freecycle computer desk!  Though about mounting it on a board, but that never happened.

But today I saw this:

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Little cup full of computer screws, which we have by the billion around here.  Since there are no small kids here anymore, they are a bit like our Lego.  Step on one of these little beauties and it will make a big impression.  Get it?  Anyway, I was about to dump the works into a container to make yet another pattern weight, which I don’t need, when I thought of the thread tree;

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Took it apart.

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Flipped the base over.

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Filled it with screws, removing all the light plastic whatsits for max. weight.  Traced the outline onto a plastic yogurt container lid.

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Glue gunned it in place.

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Reassembled the tree.  I know glue gun glue doesn’t bond perfectly with plastic, but it feels pretty firm so far.  I can always add some tape around the edges for security.  Worst case scenario, I have a bunch of screws to pick up one day.  In the meantime, the tree stands firmly and doesn’t rattle around!

 

 

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