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Holiday Classic 2014

21 Dec

Here we are about to dance Championship for the first time!

red carpet Holiday Classic 2014

The photos are a bit blurry – waiting for the professional ones coming soon, I hope.  How cool to be introduced by John DePalma, walking down an actual red carpet in Las Vegas.

Not only did we not fall down (always objective #1 LOL!) but we danced really well, felt fantastic in spite of it being somewhere after 11 pm, and we came third!  Admittedly it was a small field, but we will take it as a victory anyway.

holiday classic awards 2014

The next day activity – zip line over Freemont Street.

vegas 2014 zip line

How About a Few Action Shots?

2 Dec

We had a club demo this past weekend and got some nice photos taken by friends.

Looking happy:

B&G VBDS Demo-7

The problem with a height difference:

B&G VBDS Demo-1

Swirly skirts and tango face:

B&G VBDS Demo-3

Check out Pacifica Ball on Facebook for a video of our waltz.

Puffy piles of pretty

20 Oct


Upping the Rhinestone content on the Butchart Gown in preparation for the Snowball Classic next month.

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.


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!



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:


Hair – get the hair!


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

And then the silly photos.


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.


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


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.


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.



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:-)

Remember that belt?

2 Jul

Here it is now:


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?





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?




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.


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.


Time for a couple of photos

2 Mar

New dress finally!  Began last June  I think, and stuck after the initial construction got done.  This is roughly the idea for now.


Added a belt to get the idea of how it would look and I like the black!  This is actually two stretchy elastic belts from the 80’s that have been sitting in that drawer – you know, the one with all that weird stuff?


A lot of work to go, but nice to have the basic idea in place.

Sewing machine woes.

2 Aug

This is why people are hesitant to take machines of all kinds in for servicing.  My super wonderful awesome $5 thrift store machine is fantastic.  It is quiet, it isn’t fussy, I never have to fidget with settings etc.  But then it had that little seizing up problem and I took it in to be properly serviced by an actual professional.  And now it is gradually skipping more and more stitches, the bobbin thread is showing through onto the needle thread side and I can’t figure out why.


It doesn’t skip on wovens (this is a piece of flanelette) but you can see the bobbin threads popping through.  If I loosen the needle thread enough to match this, the seam becomes ridiculously loose.  *sigh*  Can’t deal with it today, but I will be visiting Sawyers next week.

Raising the armscye.

30 Jul

Raising the what?  One of those archaic Ye Olde Englishe terms that has remained in sewing circles.  It just means the arm hole.  Wikipeidia  has an interesting explanation and if Wikipedia says it, it must be true!

In ballroom gowns, the sleeves must be shaped much differently from a regular garment because we run around with our arms reaching upward all the time.  If you have ever had a shirt or jacket that lifted up at the bottom every time you moved your arms, you had a too large armscye.

So we have to raise the armscye and flatten the sleeve cap (top of the sleeve) to make it look right while dancing.  Of course this is even more important for the guys, as they have their bulky jackets to deal with.  Thank heaven I do not sew those!  Laura Lagassa has a version of how to do this on her step-by-step gown construction page.  This is the system I have been using, but found I needed to alter each dress on the fly and haven’t been happy with the results 100% of the time.

Yesterday I was searching Pattern Review for some info and found this discussion about how to do this alteration and I really like it.  Here is a link directly to the  directions on how to do it.

I have ended up with a very weirdly shaped sleeve pattern, which I will take a photo of later.

So far I have the dress skirts sewn together, the bodice pattern made and the sleeves adjusted.  Yesterday involved a LOT of basting, checking and ripping out.  So nice to have my cover stitch machine that sews a chain stitch.  Much easier to rip out than zig zags and shows the seam more accurately, too.

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