I love my customers! Here are some flower girl photos recently sent to me!
Shop on etsy here
If you want more lace & dress options, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Sunday, my mom and I attended a Ukrainian Catholic University fundraiser in Chicago, Illinois. After singing both the United State’s national anthem and Ukraine’s national anthem before the ceremony, my mom shared something interesting with me. She said, “When we sing the national anthem in America, we thank God for our freedom, while the Ukrainian national anthem prays for freedom: ‘We’ll lay down our souls and bodies to attain our freedom, and we’ll show that we, brothers, are of the Cossack nation.’”
I’m thankful to be American, but I’m also blessed & proud to be Ukrainian. As we celebrate Veteran’s Day and honor our American veterans, I can’t help but think of the turmoil in Ukraine today.
One of the reasons I made the effort to attend this benefit was to share the company of Ukraine’s popstar, Ruslana. Not only does Ruslana inspire millions with her music, but she also touches many with her humanitarian spirit. She is a brave political activist and the exuberant leader of Ukraine’s pro-E.U. protest movement. (Learn more about her here.)
I’ve loved Ruslana and her music for many years now. (Watch her award-winning Wild Dances Eurovision performance here. This song has been one of my top played songs for at least 7 years!) But after Sunday, I’m even more inspired by her dedication to Ukraine. Ruslana raises money for injured Ukrainians and refugees, but above all she asks us to pray for Ukraine’s freedom and peace.
Please keep Ukraine in your thoughts and prayers. If you have the desire to help monetarily, more information can be found on Ruslana’s website here.
For my part, I’m hoping to create a few Ukrainian inspired items to auction off for the cause. Слава Україні! Героям слава!
I really can’t believe it’s been one year since I made my first flower girl dress! It was the beginning of a new chapter in Anagrassia.
I want to thank all my readers and recent customers over this past year. I really appreciate your support and business. (And I’m really grateful to those who pushed me to venture outside my comfort zone and into the bridal world, you know who you are!) Future success will be the result of your early support. I have you all to thank for the inspiration that continues to help me make Anagrassia grow and be more of a reality.
I’m sorry my posts have been small and not very meaty. Writing has never been my forte, so it’s easy for me to delay writing posts, updating my blog/social media outlets, and instead stick to the perfection of what I do: sewing and mastering the craft. At the end of the day, I hope that my work will speak for itself. I do believe that one of the biggest fruits from this past year of projects and designs has been the confirmation of what I have firmly believed from the very start: the best things are made carefully and by the hand of the artist herself. As I master the craft I am only more convinced that Anagrassia cannot grow if this only means mass production of items. Growth and mastery mean that my work sets precedents and raises the bar for everyone’s expectations. It does not mean making more stuff more quickly and for less. I invite everyone to share in my work from this perspective.
Thanks again for all your support and interest in Anagrassia. Please stay with me as Anagrassia continues to hone the craft and share in people’s stories and love for all things beautiful and well made!
(Blog post #4 here)
Below are some of my recent flower girl dress designs and submitted customer photos.
Since this post is 2 months late, please contact me if you sent me a photo and don’t see it posted on the blog.
I always knew “Croc” would remain one of my best friends after college. She used to share her croissant ends with me at Starbucks during our freshman year at Notre Dame. Yes, you heard me right — “croissant ends.”
Almost every Tuesday and Thursday before our History class together, we used to grab Starbucks coffee and croissants at the “Huddle” on campus. Not only would she share her study notes, stress, and gossip with me, she always offered me the greasy ends of her croissant, which she knew I loved!
After freshman year, I did the unexpected and transferred to a rival school. Despite this, Croc, a die-hard Notre Dame fan, continued to be one of my best friends. Because of her unwavering support and loyalty, I credit much of my recent success (and freshman lbs…just kidding) to her. As a token of my appreciation, I’ve been scheming with her brother about making her a custom-made garment.
Originally, I planned on making her a dress. But ultimately I decided that without her exact measurements, a coat would be better (and likely worn more often).
During a recent shopping trip to Fishman Fabrics in Chicago, I found 2 yards of navy cashmere. Even though the cashmere was softer than most coating fabrics, it was really beautiful and I knew I could make a cashmere leather coat you wouldn’t find at your average department store. I also knew the navy color would be a perfect fit for a her, a die-hard Notre Dame fan.
It took me a couple weeks to nail down her coat design. At first, I almost chose a collarless coat pattern. But I ultimately decided that the coat would be warmer with a small collar.
Here’s one of my new tulle skirt designs for teens and adults.
It’s a fully lined champagne satin skirt with overlaying champagne tulle layers.
The back invisible zipper and hook & eye makes this tulle skirt easier to get in and out.
Shop Champagne Skirt here
Ivory skirt and more designs coming soon!
I was recently commissioned to make a wedding veil.
Prior to this order, I didn’t know very much about veils and I certainly didn’t realize there were so many options and design possibilities. (It is so involved that you may want to decide upon a veil style and fabric before you buy or design your dress!)
Let’s discuss the options available!
The inexpensive veils are made with illusion tulle. This tulle is 100% nylon and found at your average retail fabric store. This tulle is either firm or soft (but not as soft as chiffon or soft silk tulle). The firmer the tulle, the more loft in the tulle. Illusion tulle is offered in shiny or matte.
Netting is another bridal veil option. There are different kinds of netting, but you will usually see the softer netting for the longer veils and the firm French/Russian netting for the birdcage veils. Netting fabric is weaved with thicker polyester threads into a geometric diamond pattern.
Below you can see my sister’s wedding veil, which was made with netting fabric.
While netting is not as pretty as silk tulle, it photographs very nicely!
The most expensive veils are made with silk tulle. Silk tulle is made with 100% silk and is ABSOLUTELY beautiful! The retail price for silk tulle is between $60– $120 per yard. Silk tulle can either be firm or soft. Soft silk tulle is heavier and drapes like a silk chiffon, while firm silk tulle is stiffer and drapes like illusion tulle. Kate Middleton’s wedding veil was made with soft silk tulle.
At first, I bought soft silk tulle for my commissioned veil. But unfortunately after testing the soft silk tulle design with the bride’s desired veil design, the soft silk tulle did not work out as I had hoped. (A cathedral length silk tulle veil made with soft silk tulle does not lay or stay flat like firm silk tulle.)
Then after some frantic searching and phone calls, I found some beautiful firm silk tulle! As you can see below, it drapes a lot like illusion tulle. (But silk tulle is much, much, much prettier than illusion tulle.)
Below is the final veil design of the commissioned veil.
The veil was made with ivory colored firm silk tulle and ivory lace attached to a metal comb. It’s about 108” in length and 72” wide. The entire veil was hand stitched (including the lace appliqué/trim).
Contact me if you would like me to make you a (soft or firm) silk tulle veil for your wedding!
Another Anagrassia article in the August 2014 issue of Sassy Magazine!
Read the article on Sassy’s website here
St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church is a very special place for my family. A little less than a year ago, my sister and brother-in-law were married there. Then just this past week, my niece, Gigi, was baptized in St. Michael’s. The baptism was very nice and extremely special.
Since Baptism is the most important day in one’s life, I though it appropriate that I make dresses (and a onesie) for the ceremony and reception.
Gigi wore the baptismal gown passed down through the family, which was sewn by my babcha. It was a beautiful gown! My babcha did all the (pink) hand stitching on it as well. (Which reminds me….I’m coming out with baptismal gowns! They should be available for sale later this fall.)
I absolutely adored the dress I made for myself to wear for Gigi’s baptism.
Last winter I made a shorter (and velvet) version of this dress, (see dress here). Unfortunately, the velvet material of the first dress made it difficult to see all the details and pleats of the dress. I swore then that I would make this dress design again (before it goes out of style). I was so busy this spring that I never got around to it. But once I was asked to be Gigi’s godmother, I knew I had to do it.
I changed the original pattern in a few places. First, I made the skirt of the dress fuller than the original dress pattern. (The original pattern had the hem taper in.) I spent lots of money on this beautiful floral fabric and I wanted to use as much of the floral pattern as I could. Second, I made the straps slightly thinner than the original pattern. And lastly, I made the bottom bodice layer a stretch cream knit fabric. (This made the dress more comfortable and easy to wear!)
I made a white silk slip to wear under this dress! I will write something about it in a later post.
THANKS FOR READING
PART 2 WILL BE POSTED TOMORROW!
Check out the Anagrassia article in Sassy Magazine! Read more on Sassy’s website: Organic Approach to Your Style
Make your old trousers more modern by adding leather welt pockets!
One of the benefits of selling on the web is reaching people worldwide!
I was recently contacted by a bride in Australia about making flower girl dresses for her July (winter) wedding. Instead of a Chantilly lace for the leotards, she chose the alencon lace I had in stock. As beautiful as the lace was, I had never used the lace and was apprehensive about cutting and designing the first leotard. But fortunately, the lace worked really well. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved the alencon lace and how beautiful the leotards turned out. In fact, so did others because shortly after posting a photo of the alencon leotard online, I sold out the rest of the lace!
In the process of designing the flower girl dresses, the bride wanted to incorporate some of the alencon lace into a garment for herself. Due to distance and the cost of shipping mock-ups, we decided that a loose fitting simple v-neck silk top would be the best garment to make.
The top doesn’t have darts, but she may find a seamstress there to dart the top for her. Since the silk charmeuse was very unforgiving when pinned or stitched, I was afraid to dart the top without fitting the top on her first and making a mistake on the size and placement of the darts.
I used lace binding to finish the hem and sleeves. The lace binding added a nice detail to the blouse, but it made the sleeves hang oddly and move stiffly. Ultimately, I decided to remove the lace binding in the sleeves and finish them by hand.
“Thanks to the girls in his life, this dashing young man looked sharp for his 8th grade graduation!”
I love menswear! When I was approached to make my brother’s graduation vest, I was more than happy to accept the ‘order!’ My brother is pretty thick for his age so it’s hard enough for him to find clothes that fit, let alone clothes that fit & are fashionable. Fortunately, he has a sister who can help him out!
I used Kwik Sew’s Vest Pattern K2860. (I’m lucky that he’s still small enough for me to use commercial patterns for him. The other boys in my family are too big for commercial patterns!) This pattern was true to size and I was very happy with the results.
I used metallic polyester fabric and gray taffeta for the vest. I HATED working with this fabric! I’m not a fan of using woven polyester.
But he was going to wear this vest once (maybe twice), so we chose inexpensive fabric. Both the gray and pink paisley fabrics unraveled and stretched easily. This fabric was difficult & frustrating to press and sew welt pockets.
I recently received a stash of buttons from a friend. The button stash has some really cool buttons for men’s jackets; crowns, eagles, liberty bells, lions, etc. My brother is extremely patriotic and loves civil war & combat stories/movies, so he ultimately chose the liberty bell buttons for his vest (and jacket).
Here’s my second vintage inspired swimsuit. (View my first bustier bathing suit top here.) It’s another boned bustier top made with a polyester/rayon fabric.
I recently tested my first bustier swimsuit in sun, water & chlorine. The top worked really well in all those conditions. It didn’t fuss, fade, or stretch out.
This was the original design drawn by a girl I babysit for. Read more about it here.
This swimsuit top is for my sister. She’s expecting her first baby soon, so her size is fluctuating and it’s hard to predict what size she’ll be this spring or summer. As a result, I made some changes to my bustier design.
First, I made the bustier 2 sizes bigger than the original top.
Second, I made the straps adjustable by adding plastic S hooks and rings. I wasn’t able to take any of her measurements or make a mock-up ahead of time. Consequently, I had to go back and shorten the shoulder straps because the first straps were WAY too long! (The S hooks landed on the top of the shoulders…oops!)
Third, I changed the back band to a tie back. I love it and it’s really cute! However, the fabric is thick and I’m worried about how tight it can be tied. She hasn’t tested the top in the water yet, but I might change part of the back band & tie piece to a black polyester/lycra fabric.
Buy Dress Pattern here Spaghetti Strap Party Dress
A Few Notes About the Video
Before I begin sharing my project, I want say thank you to my old friend from Notre Dame friend, Pat McKillen. He gave me permission to use his song Found for my video. Even though it’s one of his older songs, it’s still one of my favorites as it seems to capture my journey over the years. Some of my other favorites include: Carry On Caroline, Cover Time After Time, and Cover Galway Girl.
Even though I am still developing my talents as a videographer, I filmed all the clips for this video. Ditto for my sketching skills, (My sister is giving me lessons!) I’m a little embarrassed to even post it, but I did want to share it. Please remember that it is a very rough sketch.
It’s been a year since my babcha (grandmother) passed away.
One would guess that my daily life wouldn’t have been affected so much living so far away from her. I was not one of her devoted caretakers. Nevertheless my life has changed quite a bit. In all aspects of my life, I have seen my hard work pay off and show results. Coincidence? I think not. I have no doubt that Babcha has lent a hand in some way.
With Ash Wednesday, it was time for me to start my annual Easter dress. There was no question that Babcha was my inspiration – but with an unusual twist. This year I’m incorporating Mad Men fashion to the dress, and participating in Julia Bobbin’s Mad Men Challenge. (I don’t watch Mad Men, but the outfits inspired me!)
Think Spring Even Though It’s Winter
Contact me if you want a spring jacket for yourself (you can pick the fabric)!
Join my Marusya Marusya subscriber list and you’ll be entered for future contests!
You may win a custom garment & be featured in a future post!
Clothes really are worth passing on. Certain pieces are made to last and are important elements of the stories that tell the history of a love, a family, and how things came to be the way they are.
That hideous fur coat? It shows the streak of reckless elegance that runs in the family, just as those pointed leather cowboy boots do, worn for generations…
First Ukrainian Dress I made in honor of my grandmother is here
But then some things are born, introduced––my sister now has a wedding dress, two pieces that are part of her new family history. It tells a story, one that includes so much about her life & love, the things important to her and the details of the way her wedding came about and was celebrated. Clothes are a way of preserving and keeping tradition.
Clothes also give honor––we honor ourselves (in the right kind of way!) when we dress nice for events that call for respect. We spend more money on things deserved, properly earned and properly acquired.
And in my case, I make custom clothing (and spend countless hours on special pieces/garments) because it’s a way for me to express my gratitude to those deserving around me.
The dress I wore to my sister’s wedding was a way of honoring my late grandmother. She was an immigrant who made her own way in America, who stitched clothes to pay doctor’s bills, and who wanted to live well and work for prosperity that she and her husband would give to their children. Instead of buying a cookie-cutter bridesmaid dress, I resurrected and completed something my babcha started with her own hands, her own idea of beauty to be given to a loved one.
My Babcha was a special woman. Her story is quite remarkable and the lessons she taught me were even more so. I only hope to be as strong as her and pass on her spirit to others.
Aside from her wisdom, her love of sewing was passed on to me. My babcha was an incredible seamstress! She was self taught and used her skills as a seamstress when she moved to America.
Before my babcha’s passing in March (at the age of 93), I finished my first Ukrainian embroidered dress. My babcha was very sick and it was uncertain whether she would make it to Easter. However, she always wanted to die on Easter and we all believed she would make it to Easter day. (There is a Ukrianian myth that if you die on Easter, you go straight to heaven.) But sadly she didn’t make it or see the ukrainian embroidered Easter dress. But I’m sure she got a glimpse of it up in heaven! (And I have no doubt that she is guiding through my current projects!)
Dress is hand embroidered (took lots and lots of time to stitch)
Invisible Back Zipper
My babcha, Kataryna, was born in 1920 in Western Ukraine. Her father, prior to World War I, voyaged to America to work in the coal mines of Pennsylvania, while he built a homestead for his family in western Ukraine. My babcha’s parents settled to rear eight daughters, farming and woodcarving in that quiet, picturesque village in the rolling foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. As a child, my babcha vowed never to leave her home or her family. Little did she know of the adventures that lay ahead!