Mnohija Lita!

Despite all the awful things that have hap­pened on April 15th (Titanic Sink­ing, Lincoln’s mur­der, Boston Bomb­ings, National Tax Day, etc.), it’s a very spe­cial day for me. My very best friend and sis­ter was born! :)

Marusya new york giants katie apple picking

Black & Red Floral Bustier Bathing Suit

Fol­low Marusya Marusya on Twit­ter @theanagrassia or Insta­gram @marusyagrace to see WIP* photos.
*Work In Progress

black, red, floral, vintage, bustier, bathing, swimsuit, boning, summer, marusya

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.  :)

Retro Vintage boned bustier floral swim suit Marusya Anagrassia

This was the orig­i­nal design drawn by a girl I babysit for. Read more about it here.

black 9 red floral vintage bustier swim suit with boning marusya

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.

black red floral vintage bustier swimsuit with boning marusya

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Pysanky: Ukrainian Easter Eggs

colorful ukrainian Easter Eggs pysanky marusya marusya

Easter is just around the cor­ner! This is the time of year when you will find most Ukraini­ans hunched over their fresh eggs, wax, can­dles, kistkas, and dyes mak­ing their intri­cate Easter eggs. Ukraini­ans call these eggs Pysanky.

Cre­at­ing these lit­tle works of art requires a lot of time and PATIENCE. Not only are there mul­ti­ple steps to be taken for each egg, but you can’t erase a mis­take and go back­wards — and there are mil­lions of ways to crack your egg in the process! Because of this, I’m one of the few Ukraini­ans who rarely par­tic­i­pates in this annual under­tak­ing. It doesn’t mat­ter how slow or how care­ful I am, my eggs always break! Even the ones that make it all the way to the var­nish­ing stage get smashed or dropped by me or some­one else.

It’s too bad that I can’t sit down long enough to make Pysanky because it’s fun to go back and see everyone’s eggs over the years. Each has their own style! For exam­ple, my sis­ter Lesya’s eggs are really cool and unique, while my aunt’s eggs are very intri­cate and tra­di­tional. Just recently my mom pulled out some of my Babcha’s eggs that were 20–30 years old!

Here is a short video one of my sis­ters cre­ated a LONG time ago!  Rather than me explain­ing every step, watch the video :)

colorful ukrainian Easter Eggs pysanky marusya marusya

Start with a fresh egg. Either boiled or raw (later blown). Lightly pen­cil guid­ing lines. Use Kistka to apply wax.

colorful ukrainian Easter Eggs pysanky marusya marusya

Start with light­est dyes

colorful ukrainian Easter Eggs pysanky marusya marusya

Add more designs for each color using the wax and kistka

colorful ukrainian Easter Eggs pysanky marusya marusya

colorful ukrainian Easter Eggs pysanky marusya marusya

colorful ukrainian Easter Eggs pysanky marusya marusya

The eggs are fin­ished after you melt off the wax and var­nish the eggs.

Craftsy

Easter Dress 2014: Mad Men, Retro & Babcha Inspired

Floral strapless beige bolero easter dress marusya

 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!)

Craftsy

Read More →

Preparing for Easter 2014

Ukrainian Floral Pink Cotton Floral Fabric Marusya

This is by far my least favorite time of the year. Between giv­ing up daily plea­sures dur­ing Lent, doing taxes, and the gloomy weather, I dread March and early April! Despite all these things, there’s one thing that does lighten the mood…sewing my 2014 Easter dress!

Again I’m design­ing an Easter dress inspired by my babcha. This time I’m using some of her old fab­ric rather than spend­ing count­less hours doing Ukrain­ian Embroi­dery! Since I’m using some of her vin­tage fab­ric, I decided to take part in JuliaBobbin’s Mad Men Chal­lenge and make a Mad Men/vintage inspired dress for Easter.

My orig­i­nal design looks noth­ing like the design I’m sewing now!

I’m only about 1/2 way through. Here’s a sneak peek of where I’m at now.

I’ll have much more to share with you in the 2nd Easter dress post!

ukrainian easter dress for babcha 2014 strapless floral

Floral Retro Bustier Swimsuit

Retro Vintage boned bustier floral swim suit Marusya Anagrassia

Ever since col­lege, I’ve mused about mak­ing a bikini. They are easy to make and require very lit­tle fab­ric (obvi­ously), so I’m not really sure why it took me so long to make one. Per­haps it’s because of my taste for poly­ester swimsuits.

Grow­ing up, my sis­ters and I went through so many lycra swim­suits, because they would fade in just a few weeks from the chlo­rine and sun. So when Speedo & TYR started offer­ing longer last­ing poly­ester suits, I never went back to the lycra suits.

Even with all the beau­ti­ful lycra fab­rics avail­able in my local stores, I was never inspired enough to make swim suits out of it. I just wasn’t con­vinced that it was durable enough to with­stand the chlo­rine and sun.

Finally after my sister’s per­sua­sion (and com­mis­sion), I decided to give vin­tage bathing suit mak­ing a try! Nei­ther of us are string bikini gals. We like more coverage/support. So we decided on a retro swim­suit design. This design requires much more work than your typ­i­cal lycra swim­suit. Why? Because the fab­ric is polyerster/rayon (looks like linen) and not stretchy, so the fit must be exact. In addi­tion, I’ve also added bon­ing to the cups and side.

Retro Vintage boned bustier floral swim suit Marusya Anagrassia

Before begin­ning my sister’s suit, I decided to make one for myself first. I found a sewing pat­tern to help me pat­tern the cups, but the pattern’s direc­tions were slim so I used it as a guide instead. I also changed it up by adding bon­ing to the cups with elas­tic and snaps on the back, rather than hooks.

15 vintage boned swimsuit Marusya Anagrassia copy

I LOVE this swim­suit! It’s extremely flat­ter­ing & fun!

Good thing I made a prac­tice suit because I have a few things I want to change to the design for my sister’s swim­suit! You’ll have to wait to see it, in the meantime…

Retro Vintage boned bustier floral swim suit Marusya Anagrassia

 Here’s a sneak peek!

One of the lit­tle girls we babysit for wanted to design her suit!  I told her if she drew up dif­fer­ent designs, I’d choose one of them! Here’s the draw­ing we are using for inspiration!

Retro Vintage boned bustier floral swim suit Marusya Anagrassia

Retro Vintage boned bustier floral swim suit Marusya Anagrassia

Retro Vintage boned bustier floral swim suit Marusya Anagrassia

The straps don’t fit the dress form

Retro Vintage boned bustier floral swim suit Marusya Anagrassia

Retro Vintage boned bustier floral swim suit Marusya Anagrassia

Some of her other swim­suit designs

Retro Vintage boned bustier floral swim suit Marusya Anagrassia

I made turquoise poly­ester bot­toms to go with this top! I also plan on mak­ing a match­ing high-waisted skirt to go with this top too!


Color nature with Copic markers!

Le Velvet Smoking Jacket: Gomez Addams & Chirp Thing

Black Maroon Velvet Smoking Jacket Gomez Addams Family Lace Dress 238 Folkwear

We all know the most inter­est­ing man in the world drinks Dos Equis, but do you know what he wears? It’s a shame smok­ing jack­ets are no longer pop­u­lar and rarely seen on men today. These mid thigh-length vel­vet & silk robes are bad ass!  Just imag­ine how lux­u­ri­ous & relax­ing life would be if men wore smok­ing jack­ets dur­ing their morn­ing cof­fee or evening read­ing by the fire. Per­haps, that’s an unre­al­is­tic expec­ta­tion since we’re accus­tomed to our fast lives and easy-wash gar­ments. But heck, who knows — maybe they’ll make a come back!

Black Maroon Velvet Smoking Jacket Gomez Addams family 238 Folkwear

For over a year now, I’ve wanted to make one of these sophis­ti­cated throw­backs. I’ve pro­cras­ti­nated because of the high cost of vel­vet and my lack of a vel­vet board. But finally after stum­bling upon some clear­ance vel­vet & a sewing con­test, I was finally pushed to make the jacket!

Gomez Addams Smoking Jacket

Gomez from Addams Family

I’m enter­ing it into an “Inspired by the Movies” con­test. The movie char­ac­ter that inspired my jacket was Gomez from the Addams Fam­ily. I almost chose a solid col­ored vel­vet to make a jacket inspired by Ebenezer Scrooge, but I decided on Gomez since I had a plas­ter hand that looked sim­i­lar to Thing the creepy but help­ful char­ac­ter who popped out of boxes through­out the Addams Fam­ily home – wish that he could help me with my sewing projects!

E scroog

I used Folkwear’s smok­ing jacket pat­tern. I orig­i­nally bought lin­ing for the jacket, even though the pat­tern didn’t call for it.  But since I couldn’t afford to spend too much time on this project, I skipped the lin­ing and fol­lowed the direc­tions as they were written.

I used the largest size offered by the pat­tern. I didn’t make any mock-ups to test the fit prior to cut­ting the vel­vet. I think the largest jacket fits fine, but if I had tested the fit ahead of time I would’ve made the arm­holes larger. (I hope my brother doesn’t grow!)

Black Maroon Velvet Smoking Jacket Gomez Addams Family 238 Folkwear

The jacket is made with a dark pais­ley print vel­vet and accented with black vel­vet in the col­lar, lapels & cuffs and maroon vel­vet in the under­arms and belt.

black smoking jacket and long black lace dress 238 Folkwear

Addams Fam­ily

Here I am pos­ing as Mor­ti­cia Addams. My design aes­thetic is not dark, but I had fun pos­ing for this Addams Fam­ily photo!

I also made my black lace over­lay dress (two years ago)!

Black Maroon Velvet Smoking Jacket Gomez Addams Family Lace Dress

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Projects from the Past: Wedding Rehearsal Dress & Silk Floral Dress

Over 2 years ago, I made my sister’s wed­ding rehearsal dress.

ivory white lace silk rehearsal dinner wedding dress

I used Vogue’s V8766 pattern.

I used ivory raw silk for the under­lay, poly bridal lace for the over­lay, and a light­weight ivory poly­ester fab­ric for the lining.

This dress was pretty heavy from all the layers!

Vogue V8766 Lace silk wedding dress pattern

V8766

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Long Floral Jacket with Genuine Leather Details & Pockets

Think Spring  Even Though It’s Winter

I made this spring flo­ral jacket while cooped up dur­ing last week’s bliz­zard. The space heater, fin­ger­less gloves, hot choco­late, and fleece socks kept me warm in the –14 degrees!

Con­tact me if you want a spring jacket for your­self (you can pick the fab­ric)!

______________________________

Colorful Floral Cotton Jacket trench coat genuine leather cuffs marusya

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!



Colorful, Floral, Cotton, Jacket, trench coat, marusya, anagrassia, sewing blog, genuine leather cuffs

Colorful, Floral, Cotton, Jacket, trench coat, marusya, anagrassia, genuine leather cuffs

Blue Cot­ton Lining

Craftsy

Colorful Floral Cotton Jacket trench coat genuine leather cuffs marusya

Before but­tons and buttonholes

Colorful, Floral, Cotton, Jacket, trench coat, marusya, anagrassia, genuine leather cuffs

But­ton­hole

Colorful, Floral, Cotton, Jacket, trench coat, marusya, anagrassia, sewing blog, genuine leather cuffs

Leather strips at the waist

Colorful, Floral, Cotton, Jacket, trench coat, marusya, anagrassia, sewing blog, genuine leather cuffs

Colorful, Floral, Cotton, Jacket, trench coat, marusya, anagrassia, sewing blog, genuine leather cuffs

These but­tons are from the my stash of but­tons my friend gave me! Thanks M!

Colorful, Floral, Cotton, Jacket, trench coat, marusya, anagrassia, genuine leather cuffs

Gen­uine leather around the cuffs

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Roots of My Artistry & Passing on Tradition and Memories Through Handmade Clothing

Ukrainian embroidered dress Marusya Russian babcha charcoal grey

 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

Ukrainian embroidered dress Marusya Russian babcha charcoal grey

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. 

lace overlay wedding gown Marusya Marusya floral ukrianain

Work­ing on my sister’s wed­ding skirt and blouse

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.

lace overlay wedding gown Marusya Marusya floral ukrianain

My babcha’s embroi­dery I used for my brides­maid shirt

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.

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Ukrainian Hand Embroidered Dress in Honor of My Babcha

Ukrainian Russian hand embroidered dress marusya marusya

 

Ukrain­ian hand embroi­dered dress in honor of my babcha 

 

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!)

marusya ukrainian dress russian

Dress is hand embroi­dered (took lots and lots of time to stitch)

Linen

Fully Lined

Invis­i­ble Back Zipper

babcha 2 Ukrainian Costume

This is a com­pressed story of my babcha’s life (Writ­ten by my aunt but mod­i­fied to be in my voice). 

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!

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