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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Restoration of beauty - Original Post

Hello everyone! It’s been a few weeks since my last sewing post. It’s such a busy time of the year. Even so, I’m happy to have beautiful dresses to wear to all the holiday seasons events. Last night I attended the New Bedford 125th Annual Policeman’s Ball. I made the gown earlier this year. Some of you may remember it. It’s a restoration project from an old beaded dress with a whole new skirt. I’ve added the original post for those of you who are interested in the details. This gown is really special. I love making old things new again. In the upcoming weeks as the holiday season continues I’ll be posting some restoration projects from years past. Stay tuned. Have a great week everyone and thank you for sharing in my sewing journey.

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Original Post

New project. When I had my bridal shop, I did a lot of alterations on sequin, beaded and pearled gowns. Some of these sequins or beaded gowns were mass produced. Some others were delicately sewn by hand. The zippers are almost impossible to sew by machine. As I worked with this gowns, I could always tell which were mass produced and which were sewn by hand. Sometimes, I would find a blood spot as small as a head on a pin in-between the layers of fabric. I would wonder who’s little hand had worked on this gown and how hard they must work on their repetitive sewing, day in and day out. I always imagined some little hands of some possible child labor in some third world country. I became very aware as to how difficult it is to work with beaded dresses. I worked on them for a couple of decades. I too, would prick my fingers, bleed and break countless needles on my sewing machine. Sometimes, I would break the sewing machine altogether. So, needless to say I have a great appreciation for beaded gowns. I also like to go to thrift stores to see what dresses people depart with. I always head directly to the gowns section. I don’t look at sizes or styles. I look at fabric. When I spot something beautifully beaded, I grab it. I can’t stand to see them there lifeless. They need to breath. They need hope. It’s too much of a waist of human labor. I don’t care how old or outdated they are, they can always be made into something new. I buy them and bring them home. After cleaning them, I store them until I have time to do something with them. Last year, I made an incredible collection of beaded clutch bags. I sold a few and gave the rest for auction to some of my favorite local organizations.


 
This week, I brought out a beautiful black beaded dress. It is a mix of both machine beaded as well as some hand sewing. The fabric is 100% silk. I took it all apart and cut it into the same Butterick B5209 dress. This will be the last time I will be using this pattern for now. This is where I take all the experience of the past three dresses and go for the gold. This gown is looking remarkable. I have tried it on and it fits beautifully. The skirt is from Vogue V8470. It is extremely flared and circular. I made it tea length. I will post the process as I go along. As a warning, please do not try to sew sequin gowns on sewing machines. You will break them. I sew them on my industrial sewing machine. However, I have learned how to lift and hold the needle up just enough to clear the beads. Even so, I have already broken countless needles on this project. Is it worth? You bet! I do it for the restoration of the hard labor that goes into beauty.

 












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