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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Restoration Project

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

 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 these 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 wondered who’s little hand had worked on the gown and how hard they work on their repetitive sewing, day in and day out. I imagined some little hands of 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 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 I don’t care how old or outdated they are, they can always be made into something new.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 it. Last year, I made an incredible collection of beaded clutch bags. I sold a few and donated 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 cut it all apart 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. The skirt 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 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 restoration of the hard labor that goes into beauty.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Simple Wrap Skirt

Simple Wrap Skirt - New Bedford Lifestyle Post
Hello everyone! Hope you had a good week. I spent some time de-cluttering and organizing my sewing room. Not only does it provide for better utilization of space but also allows for more creativity. It feels great!
Last night I wore my new “Simple Wrap Skirt” that I made last week. I wore it to one of my colleagues event at this incredible restored old mill, Howland Place. New Bedford is famous for it’s old mills restoration re-developments. Some are used for luxurious lofts, artist space, antiques dealing, elderly assistant living and of course different types of businesses. I took a few pictures of the building and the event itself.


This picture is from their actual site. It gives a nice overview of what the building offers. It’s a great gem in our community.
Howland Place was originally constructed as a 20th century textile mill. In the 1980s it was converted into a designer outlet shopping center after spending over 16 million dollars in renovations. The building was recently revitalized in 2000 and has since been operating as mixed use professional office space. The building has approximately 160,000 sqft spread out over four floors. A utility elevator and an outside glass elevator provide ease of access to all corners of the building. Ample parking makes the building a very convenient alternative to "downtown New Bedford" locations.
As the business sector of New Bedford's South End continues to expand, Howland Place gives businesses the visibility and amenities they desire. Feel free to visit the building and explore the possibilities.

I had a wonderful night. I especially enjoyed wearing what I made. In addition to making the skirt and the matching bag, I also altered the sleeves on the jacket. I purchased the Faux Leather Scuba jacket at Dress Barn. There’re very affordable and I like the look of combining dress up with these kinds of moto like jackets. They are fun and easy to wear.

Well, that’s it for now. I hope your enjoying the new lifestyle posts. I thinks it’s a nice way of not only sharing what I make, but also how it works into my life and best of all it give me the opportunity of showing you our beautiful city of New Bedford.
Have a great weekend everyone and thanks for visiting my sewing blog. I hope your enjoying it and it’s always nice to hear your thoughts and suggestions. See you all soon!