Monday, March 23, 2015

A Long Restoration Project

I think by now most of you blog readers realize that I repair/restore my vintage items to the best of my ability before offering them for purchase. Most sewing repairs can be done in an afternoon. In fact, if I come across a garment that is so destroyed that it needs more work than that, I simply leave it behind. At least most of the time. Last summer I came across an Edwardian net lace dress that was just so lovely, despite all of it's many, many flaws. I brought it home and decided, when time allowed, to challenge myself into doing a long restoration project. The dress hand dozens upon dozens of small breaks in the mesh, all of the silk hand embroidery was falling to bits and had to be redone, there wasn't a single snap or hook and eye left, and the sleeves and armpits were shot. Basically an exercise in patience!

Silly me, I didn't take a good "before" photo, but I did snap a few shots of the work in progress. It took most of the winter, since that much hand embroidery takes a long time. As you can see in the work in progress photos above, the dress slowly went through mutations. First removing all old embroidery and closing all breaks, then it lost the rotted sleeves and armpit areas, but gained snaps. Then it was cleaned for the first time. Then I added the embroidery back. Then by the end February it was ready for the final cleaning. With the addition of a black ribbon belt, it became the beauty you see at the top of the post! I am proud of myself for having the patience to finish a long running project, and will probably do it again, even if it isn't too often. Enjoy!

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