Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Alterations on an Antique Gown

When the bride first brought this gown to me, I was rather unimpressed. It was obviously old, certainly considered an antique. I would venture to guess that it was perhaps made in the late 40's, early 50's. I've not been able to find out any information from the label.

But, I digress. . . .

As mentioned, I didn't see the beauty in this dress when I first saw it. We discussed what she wanted/needed done. The basque waistline needed to be moved up 2 inches. It needed taking in several inches. Some boning was needed for support, as well as cups. A hem would be discussed at a later visit.

So, I took it home and promptly forgot about it until it's scheduled work day showed up on my calendar.
I took it out of the bag and put it on my dress form to look at more closely.
As you can see, the bodice is done with tiny half inch diagonal pleating. The skirt, at first glance, looks like it is formed of narrow bands of ruffles. Upon closer look, it is actually many, many pick - ups.

As I started to remove stitching at the back of the dress (at the zipper), I had a slow realization that I was being awarded the priveledge of working on a gown made in  true couture fashion.

So much hand stitching!
Here, you can see some of the stitching around the zipper.It was hand stitched  in  2 places before being machine sewn. The zipper facing was overcast by hand and then hand sewn to the underlining.

Here is the thread covered 'eye' for the hook at the back. When do you ever see that in clothing these days?

Each of these pleats was hand sewn to the backing fabric.
As I work on this gown, I am seeing the beauty in it. It is a style from an era long gone. Each stitch was sewn with such precision and care. Little details in the construction are so much different from what I have learned.  I find I have much to learn from working on this lovely gown. I wish I could find some information from the label -
I will continue to search, as I continue to work on this unique gown. I will post more photos as I go. Perhaps you will be as intrigued as I am by the construction of it.

1 comment:

  1. What a gorgeous gown and how cool to re-work a couture garment such as this. Can't wait to see the result.