I have taken additional photos showing the backside or wrong side – the inside – of the dress, the extraordinarily large seams and deep hem. This would be of interest to anyone wanting to make such a dress. or alter it as it is styled for a form hugging fit. It is highly unusual. the dress is smooth and tightly fitted from the outside and series of thick knotty seams on the inside. My two previous blog posts show more details. I am providing some photos of the inside seams and portions of the dress taken on the right side laid out flat for comparison:
Archive for May, 2011
Monday, May 30th, 2011
Saturday, May 28th, 2011
This Natural Cream Colored Heavy Irish Linen Cutwork Lace Wiggle Dress is an Absolutely Amazing Example of This Rare Type of Hand Done Lace Which is Rarely Seen in Clothing!
I think it may have been made to wear as a wedding dress in the 1960s. It is a small size but has very wide seams (more than 1 Inch deep) throughout which would allow it to be altered considerably for a custom fit.
The hem is also 5 inches Deep! Therefore, upon close examination the dress I found that it could be let out 2 inches on each side and 2 Inches in the back! And made up to 4 Inches longer! Thus I wonder what its story is?
It is beautifully shaped and well made, but I have to wonder – given the wide seams and hem treatment – was it originally a somewhat larger dress that was expertly remade by a professional seamstress to fit some very small woman as a wedding dress? And wisely left in tact so that it could be altered back again for someone who was not so small Look at the 5″ deep hem in the photos below. And it is folded over an inch at the top before folding for the hem which makes a toal of 6 extra inches at the bottom of the skirt!
The fabric is really strong and tough as true untreated sturdy pure Irish linen is famous for. The fabric was made for a dress not for a table cloth or any such thing. You can tell this if you know sewing and fabrics because of the way it is cut and woven around the neckline, the armholes and the hemline. It is designed to out line the neckline and arm holes with strategically placed lace points that echo the flower petals. It is a fascinating example of its kind and absolutely exquisite! here are photos showing the neckline and armhole treatments from both the back and the front:
I am going to show the dress to a textile restorer who works at the Henry Art Museum to see what she thinks the histories of this dress and the cloth it is made from are and get her feelings on remaking and resizing it now are. I think it can be done and that may be a better option at this time! I will decide whether or not to keep the dress or sell it at that time.
Taking the dress apart to remake it would require hand picking out every seam including removing the metal zipper stitch by stitch so as not to break a single thread or fiber. There are darts in the front and back of the dress to mold it to the body around the bust and waist. These I would leave in because the cutwork is made around them and includes them. they cannot be taken out without ruining the lace. Darts also slant downward from tops of the armholes to shape them against the shoulders. The dress is essentially sculpted fabric – sculpted linen lace formed to cover a body. The more closely I inspect it the more amazed I am by the way in which it is made!
It would be a huge amount of work to take it apart and remake it – a real labor of love – but I think worth it in order to be able to wear it! I am now intrigued!
It currently measures 17 – 12- 17 flat. that is 34 inch bust, 24 inch waist, 34 inch hips at the seams allowing no ease for movement. Two inches should be allowed for movement which would mean the measurements of the wearer of the dress were 32 – 22 – 32 which is a very thin size. I advise 2 inches for movement because there should be no stress or strain put on the lace. The immensely deep seams, let out and carefully re-sewn could possibly increase the dress to a size 2 – 4 in modern day sizing. Now that I have determined that I can let my breath out! There is hope! I might be able to restore and remake this dress to the size it was originally designed to be and that might actually fit me! ( I am a modern size 4.) I hate my clothes to be tight. Tight is very uncomfortable!
All around the design of the lace and cutwork pattern fits into the shaping of the garment. There are no holes or defects throughout the piece. Currently there is one spot located at the waistline on the left side. I have not tried to clean it yet. I will take it to a professional to see what they advise. It is a brown spot. I have no idea what it is. It is about 3/8 of an inch and smudge like and it looks like it will come out. If it didn’t it could be covered by a belt. There is no belt, but a matching leather or self fabric covered one would look good.
There is always more to these vintage textiles and dresses than initially meets the eye! In this case the deep seams and hemline and the potential for restoring the dress to its originally intended size – the size the actual textile was made to fit exactly! And a more realistic one for today’s figures and wearability. I am intrigued and inspired! I have wanted to make some dresses from lace doilies and table clothes which I intended to use as decorative motifs – but this is way beyond what I was envisioning! It is really inspiring and special. I’ll post more when I know more!
Wednesday, May 25th, 2011
I came across this lovely little dress made of Irish Linen in a vintage store yesterday. amazing work! Beautiful design. A 1960’s wedding dress perhaps? So pretty. It is made by Moygashel – the company famous for fine table linens.
I am researching it so I’ll post more information about it when I get it. Just couldn’t wait to share it!
Sunday, May 22nd, 2011
Gaorolini is one of my favorite shoe designers! They made beautiful feminine shoes by hand in Italy and were most popular during the sixties and seventies. Here is a burgundy slingback pair with a 4″ high heel. They are well designed and surprisingly comfortable. Elegant with dresses they are now sought by vintage fashionistas. Shoes like this are the epitome of feminine elegance. This one is a size 7B in a fine shiny cognac color lined in light beige leather. Of course the sole is leather as well.
Friday, May 20th, 2011
That’s right! I’ve been working on it day and night it seems for about a week! There is a lot of writing, photography , posting and set up prep to do. But I feel it is coming along well now and I am quite excited! My goal is to list 36 items – I’m 3/4 there – then design my banner and start figuring out how to promote the store. All with in the next week. If I write about it I’ll absolutely have to see it through so here goes! I’m making my intentions and my goal public!
I am putting really choice top of the line vintage clothes up – things out of my own personal treasures. Everything is in excellent shape and ready to wear or display. Essentially ready to put in a museum. It will be an extension of my blog in a way. I feel they can work well together. I can write about anything on the blog and I can sell items I want to put out in the world in the store.
I think Etsy will be better for me than eBay because I can treat it like a shop. Once I put something in my shop on display it can stay there until it sells or for 4 month periods. If it has not sold by then I can remove it and rotate another lovely item into its place. This is a set up that functions like having a real store does. Rather than on eBay where the main emphasis as in all auctions is rapid continual rotation of merchandise. I am interested to see how the two differ after I have used them for awhile.
Of course I want my items to move and sell on Etsy, but I want them to stay up and get a chance to be seen and appreciated until the right buyer finds me and discovers them. With vintage it can take awhile because the right person, of the right size has to find the right garment for his or her needs. And who knows when that will happen? You have to face that when dealing with this unique type of merchandise. Each piece requires a special buyer.
I research and write a story about each piece telling as much as I know or can find out about it. I love writing the descriptions. They are great reading too. Like my blog I hope but the difference is you can buy something in the store if you love it and want it! You can take it home, wear it yourself, bring the real thing into your own life. Not everything I write about in my blog will be for sale in my store.
Many different things will be featured in both places and there will be some overlap as well. I want to put a few pictures of things I have put up for sale here and give you the link so you can drop by my shop and take a look. Please understand that it is still under construction – I am open – but my banners and decor are not up quite yet. I’ll let you know again when I get further along on that!
Now, to view more photos of the items pictured in this post and read about their history you can visit my new Etsy shop. These are just a few choice samples of vintage pieces in my shop so far. Please visit there to see them and many others and read about them in more detail. Visit Lady Violette de Courcy on Etsy. I intend to put up new items practically daily for awhile so it will be quite exciting to check them out on a regular basis! I also realize I cannot possibly post everything I would like to. It takes a lot of time! It is quite labor intensive! I may have just the thing someone needs or wants on the back burner so I urge you to ask me if you are looking for something I might have available but haven’t managed to photograph and put out yet. I love finding special items for people. Don’t hesitate to ask!