Halter style, full length, wool crepe underlined with cotton batiste and then fully lined in acetate. Elastic waist stay, hand embellished with 7 different types of beads and rhinestones. Designer: Mr Blackwell
Yes, he of the annual "worst-dressed" list. He has now gone to the fashion show in the sky but from the 50's through the 70's he did very well and was known for a sparkly Hollywood glamour.
Here is a close up look at the bead motif which appears all aroung the bodice. The beads that appear blue are really not, they are actually more of an aurora borealis type so they catch the light differently based on the angle. There are also strings of rhinestones, round crystals in clear and grey, bugle beads and some smaller clear and grey beads. I don't know anything about beading so I looked at some of my books, got a few tips and gave it a try. Most helpful tip: beeswax on the thread which makes it easier to work with.
So what did I fix? A lot of the area that was unravelling was in the back and under the arms which makes sense as that would rub or get snagged on a chair, etc. There sections with some missing beads so I took myself off to Michaels (a big chain craft store, somewhere I try to avoid at all costs) but I knew they had beads etc. I bought a few packs of Swarovski crystal beads and then some glass beads that looked similar to those appearing on my Iphone photo. I couldn't take the dress anywhere - too delicate at this point.
The two swirls on either side of the zipper were missing lots of beads so I filled those in. Also the larger motifs in the back had a lot of broken threads and some missing beads so I stitched those up as well.
This dress is TINY! Shown here on my smallest dress form which has a 26" waist and look the zipper won't close. One thing I like about this dress is that you can tell it was hand beaded, the various lines and curls are not exactly matching, they differ a few millimeters here and there but the eye doesn't see that on the wearer. So note to all perfectionists - we are human and a bit of wavering is fine.
Full length view. Glamorous, huh? Not that I have an event on the calendar or anything like this in my closet but I would wear it in a heartbeat.
A look at the seaming at the waist and bodice. Very nice shaping achieved with the seams and I always like this type of skirt, fitted and straight with a few small pleats at the waist. A very flattering design. I also repaired those curliques in the center front.
The label inside and the waist stay elastic.
Of course I had to do a little web searching and found a very similar dress. It must have been from the same collection. Here is the link if you want to see it: Dorothea's Closet Vintage Mr. Blackwell and it can be yours for only $950. Please let me know if you buy it, I want to see pictures !
Now I am off to do just a little more on this, when I went to move it today a couple of the large round beads fell off. So I will be giving it another once over.
I hope to finish up the Irish wool jacket this weekend and then maybe some spring sewing. Today I went to the gym in shorts and a sleeveless top. Weird, I tell you. Trite to say it but the weather is weird.
My apologies to all of you in the latest polar vortex. Hang in there, spring is coming to you too!