September 11, 2012 - Comments Off on Laurel – Reconstructed Vintage for the Jazz Age Lawn Party
For the Jazz Age Lawn Party in August, Laurel found an adorable summery dress on eBay. However, when she received the piece, it was in a sorry state of wear & tear. She brought the piece to me, and while I deemed the bodice a patchwork of repairs, the skirt (delicately smocked at the waistband and cleanly bound at each skirt tier) was in great condition. I proposed disassembling the bodice to remove and reuse all the cute blue & white gingham cotton trim, and creating a new bodice in silk organza to match the skirt. In this manner we were able to salvage the best parts of the original, and make a new dress constructed to endure endless dances.
The talented photographer and fellow dancer Lynn Redmile captured Laurel in her dress at the Lawn Party (above & below).
Below, I outline the process of reconstructing this vintage dress, starting with disassembly of the original dress and cleaning the usable parts to bring back the white and blue pop of the gingham print. The trim and the skirt were re-used in the recreation.
I created a pattern for the new bodice, which was cut in silk organza that matched the skirt.
Due to the transparency of organza, all seams must be bound on the inside or French-seamed for a clean finish, and extra stability.
The scalloped-edge collar from the original was repaired where torn, and applied to the neckline of the new bodice.
Using bias-cut strips of the silk organza, the collar was cleanly bound on the inside of the neckline.
The original fabric flowers adorning the neckline were rust-stained due to the fabric-covered metal buttons. I was able to clean and remove the rust from the petals, but created new centers for the flowers by covering fresh buttons with silk organza.
The flowers were then positioned along the neckline and stitched into place.
Here are a few before & after pictures:
And a snapshot of the old original bodice in its sad state made more pathetic with its trim removed, compared to the fresh new one!
Once the bodice was reconstructed and all the trims secured in place, it needed to be attached to the skirt, which required a clever use of the gingham binding to conceal the skirt and bodice seam allowance on the outside of the garment, a technique I had not previously used. You can see how many pins were required to keep all layers in position!
Here are some detail shots of the final garment:
And a few more photos of Laurel at the Lawn Party modeling her "new" vintage dress: