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Message Board > Creative Sewing > Want to make a reasonable copy of this dress ( Moderated by Lynnelle)

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Want to make a reasonable copy of this dress
Chanel 1920
birdmcfarland
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birdmcfarland
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Date: 11/29/13 5:33 PM

A good friend of mine is getting married next year using a 1920s theme. She wants a dress in the same style so instead of her spending a fortune on something I offered to make one. There are numerous patterns available and most of them are simple with little fitting.
But there's always a catch and in this case the tradeoff for the simple dress design is the embellishment…and then to make things worse, I found this:"

I'd love to make something with that look, but that beading! Good god. I've been searching for fabric and anything suitable is hundreds, if not $1000 a yard. I'd like to use silks for the fabric and I'm not against hand beading something simple. I have another friend who could help. My questions are:

1. Exactly what type of silk is best for beading? What is strong enough to support the weight?
2. Are there pre-beaded strands/embellishments I could buy?
3. Is this a bad idea?

I've been looking at fabric and it's no problem to find nice silks in a variety of textures and tan/nude/cream shades but we really need to snazz it up with some beads and sparkle.
I'm not naiive enough to think I can copy this, but I'd love to do something in this spirit and color.
Thanks!!
Melody

Elona
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In reply to birdmcfarland <<


Date: 11/29/13 6:10 PM


What a lovely offer you have made your friend! I think it's a good idea and reasonable goal, as long as you have time to prepare.

Decades of Style has a couple of dresses in this style, of which I think this one might be closest (because it includes your godets), though you might have to scoop the neckline a bit.

This one lacks the godets, and it has a zigzag seam at the lowered waist which would be hidden by the sash.

I think that a small amount of tasteful and nicely-done beading should be possible, and in light of the fact that the wedding isn't until next year, you should have time for practice.

For pretty linear motifs, you might want to try something called
tambour beading, which can be done fairly quickly. The fabric is held tight in a hoop, so puckering is less of an issue. I have a vague impression that there might be a craftsy class featuring this technique?

beauturbo
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Date: 11/29/13 6:41 PM

All the McCalls sewing patterns in the envelopes have actually been printed on the tissue paper in those and with fold out instructions, ever since about 1925 for them. Unlike some other pattern companies back through the decades that took them many more decades for that to happen with their patterns.

Just because of that, if I want to use a "real" old pattern for something from the 1920's I most often gravitate to those McCalls printed ones, if all else being about the same for some style, just since it's easier for me to use that way. Another good thing about those real McCalls ones from the 1920's is that just being printed instead of the more normal blank pre-cut tissue with just some markings punched out of them, even if they were previous used to make something before, if the last person already cut something off of it, or altered it, it's a lot more easy to tell even, just because as they were printed, on the the tissue and not just blank there instead. I think you would notice that missing part of a pattern piece, a whole lot more easy. So I find using even a 1920's printed McCalls pattern, just much like most of today's patterns actually. If you want to look for and find a pattern really made in the 1920's, one of those might be a good one.

beauturbo
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Date: 11/29/13 6:56 PM

Even back in the 1920's, I'm guessing there would have been a lot of sewers (and even dresses sold completed) that might not be up to, or have time for all that hand beading on something sometimes, and they often had embroidery patterns on the dress in about the same way and places instead. So that might be a thought too. If it was the same white or cream colorway, and it had silver metallic embroidery on it instead, it might give a bit the same impression. If you did not want to do too much hand beading, I think you could even mix the two together, and with the embroidery done first, and just some real beads laid in on top of that in certain places, sort of get rather the same look, with maybe a lot less effort, but would not be really exactly the same.

a7yrstitch
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In reply to birdmcfarland <<
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Date: 11/29/13 6:58 PM

Had you considered watching for a print that could be enhanced with beading and letting the print carry some of the design?

------
I have no idea what Apple thought I was saying so be a Peach and credit anything bizarre to auto correct.

tourist
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Date: 11/29/13 7:46 PM

Ooooh! Gorgeous! There are strings of beading to be had, but they will not hang as well as those sewn or glued on. Another alternative would be to attach strings at the waistline seam.

I have to go out, but will be back to read this again and maybe have more ideas for you.

------
http://bgballroom.wordpress.com to follow the progress on my next ballgown.

PattyE
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In reply to birdmcfarland <<
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Date: 11/30/13 10:37 AM

That dress is gorgeous. I don't think it's a bad idea at all. You have plenty of time to do beading.
A 4-ply silk has body and wonderful drape. Maybe a double georgette for the godets...pretty.
Good luck with the project. Please share when it's done.

EleanorSews
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thumbsup 1 member likes this.
Date: 11/30/13 11:47 AM

Or...if you could find a softer damask weave silk that you could use beading to embellish or highlight some of the woven in design...

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"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." Anais Nin

"Attitude is the difference between an adventure and an ordeal." unknown

birdmcfarland
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Date: 12/2/13 1:31 PM

Ladies, thank you so much for your help. I'm going to print this entire thread and follow up on every response. I'll let you know how it goes.
We are considering going to NYC in january and picking out fabric and beads in person instead of ordering. We're only a few hours away so it's a fun day trip anyway.
Honestly, I don't know how I'd sew without the help I get on this website!
Thanks!!!

stirwatersblue
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Date: 12/2/13 7:44 PM

Do you do a lot of historical clothing? If not, start looking for 1920s evening gown reproductions (or "dress diaries") on Google and Pinterest. Find bloggers who do a lot of these gowns, and learn techniques from them. I know that many costumers who used to do Renaissance have moved on to Belle Epoque and Edwardian (a little earlier than your era, but still with similar embellishments), so you might consider expanding your search to include those periods, as well.

Have fun! You will be amazed at what you learn.
-- Edited on 12/2/13 7:45 PM --

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~Gem in the prairie

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