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Forum > Bridal and Formalwear Sewing > Has anyone ever worked with beetle wings? ( Moderated by MissCelie)

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Has anyone ever worked with beetle wings?
I have an idea for a fancy dress.
Virginia Hazel
Virginia Hazel
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Date: 6/22/13 7:27 AM



I'm thinking of trying to make a dress out of green satin that uses these along the neckline and the edges of a front pleat. Do you think it's doable?

justgail

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In reply to Virginia Hazel <<


Date: 6/22/13 8:34 AM

No I've never used them, but here's a link to Mary Corbet's awesome needlework blog. She did a goldwork/beetle wing project.

http://www.needlenthread.com/tag/beetle-wing-embroidery

one thing I wonder - how sturdy are the wings for clothing? I know the neckline wouldn't get a lot of abuse during wear, but what about cleaning?

Virginia Hazel
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In reply to justgail <<


Date: 6/23/13 7:44 AM

Thanks for the link!

I've been thinking about cleaning and stuff. I'm thinking I might make it detachable and I'm definitely going to have to hand wash it. I'm going to make a sample and try out all the washing techniques on that.

ASiverson
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Date: 6/23/13 9:10 AM

This will I believe look gorgeous and making it detachable, genius! Please post a photo when it is done. Can't wait to see it. Have fun making and wearing!

------
Annette

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Date: 6/26/13 6:10 AM

People never cease to amaze me. I've never heard of beetle wings, except in my garden, of course How beautiful.

I sew part time at a dry cleaner. Often when we get a garment with delicate trim, I take it off before cleaning, then replace it afterward. Of course this is fancy buttons or tassels. If you go that route be sure you get a reputable cleaner and talk to the owner when bringing in your dress. There is such a thing as spot cleaning only also.

I would love to see pictures of your process too. Good luck and keep us posted.

------
"You are in charge of your own ride!"

LearningAlterations.com

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Date: 6/27/13 2:45 PM

Piecework magazine had an article embroidery with fish scales. I think it was within the last 2 or 3 years in one of their embroidery issues. This might give you some hints.

You might want to talk to an entomologist(bug scientist) to see if there are any special tecniques for keeping the wing supple so they last longer. In the states we can talk to entomologist thru our county agriculture agents.

Your post gives me ideas for some of the accessories for my DS's wedding. He had an entomology project when he was in 4-H.

Thank you for the inspiration.

Elona
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In reply to Virginia Hazel <<


Date: 6/27/13 4:50 PM

Here's an article on the use of beetle wings as textile ornaments.

And here are a couple of western gowns with beetle wing decoration. This is the article the gown picture came from.

More pictures here.

It turns out if you google 'beetle wing dress,' a lot of things like this turn up. These wings have long been used as extravagant ornamentation.
-- Edited on 6/27/13 4:53 PM --

CM_Sews
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Date: 6/27/13 5:31 PM

This reminded me of articles I read about the restoration of Ellen Terry's (a famous Victorian-era actress) infamous beetle-wing Lady Macbeth costume, made famous in this Sargent painting. This Wikipedia article includes some details about the dress and the restoration in 2009.

There are quite a few articles about the restoration of this dress. While the dress was in use, it led a hard life, but it appears that many of the 1000 beetle wings survived fairly well. They were attached to a crocheted overdress, which needed much restoration.

The costume made it's first appearance onstage in 1888. It must have been quite a sight, 1000 beetle wings sparkling in the gas lights used in the theater at that time.

CMC

Virginia Hazel
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In reply to CM_Sews <<


Date: 6/28/13 5:20 AM

Quote:
This reminded me of articles I read about the restoration of Ellen Terry's (a famous Victorian-era actress) infamous beetle-wing Lady Macbeth costume


That's the one that inspired me. I'm a bit of a textile restoration nerd. :D
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