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A Gatsby Weekend Day 1

Spadina House Museum20160625_112007

Spadina House Museum

Recently Sara and I were sponsors of Spadina House Museum Gatsby Lawn Party. We donated several prizes for the costume party and set up a mini shop loaded with flapper era hats for Ladies and Gents.

It was a beautiful and rather hot weekend but the grounds are so lovely and the lawn party goers were dedicated to their costumes that it made the heat bearable.

We decided we need to have 1920s dresses and hats (of course) which wasn’t required but encouraged and I’m glad we did. All the volunteers and the musicians were costumed in wool! (Brave souls) This ment we needed to hunt Pinterest for ideas or patterns of which we found and needed to draw from the photos as well as alter to fit our measurements. Originally I wanted to use a pattern I had for about 20 years. It was an early 20s design that was designed with a 1990s fit. That will work, I thought. No. What a mess. The fitting that I did before inserting the zipper showed that there was no saving it and the fit and the printed measurements were essentially a lie. Oh well.

I also had a 1980s dropped waist dress pattern that I cut out of a lovely pumpkin coloured cotton gauze. I cut it to a smaller fit than the 80s look which was a 10 inch ease! I also moved the gathers of the waist to the side front and side back to be more in keeping with the 1920s. I then added a fabric rose and ribbons both up and down the side of the dress at the hip. this was copied from a photo of a 1920s day dress I found.

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I was also wearing a reproduction cotton slip underneath which had panniers on the hips made of gathers to puff the hip out farther. It is in keeping with he style but not seen as often. It was an unusual silhouette which I’m still not accustomed to. The hat is a new design made for the show which we are going to start making for customers soon.

Sara’s dress was much more work and made from a polyester chiffon in a green and white print with a touch of black. I wasn’t sure about it but she knew it would be wonderful.

Her drawing of the photo was very neat and made from a hebrew language page from a 1920s ladies magazine. The pattern was large pieces so the floor was the only place to lay it out. She cut it into a front and back to fit the fabric and then very carefully cut out the fabric. Chiffon is very shifty so it was hard to keep it on grain. The hems were all rolled and hand sewed which took her many hours. The end result was beautiful. I think I want to make one!

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The hat was another one of the new Garden Party Hats and we found shoes were a problem. It was hot and we were on grass so slender heels were impractical so we wore what was best for working instead of the shoes which looked most appropriate.

The first day was great and we really enjoyed the gardens and music.

Day 2 clothing coming soon.

Cheers

Meaghan and Sara

 

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Vintage Purse Restoration

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Recently I had the great privilege to repair this lovely 1920’s glass handled purse. The owner of this lovely object knew it was from China, most likely Shanghai from the 1920’s. I was honored that she entrusted me to bring it back to a useable state. I am not and don’t claim to be a textile restoration expert but I do know a little and some further research gave me the knowledge I needed to restore this purse.

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These photos show the metal trim holding the glass handles has come loose and had been tied together.

silk purse restoration 8The lining was silk and as you can see, it is in tatters.

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The tassel had these small decorated corks with the silk threads of which it had become undone. The second side which is much like the first side shown, has lovely golden metallic threads and satin stitch low profile stump work. I was afraid the metal threads were fragile and prone to breaking so I was very careful of bending the purse more than I needed to.

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I carefully took apart the lining which moistly disintegrated in my hand, and kept the metal trim attached to the handles. Next I needed to repair the loose threads in the design with as close of a match as I could using silk thread. I didn’t want to use a better match using polyester thread as maintaining the original essence of the purse was important.

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There was three lines of couching with whipping in orange as a frame around the design which had at some point come undone and I wanted to restore this. The left hand picture is the inside of the purse and the vibrancy of the colours was astonishing. It was faded on the outside. this must have been spectacular when it was first made.

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I needed to repair broken seams in the bottom of the purse as well. Shown here, it was all originally hand stitched.

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 I set Sara on the task of detangling the tassel. She has a knack for detangling things. When she managed this we reattached it to the cork and then reattached the cork to the bag. We needed to use a new metal ball bead which we got from a friend since the original was lost. The only problem was the complex frog. There was one still on the other tassel and it was beyond my ability to create so we made a lovely alternative which complimented the master frog makers skill.

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After many enjoyable hours of sleuthing and hand sewing the bag, with it’s new deep blue silk lining and fully restored metal trim attachments to the handles was restored to it’s happy and grateful owner. This purse was a treasure to work with and a joy to study. I am happy to be part of it’s journey and I hope the owners love of this will be carried through to future generations. I only hope that repairs done in the future will not be hindered by my contribution!

Meaghan

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