Bringing Back the Past

There was a time in my career when I was pressed upon to do some antique garment restoration work for the Frederick’s of Hollywood Lingerie Museum in Los Angeles, Ca.
This was long before the internet was a part of everyone’s daily life and I could find very little “how to” information on restoring antique garments in my local library.
I muddled through and did the best I could, tea staining and ageing fabrics by hand, using bridal tulle to support disintegrating lace, and essentially doing the most invisible stitchery that I was able.

In retrospect, I think I did a fine job. Below are some of the pieces that I either repaired or made from scratch for that project(click on the image to see the full photo).

True conservators of antique garments would likely look down their noses at the methods that I employed.
This fascinating article tells about the methods of restoration of the fabulous garment below, once worn by theatrical diva Ellen Terry in the late 1800’s. It was made of fine crochet, and was decorated with the iridescent wings of the Jewel Beetle. If you’re a fashion geek like I am, this is an article you’ll enjoy.

Update:
Here are a couple more photos of this amazing gown taken after the restoration was completed.

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2 Comments on “Bringing Back the Past”

  1. Jen Says:

    Beautiful pieces of yours, Joan, and thanks for the link to this fascinating article!

  2. Shay Says:

    well…better than fish scales, I suppose, which would have been my guess! Lovely gown, so pre-Raphaelite.


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