I didn’t need this dress. I bought it anyway. First of all, it is a really great dress. Secondly, it has some problems and I felt sorry for it. And finally, it was cheap. I just couldn’t leave it to become someone’s Halloween costume, and then be throughly trashed.
So, I brought it home. The truth is, I was in search of some wintertime projects. This one should occupy me through a few cold and snowy days.
Most of the problems are with the upper bodice. As you can see, the shoulders are pretty much gone. This dress is very light, but even a mostly chiffon 1920s dress with suffer in the shoulders if left to hang. That’s what’s going on here.
You might can tell that there are two layers of chiffon, one black and the other beige. Both will need to be replaced.
There are a few other little issues, like this small hole in the drape, and a rent on the bottom flounce. But ninety percent of the work will be to the upper bodice.
Another problem with the bodice is this lace. It seems to be there for a bit of modesty, as the sheer part of the bodice is quite low. At first I thought the lace was a later addition.
You can see that the stitching holding the lace in place is definitely not original to the dress. I was feeling all smug about thinking the lace was an afterthought until I spotted something else.
The lace is actually very nice, with that metallic thread over-embroidery. So after replacing the chiffon, I’ll reattach the lace in the original place.
After all this work, I’ll not be keeping this dress. This is a dress that needs to be seen, and it is definitely strong enough to wear. It doesn’t fit into my collection, and as pretty as this one is, most museums already have plenty of unlabeled black dinner dresses. The lack of provenance would make it difficult to fit into a history museum collection. So it will be sold, hopefully to someone who will cherish it and who will look marvelous in it.