Friday, January 16, 2009

This beadwork will certainly inspire.
The colors of the beads and the application allows the rows of beads to appear "loopy". The stitching reminds me of the stitching on some of the Indian and "Niagra Falls" pincushions I have collected. The beadwork is stitched on a dark mustard crepe silk ground.

This is a detail shot of the bottom of the mint green flapper gown. The netting is in shreds and the weight of all the beads is impressive.

Flapper Gown Green netting

This is an amazing piece of beading. There must have been a matching green taffeta slip that was worn beneath this gown. It is very heavy. It's beaded with random chains of mint green paillettes and the designs outlined with crystal seed and bugle beads. In the center of the desings are small silver-metal glass coated beads. These beads are highly desirable. I believe they are a mercury glass bead in small flat "pancake" shapes. At RibbonSmyth we sell small bags of all the flapper gown pieces and I make sure each bag includes some of the mercury beads.

Flapper gown beaded on Ivory Silk

I am always in awe of the bead work on vintage 1920 Flapper Gowns. Anytime I can find these gowns, that have seen better days, I purchase them. They are hard to come by. I photograph them for the bead designs and then cut up the gowns. I harvest the beads to use on special projects. It seems a new creation is always enhanced when using vintage beads. Some of the designs on the silk pieces lend themselves to collage work. As I inspect the beading, I'm reminded of the women and girls, that stitched tirelessly in another century, to create these gorgeous gowns. And the quality of the beading varies from gown to gown. There is nothing better than stitching with a vintage bead. The sparkle, fire, cut of the bead, is far superior to beads we can find in today's market. Now, most all tambour work is executed in India. No longer will you find tambour work taking place in the French couture houses.

Stitching with vintage beads, reminds me of where I acquired the beads. I have a chance to enjoy the "hunt" again! Because I know I will never be able to use all the vintage beads I acquire, we sell small packets of the Flapper Gown beads on our website at

Years ago, I came home from a trip late at night, to see a box at our back door. A friend, I had met at one of my Lesage lectures, had left a box of flapper gowns. What a treasure.

She had heard the Lesage lecture, where I tell about my time spent
at the House of Lesage. She thought I should be wearing a flapper gown, when giving the lecture. And when I can, I do wear a flapper gown for the lecture. The gowns are very heavy and stored rolled up in a cotton sheet. They look like a small bundle of beads and silk, but when you put on a flapper gown, the bias-cut of the fabric, drapes beautifully.

Flapper gowns are beaded using a tambour hook. The tambour hook is a small hook that creates chain stitches. One hand is above the fabric ground and the other hand is beneath the fabric ground "feeding" the bead or sequin onto the hook as you stitch. All stitching takes place on the back of the fabric. The design would be "pounced" onto the back of the fabric with chalk. The fabric would then be placed into a frame or a "metier" and then the work would begin! This particular dress is tamboured with ivory silk chain stitches and then crystal rose montees, and tiny paillettes with sequins are stitched on top of the silk chain stitch.

Pink Valentine Post Card Kit

This was a fun card to design using pink baby Ric Rac
The top patch is pink satin, which comes in the kit.
At the corners of the Ric Rac frame are small purple pearlized pearl beads that I purchased in the bead district in Paris.
The middle patch is winter white silk doupioni and the bottom patch is mauve moire.
The cards are great projects as they take a small amount of time to create but offer great results.
The Venice lace yardage in the kit can be dyed. I used it as white lace for this card. I made a small 3 petal flower with the lace and added a pearl in the center of the flower.
The small lazy daisies are 2mm gold silk ribbon.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Valentine Fabric Post Card

This 9-Piece Valentine Post Card Kit includes red velveteen, vintage image, lace, Fast-to-Fuse Card and a variety of trims to create a simple offering.

Pink Colorway PostCard Kit also available.
Please click on link above to order.