"Beaded Gown of the Fabulous Roarin' Twenties
worn by Mrs. Wm. Schreiber"
|The T-back strap itself is pretty structurally sound, but the shoulders and side back are suffering seriously because of the too-perky-C-cup-syndrome of the modern-sized mannequin.|
|Neverevereverever display a beaded dress like this!! Beaded dresses aren't exempt from gravity! Also, don't stuff heavy objects into the shatters and tears!!|
|Yikes...irreparable damage, and a number of missing beads and rhinestones.|
|You can see how stretched taut across the bust this dress is on its inappropriate mannequin.|
|Here, you can see a long tear, also due to the mannequin.|
It was quite a task taking this dress of the mannequin. I knew it would be heavy, but I didn't anticipate it being as heavy as it was...it's a wonder the whole thing is (mostly) still intact, what with those pounds of beaded fringe dangling off the bottom. I barely breathed the whole time I was moving the dress, as it was so fragile. I laid the dress onto two sheets of archival tissue paper. This will prevent the dress from absorbing any dirt or dyes from the green felt lining of the case. It also facilitates me moving around the dress to get it perfectly centered in the case.
|A detail of the T-back construction.|
|Even these handsewn whip stitches aren't perfect. The T-back strap is faced with several pieces of what appears to be coordinating bias tape.|
|Here, you can really see how the fibers of the thin tissue-silk, through repeated wear and stress, shattered and disintegrated.|
To neaten up all that tissue paper still visible around the armscythes and neckline, I carefully snipped slits in the tissue paper, which helped me fold it under the neckline and armscythes. The final effect is really clean and sharp.
Into the case, I added the feather-and-jewel headband and long pearl necklace that were displayed on the mannequin with the dress. I also popped in a pair of white, elbow-length beaded gloves (which were previously displayed on the floor of the dais), and later, a blue (I believe celluloid) haircomb with paste jewels (not visible in the following pictures). I also added a paste-jewel brooch that was previously pinned onto the collar of an extremely faded c. 1905 wool bodice. The case still looked kind of empty, so I added in one non-historical piece: a stretchy beaded bracelet that was on the arm of a mannequin wearing a sequined 1950's dress. Regardless of non-historical accuracy, the bracelet helps visually fill out the space, and its colors coordinate with the rest of the display.
|The feathered and jewel brooch headband, the pearl necklace, the paste-jewel brooch, and the stretchy bracelet.|
|Kind of difficult to see the detail of the beaded gloves. The gloves also have a layer of protective tissue paper beneath them. "Gift of Ms. Ruth Magerheimer"|