Sunday, 28 July 2013


The current Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge is the first colour challenge: white.

Although I’ve been busy with other challenges (and even the odd bit of, whisper it, non-HSF sewing) recently, I haven’t totally neglected my 1920s beaded dress. This challenge gave me an opportunity to try out a few ideas, and make an accessory to go with the dress.

Having outlined all the painted flower motifs for the skirt, the next job was to decide on the outline beading for the gold-painted sections.

I took the first of my attempts at the front neckline motif (the one with the paint marks in the ‘white’ sections) and outlined it with beading; half in light gold, and half in mid gold.

Half and half

Then I fiddled a bit on the computer to create a complete motif in each colour.

Two 'complete' motifs

The mid gold beading is definitely too dark; it overwhelms the painted motif. So light gold it is.

The gold panels will be outlined with beading, and then applied onto the dress. As a trial run for this, I decided to make a bandeau to match the dress.

1920s hats were worn very low on the head, like this.

Headdresses or scarves, paired with evening or dance dresses, were worn in a similar fashion.

So a narrow scarf, with a painted and beaded motif in the centre would a) be period-appropriate, b) allow me to use the discarded scary monster motif (the other way up is not-at-all-scary), and c) be good practise for applying the motifs to dress.

Unfortunately I have long-ish hair, which isn’t very 1920s, and the Princess Leia look is not really what I had in mind.

Erm, no

Fortunately for me, American Duchess has collected lots of fabulous pictures of 1920s bandeau-wearers with curled hair piled up.

Much better

All of these images are on her fabulous 1920s inspiration Pinterest board; you can find it here. In fact, all of her inspiration Pinterest boards are well worth a look; click here for the full set.

The bandeau itself is very simple, just a length of leftover satin from the dress, with a narrow hem. The motif was cut out with approx 6mm/¼” seam allowance around each side and clipped around the curves, the bottom was left longer. I then tacked the motif onto the centre of the scarf. On the first side, I turned the raw edge under and slip-stitched the motif into place with one action. The second side I did in two stages. First I turned the raw edge under, and secured it in place with tiny stitches hidden under the inner (gold) side of the beading. Then I slip-stitched the motif onto the scarf with more tiny stitches hidden under the outer (ivory) side of the beading. Obviously this was more work, but I felt that it gave a better result, and it’s the method I shall use on the dress.

I didn't turn the edge under all the way around the motif. At the bottom I just extended the appliqué, and folded the straight edge of the fabric over the hem of the scarf.

The appliqué extended to the bottom edge

Coaxing/cajoling/forcing my hair into curls was a lot more hard work than the sewing, as it’s something I don’t do very often. As the bandeau on its own isn’t a lot to look at, I wore my assuit shawl (which started the whole Egyptian-inspired, 1920s, beaded dress idea off) with it for the photographs.

The Small Print:

The Challenge: White

Fabric: Ivory satin crepe left over from my 1920s dance dress

Pattern: None, it’s just a rectangle

Year: 1920s

Notions: size 11 light gold seed beads, also from my 1920s dance dress supplies

How historically accurate is it? Very, it’s all hand sewn and beaded, and the style was common in the 1920s

Hours to complete: Probably about 5, the satin was very resistant to being folded into a narrow hem!

First worn: This afternoon, to take photos

Total cost: A big fat £0.00 as I had all the bits already, even a pre-painted motif

1 comment:

  1. That looks hugely authentic to me (and pretty stunning!)