Archive | July 2009

Beading the Gown

I spent 2 days sewing the beads on the gown.  It came out beautiful, but it is very time consuming.   When you make beaded items, it is better to buy the fabric pre-beaded, if possible.   Most of the beaded fabrics I as able to find were much too heavy for this gown.

I used the beads that Nicole, Tory & Keira strung for me.  The color of the beads is random on purpose.  Some are sparkly, some are irredescent and some are pearls.

The best thing I did was to have pre-strung beads.  Instead of having to load the beads one at a time on the gown, I was able to hold a string of beads & load them ~6 at a time.  It made it easier to hold the beads along the lines of the design to see how many I needed for each curve & where they needed to be tacked.  I used the backstitch embroidery technique for the beading.  See the technique at  I strung 6 or 7 beads at a time, instead of the 4 they recommend, because it fit better with the curves of the design.

Beading in process

Beading in process

Another way to have done it was to have strung beads the exact length I needed and couched them onto the gown.  Couching is done by laying an embellishment, either beads or braiding, on the garment and then stitching over the embellishment.  This could have taken less time, but I would have to be very careful on the length of each string of beads.  It is an easier technique for braiding.  This is how I attached the braid in the previous post.

I ended up having to redo one section of the beading because when the gown was put on Jac’s form, it was uneven.  It was noticable from a reasonable distance away.  It took a few hours to remove the beads that were there & reapply them in a more balanced curve.

All-in-all, I am very pleased with the results.  But I will save beading for special projects only.


Finishing Touches

On Saturday June 28th, I started the final touches.   I sewed the buttons to the back.  They are just a decoration.  I put an invisible zipper in the side seam to make it easier to get in & out of the gown.


Then after looking at it, I felt something was missing.  So I added braid to the seams on the straps & top of the gown.  What a difference it made!  It looked much more finished and professional.   I had picked up the braid at the sewing show  in April ( ).   It was a beautiful ivory & beige scalloped braid.  When I found it,  I bought it ‘just in case’ it would be useful.  Now I am very happy I did.   I need to find the receipt because the business was in Rhode Island and they had many interesting braids and tapes for sewing and for scrap booking.   At the same place, I found a twill tape with musical notes on it and created a T-shirt for my nephew Peter.



I felt guilty

I felt guilty about using child labor on the dress. It is easy to fall into the trap. But their eyes can see those tiny beads so much better than mine.