Monday, March 12, 2012

Titanic Dress - Beading by hand - L

I'm still without my sewing machine so I'm trying to stay busy with hand work.  This weekend I tackled the center front panel for my Titanic Dress.  I was planning to do a lace mash-up but Robin called dibs on it first.  And her center panel is really pretty.  Then I decided I would do some beading.  I wanted to do it in the first place but thought lace would be a whole lot easier.  My thought was 100% correct.  And poor Rob...she was inundated with text messages all weekend.  'How does this look?'  'This way or that way?'  I'm nothing if not a bit insecure in my choices.
This is what I ended up with but my original sketch was a bit different.  I was aiming for a sort of Parisian Metro Art Nouveau  look.  I cribbed the image from some wallpaper prints from the period that I saw online.

I used tiny silver grey glass tubes, dark grey squares and mini ivory pearls.

Hand beading is a pain in the neck, back and fingers.  I drew the pattern on the back of the lining.  I added two pieces of chiffon (to boost the color) and basted the outside edge.  Then I basted the pattern in matching thread to give me something to follow.  Unfortunately I can't draw symmetrically.  So I ended up sewing on beads in the general area that I'd basted.  Afterward I removed basting stitches that showed.
Before I started beading, I added a layer of netting.  I liked the look of the netting over the chiffon (it wasn't structurally necessary).  Also, I hadn't decided HOW I was going to bead the design.  I tried to lay the beads on the design but they kept rolling off.  Pinning was a little better but not much.  Mostly I would bead a little then send it to Robin for approval.  I sometimes can't trust my judgement on stuff like this.  My personal taste is very bare and spartan of decoration so none of this feels natural to me.

First off, the glass tubes didn't all fit over my smallest needle.  Some did.  They were not at all the same length.  This made it difficult to make curves and make the pattern symmetrical.  Also, I might have thrown some of the beads in frustration when six in a row wouldn't go over the needle.  The pearls were easy.  The grey squares were not symmetrical and didn't want to lie flat on one side.  It was bewildering.  I expected that to be the easiest part.  Anyway, I slogged though it, bead by annoying bead.

Here are some of the sample pictures I sent to Robin.  It's done now.  Like many things I'm trying for the first time, I'm glad I did it, and I learned a lot.  Not sure when I'll want to do that much work again.  Also, it didn't take much to make that little center front panel quite heavy.  I hope it hangs nicely.  WHEN I can sew it in, WHEN I have a sewing machine.  Sigh.

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