Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Come dress yourself in love - day 2

I guess I should explain 2 things.  First, the dress is 33 years old and the tulle on the top layer is snagged beyond repair.  And second, the lace around the bottom - yellowed beyond belief.  It is rayon.  Never dryclean  rayon!  It will just turn yellow.  So while the dress itself, the design - was truly gorgeous, it was so badly damaged, no one would ever want to wear it.

But.....if you take it all apart and then soak rayon in Biz for hours on end....it will get white again!  So, "Biz" is the new tea-dye!  I'm biz-bleaching my lace!  What a difference!


Over the years, I have done this numerous times with old lace.  I've even soaked vintage dresses in the guest bathtub.  The best way to do this is to get the water as hot as possible.  Mix in 1 part of Biz for 4 parts of water.  Stir it up and then put the item in to soak.  When the water turns cold, repeat the process.  Up to 3 times.  On the 3rd time, let it soak overnight.  If there are still stains the next morning, repeat the entire process another day.  Usually, one day is enough, but I have had pieces that require 3 or 4 days of doing this process.  Yes, it takes up time...but it will get out every single stain you can imagine!  And your fabric looks like brand new!

Once the dress was all cut up - and the lace whitened, I laid it all out on a huge clipboard.  Your local art stores have them.  Mine is about 20" x 20".  They are great for large projects like this.  The bodice doesn't look so great now that it's flat!  Note that I took embroidery work from the back and filled in the "V".  On purpose, I took the photo horizontal.....I needed to get away from thinking of the dress as a vertical object!




Sometimes, turning life on it's side gives us a different perspective on whatever it is that we are going through at the moment.

Having it flat allwed me to get a  good closeup of that embroidery, so you can see why I didn't want to just toss this!


My next step is to reattach the lace that I had to remove to take it apart.  This all has to be done by hand.  No machine stitching allowed on this part!  It may take me a few nights to get this done.


My sister, Colleen, was here for the weekend, so it was off to the Berry Patch in Niwot.  You can google my blog as I've posted about this wonderfully amazing shoppe before.  10,000 different kinds of lace.  But it's sort of like scrapbooking.  When you buy an embellishment....alone....sometimes it just doesn't do much.  Now, I had my dress in pieces on my big board and we took the whole thing into the store.  The clerk was having so much fun pulling lace and trim.....while I was......


Layering it......


trying to visualize what different layers would look like together (sometimes....you just have to play, even inside a store!)


because the 2 pieces above look totally different when you layer them up like I did below.   I plan to add swarovsky crystals to the silk flowers to tie them to the beads on the scallops.   I started thinking about scrapbook paper and how we layer it, add to it, ink it, diecut it......



for instance, this is a rather boring piece of lace by itself,



But if you put a strip of white rayone over it, then adorn it with these hand made silk rossettes.....


now this is more like what I was looking for!


an hour and a half later we walked out of the shoppe with everything I think I need to turn this into something absolutely gorgeous!  But who knew that the basic principles of scrapbooking would be used in a lace shoppe?

And now that everything is all white....I can't wait to get the original lace stitched back in place so I can move forward.  Again - sort of like life.  We have to put things in place, get them in order,  before we can move ahead!

6 comments:

CraftyJo said...

OMG, I had totally forgotten how funny I thought it was when I first moved to the US - I told my family I was washing clothes with BIZ and they thought it was hysterical. Biz, in our English, means ermmm - well, there's no polite way - poop!

Loving this project. Jo

Jen Lowe said...

Too funny! I guess tomorrow I'll have to take a photo of what Biz is in the US! LOL!!!

Hannah said...

Jen, you have such a gorgeous eye!
I find your blog quote inspirational, both spiritually and visually. :-)

madelineas said...

I love all the embroidery you have done, can't wait to see how this ends up Jen

Neet said...

Wow - this is going together beautifully. What the heck is Biz?

Jen Lowe said...

Neet - Biz is a form of powdered bleach, much more gentle than bleach. Normally used for babies diapers...it can be used on very delicate clothing items. Regular bleach would eat up the lace on this gown. Biz is wonderful! Are you coming to CHA? Pick up a box at any grocery store!

someone else "kindly" told me what "biz" is in the UK and I really had a good laugh!!!