Thursday, February 11, 2016

A Pretty Red Vintage Dress & an Upcycled (Beaded!) Slip

Best Goodwill find of the year
Don't you love it when you pop into a thrift shop, "just for a peek," and emerge bleary-eyed two hours later?

This trip didn't take quite that amount of time, but way more than I anticipated. Of course, I spent a good deal of that trying to wiggle my way back out of a gorgeous, albeit too clingy, cream-colored beaded vintage gown. Is there a dress style called "mermaid?" because that's exactly how it felt.

Undeterred, I kept looking. Good thing I did. I found this beautiful vintage wool dress for under $10.

I have to get out and ask my hubby to take another photo of the back though, that's where the true beauty is. There are little bows all the way up, covering the zipper. He took one shot but the pleats were winging out and it looked as though I had a pumpkin stuffed up the back of the dress.

Right now, I'm working on a new project: upcycling a vintage slip. I must, must, must get better about taking "before" pictures. I keep forgetting and it would be so inspiring to see the transformation.

Play along with me though, and picture a plain, cream-colored vintage slip.

First, I dyed it purple. I found some beautiful rose trim at Joanns and added that to the dye bath. Unfortunately, it didn't soak up the color as I'd hoped, so is quite a lot lighter than I anticipated. But that's OK. That's part of the fun of upcycling and trying new things: being surprised. 

After the slip had dried, I thought that,  in addition the trim,it needed some more bling.

The solution? BEADS!

I've never beaded anything in my life. My foray into jewelry design was disastrous as everything I made fell apart ... while I was wearing it. I'd never considered beading on fabric before but, inspired by Pinterest, dove in.

Here are the results so far:

You can see from the top picture the design, lightly, in blue. I just discovered washable fabric markers. I've heard of fabric chalk or tailor's chalk, but not these wondrous pens! The only  downside is that the tip catches a little on the silky fabric making curves a challenge. I didn't realize this before making the design.

The design is just something I doodled, then recreated on a piece of copier paper with Sharpie. After that, I slid it under the front of the dress and traced my pattern with the special fabric marker.

I'm enjoying this SO much! (Complete disclosure: I started and re-started beading about six times before it started to click. It was so frustrating!)

That's all for now--it's freezing here and I'm looking forward to a little more beading in a cozy corner before dinner prep.

PS if you're also into beading, you'll want to check out this site. I just found Nancy Eha's book last night at the library, called, Off the Beadin' Path. It's a bit old and I'm not sure if it's still in print, but I found some used on Amazon.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Stacy. :) I can't wait to get pics of the back--the bows and detailing really make the dress.

  2. Thank you for mentioning my beading and beading book in your post! I hope you continue to explore with beads.
    Update, I now have two newer fabric beading books featuring my original beading techniques, Bead Creative Art Quilts, and Bead Creative Like Crazy. You can look inside my books and order autographed copies here:

    Best wishes,
    Nancy Eha

    1. Hi Nancy--thanks for stopping by and for all the inspiration your book/website provide. Psyched to check out your new(er) books and will be sure to check them out!