Saturday, May 18

Mending a vintage silk blouse

I was recently asked to mend this silk blouse. The owner did not know exactly how old it was, but my guess is 1930s. The amazing thing is that virtually all the stitching is done by hand and as you can see from the photos below, there is an awful lot of it! Every single seam, all the pin tucks, the attaching of the lace......... it must have taken hundreds of hours.The photos are not the best - I'm still having trouble with my camera..... but I hope you get the gist of things.





The pintucks -




The collar -





The under side of the collar, showing the hand stitching -





French seams at the sides - 





There were various parts of seams that needed mending. On the far right of this sleeve seam you can see the original stitching, and to the left is my repair; not quite as neat and small -





This is where someone had mended it before, using backstitch instead of the running stitch that was used originally, and which I used. The backstitch is a bit thick and lumpy - 

Previous repair


An underarm seam, a bit sweat stained........ I did think of asking the owner to wash the blouse before I mended it, as there were other dirty marks on it too, but I refrained, and just got on and did it. I have read that you should mend old garments before washing them but personally I don't like mending grubby things and won't do it again.

Another previous repair


There is a button missing from the bottom of the blouse now as I had to use it to replace one on a cuff. I also had to make a new button loop, seen here at the top, and looking rather white compared to the one at the bottom. That might be due to a different coloured thread or just that the old one is grubby -

New button loop



Here there was a tiny loop attached to the shoulder seam, with a popper fastening, for holding in place the straps of undergarments, and this is a bit of a mystery, because - the stitching you can see is done by machine! The photo is not that clear but I can assure you that that bit of stitching is done by machine. It's the only bit of machine stitching that I found on the whole blouse, and how strange to find it here on this tiny loop! -  




It was a privilege to work on a lovely vintage garment like this.

4 comments:

Son said...

amazing that it is still wearable!

Granny's Button Box said...

Well done Lizzie, your stitching is so neat. I just love hand sewing.

LizzieL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LizzieL said...

I can't seem to reply to individual comments any more (more techie research for me...) but to -

Son - Quality clothing, made to last!

Granny's Button Box - Thank you! Yes, hand stitching is very relaxing.