Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Lasting Legacy

I know in a previous post I mentioned that my grandmother had given me a velvet case filled with priceless, handmade treasures. And I also mentioned that, someday soon, I planned to do a more detailed post (with pictures!) about it.

Well, here it is!

My grandmother worked in a dressmaking factory when she was young, about the time that she and my Grandpa were married. At this time, Gramps had enlisted in the Marines (it was WWII), and was off on patriotic adventures. In the mean time, my grandmother lived with her new father-in-law and worked making dresses in Pennsylvania. She had several friends who were talented seamstresses, and as a gift they made her some clothing (well, technically they decorated already-made pieces of clothing for her). Each of these four pieces was hand-sequined/beaded by my grandmother's friends for her, so these are priceless not only in monetary value but in sentimental value as well. She has stored them in a beautiful black velvet box, with each piece wrapped in black tissue paper. She gave this to me several years ago, and I have lovingly saved and stored it. I would never, ever sell or give these items away. They are one of the few legacies left of my grandmother that was not sold or thrown out by my family (I'm still bitter about that - can you tell?).

So, the first item you come across when you lift up the lid of the box is a gorgeous linen collar. Its beads shimmer in the light as though someone dropped a handful of tiny diamonds on it. Someday, I plan to make a dress worthy of this collar. The bead & rhinestone detailing on this collar is a series of swirls and flowers interspersed with triplet dots of pearls.

The next piece is a beautifully soft black cardigan sweater (which unfortunately appears bleached out in the flash of the camera).

It is beaded front and back with lovely flowers (done with tiny black beads) and the sweater has pearly pink buttons.

After this, there is a breathtakingly soft (I think it's cashmere) gray sweater, hand-made with deep blue sequins in a flower and dot pattern across the front. It's so lovely and delicate that I didn't dare take it out of its bag for the pictures.

Finally, we come to the creme de la creme: a gorgeous tank top, thoroughly decorated with white & irridescent sequins. It shimmers in the light like something out of a fairy tale.

The entire tank top is decorated front and back with a thick layer of sequins, and interspersed throughout are "starbursts" of irridescent beads. The top and bottom of the tank top are lined with rhinestones. Overall, the effect is breathtaking. I can't even describe how lovely this piece is, and no picture I took could properly do its beauty justice. You'll just have to take my word for it!

The only slightly depressing aspect about this legacy is that I am a bit smaller than my grandmother in size, so all of these pieces (with the exception of the linen collar) are too big for me! But I suppose the silver lining is that they will last so much longer without the extra wear and tear.

1 comment:

Fab Gabs Vintage said...

The pieces are lovely.