Tuesday, July 26, 2011

beading a marc jacobs dress by hand

So I teased you with this picture yesterday - one of the ending pieces for Marc Jacobs' Spring 2011 RTW collection.  I can't give away too many background details (confidentiality purposes) but Elle McPherson had this dress altered for her.  Now, when garments don't end up being used for photo shoots or shows, the alterations have to be undone so they can be returned to the designer (this dress cost $5,900 so you want your money back!)  The problem is, the dress was shortened for Elle.  What this means?  There was a seam running horizontally through the dress about a foot up from the hem.  (I joked to Sam that the store probably wouldn't notice it, and she answered, "But you did!") 

My job was to re-bead that portion of the dress to completely hide the seam.  I also needed to re-bead the areas around the seams that were taken in for Elle, and let back out for the store (so the sequins had to be removed). 

 Getting to work on a designer garment was like a dream!  To see how it was constructed was so neat.

 Re-attaching the last of the lining from the shortening

 The offending seam! See it now, watch it disappear.

 Detail shots of the beading

 The fabric, and how it appears on the inside (without a lining).  We wondered about whether there are machine feet for sewing sequins - there must be!

 My favorite things!

 Can you find the seam now?  The team will be so happy!

This was a lot of fun to work on - the time flew by!  This is the kind of project I would have been happy to do any day.  However, there was another surprise along with getting to play with sequins and touch a Marc Jacobs runway dress.  Sam charges for her alterations services - and informed me that whatever portion of the work I did, I would get paid for those hours!  I was so surprised; I didn't expect that at all!  

Some fun things coming up in the summer - working on a wedding dress for The Row (!!!), working on Victoria Beckham's line for Fashion Week (!!!!!), and, totally unrelated, a weekend visit from Andrew! (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)


  1. What an exquisite dress! It was one thing to see the runway shot, and another thing to see the close-up photos. I am guessing that when dresses are altered for a photo shoot, like this one, all sections of fabric and beading and sequins are saved? so the repair can be done perfectly. This is why you're in New York! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  2. That's exactly right! Any cut pieces are kept for that purpose (and some alterations are done differently than the conventional way because there is a chance of being undone).

  3. It's fun to look at this dress up close... it's a very simple sheath design, isn't it? but what makes it special is all the beadwork?

  4. The dress is actually rather interesting - there is a pleat at the waist (the bodice pleats over the skirt slightly) and then at the waist, on the right, the whole dress is open. There are sequined tap shorts underneath. But yes, the beading and fabric quality mostly!

  5. Only you would have the patience for this :)

  6. Hahaha that's what Sam was saying :)

  7. wow this is incredible! i would never have the patience to do this! I've just found your blog and I've started following- I love all your posts!


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