So as I was working on the dress, I thought I’d see how it looked with the rhinestone shoulder chain that had first inspired the project– by itself it looked reasonably good, but once I tried the choker on the dress form (more on that later) it was clear that the combination of the two was just too much. Too gaudy, too garish, not so much a replica of the original as an over-the-top version you might see on stage. Plus, it wasn’t quite long enough to drape properly over the shoulders, which (while fixable) just pushed it over the edge into “nope” territory.
So despite being initially inspired by the rhinestone shoulder chain, I decided that it had to go. (Luckily for me, since it had arrived broken I got an almost complete refund from the seller, so I only ended up paying $6 for it– not a huge waste of money) But what to replace it with?
Close examination of the movie stills revealed that the neckline and sleeve decoration is actually a beaded fringe with teardrop-shaped beads at the end, topped with densely-embroidered sequins and beads. You can see it at the bottom of the sleeve here:
I managed to find some reasonably similar beaded fringe– not quite right, it’s a bit too short and not as dangly or densely spaced as the original, but close enough. The fringe originally had a 3/8″ wide ribbon at the top, but I folded it in half and whipstitched the edges to make it less obtrusive when sewn on. (By the way, that part was seriously irritating– the thread kept catching in the bead fringe and there was much swearing as I had to de-tangle it every other stitch or so)
I hand-stitched it to the edges of the cap sleeves, and then created the neckline swags (front and back) by draping the trim over the neckline and then tracing out the natural arc of the trim onto paper so I would be sure to get the most natural-looking swag shape. I used that paper to cut out pieces of the ivory net.
Then I whip-stitched the new neckline pieces to the dress, and stitched the trim to the lower edge.
I’ll cover the ribbon entirely with sequins later on, so my sloppy stitching won’t show.
I’m not completely thrilled with the fringe itself– the beads are acrylic and it’s obvious that they’re not glass or anything else that has any real sparkle. I’m just hoping that when combined with everything else, they’ll contribute well to the overall effect. What do you think?
5 thoughts on “My Fair Lady Ballgown, Part VI: Neckline and Sleeve Beaded Trim”
love the musical…beautiful dress
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I’m getting married in 5 weeks and I’d love to talk to you more about the necklaces you put together! Could you drop me an email? Xx
Adrienne– Sure, but I don’t have any email information for you! I did a post specifically on the necklace, but it seems that the eBay seller I got the two necklaces I modified from no longer has them in stock. Keywords for future searches would be chandelier, bib, choker, cascade, crystal, and rhinestone. Here’s my necklace post for reference: https://itsallfrosting.wordpress.com/2017/03/13/my-fair-lady-ballgown-part-ix-rhinestone-choker/