From an old trunk… An old nightdress and some laceFrancesca Palange
If you one of the growing group of people who just can’t resist a second hand shop, then these few lines and photos are dedicated to you!
The story begins in a second hand shop, where, amongst thousands of items jumbled together, piled up high on a shelf with old cotton sheets and hand woven hemp, I find an old nightdress. The fabric is the same as the sheets, simply cut, unsophisticated. It is clearly the work someone inexperienced in cutting and stitching, but who has nevertheless made an item of clothing that they needed with their own hands. It probably originates from a rural region, where traditionally women owned looms and personally weaved the fabrics that were then used for clothing, underwear and the home (sheets, pillow cases, towels, cloths etc.).
In my head, I am already matching the simple nightdress up with some lace which I have stashed away in a box; these also come from a variety of different places (antique fairs, grandmother’s work, saved at the last moment in old cellar clear outs…). I look at them every now and again to see whether they will match up with any of the new items that I may have salvaged. I can’t resist buying it, especially as it is an excellent price; the night dress is mine, ready to be photographed.
On returning home, opening the box and rummaging through it looking for the ‘right’ piece of lace for the colour and size that I need, two items become one!
The idea is to beautify the nightdress so that it can be used as intended or as a tunic over jeans – provided that I have the courage to wear something so unusual at my age!
It could do with a piece of lace around the neckline and one on the hem; yes, I think I have picked them out. The longer one has a few discoloured age spots, perfectly in keeping with the condition of the nightdress fabric.
With the help of a few pins, a needle and thread, I tack the lace at the right points. At this point I choose to hand stitch, with little back stitches; it seems like it will be a quick job, but will add that little bit extra.
Salvage complete! Here it is hung once again from the tree which I chose for a bit of rustic styling; in the meantime, the colour is developing on the apples that peep out from the branches. What do you think – was it worth it?
Text and photo by NSN team
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