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Ebay fail.

December 13, 2013

Two years ago, I hastily slapped together a ball gown for the Queen Charlotte’s Ball, strictly as an emergency measure.  I had grand plans to make myself a lovely blue silk one when I had more time.  Two years down the road, my white gown is holding together on a wing and a prayer, while the five yards of Wedgwood blue silk taffeta languish in my fabric box because I am too terrified to cut into it.

Part of the reason my white ballgown is still in use is that, through Murphy’s law of sewing, it turned out quite well. It fits fine, flatters me, and I’ve gotten tons of compliments on it from some very august costumers.  However, fond of it was I am, the time has come to retire it, or at least shift it out of frequent rotation, before I split a seam in the middle of Auretti’s Dutch Skipper.

I am still too scared to use the silk (I need to be 100% certain my pattern will work before I cut into that costly stuff), so I needed to come up with an alternative, and preferably a cheap one.   The solution: a sari.  The danger with using a sari is that if you aren’t careful its obvious that you made your dress from a sari, wrecking the period look. But with some careful selection and some creativity in cutting, it can turn out wonderfully.  And the price couldn’t be beat! Where else can you get 6 yards of beautifully embroidered silk for under $20?

Scouring ebay I found a vintage sari of blue gauze decorated with lovely (not too eastern-looking) period correct silver bullion embroidery. It arrived from India faster than I expected, and I opened it eagerly.  While the embroidery was as lovely as it looked in the pictures, there was one big problem – it was most definitely not silk. The weft fibres were metallic, but I did a burn test on the warp threads, and sure enough it backed up my observation that the sellers mis-identified the fabric when they listed it as silk.

While I am irked, I’ll make my dress up from it anyway – I’m not such a stickler for authenticity as to waste good fabric, and I’m in too much of a time crunch to figure out an alternative.  Fortunately there are enough non-reactors at Queen Charlotte’s that a little polyester should pass without comment…

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