My professor gave me a surprise gift!! A plastic bag - inside I could make out sparkles from sequins and beads and scraps of persimmon colored silk georgette. She told me it was a 1920s dress that her mother bought at a yard sale long ago. It was made in France and totally stitched by hand.
Too fragile to wear or even hold up; the silk fabric would fall apart from the weight of the beads. I managed to carefully lay it out on a flat surface to take a photo.
1. Step One in the restoration
I needed to stabilize the fragile silk georgette that was shredding in front of my eyes. Chemical reactions taking place in the silk over time caused by the dyes and iron-based mordants used in them are often responsible for deterioration of the fiber. I purchased a light weight polyester georgette to use as a backing to the silk. I started with the area that was most damaged -- the back.
2. Thousands of hand stitches - I started by cutting a piece of the reinforcement georgette to the size of the back. I hand stitched along the edges of the neck, armhole and shredded areas.