Friday, July 10, 2009

Black Lace Dress

Accession Number: TR.1362.13

Label 1: McComb

Label 2: Black Rayon, Lace c.1955, De Accession 8-18-81

This is a full-length, sleeveless, black lace dress. It is comprised of three pieces of floral-patterned lace: one for the chest and back, with a seam in the back; one for the waist, with a seam in the front; and one large piece of lace for the skirt. The neckline of the dress is square in the front, and has a V in the back. There is a border of floral lace trim at the neckline and at the top of the arm holes. The lining is made of black rayon and net and attached to the lace at the shoulders, the front neckline, the center of the back neckline, and the front of the chest. The dress closes under the left arm with three snaps on the lining and seven snaps on the lace. Although the hem of the lining was hand rolled, all seam allowances were left raw.

This dress has only been partially deconstructed. The lower lace panel of the dress was removed and the seam taken out, yielding an 8’ x 38” piece of lace.

At Pasadena Architectural Salvage, an antique screen door, with a damaged screen, was obtained. First, the wood molding that secured the damaged screen was removed, followed by the damaged screen itself. The lace was cut slightly larger than the opening in the door. It was stretched over the opening and then secured with a thin piece of rubber tubing know as spline. This tubing was placed over the edge of the lace screen and then pressed into a groove in the door frame using the round edge of a spline tool. Excess lace was then trimmed and the wood molding was nailed back into place.

The accession number has been embroidered in the lower right corner of the screen.


  1. This is a fascinating project and I am interested in learning more about it.

  2. If you have any questions about the project, please feel free to contact me at

  3. I covet this screen door.

    And imagine a perfect place for it would be the guest cottage at the Desmond house in 'Sunset Boulevard'.

    Or, of course, the screen door at Marilyn Monroe's Brentwood bungalow.

  4. For the past 23 years, I have been a collector of vintage and antique textiles, trim, and clothing. I feel breathless at the sight of these beautiful items. I am proud to their caretaker.
    I believe you got a very lucky find at Bonhams auction. But, it sickens me that you have turned these beautiful, historical items into things like "fanny packs and neck pillows." I am deeply saddened at the disrespect that you show these wonderful items by making such trivial crafts.