Saturday, May 14, 2011

To restore, or not restore?

Now that blogger's back, here's some photos of the poor decisions I hinted at last post.  There's a small, very reasonably priced antique store/jumble shop near our house, and usually I go there for costume jewelry, goofy tie tacks for J, and bits of lace.  They frequently have a couple of jumble tables covered in vintage textiles, which is where I found the lace, but this time I found these beauties:

As you can see, they're a little ragged.  The top three are beads stitched individually down to a backing fabric, the one I posted previously with the black beads is knitted with the beads suspended between stitches, and the bottom one is woven.  The shop also had several in mint condition which I'm thinking of going back for, because the good ones were well priced and these were just too good to pass up.  I think I could restore the first four, the sewn and knitted ones, if I found the right beads and took the time to fuss with them.  The bottom one may be a lost cause, just because the beads are structural and sooo tiny, but it was too pretty to pass up.  Just to give you an idea of the work involved, here's an inside shot of the bag at the top of the post:

This one also has a label sewn into its lining which says "Handmade in Japan," maybe meaning it was done after WWII?  This white and silver one is definitely in the best condition, followed by the other white one.  Basically all the white and silver one needs is to be sewn back together and have a strap put on, and the all white one needs some threads tied and beads replaced, but the lining is perfect.  The linings of the others look like this:

Beautiful, delicate silk which is literally shredding under the weight of the bag.  In some ways I think it would be a shame to replace the original silk linings, but with the lining shredding, they're unuseable.  I also have no idea what I would do with this many bags, but it seemed like a shame to leave them to disintegrate.  Something closer to mint I wouldn't mess with, but these fall apart just being touched.

I might keep one of the white ones for a bridal clutch, and maybe one of the others, but I don't think I need all of these tiny little bags.  Maybe sell them on etsy or ebay?  I don't have a shop, but it looks like similar ones are going for 50-150USD.  Or I could just take them out and pet them once in a while.  What would you do with these?  Anyone know of good information on restoring something like this?  I'm not so much concerned with their saleability afterwards, it just seems like a shame to let something so pretty fall apart.


  1. oooh, pretty. (also, shiny. magpie, anyone?) i know nothing about beading, but i vote for adding thrifting to the list of things to do this summer...

  2. I love the idea of taking them out an petting them. I also get into the thought process of, "Maybe if I have kids they'll really like them..." even when I'm in an no-kids mindset. It's one more way to hoard, I suppose.

    Those are really beautiful, and refinishing them sounds like LOTS of work. How are your eyes? ;)

  3. I say restore! But, then again, I don't have to do any of the work. Maybe it would be a good summer project? ...

  4. @ab--My eyesight is fine now, but I'm worried it might not be after taking this project on! My mother did a lot of the "what if the kids want it" and is now finding her in a position to get rid of a lot of stuff now that my brother and I are out of the house because we didn't take all of it . . . plus with all the moving J and I need to do the next few years, I don't think I need to pick up extra stuff to move, even though kids are in our roadmap.

    @Katie--Summer project was exactly what I was thinking, although not what my advisor is thinking, I'm sure. But who cares what advisors think, right?

    @rooster--Let's talk about a thrifting date, now that we're both done?