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Old 01-16-2009, 02:20 PM   #1
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Shell dresses

Lots of tribes wear dresses decorated with various shells.

What do you think about shell dresses?
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Old 01-16-2009, 03:20 PM   #2
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I just finished orderring all my materials for a shell dress. mine will be dentalium shell on wool. I am very excited (and broke, but it was money from x-mas for this purpose)
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Old 03-07-2009, 12:12 AM   #3
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I have two shell capes to use over different dresses. One cape is made with cowry shells and another with dentillium shells. I also have a cape with elk teeth and another with pennies. Love using the capes because it is easier to clean the dresses and gives me more variety....a mix and match thing.
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Old 03-07-2009, 03:34 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by calicoquilts View Post
I have two shell capes to use over different dresses. One cape is made with cowry shells and another with dentillium shells. I also have a cape with elk teeth and another with pennies. Love using the capes because it is easier to clean the dresses and gives me more variety....a mix and match thing.
I like your idea of mix and match. I'd love to see the pennies. I decorated some of my husbands clothes with some NDN head pennies.
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Old 03-07-2009, 01:38 PM   #5
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I recently cleaned all of my capes and the penny didn't do so well. The collars needed to be scrubbed and I was careful not to submerse the whole penny cape but the pennies are looking tarnished. Its probably just aging. Hopefully my hubby will shine them for me.
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Old 03-07-2009, 02:20 PM   #6
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I have a shell top "the one in my avi" and I absolutely love it. And if I want to I can put different skirts with it, the skirt im wearing in the pic is navy blue.
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Old 03-08-2009, 01:26 AM   #7
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That's an awesome dress, Plumes!!! Didn't know it was seperate pieces, tho! Good idea!
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Old 03-08-2009, 01:13 PM   #8
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They are beautiful! I have admired yours in your avatar for a long time, Eagle Plumes. I imagine they must be a lot of work to make?
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Old 03-09-2009, 09:28 PM   #9
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I LOVE shell dresses. I made a red velvet one with cowries long time ago for one of my girls. And I've been collecting shells ever since. I even have some small round shells from the jewelry section that I think I'll put on a dress for one of my granddaughters.

Somewhere I have some blue shells that I wanted to put on a dark blue dress with buckskin trim. And I have some purple cowries. And some elk teeth that I want to mount similarly.
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Old 03-16-2009, 11:22 AM   #10
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Penny dresses

I may be wrong (I often am!) but I was told that penny dresses were only worn by certain people among the Lakota people. My adopted sister is Lakota and has penny dresses and always told me they were to be used by certain people within a family.
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Old 03-23-2009, 04:22 PM   #11
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They are beautiful! I have admired yours in your avatar for a long time, Eagle Plumes. I imagine they must be a lot of work to make?
Thank-You it is one of my more simple dress's yet my favorite. I diddnt do the sewing part but I did sew on all the shells, last I remember I put on 380 shells! I was never soo glad to be done lol.
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Old 02-03-2012, 04:21 PM   #12
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Help me choose a fabric for the cape! I want to sew a cape with a dentaliumom, shells bought, but on what fabric to use I do not know. Wool - a thick, summer can be hot. Muslin - a thin. Maybe better to take a canvas or a tick?
Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-07-2012, 09:55 PM   #13
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Help me choose a fabric for the cape! I want to sew a cape with a dentaliumom, shells bought, but on what fabric to use I do not know. Wool - a thick, summer can be hot. Muslin - a thin. Maybe better to take a canvas or a tick?
Thanks in advance!
It would be good to use lightweight bleached or unbleached canvas or medium to heavy muslin. You want the cape color to closely match the color of the shells so that the cape will look "filled in" without distracting gaps where the backsgound shows. Due to the shape of dentallium, you can't avoid the gaps but you can make them less noticeable.

The cape fabric will also need to be sturdy enough to hold all your shells since you will be sewing them one individually. Too thin a fabric will pucker as you sew. Too heavy and it won't drape right. So try for something in between. When you are done, attach a cotton backing to protect your stitching.
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Old 02-08-2012, 06:00 AM   #14
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Czechy, thank you!
I took the muslin to the Crazy Crow. He is there are very thin and dark colors. Its use for such work can not be used. You can tell by their catalog which the fabric better.

Can you please tell how to better tailor the cape. Make it whole circle, or with seams on the shoulders and bevels on your hands?
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:10 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by fiery little bee View Post
help me choose a fabric for the cape! I want to sew a cape with a dentaliumom, shells bought, but on what fabric to use i do not know. Wool - a thick, summer can be hot. Muslin - a thin. Maybe better to take a canvas or a tick?
Thanks in advance!
Навіщо ви купуєте тканини і мати його поштою на Україну? Ви не маєте магазинах тканин є?

Я не розумію, що національний одяг України включена оболонка мису. Ви прикинувшись індійським?
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Old 02-08-2012, 02:03 PM   #16
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Wow! Is that a native font??

I always thought doing dentalium on a dark velvet or velveteen would be cool, cuz you wan the shells to stand out. I saw an old navy blue dress with dentalia and it was awesome!
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Old 02-08-2012, 03:02 PM   #17
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Wow! Is that a native font??

I always thought doing dentalium on a dark velvet or velveteen would be cool, cuz you wan the shells to stand out. I saw an old navy blue dress with dentalia and it was awesome!
Nah, it's Ukrainian. I don't get much of a chance these days to practise my Russian/Ukrainian/German...LOL

I love seeing the shells on red and navy blue/black backgrounds... Many of our button blankets have dentalium shells on them...
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Old 02-10-2012, 01:20 PM   #18
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My comment was referring to the old style of Lakota and Cheyenne dresses. The muslin yoke was separate and sewn onto the dress. That way if the dress wore out or needed to be replaced, you could simply remove the shell yoke and put it onto a new dress. Yes, you could sew the shells directly on your wool also. very common these days.

if making a separate cape/yoke, have seams at the shoulders for some shaping. A full circle will not lay flat on the body.
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Old 02-10-2012, 05:12 PM   #19
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Thank you, Czechy!
I have a good description of the dress of the 19th century, and a lot of pictures of dresses of the time. But only two photos of capes, and only one has a description. It uses the canvas, which is also used for tents.
According to the stories they appeared at the Lakota, and from them they appeared in Cheyenne. Who is pau they are widely used in the northern style. It seems to me not only to those tribes.
It is interesting to learn about them as much as possible.
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Old 02-12-2012, 10:52 PM   #20
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my shell top is red velvet backed with muslin. It comes down and has two shoe strings sewn in the insides that I tie and tuck the strings up into my top. I wear it with a navy blue skirt and someday I hope to have a buckskin skirt to wear with it.
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