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  • Shell dresses

    Lots of tribes wear dresses decorated with various shells.

    What do you think about shell dresses?
    Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

  • #2
    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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    • #3
      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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      • #4
        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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        • #5
          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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          • #6
            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.
            I got a fevah! And the only cure is more cowbell!!!

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            • #7
              That's an awesome dress, Plumes!!! Didn't know it was seperate pieces, tho! Good idea!

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              • #8
                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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                • #9
                  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.
                  ...it is what it is...

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                  • #10
                    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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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by neling4 View Post
                      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.
                      I got a fevah! And the only cure is more cowbell!!!

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                      • #12
                        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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                        • #13
                          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!
                          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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                          • #14
                            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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                            • #15
                              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?
                              A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. — Robert A. Heinlein

                              I can see the wheel turning but the Hamster appears to be dead.

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