Sunday, 7 August 2016

A Berkertex Dress

I'm not mad about paisley, but the colours in this vintage dress are beautiful, peacock-like tones.  The brand is 'Berkertex', today synonymous with rather mumsy catalogue clothing.  Curious about the brand's history, I looked it up on the fantastic Vintage Fashion Guild's Label Resource.  Established in 1936, Berkertex was to become one of the UK's largest clothing manufacturers.  I even found a link to Wales, in this quote:

"In 1942, Norman Hartnell began designing ready-to-wear dresses for Berkertex, and continued until at least 1952, when Berkertex fashions held the largest fashion show in Wales, in Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens’ Pavillion, showing Hartnell’s designs, which was attended by some 20,000 women over two days."

Welsh ladies must have flocked in their droves down from the hills!  Keen to find some pictures from the show, I luckily found a video on Youtube documenting the fashion show - scroll down to the end of the post to see it.

My own Berkertex dress was picked up at a car boot sale.  I think I paid £5 for it.  I'd guess it's from around 1970, it has that turn of the decade feel.  Overall the colours are still vibrant, there's no fading, and every single one of those covered buttons is still in place down the front.  Alas, the elastic in the cuffs needs replacing.  There are also a few very delicate patches where the sheer fabric is nearly worn through, especially under the arms.  I wasn't sure how to mend these, does anybody have any experience of reinforcing sheer vintage fabric?

Berkertex

Berkertex

Berkertex

Berkertex

Berkertex

Berkertex

Berkertex

Berkertex

Berkertex

Berkertex

Berkertex
Berkertex dress: Via car boot sale
Sunglasses: Primark
Ballet pumps: George at Asda

As promised, here's the delightful fashion show video - only a minute long, you've got time to watch it!



16 comments:

  1. You look awesome! You and the 70s are a match made in heaven. I think a dress like this was made for a leggy lovely like you and you're right the colours are fab. Love the dramatic pics too :) Have a lovely Sunday xx

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  2. What a fabulous find! And your posing is A+++.

    bisous
    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

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  3. You have such a knack for wearing late 60s and early 70s styles. The shapes and the colors of this look fabulous on you. What an awesome piece to pick up for so cheap!
    It's a shame that the fabric under the arms is wearing a bit thin. I can't think of anything you'd be able to do to reinforce it, except maybe have a lining added in order to put less wear on the vintage fabric.

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  4. That's such a gorgeous dress, which suits you - and the landscape - very well indeed. Glad to know some background history of Berkertex, especially since I own a vintage Berkertex dress from the chazzas myself ... xxx

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  5. That's a really gorgeous dress.

    My suggestion for repairing the armpits really depends on how large an area is delicate, but here's what I'd do, as it looks as though there are opaque area within the sheer bits.

    1: go to a sewing shop and find a sheer fabric to match the sheer parts. Make sure it's woven rather than knitted, so it'll hold its shape. You want something not likely to fray at the edges, or get some fray-stop liquid to do the edges with.

    2: Turn the dress inside out. Cut a bit of the new fabric large enough to cover the weak area and go onto the opaque area. It's better to cut the fabric slightly too large than too small. Very carefully, using very small stitches (but longer on the inside than the topside, where they should be so small as to be nearly invisible), use thread matching the opaque areas to stitch just on the edge of the opaque area, following the pattern. That way the edges of the reinforcing fabric shouldn't be visible behind the sheer, and the attaching stitches should get lost in the pattern of the opaque areas. Trim off the excess reinforcement fabric, edge with fray-stop if needed.

    Does that make sense?

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Mim for the suggestion! Do you think a very lightweight iron-on interfacing might also do the job?? I was wondering about how to hide stitches you see, but maybe iron-on stuff would work? Or is that sacrilege?!

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    2. I'm not a sewist so there might be interfacing that would do the job, but all the iron-on stuff I've seen would be too visible - it's all semi-opaque or opaque, and not available in colours. And, of course, interfacing is designed to stiffen so would affect the drape of the sheer areas.

      When you want to hide stitches, the trick is to push the needle through to the top side of the fabric, then down again in virtually the same place, so almost none of the thread is visible on the surface. Sort of: -^-^- As a technique it probably wouldn't be strong enough for a seam, but I reckon would be fine for adding reinforcement.

      I bet Cate can come up with a proper solution; she's a whizz at sewing.

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  6. Wow love the colors in that dress and gorgeous location for blog photos! :)

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  7. Very groovy! This whole look makes me think of an outfit Megan Draper would wear!

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  8. Lovely print Porcelina - very pretty.

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  9. Such a fun print! Always fun to experiment with new shapes, colours and prints. It looks lovely in you. I love the purples!

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  10. I adore paisley print and this dress is fab. Berketex these days is a hideous granny label all elasticated waist slacks and beige polyester - what a shame, the 1960s and 1970s stuff was ace especially their groovier "Mayfair" label.
    How about carefully unpicking the sleeves and using the pieces as a template to make sleeves in another fabric? Chiffon or sari fabric would look brilliant. xxx

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  11. That's such a sweet dress. You totally rock late 60's and 70's styles :)
    I also watched the video, I wish dresses nowadays would have such perfect cuts!

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  12. Such a great outfit, you look so good in this style! Beautiful photos and location too.

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  13. What a spectacular dress! I love the inky, dusk-esque tones and those fabulous sleeves. The colours are radiant on you as well and seem to suit these final weeks of summer so well. Great find!

    xoxo ♥ Jessica

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  14. Fun dress! I love the way you paired it with those glasses and your hair styled that way. It is a perfect fit on you. <3

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