After the shock of the camera on my phone not working and then it just popping up again I can now write about some of the happenings on my weekend at Toowoomba as I can post some images.
One of the other women at the retreat asked me if I could find out about an old piece of clothing that her grandparents had brought to Australia from Poland. This was the old Poland, when it's borders extended north and it was part of Imperial Russia pre WW1. It was part of a child's dress that had been mostly hand made from parts of other clothing. The most notable feature was the beading on the bodice and sleeves.
There are two distinctly different types of beading. The first is on the yolk across the shoulders, and is stitched.
The second is across the chest region and is woven.
I suspect that they were taken from two separate garments.
The beading on the sleeves is similar to that on the shoulders but might have come from another garment altogether.
The beading at the side of these panels has been sewn into the pintucking and although the beads are a good match in colour, there is a slight difference in the beads.
On the back of the beading you can see the construction method and the piecing.
The designs have a Scandinavian look about them and I suspect that some of the original beading was part of a Saami (Lapland) costume. If you look at the bands around the sleeves those animals look like deer of some kind. The other hypothesis is that the maker copied some of the Saami designs.
The Saami today mainly live in Norway and Sweden but there are others smaller groups that live in Finland and Russia. Although I have no documentary proof I suspect that some of the beaded sections of this garment originate with the "Skolt Saami" or perhaps the Karelians who live in the same area.
I had read that the yoked sweaters that we know today were originally taken from beading designs used in Greenland by the Saami.
There is one interesting little feature. One the back of the yoke there was a pyramid of yellow beads on each side. I wonder if these were original or added later?
So here sits a piece of a small dress that was obviously much prized as it was brought to the other side of the world. The decorated section was cut off and packed away probably because it held memories of home. So if you have a treasured piece make sure you write it's history so that we are not guessing where it came from or who made it.