"" Writer's Wanderings: Celebrating 50 Years -- Remembering The Dress

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Celebrating 50 Years -- Remembering The Dress

Once the wedding date was set, my mother went about securing a church that would welcome Bob's pastor who had agreed to marry us and then of course the venue for the reception. I was still at school in Columbus so she did the majority of work and checked in with me when she found the places. A lot of work for her but I think she enjoyed it.

Then there was the challenge of finding a dress. It seems to me we went out twice looking for one. Once in Columbus and once nearer home. Back in the day, I was quite a seamstress. I had made my prom dress and my graduation dress for high school and lots of other clothes including a suit for homecoming at OSU. Back then we actually got dressed up for homecoming football games. When we found the dress that I liked, we both got very quiet. Mom understood my creative bent. "You think you can make it?" she asked.

I twirled around then began to examine how it was put together. "Maybe," I said.

We told the attendant we would think about the dress and left. Later, putting our heads together, Mom offered to buy a dress form for me and we planned to price out the lace and taffeta or satin we would need. The more we looked at materials, the more excited I got. The only problem--I was going to spend a good part of the summer at school because I needed a couple more courses to complete so I could graduate at the same time Bob would finish his Master's Degree.

Now this is where I have to say my mother really toughed it out. She had to have worried over whether I would get the dress done. And of course I was notorious for waiting for the last minute to finish my projects. For High School graduation I came home from graduation practice in the morning and had my dress made in the afternoon by the time we left for the ceremony. This was a lot bigger project though.

Once home from school that summer, I plunged in and began my dress. I took the pattern I'd used for my prom dress and used that as the basis for the wedding gown. I had to enlarge the skirt to make it full for a hoop. (Cinderella style was popular back then.) I used another pattern to form the long sleeves. There was a lot of hand sewing once the basic dress was made.

The back of the dress is a cascade of layers of puffy lace. Each row was hand sewn. With the dress form, I could just sit and sew each layer and see it all come together. Sewing the little pearls on the front took a lot of time and the long veil for church was another challenge. But by the time September arrived, the dress was finished.

The dress has been in a box for 50 years and I decided to take it out to display for the kids and grandkids. After all, it's never going to see the light of day again and I figured it would probably fall apart. To my surprise, except for some wear and tear from our wedding day, the dress held up quite well. Since the hoop slip was borrowed, I didn't have one to put under it but it displayed quite well on the dress form I borrowed from a friend.

Someday I hope my beautiful granddaughters will find someone to share a lifetime with and my handsome grandsons will be the perfect mates who will honor and love their brides.

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