Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wedding Wednesdays: My Grandmother's Dress

My Grandma Barb is on the right. My Grandpa is on the right and her sister, Alice, is on the left. 

When we were cleaning out my grandmother's house a few years back, we came across her wedding dress. In a plastic shopping bag. In the bottom of her linen closet. I imagine in 1947, most women didn't pay to preserve their wedding dresses. In my grandmother's case her sister made her dress (by hand, then made herself a matching one) and probably didn't see the need.

Fast forward 67 years when my Mom brings the dress to me the weekend we go shopping for my own wedding dress. Obligatory photo in Grandma's wedding dress:

It actually fit! And the peplum style is totally in right now. But with the yellowing, stains, rips and button-up turtleneck look, it just wasn't the dress for me. I knew I wanted to make use of it either in my bouquet or some special piece in the wedding. I found this arrangement and it served as my inspiration for the project.

I researched the best way to clean yellowed silk, turns out Woolite was the best option. I took a deep breath and cut the dress into several different sections. I soaked each piece for 10-15 minutes, then hand-washed them and hung (throughout) the house to dry.

I didn't realize just how much material was actually used in the dress, so this process took days! I tried different flower techniques, new shapes of petals, tried incorporating my Mom's lace from her veil, but Martha and a little tweaking to my own styles won in the end. Once I got into the groove, the flowers came along quickly. I found the pine cone and Dusty Miller sprigs at Michael's and decided two use just two colors from my wedding bouquet as a pop of color. The last issue I had to deal with was the vase. We decided these flowers would be with the remembrance candles the mothers light at the beginning of the ceremony, so it had to be bigger in size and quite a statement. Three weeks before we wedding, we were visiting friends in Charlotte and I was told to check out Old Time Pottery. Thank goodness I did, because I found this stunning Mercury glass jug for only $20!

It was hard to imagine our wedding day without my Grandmother there. We shared so many wonderful memories together, and she would have loved every second of the day. With this arrangement, I felt like she was a part of the entire evening. Not to mention, I think she would have been impressed that I took her trashed heirloom and made into something we can cherish forever.