Archive for January 23rd, 2010

1915 Wedding Gown

… and then when I thought it couldn’t get any better, Mom led me to the guest  room.  (Actually where I was staying but she had a treasure up her sleeve!)

After I scooted my suitcase and pile of dirty clothes out of the way :blush:, she reached to the shelf in the closet and pulled down a box.  Not very big, but now I realize, bigger than one of those bulk envelope boxes she used to bring home from work.

Inside was MY grandmother’s wedding gown from 1915!!

August 16, 1915 ~ Besse (Whitmore) and Earl M. Riddle

wed in Maryland ~ pictures the following week in Indiana

Besse made all of this!  (Mom says with the help of our Great-Aunt Blanche, Besse’s sister.)  There is machine stitching and beautiful hand stitching!! Really impressive!  I wish I knew her more.  (She died when I was 4 y/o and I only have 2 memories with her even tho she came to live with us when I was 6 weeks old.)

This is the first glimpse as we took off the lid and the layer of tissue.

This is the top layer in the box.  Now after all our studying… we don’t know where this goes.  Maybe it wasn’t even used for the wedding.

But the back of the bodice sure is cute!! 🙂  The back tucks in behind the bow and there are snaps on that part that could snap onto the waist of the dress.  This just isn’t in the picture.  There are snaps on the one shoulder.  The bias binding  is machine stitched and then hand stitched under like in quilt binding.

The top of the dress.  I still had the skirt folded in for this picture.  But there is a spot there on the skirt.  :\

The bodice of satin wraps around and snaps separately in the back, with gathered ends.  (One side is not stitched anymore and the snaps are gone.  The other side is finished.) The double straps are again edged in bias binding but not as nicely folded under on the underneath side. 😉  The fabric roses are beautiful!

Under the satin bodice is a lace top with what I’d call netting for the sleeves.  They are full-length sleeves with a point at the end.  The lace is quite yellowed but not tearing at all.

The top of the lace bodice closes with more bias binding and a snap.  (Mom doesn’t like that part.  (the snap)  I’m telling Grandma when I get to heaven!! 🙂  )

The bottom of the dress (outer) has a scalloped edge with bias binding.

This is the layer underneath.  Like a rough muslin and then the last 10″ or so are the pretty satin.

In the wedding picture, you can see this with a layer of lace in the middle.  My sister, Margaret, used the lace on the end of her wedding veil (1983) so that isn’t with the dress anymore.  It was quite wide… I’d guess 8″ – 10″.  Lovely!  I don’t know where the lace was attached to the dress. There is nothing still hanging here that it was cut from.

This dress is in really good condition for being in a box all these years.  Mom said it had been at my aunt’s most of this time since Grandma died.  There is the spot pictured above and then another spot that is like a line dried black tar. 😦  Not sure what that could be.

And to top off the afternoon, here is the ring bearer’s pillow she made as well!

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