Four Women, One Dress

Tonight I am at the sewing machine. I’m remodeling a dress for North Carolina daughter. I can’t be sure it will fit her but I have a fair idea of what is needed. I’m praying with every seam that it will turn out well. I think the prayer will be answered and I’m sewing with confidence.

The material is satin. It’s creamy white and soft and surprisingly different from today’s satin, because it is 70 years old. Seventy years ago, my grandmother sat sewing with this same fabric. She was a skilled seamstress, making a wedding dress for her daughter. Her daughter was a different size than my daughter so I have taken the dress apart to resize and change the design a bit. I have to admire her work. She was careful, and gave attention to details. It was a beautiful dress. I have seen it in the pictures of my mother’s wedding.

Grandmother Clementine Warner Boone

Expectations of what wedding dresses should look like have changed so much from 1950. I don’t know what they are making them out of these days that they should cost thousands of dollars, but I know the one my grandmother worked on was made out of love (and satin, and lace).

The work on this project has been an emotional experience for me. I take apart a seam and realize that was thread put there by her machine. Her hands touched the fabric in this very place as she guided it under the needle. She probably peered closely at that button as she sewed it on, just as I am as I remove it. We are linked, she and I, by many things that aren’t tangible, but this dress can be touched and felt. The whole idea is kind of eerie, almost sacred, to me.

And our daughters, the one who wore it so long ago and the one who will wear it next month, they are also linked by the same dress. Mothers and daughters, four women, seventy years, one dress. I love it. It has specialness that can’t be bought.

But as I said, we will see if it fits and seems appropriate for the ceremony. At the least, it will be in a picture. And to some of us, it will look beautiful. Just sayin’…

5 thoughts on “Four Women, One Dress

  1. This is so special. I wore my mother’s dress that was made from alonso (sp?) lace. Her mother, an amazing seamstress sewed it. Since my mother and I had similar builds, little alterations were needed. I am taller and since there was no hem, I happily opted for flatter heeled shoes. Unfortunately, this lace doesn’t perserve well despite the specila care and expense. When my daughter was getting married, we took it out of the box to discover the edges were damaged. We thought maybe we could make the dress a shorter version. My daughter does not have my build and is 3 inches taller. Even when we went to a taylor, we could not make it work. Oh well. My daughter found a lovely gown that fit her beautifully and I saved the lace from my dress for my granddaughter’s baptism pillow. Much love and happiness to your family.

  2. I love this. 13 years ago we bought a dress for my oldest daughter, Charity. We thought it was a beautiful dress and five years later her sister-in-law thought it would be a lovely dress to wear. We had it altered by the same woman who altered it for charity. Leanna wore it and three years later Jenna wanted to wear the same dress. Again we had it altered and then two years ago Our daughter-in-law Teresa Marie wanted to wear the dress. If I can collect pictures from each girl and her wedding, I’d like to do a story book for all the grandchildren with the main character in spokes person being the dress. It got to participate in for amazing events in our family.

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