My mother Elaine in the dress with my father Jim on May 28, 1945.
Then me in The Wedding Dress when Fred and I married on November 22, 1975. I am also wearing my mother's pearls.
And Maude also wore The Wedding Dress. I was pretty excited when Maude told me she wanted to wear it too.
She decided to alter the dress to update it, and was able to get her sewing teacher to help her (Irene who owns The Make Den). I was awestruck when I learned this. The dress is 70 years old and made from satin. I worried that the material wouldn't stand up to alterations. But it did. And Maude told me that there was barely any seam allowances in the material. She still managed to pull it off. Go Maude.
The original dress may have been hand made, but I wasn't able to confirm that, and stupidly I never asked my mother where she got the dress before she died.
Some parts of the dress were definitely sewn by hand, based on the stitches. You will also notice that the bodice had some extra stitches in it, to make it more modest I guess. I never actually noticed that before, until Maude pointed it out to me. There were also no tags on the dress, but it was 70 years ago. Did they even have off the shelf wedding dresses then? I have no idea.
Below are pictures of Maude in the dress before she made any alterations, and as it was when I wore it, and when my mother Elaine wore it.
It originally also had puffy sleeves, Maude wanted to change that. It also was too gathered at the waist, so she wanted to tighten that up. She also changed the buttons on the back of the dress (36 buttons), but not on the sleeves. The original buttons were fabric covered. Maude changed them to pearl buttons (not real pearls). She didn't replace the buttons on the sleeves, but they wound up matching the new buttons she put on the bodice.
Maude and Irene both did an excellent job on modifying the dress.
Maude in the dress before alterations.
Old satin covered buttons.
Here Maude has slimmed down the waist and removed the sleeves. She also added lace to the bottom, as she is a couple of inches taller than my mother and I were. Apparently that was tricky because the satin material of the dress became uneven over time at the hem. The fabric was likely originally cut on the bias, which actually uses more material and therefore costs more to do, BUT means it is not always even all the way around. Hence the need to add lace to the bottom, to even it out. So the lace had to go on in such a way as to compensate for the now uneven hem. I am proud to say I helped Maude pin the lace to the dress. Go me.
The new buttons. All 36 of them.
Maude has my mother's pearls on here which she also wore for her wedding.
Here Maude is wearing her blue suede shoes that she was SUPPOSED to wear at her wedding then changed her mind, meaning we Elvis sisters had to improvise singing Blue Suede Shoes to her and Dave, by first roping Dave into finding said shoes when I learned she was going to instead wear gold shoes. And then Dave couldn't find her blue suede shoes but only her blue suede moccasins which we made her wear instead (when the Elvis sisters serenaded them; not to the wedding). I guess we could have called the song Blue Suede Moccasins. I know, I know. That is entirely TMI. So just ignore it.
Here is the lace pinned onto the dress.
And here is the beautiful bride in The (finished) Wedding Dress, Nov 7, 2015. Maude also wore my mother's pearls (now owned by my sister Paula), the same ones I wore at my wedding.
Maude and Dave Nov 7, 2015
Mom, you would have been proud.