Grandma's Wedding Dress June, 1930

This summer my dad died. It was both sudden (one day the doctors were making arrangements for rehab, the next day the doctor said he probably wouldn't make it through the night) and expected (his body was getting tired and not working like we were all used to). Even though that's a pretty morbid way to introduce this post, the connections that led to me getting my grandmother's dress might not have happened if it weren't for his death. As with many funerals, the joy of reconnecting with family and friends helps to ease the pain of missing the one person the connects all of us. My dad's sister flew in from Minnesota and one of our many conversations led to a discussion of her mom's wedding dress, gloves, and other garments. She didn't really know what to do with them and OF COURSE I was happy to give them a home. Especially, since I knew somewhere at home, I had her wedding picture.

It took searching high and low in every box and corner of my house (still not completely unpacked from FOUR years ago!) before I found the picture! In addition, I studied and took pictures of every little interesting part of the garments my aunt Linda sent. I could go on and on but if I do, I'll never finish this post. So...

The gloves. If you've ever seen a pair of vintage suede gloves, you probably know they are SMALL. Even my daughter couldn't fit her hands in them. I loved looking at the interior to see all the markings and to see they were made in France. Ooo la la!

My grandmother sewed. She made dresses for my sister and I when we were little. I haven't checked with Aunt Linda but I'm pretty sure she made her own wedding dress. You know how sometimes you talk to yourself while you're sewing? - you don't? well I do - I could just hear what she was saying when she was making these garments.

hand finished seam allowances

Lace yoke
Rows of gathering on the sleeves.

I'm very curious about how this was done since it looks like first row of gathering is the tightest and the other rows each are gathered a little less that the previous row.
The skirt with more hand finished seam allowances.

Hmmmm, the center seam is not pressed open. I wonder if pressing both seams to one side made it
easier and gave it a  more accurate point? I also love the messy seams and visible back-stitching
The dress hem, I mean NARROW ROLLED HEM, I mean, narrow rolled hem ON THE BIAS using silk satin fabric. This is my favorite part! I've always thought, oh how did they used to do it? I just assumed that in the olden days all the rolled hems were perfect. Thank you Grandma Elkin for showing me REALITY. It's a REAL home sewn (at least that's they way they usually turn out for me) narrow rolled hem.


I can seriously hear the swear words - the same ones I say when this happens! LOL!!

And now the under garment...

When I was in high school I worked in the suburbs for a large chain department store (Higbee's, the department store featured in A Christmas Story) in their Budget Lingerie Department. I learned alot about undergarments those years! Based on that knowledge I'm calling this garment a teddy. One piece, loose fitting, no idea why it was/is necessary for women to wear. Not sure if she wore this under her dress (note that in the picture she has an undergarment with wide lace straps under the dress), or maybe a little be later that day...........

Teddy details...

French seams for this garment!

Lace inserts

Underside of lace inserts

Another chuckle...this single strip of fabric is the crotch!
And now my very favorite part of this garment, the hooks and eyes...
Looks like normal hooks

the back side of the hooks

They eyes. They are riveted on! This is GENIUS! Oops, notice that little pucker in the lace! That's sewing IRL, lol.
At first I thought that is so cool, no need to sew them by hand, just get some type of rivet thingy to attach your hooks and eyes. Then I realized, this must be hook/eye tape that could just be sewn on. What a great time-saver!

There you go! An actual full blog post full of fun vintage sewing with a personal touch.

PSA - very little editing done, please ignore any mistakes. I'd put a smiley face here but can't remember how to do it on a blog. Hahahaha!


Catherine said…
Beautiful garments. Thank you for sharing your grandmother's lovely garment. Much effort went into them and I'm sure she had time constraints just like us so sometimes perfection was not the goal. They're still the stuff of wedding dreams.