Monday, June 2, 2008

Vintage Wedding Dress 1898

This is what has been traditionally known as Grandma Wasden's wedding dress. It was at least worn the day of her wedding to James. The style includes a separate skirt and a top. The fabric is a fine cotton, probably originally white, with a small green print.

A view of the back shows the skirt with a swish behind. Very noticeable is the teeny, tiny waist of 22.5 inches. The skirt is completely lined.

The sleeve detail has gathering all stitched by hand. With no elastic, the gathered opening of the sleeve had to be left large enough to slip hand and arm through.

The inside is a torture chamber: whale boning in every seam with extra in the front to give a lady a great shape. Instead of a nice zipper we have 22 sets of hooks and eyes for closure. The hem is finished with genuine horse hair braid.

It was certainly elegant in its day and we can only imagine that our little short Grandmother was just as little around. And her elegance would have matched her dress as James took her by the hand.


Ann said...

What a huge amount of work must have gone into this dress. It is a beautiful example of the style of the times, and grandma's gracious way of dressing. When I think of her pioneer way of dressing in Penrose, I wonder if she ever longed for the finer clothes she once wore. When I compare the way this dress has kept with the way Mother's (Minnie's) dress posted earlier on the blog has kept, there was definitely something to be said for cotton, and cotton type fabrics, as opposed to silk or the early rayons.

Elizabeth said...

Grandma and Grandpa waited so long to get married - Grandpa was 26, soon to be 27, and Grandma was 26. Times were tough. I also remember a black dress that was hers that I got to model for a fashion show the year that I was in the 8th grade. (There was also a wonderful black hat that went with the dress.) The dress was too short for me, because I was taller than Grandma by then; wish I knew what happened to that dress. It was one that she wore to Church because it wouldn't show the dirt and was more practical. Grandma loved beautiful things, but she did not like "fakes". She always said she would rather have nothing than to have a fake.