In addition to quilting I do most any kind of sewing. My official degree is in Fashion Design not because I’m a great creative clothing designer but because making clothing is what I did most of the time – in college I sewed for my friends, in high school I sewed for myself and before that I sewed for my Barbie dolls. So the project I just completed for my friend Annette was a blast from the past with a twist – literally. I was asked if I could use Annette’s grandmothers old wedding dress to turn into small gifts for a some of her family members. Well how fun is that?!?!?!? What she had in mind was pillows. Cute little monogrammed pillows. Eight to be exact. Her cute little hubby popped the dress in the mail and the adventure began. I had the package for a couple of days before I actually opened it. Being a child of the 80′s I have to tell you, when someone says wedding dress to me – I thing LARGE – white – poofy and lacy. Okay – Okay – I’m seriously dating myself here. So I wondered how in the world a wedding dress could fit in that small Dillard’s shirt box. When I finally got to the point I could open the box I found quite a surprise. NO lace, NO white satin, No POOF!!!!! What I found was ……. well…… old. At one time it might have been green but age had faded its color, now it was a modled shade of gray with a hint of pink splotched here and there. One sleeve had very small holes that I can only assume time itself had eaten through the fibers. AND it had a very familiar smell that I couldn’t quite place. But all of that was my first impression. With further inspection I saw something else. The workmanship was exquisite.
The detailing was lovely.
The smocking and pleating were perfect.
I had found a new respect for this garment. It was beautiful. Now for the monogram selection. Me being me – I wanted to do something fun, festive, fabulous – ME!!!!!! NOPE. After speaking to Annette about how traditional her family is we decided on a very traditional monogram and after the double and triple check of the initial and the correct order I was ready to embroider and make those 10″ square pillows. I think I mentioned how teeny tiny this dress was – AND I couldn’t bring myself to cut up the bodice of this beautiful gown. They would just have to be smaller -9″ x 6″ or something very close to that would have to do.
After all was said and done this is the finished product…
After spending time with the dress it made me wonder about the lady who wore the dress. I asked Annette if I could possible have a picture of her in the dress. Please meet Kathleen Rose Williams.
Lovely isn’t she - and check out that hat. This photo was taken on her wedding day in 1940. AWESOME!!!!
Well that is the story of how eight little pillows started out in 1940 as a beautiful young woman’s wedding dress and how they ended up dispersed to members of a Sentimental Scandinavian Family in 2013.
Oh and I figured out what they smell was – it was a grandma, and the pillows still have that smell – I hope they always do.