Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving wedding

My grandparents were married on Thanksgiving Day, 1907. I can never remember the date, because they always celebrated their anniversary on Thanksgiving, whenever it fell, except in 1957 when they had a Golden Anniversary party on the date.

My grandmother made her wedding suit herself. The skirt, being silk, had fallen apart when I was still a little girl, but the bodice, also silk but heavily tailored underneath its froth, and the wool jacket are still more or less in one piece.

I'm disappointed with the light in these pictures. It was bright enough, but the late afternoon angle doesn't seem to show detail as well as I expected. There's a lot of fine handwork in there, and I think my grandmother did all of it herself except this beaded piece in the middle of the bodice:

I know she and her sisters all did tatting, although only one great-aunt on the other side was still doing tatting when I was a child. I'm sure she made the crocheted buttons, because she showed me how to do it, only I've forgotten how, since I never did it for real. (Thankful for the internet.)

I know the colors were brighter long ago: the greens, especially, would have been selected to make my grandmother's grey eyes look green.

But the reds were brighter, too.

Looking at the successful combination of so many decorative patterns, all her own choosing, I would like to think I have inherited her eye for design.

I take it out and look at it every few years, and feel the guilt of a librarian towards the Goddess of Archives for not preserving it better, but I've never done so on Thanksgiving before. Very appropriate.


  1. What beautiful handiwork... passed down from her loving hands to your own. Thank you for sharing it.

  2. What an amazing amount of work! Beautiful, even in it's faded glory.

  3. Thank you for sharing. How lovely...

  4. I must try again, and get better pictures. The detail of the tatted lace is amazing. The pictures I took of the insides of the jacket and bodice to show the construction are completely unreadable.

    It's a pity there is no wedding picture to show it in its original state, but it must have been too cold or rainy or something to assemble everyone outdoors, as her family so often did.

  5. Oh my gosh, it's gorgeous! You're lucky to still have it.

  6. What a lot of work your grandmother put into that lovely garment. I can't imagine how many days it must have taken. Beautiful!

  7. Wow! Beautiful! It's so nice that you have such a meaningful memento. And I wish I was creative enough and skillful enough to do such work.

  8. She was engaged for more than a year, I think. Her baby brother was born the summer before the wedding, so she must have had some household tasks to do, but her next younger sister was also out of school and not yet married, so taking some of the burden of housekeeping off their pregnant fifty year old mother would still have left her plenty of time to design and execute this costume. It delights me to know that the whole thing, dress and decoration and all, was her design. She made me quite a few clothes when I was growing up, and she wouldn't use a pattern for something as simple as a skirt or a small child's dress: she would just take my measurements and cut directly into the cloth. For this I'm sure she would have made a muslin first.