Four Weddings and Four Dresses

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am so lucky to have grown up with five sisters.  Our house was fueled by huge amounts of estrogen and my dad was surrounded by females.  We argued incessantly and stole each other’s clothing which created more arguing. For the most part though it was the best and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

With six girls, my parents knew that they would be shelling out for a lot of weddings. Having the six of us within ten years meant that college for some and weddings for others would all hit at once. What they didn’t know was that the three oldest girls would all be married within ten months of each other.  It seemed that once one got engaged, the other two followed suit immediately.  So in the year 1978 we had three weddings; one in February, the next in August and the last in December.  It was a wild year, to be sure.  I am pretty sure my parents are still exhausted from it.

Growing up we all learned to sew. We tackled shirts, pj’s, shorts, dresses and even the occasional bathing suit (you can only imagine how lovely those were).  One of my sisters even made a three piece suit for my uncle. (She is still an excellent seamstress.) It was only natural that each of these three sisters would make their wedding gowns. I thought it would be fun to share them with you.  When I was searching for pictures I found that my copies had yellowed.  It is hard to preserve pictures from that era.  They have really deteriorated. When I scanned these in, I used a black and white filter. It looks much better then the jaundiced look my sisters had with the yellowed pictures.

Ok.  Here is wedding number one which happened in February of 1978.  Tina made this dress out of Qiana.  Do you remember Qiana?  If you are my age, you’ll probably remember that it was very popular in the 1970’s. It was developed by DuPont in the early 1960’s and was a polyester knit but was so silky.  My sisters and I loved it.  We used it for dresses for high school dances. Lovely.  😉

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Kind of hard to see the detail but it was a clingy, silky, thin knit that draped perfectly on her. I am fairly certain she made her veil as well.  Here is the detail for the neckline. (She was such a pretty bride.)

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Tina had each of the five sisters as attendants.  We, of course, made the dresses.  I left this picture in color so you could appreciate the awesomeness of these bridesmaid dresses made of a light blue crepe.  The piece de resistance has to be the “Mother Earth” daisy crowns we so happily wore. I remember loving the chiffon flowery jackets too.

imageWedding number two was scheduled for August.  So, just after hosting this wedding, my parents were off and working on the next one.  The reception was to be in our backyard so there was plenty to do.

Patti made her dress over the summer.  It was sweet and feminine, made of a satin crepe. The sleeves were an opaque chiffon knit. I have this memory of her running out to buy shoes to wear with her dress – on the morning of the wedding! That’s my sister.

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Here is another view. It looks like she used Tina’s veil. This girl was all of 19 years old when she got married. (Most of us got married really young.) She looked adorable.

imageSummer ended with this wedding and fall was spent planning the next one.  Cathy’s wedding was in December. The reception was also at our home. (My poor parents.) Following suit, she made her dress as well. If I remember right, it was made of a satin type of taffeta. It had a low sheen to it. She went all out and made a new veil which was decorated with a half crown of fresh flowers.

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Like the others, she was young – she’d just turned 21. Here is a closer picture of Cathy’s dress (aren’t the sleeves pretty?).

imageWell my parents survived the three weddings.  My strongest memory was that the house became so quiet and I was so lonely for all of my older sisters. Even though there were still three of us at home, it was just way too quiet.

Just three years later I was engaged.  I married the summer after my junior year of college in August of 1981, at the ripe old age of 20. I suppose this may have been the beginning of my love of retro and vintage styles because I asked my mom if I could use her dress for my wedding gown.  (I also used my grandmother’s wedding band as my own.) You can see the original dress at the top of this post. My parents are so cute.  Like their daughters after them, they also married young.  It was spring of 1955 so my mom was 19 and my father was 20.

I decided I wanted a full length skirt with a train for my dress.  I took the bodice off of the skirt.  With (lots of) Cathy’s help, I made a new skirt to attach the bodice too.  Cathy and I shopped for satin and about 500 yards of tule. (I don’t know why we bought so much – This was back in 1981 and I still have leftover tule in my sewing room.  Comes in handy for crafts and costumes now and then.) We painstakingly cut the lace out from the skirt of the original dress. Because it was shorter than the new version, we had to piece the lace so that it could extend down the length of the skirt. I pulled out the dress today to look at how we actually made it which was so fun. It had covered buttons in the back which we extended down the back of the skirt. We pleated the front of the skirt and cut a long curved train for the back. I was talking to Cathy the other night and neither of us has much memory of making this. I do know for sure she helped because I wouldn’t have had the skill to do this without her.  I know we didn’t use a pattern of any sort.  I also remember that I used Cathy’s veil.

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This shot is me with my sister, Juanita. She was my maid of honor. You can see the lace that we hand stitched to the tule on the dress.  I love the dress – it was so sweet to use Mom’s dress and make it my own.

So…. four weddings and four dresses in three year’s time. (The youngest two gave my parents a break and married six and nine years later. Neither of them are into sewing so they went the traditional route and bought their dresses.) Great memories for sure!

Linking to Anything Goes Monday and Let’s Bee Social.  Links to both of these are at the top of the page under Link Ups.

17 thoughts on “Four Weddings and Four Dresses

  1. Cathy Peterson

    Such a fun post…three weddings in one year is madness. We have the best parents ever! It looks like all three of the 1978 brides wore the same necklace? I didn’t realize that

    Reply
  2. Sarah Goer

    This is a great post. Thanks for sharing. What fun stories. My mom made her wedding dress in 1972 when she got married at age 20, reception in her parents’ backyard. I should really ask her to tell me about making the dress and the details of it. I’m pretty sure she no longer has it. But there are pictures. I’ll share one with you sometime. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      I’m glad you enjoyed it Sarah. That was a crazy year to be sure. I remember it was a flurry of wedding showers, wedding planning and, of course, weddings. I would love to see a picture of your mom’s dress. I’m guessing the style might be somewhat similar. Feel free to show her these pictures. It might be fun for her.
      Enjoy your day and hope your kiddos are doing well.
      B.

      Reply
  3. Helen @ Till We Quilt Again

    What a wonderful post! I so… enjoyed that you shared the differences between the dresses. What a wonderful family you have and you can see the Love in all your eyes! I want to Thank You for stopping by and linking up with “Anything Goes Monday”. I so have enjoyed being a guest host and meeting so many new quilty friends. I just started following you through email and look forward to more of your creations. What a wonderful blog you have!

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi Helen,
      Thank you for your kind words! Last night when I linked up I took a look at your post and was amazed at your quilting skill and creativity. Also enjoyed reading about your family. That is usually the hidden gem for me in a blogs. It gives a peek at someone’s life bend their quilty projects. I feel like I get to know the person a little bit more which is so fun.
      Looking forward to hearing from you again.
      Take care,
      Bernie

      Reply
  4. JoAnne Davidson

    Love you stories on “Needle and Foot”. Also, your son’s birthday gifts were priceless, only they could have pulled this off.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi! Glad you are enjoying the blog. That makes me so happy. ☺️ Yes, my boys did a fantastic job with my birthday fabric. They are priceless. But then, you already knew that!

      Love, b,

      Reply
  5. Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow

    What an amazing and fun read. First of all, lol…yes, your poor parents…they deserve a medal! 🙂 But you are all so darn gorgeous in these wedding photos and then the dresses are just amazing. How skilled you all were, and are.

    To think that I only learned about putting right sides together to make a seam when I wanted to learn to quilt…sheesh.

    Again, such a fun post! 🙂

    Reply
  6. Sally

    Hi Bernie – I’m here from frugallittlebungalow. I had to visit and see those dresses! Fantastic that you and your sisters (at least 4 of you) learned to sew, and actually made wedding dresses. They are all so beautiful! Such great memories you all made in those precious moments in your lives.

    One reason I was interested, and actually last night was thinking of her; my cousin made her daughter and daughter-in-law’s wedding dresses. And, then down the road; she re-made them small (every detail) which were then put into glass cabinets that her brother (also my cousin of course) made for that little dresses. I’ve always been amazed at what people can do if they set their minds to the task. Unfortunately, I didn’t get that “gene” or inclination as I has very little patience! 🙂

    I really enjoyed your post.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi Sally,
      Wasn’t that so nice of Deb to mention my blog? What a sweet surprise. Yes, those wedding dresses bring back so many great memories. I’m glad you liked the story.
      What a sweet idea of your cousin’s. Making those miniature dresses must have been a challenge. I don’t do well with small, fussy piecing.

      Hope you’ll come by again!
      Take care,
      Bernie

      Reply
  7. Susan

    What a great post. I enjoyed reading it, and seeing the dresses. I had 2 sisters and 2 brothers, but we ranged in age from 4 to 23 in 1957. I can’t imagine having 5 sisters, and pretty close together!

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Thank you Diane. I loved writing this post – it was very nostalgic. Those were some fun weddings!! So glad you stopped by for a read. Have a lovely day.

      Reply

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