Tag Archives: Handmade wedding gowns

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.  😉


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.)


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.


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.


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.


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.