Let’s stitch some history

Vintage wedding dress
Vintage wedding dress
Cream-coloured wedding dress dating from 1911. Photo from the Collection of the Huron County Museum & Historic Gaol

Would you like to stitch some history?

Here’s a sneak peek at a new project in the works…

Guess what I found in the database of the Huron County Museum? This simply lovely wedding dress dating from 1911.

And why was I looking for a wedding dress? No, I’m not getting married. I’m already happily so. I was looking at the wedding dress images in their catalogue because I had an idea in mind.

Fellow stitchers, how much fun would it be to stitch swatches inspired by needlework items in the Huron County Museum’s collection and make a wedding dress out of the pieces? The dress pattern will be based on this 1911 wedding dress from the museum’s collection, essentially constructing a new version out of swatches.

The museum’s catalogue record describes the dress this way…

The object record for the wedding dress: “A-Wedding Dress – cream-coloured dress in a satin like material. The dress has a square neck with an inset of gathering on the front and back. The bodice is covered with lace at both the front and back. Short sleeves edged with the same lace that covers the bodice. Back closing with 5 dome fasteners. There is a single pleat down the back of the dress which forms gathers near the bottom. The front of the dress has a single pleat down the full length.” (Dimensions: W-104 L-113 cm)

The records also explain that the dress consists of four pieces: blouse, skirt, sash, and shawl, each with their own catalogue number.

The object record for the skirt: “B-Wedding Dress Skirt in cream colour. Lace matches that of the bodice of the dress. The over skirt has a zig zag lower edge and hangs from a cotton band with two dome fasteners for closing.”

The object record for the sash: “C-Wedding Dress Sash- cream coloured sash for dress in a satin like material. The sash has a single pleat down the centre and a large tassel at one end. There are three reinforcing stays along the length of the belt. There is a dome fastener at one end to fasten the sash to the dress. It appears that the other tassel has been cut off of the sash.”

The object record for the shawl: “Wedding Dress Shawl in cream colour. The edges of the shawl are fringed. Pattern is panels of wavy design in alternating closed and open work of the same design. There is a 1 1/2″ band of tatting around the outside edges.”

What do you think? Would you be interested in joining me in a fun, creative reconstruction project? Needle workers & stitchers of all technique and skill level are welcome to join.  The museum has a wealth of vintage textile items (such as knitting, quilting, crochet, embroidery) and you are sure to see a stitched item that would inspire you.

I’d like to use locally sourced fibres for the swatches – alpaca, wool, mohair, cashmere are possible options.

More info will follow in a couple weeks. I’ve scheduled an appointment to visit the museum and take photos and detailed measurements of the dress & the shawl.

Contact me by email or sign-up for my newsletter if you’d like to get involved or get regular updates on this project.

Photo courtesy of the Huron County Museum & Historic Gaol. Thank you to Patti Rean Lamb of the Huron County Museum & Historic Gaol for her support.