I so enjoyed my interview with Geny’s Flower & Bridal about our Wedding Gown Preservation process. Here it is:
Nancy brought in her father’s vintage navy pea coat hoping that we could restore it for her son Alex to wear. Below are some pictures of how it looked when we first received it.
Front and Back before restoration
As you can see it had definately seen better days.
George A. Love served in the Seabees in World War II and in the Navy in the Korean War.
In WWII, he was assigned to the Seabee Construction Battalion Maintenance
Unit No. 623 as a Machinist Mate Second class (MM2C).
They were sent to Guiuan, Samar in the Leyte Gulf (Philippines) to build an airstrip and infrastructure.
They arrived on December 23, 1944 on a Dutch cargo ship, the M.S. Sommelsdikj.
On December 25, Tokyo Rose, a radio broadcaster of Japanese propaganda, promised the Navy boys a Christmas present. On the morning of December 26, a Japanese plane appeared and dropped two torpedoes. The plane then crashed into the sea when its wing tip caught the water. One torpedo hit the ship in Hold #1 starting a fire which quickly spread to Hold #2 where most of the men were staying. Since the ship was in a bay, the ship was purposely run aground and the men either swam to shore or were able to evacuate to another ship. The unit was allowed to stay in the Church of the Immaculate Conception until a camp site could be built. Many were wounded but only six men lost their lives in this attack.
George safely returned from this war and went back to high school where he met
and married Nancy’s mother, Martha E. Cathey.
He was re-drafted to the Korean War and claimed this was a sightseeing tour compared to WWII.
When he returned home, he and my mother had three daughters.
He never spoke of his service to our country.
I don’t know why – possibly he thought his “girls” would not want to hear about it.
When Desert Storm began in 1990, he and I were watching it on TV and he started talking about his service. I became fascinated and wanted to hear all about it to preserve his story.
His pea coat was passed down to 2 sisters, but passed Nancy. Nancy’s sister Cathey, found the pea coat in her closet and passed it on to Alex the younger of Nancy’s two sons. Alex is a history buff especially about World War II and Classic Rock (but that’s another story…). By now the coat was beginning to show wear and tear. The lining was deteriorating, the buttons kept falling off and it was dirty and musty.
I wondered if it could be restored. I posted the question on social media and Oakwood Cleaners came highly recommended as being very good at restoring vintage wedding gowns. I gave them a call, met with Rhonda and her seamstress and I am very happy to say the pea coat looks brand new.
Alex is beyond Proud to continue to wear his grandfather’s Navy Pea Coat in honor of not only his grandfather but of our military and the sacrifices made for our country
Do you have a vintage wedding gown?
One of the best things about life at Oakwood is definitely our family of customers and hearing their special stories. We see all kinds of vintage clothing including wedding gowns. Rita came in months ago and told me about her gown which was over 40 years old. I had been waiting for her to bring it in which she did just recently.
Rita walked in on a chilly November day with the metal chest pictured above in hand. Of course I was curious as to what this was. Well, this was the chest that her mother had her wedding gown preserved in. It was wrapped in a sheet and placed in the chest. Have you ever seen anything like this before? I had not.
This was a special gown hand-made by her mother down to hand sewing every bead and pearl and piece of lace!
Rita was so proud of her wedding gown and could not say enough about the time and effort her mother spent creating this spectacular gown. She described how she took several different patterns and then added her own ideas while doing fittings with Rita for a perfect fit. Every pearl and piece of lace were sewn on by hand with love and care.
Due to the age, the delicacy of the tulle and the strength of the lace and pearls, the tulle layer has begun to deteriorate. We cannot restore the gown as is, but we talked about cleaning the lining, which was in great shape and the lace applique’s so they would be available for future use.
We at Oakwood Cleaners are so privileged to hear your stories and be able to see your vintage items. Thank you Rita for sharing this with us.
The Association of Wedding Gown Specialists Convention a few weeks ago
proved to be so helpful. Not only did we learn how we can help you, the bride, take care of your precious memories but we were presented with a piece of history that had been preserved since the 1800’s! Can you imagine finding a wedding gown from your ancestors in almost perfect condition? Well, think of your family and how they will feel when they get to experience your special day when you show them your dress? Bring your dress in for a consultation and let us help you restore your memories.
It was December of 1978. I was a bubbly 22 year old in what I thought back then was the most perfect wedding dress I could ever have! It is now September 2011 and WOW,wedding dresses have definately changed!
My husband Alan and I became the proud owners of this wonderful dry cleaners in April, 2011, almost 33 years later. We, Oakwood Cleaners, specialize in wedding gown alterations, cleaning and preservation. Like most brides, I had my gown preserved and never paid attention to it again. Well, I thought, since this is what I do now, I should open that huge box stored in my daughters closest. Oh my!!!!!
Stay posted for the continuation of “My Wedding Dress Saga”