I so enjoyed my interview with Geny’s Flower & Bridal about our Wedding Gown Preservation process. Here it is:
bridal gown fittings
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.
Is a Lost Art
We have found it at Oakwood Cleaners!
Megan came to us as a graduate of O’more College of Design. Her portfolio is titillating with imaginative creations. She comes with the experience needed to perform the simplest to the most involved repairs and alterations. You must come see her, but make sure to call an schedule an appointment as she is high in demand.
Edgardo has a unique attention to detail. He wears 2 hats at Oakwood Cleaners. Pressing linens and cottons is his primary team function. Since “Edgar” as we call him is at the Hermitage plant, he is called upon quite often for repairs that come in.
His attention to detail has become quite beneficial for hand or machine work on wedding gowns and other intricate items.
So… alterations are happening at Oakwood Cleaners. Our tailors are high in demand, appointments are a must for fittings and you must be prepared for a 2 to 3 week turn-around time for everyday wear. If you are interested in having your wedding gown or formal gown altered the turn-a-round time could be 3 to 4 months. Just give us a call at 615.620.6095 to schedule your appointment.
You have your date, you have your dress and now it needs some alterations! Here are some important tips to follow when preparing to have your wedding gown altered.
- If possible allow 3 to 4 months from your wedding date for your alterations. It is normal to have 3 fittings, the third being the final to make sure your dress is a perfect fit.
- Always bring the shoes you will be wearing at your wedding and the undergarments you will be wearing that day. Your seamstress cannot be expected to fit your dress to your specifications without these in hand at every fitting.
- You must communicate. You are the only one that knows how you want your dress to fit. Never assume the seamtress can read your mind. Make sure that notes are taken so you are both on the same page.
- Vintage dresses can be a challenge but special. Again, let your seamstress know what you are thinking and you might want to count on an extra fitting.
- Wrong or no shoes, wrong under garments usually end up in a more costly bill at the end.