Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Wartime Wedding

Textile treasure seeking turns up all sorts of wonderful finds. I saw a 1940s wedding dress in a junk shop last week, complete with the original veil and photographs of the wedding party. I assumed it would be way out of my price range (I'm used to the price of vintage pieces in our neck of the woods!) and so left the shop without even asking how much is was.

Well, as soon I was back home, I couldn't stop thinking about that dress. I fell asleep that night with the idea firmly fixed in my head that I would call the shop the next day just to find out how much the dress was on sale for (and if nothing else to cast it from my mind). When I rang and asked the price the next day (the couple who own it are so friendly and jolly), I nearly fell off the chair I was perched on..."It's on for £25", said the chap I spoke to," but the wife says you can have it for £20!" Needless to say, I reserved it straight away!

One of the official wedding photos. Everyone looks so happy. It's such a shame, but there's no indication of who any of these people are. I wonder what their war was like? What Squadron was the groom attached to? What happened to them all? I have a feeling I will never know, but I hope they all lived very long and happy lives.

The dress came in its original box.

This is me, modelling the dress and veil! The shape of the shoulders is so typically 1940s (but Mr Treasure was a little iffy about it, saying that they made me look a funny shape!) The headpiece I'm wearing (which is covered in little wax flowers) is the one that my Grandma wore when she married my Grandad in 1937.

The veil is full length, with delicate embroidery on it. Unfortunately, it's very fragile and there are a few holes in it, but I still think it's gorgeous! The dress has a 'puddle' (small train) at the back, just like the dress I wore when Mr Treasure and I tied the knot.

The belt on the back pulls the waist in as well as adding lovely detailing. Unlike my own wedding dress, I could breathe when I sat down in this one!

There are lots of gorgeous design features, including smocking on each shoulder.

This is part of the pattern on the veil. It's so intricate and looks wonderful cascading down the back of the dress.

In amongst the dress and veil were a few other treasures that the lovely lady at the junk shop gave me. One of them was the lid from a box (complete with this picture) that held a veil that's very similar to the one that I now have.

This is stuck on to the back of the box's lid.

Another of the treasures I was given was this piece from another 1940s veil. The lovely thing about it is there's still confetti trapped in it. The confetti's made out of the bits that get left in a hole punch when punching paper...you can see parts of words printed on some of them!

The 1940s is definitely my favourite decade in history. There's something about the fashion, community spirit, make do and mend ethos and the bravery of everyday people that I love and admire.


Suzy's Vintage Attic said...

Hi Katie

What a story! So glad that you went back for it. In a way I find it sometimes sad that such things end up in a charity or antique shop/fair. I wonder why a relative hasn't kept it and cherished it. Having said that, if everyone did that we wouldn't be able to collect any vintage things! I feel sure the bride would be happy today knowing that her dress and treasured wedding possesions went to someone who truly values and appreciates them.
You look the part in that dress, the 40's look suits you. I too absolutely love the 40's!

It would fun to find out who she was...

Warm wishes
Isabelle x

tracey @ the vintage bothy said...

Hi Katie, I did a similar thing at the weekend, I bought 5 P&O diaries from 1930 - 35, they are a charonicle of a young lady and her life and family pre-war, my mum has taken them and is reading the entries, it reads like an episode of Upstairs Downstairs. What I really liked were the old maps & information about P&O pre-war and Miss Walsh's personal records of her expenses. They are fantastic insights into a wonderful period of time.
Back to the dress, you look fantastic, I bet it brought tears to your hubbies eyes!
Will you display it on a mannequin?

ginny said...

what a find! you look stunning in it too... shoulders and all!
the lace veil is exquisite. i have a few vintage pieces but sadly they are tiny and too small for me to wear.

gill said...

hi katie
what a find! my parents were married in 1941 and i have no idea what happened to mum's dress - i only know that it was first worn by mum's elder sister 2 years before!!!
it would be lovely if you could identify someone from the photos

A Bun Can Dance said...

Hello there Katie!
Wow, it is amazing to see photos of the dress, veil and the photos. It does make me sad that somewhere there must be a family who might treasure this as a family heirloom - but then again, maybe it has found its way to the shop because there isn't a surviving family member. Such an amazing artefact - it was meant for you to own it, that's for sure! And the dress seems to fit very well indeed :-)
And for me the most touching part of this story is the confetti in the other veil - how amazing! It makes me quite teary eyed !
Have a lovely week dear!
Happy days,
Denise x

Country Cottage Chic said...

What a lovely find & so nice that you will treasure it. You look very pretty in it too!


hensteeth said...

I couldn't think of anyone who would love and treasure this beautiful wedding dress more. I am so pleased you purchased it. You look adorable too.

BusyLizzie said...

What a beautiful find, you look amazing in it too! Have a super weekend, Lizzie x