Sunday, June 9, 2013

the ballgown

It was 1993, wow 20 years ago?! The 8th grade middle school had an unit of study dedicated to the Civil War - study of history, reenactment of battles, and a big dance. They learned and practiced different dances like the Virginia Reel, so a ball gown was needed.

Of course I went to the local Fabric Center, yes we had one of those in our little town, it had everything you would ever need. And no, it is not like the Hancock's or Joann's of today where half the store is crafts or junk. I sat on the stool looking at pattern books - remember those huge books where we would sit for hours and dream of clothes to make? I picked out a pattern that I thought would look like a Civil War ballgown. I found dark green satin and black lace. The ladies who worked there were very nice - Evelyn and Norma Lee, and they were very familiar with me and my family (my mother-in-law kept them in business), and my kids would love to run around the store and play in the racks.

Anyway, by this time Melissa was too old to play in the fabric store, 8th grade! But I imagine she picked out the material. I don't know why we went with satin and lace, maybe because it was there. It was a lot of fun making the dress, we borrowed a hoop skirt from a friend and it looked pretty good.

Melissa on left
Civil War Ball 1993

Fast forward 3 years, 1996… Carrie was in 8th grade and it was time for the traditional Civil War Ball, and she can't wait to wear the green dress. Okay! Save me some sewing and $$$. But one little difference in the two girls - Carrie is taller. Mmmm lets see what to do. If only I had some of that green satin, but … wait! I gave my scraps to our pastor's wife who sews a lot and has 2 little girls, I wonder?  Sure enough, went to visit Mary and she pulled out the green satin, there was enough to make the ruffle around the bottom! Whew! 

Carrie on left

Civil War Ball 1996

Fast forward… every few years I would want to give the dress to the local thrift store - or to some girl who couldn't afford a Civil War ball gown, but protests from my girls stopped me. Then the school stopped having the Civil War ball. So the dress hangs there. Once granddaughter Madison tried it on, the elastic in the neck had given out, she didn't look too impressed with it :). I wonder if it was me holding onto it all these years and just blaming it on the girls?

Fast forward to this past week… another cleaning binge - this time my girls say it can go! Instead of taking it immediately to the thrift store, thanks to Facebook I am once again in touch with our former pastor's wife, Mary, who helped me out those many years ago with scraps - so I sent her a message and asked if she had any use for yards and yards of vintage green satin, figured she could make something out of it. To my surprise and delight, she said yes!

Mary and family just happened to be traveling through Ellijay and we met nearby. It was so great to see them all again! Her car was packed to the ceiling but she found a place for the hand-me-down dress, she was very appreciative, saying it was like having a piece of history. 

1 comment:

Gypsy Quilter said...

What fun. I'm still trying to find the right home for my prom dresses. The fabric is vintage by now and surely someone will want it some time.