Fabric of Memory, Lee Mingwei, 2006

My wedding dress made by Me, 1984

Submitted by Barbara Jones, Liverpool, United Kingdom
Memories and Associations
When I married in 1984 it was inevitable that I would make my own wedding dress. I had been making my own clothes for many years and I looked forward to the satisfaction I would derive from wearing my hand-made dress on my big day.

I bought all the materials I needed for my project (cost, about £30) and set to work on our hand operated Singer sewing machine.

The interesting thing about our sewing machine was that my dad bought it in 1947 when he and my mum got married. Since it was just after the end of the second world war, rationing was still in place along with a policy of ďmake do and mendĒ, so my mum wore her older sisterís wedding dress and my mumís bridesmaids had to re-use the dresses from the same wedding. Unfortunately the bridesmaidsí dresses had lost some of their shape and needed to be altered. My dad bought the sewing machine so that he could insert elastic into the material and make them look as good as new.

Years later my dad taught me how to sew using the same sewing machine and I continued to use it until I bought myself an electric machine in 1994.

I now appreciate what an amazing person my dad was for his time. As a man it must have been very unusual to know how to operate a sewing machine, let alone make time to teach me the skill. I felt a great connection with him through using the same sewing machine to make my wedding dress and I know he must have felt proud of me.
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