Friday, September 24, 2010

Something Borrowed---Not your mother’s dress… or is it?

Like most women’s dresses of an earlier era, my mother’s is stored in one of those intimidating plastic-wrapped boxes that seem more indicative of a windowed coffin than garment storage. When I started sewing, and my mom suggested that I “part-out” her dress when it came time to make mine, the idea was reminiscent of surgery, or if we stick to the grim metaphor… an autopsy. There was just something about that sacred plastic box that seemed so final.
Recently, however, a woman came into the shop requesting that the lace from her mother’s and grandmother’s veils be compiled into a new and unique veil for her wedding day. Perhaps “compiled” is too technical a word for the artistry with which Bethany hand-pieced and beaded the different laces. Age had given each piece a different ivory hue, and resulting veil was beautifully textured with family history.
And here, I think we find a more fitting tribute to the dresses of our mothers, which were once selected with love, and worn in excitement. While akin to the tradition of wearing the same dress as the women who preceded us, I think that there is something meaningful in recreating these heirlooms. It is not unlike the process that a wedding requires: defining a new life, different, yet tied to our roots.
And so, I advocate the liberation of dresses from their final, plastic-wrapped, resting places in hopes of creating something more meaningful than a life in a box would allow! And with that, I will look forward to one day removing my mother’s dress from storage, and making it part of a new journey.