Okay I think I’m in over my head now….. I found an ad online for a local seller in my town selling “9 1940’s Style Wedding Dresses”. I contacted her immediately. I met with her the next morning as she laid them all out for me to view. She was an older lady maybe in her 60’s and she told me she found them in the back of her mother’s closet in an old suit case marked Wedding Dresses and Dolls. I had only brought a certain amount of money with me thinking I would only buy one or two of the dresses. Well I had to leave and run to the bank machine and get more money. I left with all 9 dresses! I had no idea what the heck I was going to do with them all. The lady suggested that I clean and repair them, then resell them for a profit. That’s a great idea, but how am I supposed to clean satin, lace and taffeta that has been yellowed and stained and sitting in a suitcase for the past 70 years? Sure I can sew a quilt together, but how do I re-attach a skirt and zipper to a bodice that has boning in it?
Some of these gowns have never been worn. They still have the retail tags attached. I have come to believe that this woman’s mother must have worked in a local dress shop during 1940’s or 1950’s. She must have been a seamstress or a clerk in the shop. There is one taffeta dress that appears to have been in the process of been altered, but the job was not completed for some reason. I contacted my local historical society and they were able to tell me about the shop where these gowns came from. The shop was called Annette’s Misses and Teens and it was located in Lethbridge, Alberta Canada. They shut their doors in 1952 and she was able to send me some advertisements from their close out sale.
I could not afford to take all 9 gowns to my local dry cleaner or seamstress so I decided to leave any repairs that there may be to whomever was going to purchase any of these gowns from me.
I did a lot of internet research before I could muster up the courage to even touch these gowns. I came to the conclusion that some OxyClean stain remover (for the hems of the gowns and cuffs) and a bottle of Oxyclean detergent were going to be my best options. I went over each gown with a fine tooth comb and pre-treated any stains and then placed each gown separately into my new fancy washer on the hand wash cycle with a half a cap of Oxyclean. I hung them to dry and was amazed to see they came out perfect! I steamed out the wrinkles with a hand steamer and did a happy dance. They looked amazing.
Between the metal zippers and the Rhinestones and Pearls I was terrified that there was going to be rust staining the satin and missing pearls and that I would ruin everything. But luck was on my side and everything worked out very well. Some are in the shop right now just waiting for the perfect vintage bride to come along. Take a look at some of these beauties:
More dresses will be posted in the shop soon!