A wedding dress story by Maris Cavanagh, mother of the bride
I come from a long line of seamstresses. Both my mother and grandmother were excellent seamstresses. In the 1980’s, I worked in the costume shop of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. So when my daughter asked me to make her wedding dress, I was thrilled and honored, although not fully unaware of the scope of the task. My grandmother made my mother’s wedding dress on a small hand-cranked Singer sewing machine, so I figured how hard could this be on my new Bernina 750.

In March 2013, my daughter Annie and I started on this amazing journey of constructing her wedding dress. For inspiration, Annie sent me several pictures of possible ideas. We made one trip together to a bridal shop in Portland, OR. We came away with our heads full of ideas and began the process of figuring out what Annie wanted to wear on her wedding day.

After several muslin attempts, we finalized the design. The bodice of the dress was draped directly on Annie from a yard of the silk taffeta. The only guide was a straight line of stitching to mark her waistline. Annie wanted the bodice of the dress asymmetrically encrusted with beads, pearls, rhinestones, and Japanese sterling silver threads. I then embedded silk flowers within the bead work.

Because the dress was made with silk taffeta, I needed to figure out how to bead the bodice without destroying the silk fabric. I decided to create the beaded piece separately on an embroidery hoop and then applique the beaded piece to the bodice.

The skirt was pleated with small 1-inch pleats around the waist, while the back of the bodice was ruched horizontally, culminating in an attached silk beaded flower. The dress was then partially hand sewn to a below the waist and fitted boned corset with an attached silk taffeta and tulle petticoat. This undergarment gave the luminous silk taffeta and beaded dress strength, form and stability.

Annie and Chris were married on September 28, 2013 in a beautiful ceremony at Zenith Vineyards south of Portland, OR.

Annie with bouquet - a beautiful wedding dress story
Annie and Chris cutting cake

Photos courtesy of Maggie Hudson from Honeysuckle Photography.

Annie’s Gown Receives Wedding Gown Preservation

We were thrilled to have the opportunity to clean and preserve this beautiful, one of a kind wedding gown. The love of Annie’s mother is reflected in the amazing detail of the embellishments on her wedding gown. Mary selected our Heritage Couture™ package which is our very highest service level. Her dress has been hand spotted, then dry-cleaned in virgin solvent and packed in cotton muslin and finally covered in our Museum Method™ preservation bag. Annie and Mary and their family will be able to enjoy this wedding gown for years to come.

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