Past and Present


Dress? Handmade by my Oma Jacket? Costa Blanca Shoes? Ash Necklaces? Top: thrifted, Middle: J Crew, Bottom: gift from Merl (here) Clutch? Thrifted

This is the dress my mama wore for her engagement party, lovingly hand sewn by her mother. She let me have (borrow? keep? I blur those lines when I take stuff from her...) the dress as long as I promised not to do any permanent alterations. It's like she never read my post on respecting vintage and only read the post where I went scissor happy and accidentally cut a dress a little bit short. While the bodice fits perfectly, the length of the dress is too short to be a maxi skirt and too long to be a midi skirt. I put in a hair elastic to gather a portion of the skirt, break up the length and keep with my mama's wishes of no permanent alterations. 
I thought my mom would get a kick out of seeing me walk into church with her old dress. And she did... She sent me a couple pictures later in the day of her at the engagement party and even of the building in Leeuwarden where her mother and her went shopping for the fabric. This is my favourite picture that she sent; my dad and her unwrapping gifts together. 


I can't help but look at this picture and think that they had no idea then where life would lead them. Though I guess, that is a common sentiment when looking at most old photographs... Unwrapping crystal ware at your engagement party in small town Holland, you probably never fathom that your life will take you across three continents and that you would add to your family in each continent before settling in Canada. And of course, you don't imagine that your partner's battle will ALZ would define and derail a decade of your life. My parents are currently living the 'for worse' part of their marriage vows, looking at this picture reminds me that there was so much 'for better' too. 
Sometimes it takes a dress to take you on a good trip down memory lane... 


Anonymous said...

A photo of much happier times for them, and a beautiful one at that. How nice that you now wear the dress. THAT is happy.

What a lovely blog post today. :)

MisisD said...

What a beautiful post that goes beyond the beautiful pictures you have today. Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

Love this post!! Ox

Anonymous said...

Oh, Jen! What a poignant post!
What a lovely dress that was and still IS! Did your father recognize it when he saw it on you, or did you not wear it for him? So pretty!
Yesterday Sheila wore her Oma Henderika's dress to church. :)
Mrs. H

kendall said...



stealing it.

jentine said...

Mrs. H- My dad wouldn't recognize it anymore:(
I did notice Sheila had a vintage dress on, how cool that it was from her Oma!

hes said...

This was a lovely post. Thanks for sharing such good memories about your parents.

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing this memory, that's a lovely picture.
And you look great in the dress!

What Lou Wore 365 said...

What a lovely thing to do to remind your mum of happier memories. The hair elastic is inspired & I'm sure she'll appreciate receiving her dress back in one piece. As sad a situation as ALZ is for your family, I really appreciate your open & honest posts about it and I wish you & your family the very best x

Emmy said...

I love it when you write about your family as I have so many memories of them as well and this is a very special one! The first dress I ever made happened to be the same one as your oma was making for your mum at the time when we were 16 or 17. We chose the same pattern AND the same fabric and didn't know about it till we described it to each other in school!

Sophie said...

Ah this is such a beautiful post to read nd hat a darling pair your parents make.

Ladies in Navy said...

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Erika said...

Beautiful dress and such a lovely post. I like the way you styled the dress with the hair tie, it looks great!

Secondhand Stella said...

Aw so cute. I love this dress on you and your take on styling it.

Jennifer said...

Love that maxi!

xo Jennifer


Jackie said...

What a great story! I love how you were able to put a photo of your mom in the dress! Don't you wish the vintage finds you come up with thrifting come with a story and a photo so you know where the item has been? On second thought, perhaps not, that could get icky ;)

Unknown said...

This is such a beautiful post! Love the memories with this dress.

Loulou said...

The dress looks so pretty on you. What a special item of clothing to have. I'm sorry to read about your parents' struggle with alzeimer's. Very sad.

Unknown said...

This is one of my favorite looks you have ever done. And knowing the store behind it makes it so much better! I am constantly wearing my Grandmother or Mother's items. I love how you temp. too up the side. Gives it a modern touch!

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SusanG said...

I love your imaginative temporary ruching in the front of the dress.

I'm sorry your parents are suffering through Alzheimer's together. My best wishes to your mum.

Laurie said...

Beautiful. Now I'm all weepy, but in a good way.

Merl said...

I love everything about this post. The passed down dress, the story of craftsmanship.. and your mom's memories you are sharing. I am exactly what Laurie said above-all weepy in a good way.

Sweet Laundry said...

You and your mom look beautiful in this dress and you both are such an inspiration.

Linda said...

I was so touched by this post from your mama's old dress to the black and white photograph. You're right-- no one knows where life will lead. We just take a deep breath and go with it.

Unknown said...

That dress is so amazing! I love that it was your mom's and has such a special meaning! I cherish the clothes that I have from my mother and grandma so much, just because I know that there is so much personal history to them - that is something that money will never be able to buy!


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Amber said...

I love the trick for ruching the dress! Such a beautiful piece!! What a lovely story, I appreciate you sharing the sweet photo of your parents. Best wishes to your family.


Amber Thomas said...

First, I adore the dress. And that you fit in it. My mom's engagement dress wouldn't fit around my hips and bust even in my dreams!

Second, there's something beautifully horrifying in seeing your parents in their for worst time. My mom is suffering through my dad's dementia with more love and devotion than I've seen anyone else muster... It's so encouraging to see THAT kind of love, but the loss is so devastating.