To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory. Isaiah 61:3

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

May Welland's Natural Form Era Wedding/Theater Gown

I just completed a Natural Form Wedding gown that will be worn on Valentine's Day for a lovely lady who is a member of We Wear History, and since I will wait until next week to post pictures of the dress, I though that I would do this TBT on another wedding dress I made years ago!

A long time ago I belonged to a shooting club called SASS (Single Action Shooting Society) and at their annual convention in Las Vegs, the Grand Finale to the weekend was the ball on Saturday night.  Every year there was a theme for the ball and in 2006, the theme was A Scarlet Ball.  The idea was to wear a scarlet gown (or any shade of scarlet), or have some sort of decoration that was scarlet on a different colored dress.  I (having my personality) wanted to go with white and a bit of scarlet.  Plus, I had fallen in love with May Welland's wedding dress from the 1993 movie, The Age of Innocence, with Winona Ryder as the lovely May Welland.  I also loved this line from the movie when Newland and May are going to the theater, which was the inspiration for the two bodices:

Narrator:  It was the custom, in Old New York, for brides to appear in their wedding dress during the first year or two of marriage.  But May, since returning from Europe, had not worn her bridal satin until this evening.

May's wedding dress and her theater dress were a fabulous inspiration for my Scarlet Ball dress!

Inspiration #1

May Welland's Wedding Bodice dress

Photo credit:  Greg Nevitt photographer for SASS

This image was actually taken in 2007 at the SASS convention after I made the wedding dress bodice with longer sleeves and a proper neckline.

May's wedding portrait.  I loved the ruffles on her dress!  So gorgeous!

Source:  Film Costumes

Silly picture...

Inspiration #2

May Welland's Theater Bodice dress

May at the Theater with her Mama and Mrs. Van der Luyden

Source:  Nerd Vampire

My dress at the Scarlet Ball.  I fell in love with some fabulous silk bleeding heart flowers at a local store and decided they would be the scarlet for my Scarlet Ball ensemble.

I so loved the way the trail pooled out behind the dress...

Bows!  Must have bows!!!

I am a fool for ruching and pleating.

Patterns Used:

Bodice: TV420 1879 Cuirass Bodice Evening Option
Bodice:  TV428 1880 Jacket Bodice
Skirt: Self Drafted

Fabrics Used:

Polyester wedding satin
Polyester taffeta

Before the ball at the SASS convention, there is a costume contest that I had won the year before in 2005, so in 2006, I talked my Mama into entering!  We decided that for her entry, we would put on a little skit where we were going to the theater and Father was waiting for her to get ready, he was already in the carriage waiting on her...again...and he had sent me up to fetch her.  Not a stretch for the imagination in any shape or form as this happens in real life....hahahahahaha!!!  Above, I was rushing into her bedroom to fetch her.

Here, I am about to put her cape on her...and hasten her out the door!!!

Oh!  And of course we wore tiaras!!!

My gorgeous Mama and I in our Theater dresses!

And Huzzah!!!  She won first place!!  I was so proud of her!!!

Next week I will post pictures of the new NFE wedding dress.  Something new!  Yay!!

Be blessed my friends!



  1. So wonderful to see these beautiful gowns and hear the story! This was before I had joined SASS and I do appreciate seeing the photos! Thank you for sharing your creativity and the story!

    1. Thank you so much Jeanette! It was such a fun skit and to be able to do it with my mom was beyond wonderful!

  2. Beautiful dresses, I'm in awe of all the things you've made!

    1. Oh! Thank you so much for your lovely compliments BT!!