From Across the Ocean: Great-Grandma’s Dress

Imagine leaving your family, friends, and country to journey across the ocean and start a new life in a new land. All you will need must fit in the sturdy trunk carefully made by your father. What would you choose to bring?

Almost a century ago, my Great-Grandmother left her home in Norway to join her husband-to-be in America. The trunk she brought and some of the items that filled it are still in the family. The 1910s lingerie dress she wore for her wedding has served four generations of brides.

Here, Breanna models another of Great-Grandma’s dresses: a 1910s shirtwaist dress of fine, lightweight cotton with a woven in pattern of stripes with light and dark blue dots. The dress fastens up the center front and along the left side of the waistband with a number of small hooks and eyes.

Two horizontal tucks on the bodice are echoed by the two tucks on the skirt. The sailor-style collar and the cuffs are finished with narrow lace.

The full princess slip is a copy of the original slip belonging to the wedding dress. It buttons in the back, but otherwise its design is almost identical to Simplicity 7157.

After our vintage dress shoot, I put the dress away in my cedar chest. A hundred years old–but still it has an ageless charm and beauty. In a hundred years, will the same be said for what I am wearing?


Amanda Kastner has always loved history, dresses, colors, and drawing. What better way to combine them all than to design and sew historically-inspired clothing? In 2006 she started Hint of History, a line of vintage-inspired patterns. She became ITF’s Editor in 2008.


  1. On February 21, 2009 at 1:55 pm, lady lynn wrote:

    Soooo lovely……how very inspirational…

  2. On January 29, 2010 at 2:05 pm, Kristin wrote:

    I just knew I recognized that wedding picture! That is so neat that there are wonderful memories and historical items left in the family to be passed down through the generations.

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