Tore Good White Dress

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Sunday, October 6, 1912:  Was rather woe-begone this afternoon. Guess the start of it all was that I tore my good white dress. Just sat down in a chair and there was a nail or some other rough surface.

I picture Grandma’s dress being solid white–rather than a print–and really pretty, but this is the best illustration that I could find. (Source: Ladies Home Journal, July, 1912)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

What a downer! Did Grandma tear the dress at Sunday School or at home? I hope it was at home—it would be especially traumatic to tear a dress in front of others.

I’m surprised that Grandma was wearing a white dress. It seems like it would have been difficult to keep clean. And, white seems more like a summer color than a fall one.

10 Responses

  1. Young girls her age wore white dresses for good all year around. It was their party dresses. When I was researching edgings for crochet I found this out. They usually showed off their needle work skills with all the pin tucks and emboirdery. White on white. I bet she was upset that her dress was torn. You are right that colors were now dark and of heavy fabrics. Her white dress would have been a thin white cotton over a white cotton full slip. Or just a nice white cotton that you could do white on white embroidery. She would have several collars and cuff to change out around the neck and on the long sleeves. They would have been crocheted or knitted of cotton thread. This was toward the end of the period of the fashionable Irish crocheted assesories. They also had button covers and buttons that where like cuff links that could be changed out. They got alot of mileage out of a dress. Women’s clothes were a big investment.

  2. Very disappointing if it was one of her favourites. I have a photo of my grandmother c1910 in a lovely white dress -she had the tiniest waist.

  3. quaint little sayings your Grandma had…Woe-begon…that’s a oldie but goodie. Bummer tearing her dress, that’s something I’d do, find the one nail to catch on.

  4. I wrecked a favourite dress of mine by using too hot an iron, so I know how your grandma felt

  5. Well, that is disappointing … I, too, was surprised to read it was a white dress. Once again, I am learning.

  6. I too love the expression “woe-begone”. Haven’t heard that “in donkey’s years” :-D

  7. She gave us more information than usual here, even how she tore the dress on a nail (or something).

  8. Poor Grandma! It can be so discouraging to get a tear or a stain on a favorite piece of clothing! (I kind of feel that way every time our car loses a hubcap…)

  9. Perhaps she was trying on the dress to have it altered, or checking if it still fit her. Or maybe it was an unusually warm autumn day. (Is there some way of finding out what the temperature was that day, or aren’t weather recods kept for 100 years?)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 830 other followers

%d bloggers like this: