Photos by NJ Advance Media
The moment Abigail Kingston started planning her wedding, she knew she had the “something borrowed” portion of her ceremony covered. Come October 17, the Pennsylvania bride-to-be will be the 11th member of her family to marry in the same dress: a satin-and-lace skirt and bodice with puffy sleeves that was originally handmade in New York City in 1895 for her great-great-grandmother. It’s something she’s dreamed of since she was a child, sitting at her piano and staring at black-and-white pictures of past brides, including her own mother, wearing the dress. “I just kept looking up at the pictures and saying, ‘I hope one day I can be married and I’ll wear the dress,’” Kingston told the New York Post. “I’ve always wanted that fairy tale.”
As expected of a 120-year-old heirloom, the dress wasn’t in the greatest of shapes when she received it from her cousin, who was the last to don it in 1991. A century’s worth of wear, tear, and alterations had taken a toll on the gown, which was dingy, tattered, and much too small. “I thought there was no way I would ever be able to wear the dress,” Kingston said.
Determined to restore it to its original glory, Kingston and her mother enlisted
bridal designer Deborah LoPresti, who spent at least 200 hours to recreate the dress’s original design. The sleeves, which were disintegrating, had to be removed entirely. LoPresti labored for three days on the replacement sleeves alone, hand-stitching 80 pleats in Victorian fashion.
“It was in rags . . . and when I had my final fitting, it really felt like I was Cinderella,” she said.
Kingston promises to take better care of the dress for future generations. Her first purchase as a newlywed? A cedar storage chest.
[Via New York Post]