Saturday, February 7, 2015

Night of the Green Velvet Dress

St. Valentine's Day Sweetheart Banquet, 1960

Mama made me many pretty dresses when I was a girl. 

My favorite, because it made me feel beautiful wearing it, was a bottle green velvet dress for the Sweetheart Banquet at church when I was 17. 

It was a fitted dress with long sleeves. Down the back were tiny buttons that Mama self-covered with the velvet.

Did you ever read The Enchanted April? In it the author wrote, "You didn't take your clothes to parties; they took you."

This was one party dress in my life that I didn't feel that way about. I wore that dress, it did not wear me. I owned that dress and had males from 14 to 49 tell me they loved it, including R.H.

I had my hair done in a French twist at Chester's and R.H. bought me gardenias for my corsage, my favorite.

We may all look glum there--it was a conservative church and there were as many chaperones as there were young people--but no two ways about it, I looked good that night. Of course, I still had poreless skin then and a 23" waist.

I forgot that I was shy and sparkled with wit the whole evening. R.H. looked at me with new eyes that night, I remember, and he had never looked more handsome, himself.

I'm telling you, there was magic in that green velvet dress.

Have you spotted us yet?

P.S. When my sweet friend Poppy saw this post she emailed me to see if I minded letting her fool around with trying to improve this old photo. Did I mind? I was thrilled to let her try. Here is the result she came up with. 

Thank you, Poppy, for this much improved editing!


  1. oh how darling, you both were!!!! oh such sweet memories.

    I understand about perfect dresses. :-) my mother made my "fancy" clothes too. we would look at gowns in store windows, and she would make what we decided on. and of course, since they were made "on you and me," they fitted perfectly.

    lovely post. simply lovely post. thank you for sharing.

    but see, how much older I am, than you. in 1960, you were only a teen. and I was a married mother, at an old 23. ,-))))


  2. Spot you?! How could we miss you? You are the most beautiful couple in the room!! Oh, Dewena, I could read the stories of your life forever because of the way YOU tell them. From the titles and pictures, to the protagonists and settings, they take me away! And today, we are in that church hall, where all eyes are on you, as you light up the place in your one-of-a-kind, green dress, unknowing prettiness, and surprising confidence, to charm with fiery wit!

    Cupid had it easy that night. YOU had got to R.H., first.

    LOVED this, and thus, nominate 'The Night of the Green Velvet Dress' as MY favourite Valentine post of 2015! So there!


  3. Dewena, I would have loved to seen you in that green velvet dress. I love anything velvet. Your mom sewed clothes for you too? My mom made all my clothes growing up, and she was such a good seamstress. You look lovely in this picture, and the French twist is delightful. I am wondering if you still have that dress? This was a special post to me, as I've always loved fashion.

    Enjoy the weekend, Dewena.

    love, ~Sheri

  4. I knew which one you were as soon as you wrote about the gardenias. They're one of my favorite flowers too and they always remind me of my grandma, Bonnie, because she had them all over her yard. Sadly, I can't grow them here outside, because it snows, but maybe I'll get some for inside.

    You both looked wonderful. I really wish people still dressed up for occasions. Do you still have that dress?

    I love the way you write :)
    Have a lovely Saturday.

  5. Oh, to have that feeling even once in a lifetime!! Such a gift! You look BEAUTIFUL and elegant. I so enjoyed your sharing this, Dewena. blessings ~ tanna

  6. I have had a few memorable outfits like that. But as I am a real velvet fan, I can totally relate to how it has magical powers, especially in green! Great job by Poppy on the photo!

  7. Awe, I love everything about this post. What a wonderful memory. You write about it as if it were yesterday. Lovely!! Thanks for sharing. You both looked stunning! xo

  8. Your mama sounds as if she was an extremely talented seamstress ! Lovely photos! :)

  9. I found you because of the corsage! too small for these old eyes.
    but large enough below to see the beauty of you and rh.
    and that was no doubt the night he fell 'ever after' head over heels!!!
    yes. the magic of green velvet. at a mother's hands. oh yes. i can see that.
    i enjoyed this post so much. well.
    i do all of them.
    but some. some just pierce the heart and find a home. XO♥

  10. What a fun story - your Mama made that green velvet dress with skill and love. Great photo edits!

  11. Oh, what a magical night that had to be, you dressed in that gorgeous green velvet dress! Look at you and your hubby, so lovely and handsome. Look at that gardenia corsage! (Gardenias are my favorite!) I loved reading about the confidence it gave you. Every woman deserves to feel like a princess! What a precious memory!

  12. What a lovely description of your lovely night! What a beautiful couple! My mom sewed for me growing up and all three of my daughters. I always felt special wearing her hand sewn dresses growing up. Such warm, wonderful memories!

  13. Do you still have that dress Dewena? I do hope so, but probably not I would assume. I love velvet, and one of my favorite dresses as a child was a black and white velvet number that gave me a similar feeling as your lovely green dress. I have found that it's not so much the 'style', but the fit, color and often simplicity of a dress that makes us feel confident and helps us to be who we are meant to be while wearing it. Funny how a few yards of fabric can do that.

    You look beautiful!

  14. What a treat to see you in your high-school sweetheart-ness :) Really enjoyed this, Dewena!!! And, thanks for coming by...

  15. Such a lovely story and memory! I had a green velvet dress once, and loved it. Covering buttons was a labor-intensive labor of love from your mama!

  16. What a wonderful happy memory. And you looked beautiful! Sweet hugs, Diane

  17. Dear Dewena,
    Such a Lovely Lady you are now and what a darling you were then! Oh, the magical feelings that must have overcame you that evening as you sat next to R.H. in your detailed, perfectly fitting green velvet dress. I enjoyed reading the comments too, as you stirred in all of us the sweet and innocent memories of youth.

  18. Thank you, making me think, 'what dress have I adored?'

    Age 6, black/white pinafore with puff sleeves. That dress had magic. Even in memory. As does yours.

    Garden & Be Well, XO T