1919 White Silk Wedding Dress


French silk off-white calf length wedding gown with metallic lace panels on sleeves and near hem. Below knee-length wedding dress with considerable hand stitching on the silk outer layer and sewing machine used for cotton batiste underlining and major seams.

Scoop neckline with hand-beading including bugle beads surrounding the neckline. Heavy beading in floral and leaf motifs also surround the neckline, front and back. Blouson bodice with pleats going into neckline in the front and soft easing/gathers into neckline at back. One set of side front pleats on left and right has white bugle beads hand sewn to edge of pleats. Blouson stops at waistline in back but extends below waist to high hip in front becoming part of a three pleat cummerbund effect (loose, not fitted) that surrounds the waist and abdomen or high hip area. Bugle beads hand stitched to lower edge of cummerbund panel around garment and to top edge of cummerbund in the back. Seven snaps with one hook and eye at waistline form center back closure.

Cap sleeve in silk with seams just below shoulder in front and back from neckline to sleeve cap edge with white or clean bugle beads along each seam as well as edge of cap sleeve. Entire garment is underlined with cotton batiste. The short sleeve extension beyond the silk cap sleeve is sewn to the cotton batiste under layer. A five inch wide panel of taupe embroidered lace extends beyond the silk cap sleeve. One and a half inch wide hem edge of sleeve in off white silk is sewn to bottom edge of taupe lace.

Overskirt in silk has unpressed soft pleats about 1.5 inches wide and sewn to the cotton batiste underlayer at the hem forming a balloon hem with the silk layer folding under and turning up about 4" to the underside of the batiste underlining. Balloon hem effect is hand stitched in place.

Three separate panels of silk fabric, one at each side and one at center back, hand from waist. Side panels in off white silk, self fabric, are 14 inch wide and extend to near hem. Each has soft, unpressed 1/5" wide box pleats. At hem edge is a five inch wide panel of taupe embroidered lace like that on the sleeves. Bugle beads are hand-stitched to the side edges of the panels and on the bottom edge of the lace panel. Two inch white fringe is attached to the hem edges of the side panels. The back panel consists of two five inch wide strips of silk which overlap at the top edge and are secured to the main garment with snaps. The panels hand separately but are tacked together in one location near the hem edge which is gathered in a circle to which a 3.5" beaded tassel is attached. Bugle beads are also hand-stitched along the edge of each panel.






Henriette Séroi wore this dress upon her marriage to PFC Colin Wilford Robertson on August 21, 1919 in Auch, France. Henriette was born in Versailles, France on March 12, 1896. Her father served with the French Army during World War I and in 1917 was transferred south to the village of Auch, due west of Toulouse in southern France. During the war Henriette volunteered with the Red Cross and helped look after her younger siblings. She also studied music and English. Her brother René married Jehanne Perchet in Dijon in 1918. Jehanne was an instructor of modern languages as well as a talented artist. She drew a cartoon of a young French girl gazing up admiringly at a tall American soldier and titled it, "L’homme du jour!"(The man of the day!) Henriette visited them in March 1919. Private Colin W. Robertson was born July 3, 1987 in Newton, MA. He was not yet 21 when he landed in Brest, France as part of the American Expeditionary Forces in 1917. His Company spent the next six months doing roadwork and digging trenches and latrines, not very glamorous work, but he spent his time mastering the French language. When interpreters were needed, he applied for the assignment and became an Army Field Clerk and was sent to Paris in 1918 to work with the Postal Express Service. He eventually got a permanent assignment on the Paris to Dijon mail run. On his first Dijon trip, he traveled with the person he was replacing, George Axtell, who was also visiting friends René and Jehanne Séroi, who George thought Colin would enjoy meeting. Colin met Henriette at this time and was smitten. As it was soon to be Henriette's birthday, Jehanne gave her the cartoon she had drawn as a birthday gift. Colin wrote Henriette's father, asking permission to write her and eventually visit in Auch, and so began their long distance courtship. The marriage announcement was posted in July, and with little more than a month before the wedding, fabric was procured from Paris for the dress and Colin was charged with shopping for Henriette's wedding slippers at Galleries Lafayette. The couple decided to go the United States so Colin could take his discharge from the army and had intentions of returning to live in France. However, their son Jacques was born a little over a year later in Seattle, WA, in October 1920, followed by daughter Mariette in 1922. Henriette returned with her children to France by passenger ship in 1924, and the entire family made the trip again in 1935.

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Fiber/Fabric Information

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“1919 White Silk Wedding Dress,” Fashion2Fiber, accessed July 23, 2024,

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