When a local charity was forced out of its building a couple years ago and the contents offered up to the public, Connie Mehler of Blanco went to sift through the massive piles to see if there was anything of interest. Among the 8-foot piles, she discovered a beautiful Victorian-style gown. Although the size 3 gown would not fit anyone she knew, she adored the lace and thought it would be useful for a sewing or craft project.
The next morning, she set about the tedious work of removing the lace from the gown. She started with the hem, and working her way up to the waistline, decided to remove the zipper so that she could use it later. As she unzipped the garment, she noticed two tags inside. The first was an International Ladies Garment Workers Union tag, and the second held the order number for the dress and the date it was made. Imagine her surprise to find that the dress had been crafted on December 7, 1910.
The dress, now bare of the lace that had drawn Mrs. Mehler to it, was a vintage gown! It could have been worth a pretty penny, if only it were intact!
Knowing that the damage could not be reversed, Mrs. Mehler could do nothing but learn from her mistake. From that point on, she will certainly take the time to check any garment for tags and other clues as to the era before turning them into her next project.
All was not lost, however, because Mrs. Mehler was able to turn the blunder into a profit.
A long time reader of the magazine, Country Woman, she submitted her story of lost fortune to the publication to be included in their Most Embarrassing Moment section. Time passed and Mrs. Mehler forgot about submitting her gaffe to the magazine. She was surprised, then, to find a letter and gift certificate from Country Woman, almost a year after sending the letter.
The vintage dress that was no longer worth anything had paid off. The submission was published in the February/March 2009 edition of the publication, earning Mrs. Mehler $25.
Although the dress did not bring Mrs. Mehler wealth, the now shorter version hangs in her sewing room as a decoration and, of course, a reminder to always look before you pick up a seam ripper!