It’s all sew beautiful

When Zelma Steeper finished sewing her daughter Beverly’s wedding dress, she made sure it looked “as good on the inside as it did out”, says Beverly Silby, now 71.So much so that on one occasion the young woman accidentally wore it inside out.Mrs Silby came from the NSW Riverina to attend the opening night of The White Wedding Dress exhibition at Bendigo Art Gallery on Saturday night.Her jewelled 1960s dress was on prominent display at the exhibition, along with a parade of other Australian-made gowns.“My mother studied two-and-a-half years full time at the well known dressmaking school Emily McPherson College in Melbourne doing design and dressmaking,” she says.“Everything had to be beautifully done.’’Not being able to afford to all the jewels and beading she wanted for her daughter’s special gown, Mrs Steeper sourced her family’s jewellery box, turning a pair of amber earrings into decoration for the skirt and asking family members to contribute necklaces for the beading.“Versatile, I call it,” Mrs Silby says. “She made the dress so that I could wear it again.“You wear the overskirt as a cape so I could wear the dress to balls and things.”So how would her mother feel about being on stage among the cream of Australian wedding gowns?“If you can find a better word for ‘thrilled’, ‘excited’ – then double or triple it,” Mrs Silby says. “Mum would’ve been so proud.”

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