A Hair for a Husband: A Bridal Superstition: 1895


Girls Who Seeks to Have Single Hairs Stitched Into Wedding Gowns.

One superstition that exists among sewing girls and their associates of Paris and New York, says the Sun, is that if the head dressmakers will stitch into wedding garments a single hair from the head of each they will become brides within a very short time after the maiden who wears the bridal outfit then in preparation. A young woman of experience and with a quick eye for what would interest the Sun’s reads said to a Sun reporter the other evening:

Let me tell you of this strange and yet pretty superstition which exists among some of the sewing girls in Paris and New York. I am more familiar with the superstition as it exists among the girls of some of the bigger dry goods shops in New York City, and so in this instance I will confine my story to them. When the sewing girls in the different apartments and the girls behind the counters learn that the house has received an order for a big trousseau they besiege the head dressmakers and ask them to stitch into the wedding gown especially a single hair from their heads. This hair is so fine that it is easily concealed and cannot in any way mar the beautiful wedding gown. The head dressmakers very often humor the girls.

“I know positively that this superstition exists and I know positively that in many wedding gowns, could they be picked to pieces, would be found many hairs stitched in. The girls, when they go home at night, tell their girl friends that a hair from their heads has been stitched into the wedding gown of Miss So-and-So, and the lucky one is immediately envied. She will be married very soon, her associates say.

“Many of the girls in the big shops secure bits of the wedding gowns of fashionable brides. They take them home and treasure them up. They make collections of them, and they point them out to their friends in the neighborhood, saying, ‘That was Miss So-and-So’s wedding gown,’ and so they go through the list. The sewing girl who possesses the greatest collection of these bits if a very important young woman in the eyes of her young woman friends. She is considered to be almost fashionable herself, because she is so near the throne. But by far the prettiest superstition that I have yet heard of is the one where a single hair from so many of these shop girls is stitched into these very expensive wedding gowns.

The Omaha [NE] Daily Bee 1 December 1895: p. 11

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: There is a very similar superstition reported from M. Worth’s atelier

There is an odd superstition in M. Worth’s workroom. When a wedding gown is being made there is a rush among the sewing girls to thread the first needle with a hair from their own head and pass it through the material. Whoever is first in this race will be the first to marry. Fresno [CA] Morning Republican 1 October 1905: p. 14 

Mrs Daffodil knows several persons working as curators in museum costume collections. One wonders if they have ever found evidence of this practice? With advances in the genealogical use of DNA, it might even be possible to identify the young lady donors. And, of course, armed with that knowledge and a rough date for the garment into which they were inserted, one might even be able to tell if the hair actually brought the hopeful seamstress a husband.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.


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