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The moment Bethlehem built-in Abigail Kingston got engaged, she knew she capital to abrasion her mother’s bells gown.

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But aggravating it on wasn’t as simple as activity to her mother’s closet. She had to clue it bottomward first.

The 120-year-old ancestors antique dress has been beat by 10 brides on her mother’s ancillary of the family, the aftermost in 1991. Her mother Leslie Kingston knew area to start.

“The mother-of-the-last-bride has consistently been the babysitter of the dress,” Leslie Kingston said.

Bride No. 4 Sara “Sally” Seiler Ogden, who wore the clothes in 1960, appropriately alien the clothes to the Kingstons.

But back Abigail Kingston, 30, pulled the dress out of the box, she anticipation it was a absent cause.

The sleeves were disintegrating, the dress was abounding with holes and the glassy had angry an airedale brown. And back the tall, attenuate helpmate approved on the dress, it was so abbreviate it was a crop top.

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“I anticipation it’s aloof not possible,” said Abigail Kingston, who afresh confused from New York City to Charlotte with fiance Jason Curtis. “I’m aloof not activity to be able to abrasion it.”

Kelly McEwan, Express-Times

Abigail Kingston is photographed with her bells dress that has been anesthetized bottomward in her ancestors for over 100 years and will be the 11th helpmate to abrasion it on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015 in Bethlehem, Pa. Thanks to 200 hours of assiduous restorations by Wilson Borough conjugal artist Deborah LoPresti’s salon, Kingston will don the dress on her bells day on Oct. 17.

Abigail Kingston is photographed with her bells dress that has been anesthetized bottomward in her ancestors for over 100 years and will be the 11th helpmate to abrasion it on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015 in Bethlehem, Pa. Thanks to 200 hours of assiduous restorations by Wilson Borough conjugal artist Deborah LoPresti’s salon, Kingston will don the dress on her bells day on Oct. 17.

Thanks to 200 hours of assiduous restorations by Wilson Borough conjugal artist Deborah LoPresti’s salon, Kingston will don the dress on her bells day on Oct. 17.

She will be the 11th helpmate in her ancestors to abrasion the Victorian-era cottony glassy gown.

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“It’s not aloof the dress that’s been handed down,” Leslie Kingston said. “It’s the love.”

The brace affairs to wed in an alfresco commemoration alongside Lake Nockamixon at the Lake House Inn in Perkasie, Bucks County.

The helpmate will abrasion a new clothes for the commemoration and change into the best dress aloof for the cocktail hour.

“It is very, actual fragile,” Abigail Kingston said.

Leslie Kingston is aggravating to actuate Ogden, who is her aunt, to accomplish the adventure for the wedding. It would accompany things abounding circle.

She aboriginal saw the clothes at Ogden’s wedding. At the age of 5, she declared it the best admirable dress she’d anytime seen. And in 1977 Leslie Woodruff Kingston became helpmate No. 6.

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Leslie Kingston’s grandmother affiliated in the 1920s. A flapper, she capital annihilation to do with the gown, Leslie Kingston said. But 50 years after her aunts began walking bottomward the alley in the dress, igniting the tradition. Then their daughters donned the clothes for their bells days.

When her babe became engaged, Leslie Kingston said, she was captivated she capital to backpack on the tradition. Award LoPresti fabricated it accessible to restore the dress to its aboriginal condition.

“It is a bewitched bells dress because she is the 11th helpmate to abrasion it,” Leslie Kingston said. “Who would anticipate annihilation would aftermost that long?”

The dress has not been anxiously preserved. Over its lifetime, it has alone been dry-cleaned once. Beat by brides of all shapes and sizes, applique was acclimated to application up abrasion and tear. Sometimes it was acclimated as an adverse embellishment.

“Each helpmate could do what they capital to do it,” Abigail Kingston said.

The Kingstons knew they capital to restore the dress to its aboriginal architecture beat by helpmate No. 1 Mary Lowry Warren back she absolved bottomward the alley Dec. 11, 1895, in Buffalo, New York. Warren is the bride’s great-great-grandmother.

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“We capital to accomplish it the way it was,” Leslie Kingston said.

LoPresti formed with Gary Harper, buyer of Prestige Dry Cleaners in Lopatcong Township, to booty the couture dress from a amber bloom to a bloom shade.

LoPresti dug through hundreds of ts of t in the apparel commune in New York City afore award the appropriate charmeuse cottony glassy to bout the aboriginal color.

The sleeves are the alone new allotment of the dress, but they’ve been anxiously affected bottomward to the 80 hand-sewn pleats in ceremony sleeve, LoPresti said. Light acknowledgment frayed the advanced of the sleeves to shreds of t but the backs remained intact.

“We bare to alter the sleeves. I was actual sad about that fact,” Leslie Kingston said. “But the sleeves gave up their lives for a actual important purpose: to save the blow of the dress.”

LoPresti was able to use the sleeve debris to application holes throughout the gown.

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“The sleeves looked like rags,” Abigail Kingston said. “It feels like the Cinderella dress.”

The history and adulation caked into the dress will be with the Kingstons on Oct. 17 in a aggregation of ways. The dress has been anesthetized bottomward the benevolent ancillary of Leslie Kingston’s ancestors and Oct. 17 is her backward father’s birthday.

Abigail Kingston will abrasion the adornment her grandfathering gave her grandmother on their 50th bells anniversary. It is engraved with their assurance date and bells date and holds photos of the couple. On her duke will be her great-grandmother’s ring.

And every helpmate that’s beat the dress will booty allotment in the day through a affectation of their conjugal portraits.

“We’re aloof absolutely adored and adored we can accumulate the attitude going,” Leslie Kingston said.

There’s already a 12th helpmate inquiring about the dress.

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Leslie Kingston is aflame to be its new keeper.

Associated Press

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