A soon-to-be-married old friend contacted me a few months back and asked if I would be into in restyling her mother’s wedding gown from the 70′s for her to wear for her upcoming wedding this summer! I was initially a bit wary of cutting into something so special but decided to go for it and I am so glad I did! The original dress was made by a dressmaker in Baguio City, Philippines, and is made of pineapple fibre organdy and beautiful cotton lace with beads and sequins. I was a little nervous with the mention of pineapple fibre as it was totally foreign to me, but it was very easy to work with. The dress was beautiful but a bit dated in a not-totally-flattering way, so we discussed changing it up a little to suit her better. Before:
She gave me a few ideas of styles she liked (boat/bateau neckline, illusion lace) and let me play around to figure out the right way to restyle the dress. I suggested a low cut lace back and she was all over it. The main body of the dress fit fairly well and didn’t need to be taken in much, but I slimmed it down a bit overall.
The main change was of course the neckline and bodice. After much consideration, I carefully cut out the lace (taken from the sleeves and veil) and pieced it in place. I pinned it atop the original neckline and traced the area to be cut away. From there I added a small seam allowance to be turned in and hand-stitched the edges of the new neck and back lines.
Then the fun part! Putting the new neckline and the strategically shaped lace together as one! Much hand stitching later (to create a seamless transition between the appliqued lace and the dress fabric I used very tiny stitches) we had an illusion neckline! The bateau neck is slightly higher at the back to kind of ‘hug’ the back of her neck. The bride is quite petite (more so than my dress form, and the low back will hit in a tasteful but lovely spot.
I am so happy with how this turned out and very inspired to push my limits further!
After the lace was cut for the wedding dress, we realized we had some left over and decided to make a second dress, for her to wear to the reception, which would incorporate the extra lace. I happened to have some lovely cream silk shantung in my collection, so from that I cut a very simple retro 60′s sheath, with bateau neck and V-back. The leftover lace was shaped into an obi belt which fastens with hooks and eyes at centre back.
Overall a very rewarding and great project! Bride and mother-of-the-bride are very pleased with the result! Feels great to be trusted with such a beautiful heirloom item. I preserved large seam allowances in the “new” wedding dress for future alteration possibilty, just in case she wants to hand it down again one day…
Let me preface this by saying that this is my first post to date! I’ve been sewing for a couple of years and this was actually the first dress I ever sewed.
When I got engaged, I jokingly considered “just making my own dress” as a way to ease the financial burden that a wedding can cause. However, the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I was by the idea. When I finally decided, it seemed like the world was against me. But, that really only fueled the fire. I had sewn shirts and skirts so I knew a dress couldn’t be any more difficult…and it really wasn’t. Except for the fact that I bought real silk which meant I couldn’t get even a drop of water on it.
I was mostly inspired by Madeleine Vionnet and her 1930′s bias cut gowns. I loved the soft and feminine look of the gowns and the non-corset bodice. The flouncy bottom of her dresses also drew me to that style. I flirted with the idea of learning to bias sew but quickly laughed that off.
The more and more I sewed my dress the more I wanted lace on it. At the same time, my mom was offering for me to wear her dress from 1980 (not to mention she’s a half foot shorter than me and about 3 dress sizes smaller). So instead I decided to use the lace from her gown and incorporate it in my own.
I also decided to make a detachable train which I am so glad that I did. It felt so nice dancing around without a train dragging me down.
Here are some more photos of the dress. I used the delicate lace to draft sleeves and finished it with a small scalloped edge. The front and back bodice incorporated both the delicate lace and the wider lace. I trimmed the bottom of my dress in the wider lace and the front opening and bottom of my train.
Here is when the train came off:
Also I used vogue v2931 and took in the panels on the train, took off the bow and straps, and took in the top of the sloth as well. I also separated the train to make it detachable.
PennyandMary and DIYbride posted about it if you’re interested.
Thanks and I hope you enjoy!
I made this dress for the wedding of friends recently–it’s from a 1956 Butterick pattern. I adjusted the yoke on the waist–the somewhat scalloped, swinging drape look wasn’t exactly what I wanted, so I just straightened it out. The fabric is a light blue silk dupioni that’s been washed and air dried–it created wonderful texture if you just leave it alone and don’t steam or iron it. The sheen stays, but it’s sort of puckery and looks very 19th century to me. I also added two panels on the skirt for a fuller look, and then ruched and sewed up the hem to give it a swag look on the bottom and on the sleeves. I had a great, really old piece of chantilly lace hanging around, and I tried it inside the neckline, so it stayed. The dress looks rather Miss Havesham-my now, and all I need is a rotten wedding cake, a spiderweb cape and lots of clocks. I’ll be all set!!
Neckline and antique lace
I love Chuck’s style from Pushing Daisies. After narrowing her many gorgeous outfits down to the red lace dress, I decided to use vintage patterns Vogue 9810 for the top and Butterick B5708 for the skirt. I had a lot of issues making the top, but generally I’m pleased with it. This was my first time using lace and I can’t wait to make more lacy things! Read/see more here.