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Guest Post: How To Redesign A Wedding Dress, Part 3

Today is the last post in my Mom's series on how to redesign a wedding dress. You can see the first post in her series here and her second post here. I hope you have learned a lot! And remember, you can apply these concepts to anything from t-shirts to jeans! I'll be back from holiday next week, and have some exciting things planned to blog about after my return!

Just as a reminder, this is what my Mom was starting with:

If you remember from my last post, we left off with finishing up the bodice.

The next thing to work on was the bodice back. Because the button closure was being kept, I cut away the dress leaving enough to turn under twice for a nice finish under the length of the buttons. I guessed at the lower dip in the back and made the cut.

Since Stacey was not nearby, I sent her pictures to ask if she liked it as cut or if she wanted it lower with a couple of options showm by the red pns. She chose the lowest option.

I turned under the strip under the buttons and loops and hand sewed them down. A pattern was made for the back lining, and it was sewn at the top and basted at the sides.

About this time, I made a trip to San Francisco to a wonderful four-story fabric store just off Union Square named Britex. One whole floor has buttons, trims, laces, and all sorts of other goodies. I knew they’d have the trim that I had in mind for the neck and armholes. I wasn’t disappointed, and found just the ticket. I chose a cord and lace to insert it into for the armholes, and added a thin scalloped lace for the neck.

We had planned one trip to see Stacey for the one and only fitting that there would be. I had left the side seams and shoulders open to confirm the fit. The bodice was perfect! She put on her wedding shoes, and we checked the length. To go shorter or longer was the main question. She chose longer. Good thing I’d added those extra inches when I cut off the train!

Once the side seams were sewn, I slipstitched the lining to the waist all around the inside. Now to sew on all the trims to the armholes and neckline. I stitched a ¼ inch stabilizing tape around each opening by machine to stabilize the edge before hand sewing the trims in place. The last thing to do was to press in a narrow hem and hand stitch it in place.

Starting with a dress that was about 60 years old was a challenge. It was stained in a few places, and the lace was fragile. I had originally thought that once it was finished I would take it to a dry cleaner to be cleaned and pressed. As soon as I had some scraps of the lace and satin from cutting it up, I took them to my dry cleaner for a test. The satin came out just fine, but the lace was a disaster! It was a holey crumpled wrinkly mess! Nope, I could not chance it. I gave the dress a good steaming and that was it.

The dress was finished! I had created the design that Stacey wanted from her grandmother’s dress. I couldn’t help but cry as many emotions welled up inside me. This was an extra special wedding dress - repurposed and passed down with love from a grandmother to her daughter to her daughter.

Thanks for taking the time to read my posts, and I hope this inspires you to redesign something of your own!


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