Monday, 4 July 2016

Alterations – Wedding Dress Afterlives

A little while ago I posted the wedding tips article, in it I mentioned what could happen to the wedding dress after the big day.  I have worked on a number of these projects, making dresses shorter in the case of less formal wedding dresses so they can be worn for other occasions; these are relatively simple alterations; and more ambitious ideas.  The two projects outlined here are two of my very favourite ones. The first is very special indeed.

I was contacted recently by a Grandmother who wanted a Christening outfit made for her youngest grandson made out of her wedding dress from 1973.

This is the original dress, it has a really charming bodice with layered sleeves and very pretty lace in the body of the sleeves and neck, and embellishing the waistline, this second lace is different from that which forms the sleeves.  There is another braid style lace at the hem which is very simple and pretty.

After looking at a number of patterns for Christening outfits we selected a rompa suit with an accompanying bonnet to be made out of the dress.  After much unpicking I had removed the braid at the hem and lace at the waist and dismantled the skirt.  I have left the bodice intact as the family may wish to use it for something else.

Using the two largest panels from the skirt and the braid from the hem I have created this very sweet rompa suit with a peter pan collar.  The plastic poppers at the crutch are on a tape and then in the back of the bodice I have used ordinary metal poppers.

The bodice of the suit is lined and the centre front has been pin-tucked and the braid from the dress hem trapped in the tucks and stitched down.

I have trapped more braid in the sleeves as well.  I must say it was pretty fiddly to make these sleeves as they are very small.

Last but by no means least is the bonnet, we all cooed and ahhed over this when my clients came to collect it yesterday. 

A number of years ago I was asked by one of my closest friends to create an outfit for her brother’s wedding out of her own wedding dress.

This is the original wedding dress, being a slim and curvy woman (somewhat akin to Marilyn Munroe in shape) I designed a subtly sexy outfit to show those curves off to best effect.

We combined the fabric from the skirt with some shot taffeta that I had left over from my second year student collection. The first element I made is this cami top which is piped with the taffeta.

The skirt has a deep yolk style waistband with a dip in the front made in the taffeta, and the main body of the skirt, made with the wedding dress satin has a double fluted frill at the back near the hem to allow ease of movement in what would otherwise be a very restrictive pencil skirt.

Then I made this jacket which has a fluted peplum to echo the skirt hem and decorative inner cuffs in the satin tying it all together.

Lastly, I used the bodice to make a matching handbag.

I hope this inspires you to think about how you could use your wedding dress, who wants to spend the next however many years carting around your dress in a big box every time you move house when you could have it made into something else which gives you joy and every time you wear it or use it, it will remind you of the wonderful day YOU had wearing it the first time.

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