We took an antique wedding dress worn by the bride's mother and grandmother for their weddings, and revamped it for a modern twist on a classic look.
Cutting apart a 3-generation-old dress was a daunting task, but to achieve our design for Elizabeth's perfect dress, it had to be done. Much time and care was put into removing the delicate lace pieces and repositioning the fabric where it had faded with time.
The end result was a stunning custom wedding dress with a long history of love.
Step 1: The Original Dress
The original dress was a gorgeous monster of silk satin and lace, with long sleeves, a high neck and a train that could rival Diana's. Did I mention the full petticoat underneath?
We knew we'd have to cut away most of the fabric to create the simple, airy dress Liz was dreaming about. (Don't worry - the sleeves became gloves, some of the train became a hat, and almost all of the lace was used. The rest she still has!)
Step 2: Taking It Apart
Though this isn't a traditional step-by-step expository Instructable, if you follow the story and have some experience sewing, you should be able to understand how to go about taking your own vintage garment and turning into the piece of your dreams!
The first step in tackling this beast was to remove the tiny bodice from the ample skirt. After steaming out the dense gathers, it was easier to get an idea of what we had to work with. We knew we wanted to keep the lace insets, but to use them in a different design. And because the front of the skirt had become discolored, we decided to use the longer pieces in the back to become the front of the skirt!
Step 3: Putting It Together
The bodice was great as it was - needing only a little tweaking here and there. We removed the sleeves and the lace inset and draped a new neckline with some of the lace taken from the skirt.
The only true way to achieve your dream dress is to work with it as you go. What you like on paper, you may not like on your body. So Liz and I had two fittings where we fussed and tinkered to come up with the most flattering shapes for her.
Over the course of these fittings, we changed the neckline, set the hem, and established the length of the new train. We also designed a way for her to bustle her train when it came time for dancing!
Step 4: The Perfect Dress
The dress that Liz got married in was uniquely her, with strong elements of both her mother and her grandmother still shining through. With patience and courage, we were able to take this beautiful vintage dress and remake it into something completely new.