Custom Wedding Dress





Introduction: Custom Wedding Dress

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. 



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    26 Discussions

    you never fail to impress me miss sochomorro lol =D lovelyyyyyy

    It broke my heart a little bit that you cut up that beautiful vintage dress (I have a weakness for those)..

    It turned out nice though.

    Wow! I don't think I'd have the courage/heart to cut into vintage gorgeousness, but with all your planning it truly came out beautiful and one of a kind. I'm so glad you tried to use everything and kept what wasn't used, the fabric hoarder in me is in awe. :-)

    Wow! You all did a wonderful job sewing and altering this very special three-generation wedding gown.

    that is amazing...lets all us "moms" have hope that maybe, just maybe our daughters will want to wear our dresses - with some personal tweaking of course! Bravo!

    It's so beautiful, I'm in awe... @.@

    Everytime I see your stuff, I think, "Is there nothing she can't do?" (Double negative, I know.) You are amazing. I enjoy ALL your tutorials!

    Thanks for being such a wonderful influence on my middle daughter- words cannot express my gratitude for your work. Peace

    1 reply

    I'm actually printing this out and saving it for my girls. I have 2 wedding dresses. One from my late husband and I and one for my upcoming wedding. I didn't know who might want which dress or if they could sorta take turns but maybe they could do this instead and have a little of both and a dress made just for them. GREAT IDEA and great ible!! Thanks your awesome!

    1 reply

    I love the way you "bustled" the train up and out of the way!

    Unbelievable!!! I am completely in awe of the work you did; excellent use of vintage materials and a great honor for the bride's grandmother!!

    Thank you for sharing your incredible masterpiece. I wore my mother-in-law's gown, and my daughter wants to wear this memory of her beloved grandmother. However, she'd also like to look as if her gown was last stylish in 1948. I was fortunate to purchase a vintage gown that is the twin of mine, so I'll have a little extra fabric to help me in case of mistakes. (gowns of that era are often available on eBay for very little money.)

    Thank you, thank you, thank you again for the inspiration.

    Looks fantastic. What material is used to make wedding dresses? Is there a way to do this from "scratch?"

    1 reply

    Absolutely! I've made dresses from scratch out of silk, organza, lace, you name it! This dress was silk and lace.