Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Repurposing Part 2: Take a deep breath and cut the wedding dress into pieces

Yesterday, I took the day off to start work on a Christening ensemble for my new nephew, Little C, made from his mom's wedding dress. Here is my sister with the dress:

Poly with the dress front

And back

The first step was to decide what pieces to make, which pattern to use and how to lay it all out. We settled on Simplicity 5813 for the bodice, skirt, romper bottoms, jacket and bonnet, and then use the booties from Simplicity 2457. The pattern is relatively simple - no pleating, no added trims. This was a conscious choice on our part, since we want the embroidery and beading from the dress to really play a starring role. While Poly cut out the pattern pieces, I dismantled the dress. Then we laid out all the pieces, deciding how to utilizing the gorgeous beading and trim.

I was freaking out a bit at this point.
This is my sister's wedding dress, in pieces on the floor.

We didn't have as many large non-beaded areas of satin to work with as we had hoped because of the dress' seams and beading. So, instead of trying to shoe-horn all the pieces in, we decided that we will purchase some light blue satin to make into the romper bottoms. This allowed us to be very strategic about laying out the rest of the pieces in order to use the beading to maximum advantage. Also, it will ensure that the outfit - once the skirt is removed by a hidden row of snaps - is perfect for a baby boy.

We spent the rest of the day laying out and cutting. Here is a preview of some of our pieces. Poly really does have an eye for this sort of thing.

Jacket front

Jacket back.

Skirt Front. This is the beading from the train of the dress.

We also cut out lining from cotton batiste that I bought on Friday and transferred all the pattern markings using tailor's tacks rather than risk marks on the fabric. Poly will do some additional prep work during the week before we regroup over the weekend for the actual sewing.

I'm feeling incredibly optimistic about this project. If it all goes smoothly, the ensemble will be a thing of beauty. My greatest concern is that we have limited time and are going to have to do a lot of hand sewing. In addition to finishing seams, the beads were literally cascading off the dress as we worked on it. So, we are going to have to do lots of re-attaching. Other than that, it is full steam ahead.


Elizabeth said...


It looks good and you're right, she really does have an eye for this sort of thing!

The Slapdash Sewist said...

So brave! I'm sure that first cut was very nerve wracking. I'm loving the use of the beaded motifs.

Sheila said...

Seeing the pic of your sister holding her weddiing dress made me nervous about the cutting, but quickly disappeared after seeing the pieces cut. Yes she definitely has an eye for that sort of thing.

Thansk for the beautiful compliment on my dress.

Anonymous said...

Hey, if it's not going to be worn again... And now the dress will have a much more meaningul use, rather that just hanging in a closet. I love this idea! Can't wait to see the finished piece. I'm sure it will be great.

Andrea said...

I agree with everyone else. Your sister does have a real good eye, and I love how the dress is being used. I can't wait to see the whole outfit sewn up. It's beautiful so.

Faye Lewis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Faye Lewis said...

I deleted that last comment because I mis-read your comment. I am so sorry that you cannot join us for the month of tops. I MIGHT do the one in November again, maybe you can join in then.

Faye Lewis said...

P.S. I can't remember where I got that third picture from. I let you know when I remember.

Susan Fogel said...

What a lovley idea. I wanted to do this for my cousing using her mpther's wedding dress, but then everyone chickend out.
a lovely family project passing on a lovley tradition and memory.
Can't wait to see the finished outfit.
I hope you will take a look at my new sewing blog: susansewsdaily.
Keep on sewing!

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