Saturday, January 12, 2013

Wedding Dress Part 1

A couple months ago, one of my mother's friends offered me some leftover fabric samples that she had snagged from an upholstery shop that was going out of business.  I stopped by Callie's house to pick them up and she asked me if would be interested in altering her wedding dress for her daughter, Caitlin.  Caitlin was set on wearing her mother's wedding dress, but they have very different body types and was looking for some suggestions.  Of course I jumped at the chance and asked to take a look.

Caitlin tried on the dress, and unable to zip it, we decided to make a  new bodice that would fit better.  The goal was to try to use as many elements and materials from her mother's dress as we could.  Here is Callie's wedding photo.  She wore a lace jacket with crinkled chiffon bell sleeves for the ceremony.  So beautiful...

And here is a picture of the actual dress that I would be working on for Caitlin...

Here you can see that the dress would only zip up to a certain point.  Caitlin decided that she loved a deep V neck and would love to use the lace from Callie's jacket and somehow incorporate it into the dress.  Here are a few shots of the muslin dress I made for Caitlin's fitting.

This took several fittings and when I got just the right fit I marked the muslin at all the seams and simply used them as the new pattern pieces.

Since I had to make a new bodice, I knew that one challenge would be matching the new fabric to the vintage dress.  I'm lucky enough to be a 40min train ride from the Garment District, so I took a trip to NYC.  I decided to use silk charmeuse and was able to get a very close match by using the "wrong" (not shiny) side.

It was a tight fit to use the same skirt, but some kind of sewing angel must have been helping me because the old skirt juuuuuust fit and I was able to keep the original chiffon overlay and bustle.

Here some shots of the final dress...

I used the bottom edge of the lace jacket for the waist and kept the original buttons on.  The jacket originally buttoned up the back.  There is an invisible zipper underneath.

Caitlin came this morning for her fitting and loved how many elements of her mom's dress are in her new one.  She, her mom, and I all got teary, exchanged hugs and knew that it was the perfect combination of old and new.  Her wedding is in two weeks, so I will be sure to get some wedding shots and post them in a follow-up post.

This has truly been one of the most emotional and rewarding challenges I have ever come across in sewing.  What a satisfying endeavor!


  1. Beautiful work, and very clever thinking to keep as true as possible to the original design. This will be a memorable sewing experience for you - take heaps of piccies...

  2. This Black Lace Dress is the perfect dress for the twenty something party girl.

  3. I like your wedding dress stlye. It can match my
    Sexy Lingerie

  4. you can find more beatiful coat dress in
    Vintage Pants、Badass Christmas present,make you so beautiful.
    So gorgeous, your leopard jacket is so cool.