Saturday, May 10, 2014

Wedding Gown Redesign

I spent the day doing some minor redesigning of this dress for a bride getting married next week.

She wanted some sleeves added for modesty, a rip repaired in the back, and a bow added to the back. The problem with adding to a wedding gown is always the fabric. Matching the fabric and color is almost impossible. This bride is on a seriously small budget, so in my closet I had an old wedding gown from the '80's I was happy to cut into. This isn't a  tutorial, but I'll show you what I did.
This alteration took 4 panels of the dress. I kept the shape just as it came off the dress. The top part of the panel will become the "loops" and the bottom half will become the tie ends. I cut and sewed four triangular tops together with heavy interfacing and the bottom of two panels are sewn right sides together up the side. The bottom, which was the original hem, will remain open.

 Using my strapless sleeve pattern, I made sleeves. I always leave long ends about 2" longer than I think I need. I sew a basting stitch according the markings I did at the fitting and match this basting line to the top of the dress where I'll be sewing.
Here is what it looks like all pinned in place. I will sew the sleeves to the bodice by machine under the trim. No one will see it!
For some dumb reason, I couldn't get these to load right side up, but I gathered up all the ends for the bow parts and laid the "loops" on top of each other and baste all four layers together. I did the same with the ends. Then I laid all eight layers on top of each other.
I tacked them at the ends. It was thick, just like I wanted it to be. I made an interfaced band about 1" wide to go around the bow and cover up the raw edges and hand stitched on the wrong side.
Then I had to repair this tear, also by hand. There was no way to make this repair invisible, so part of the purpose of the bow was to make it less noticable.
I added the bow, hand stitching in place on the left side and snaps for the right. I think it turned out alright. What do you think?


  1. Ah, you clever thing you! I always love seeing alterations that deal with adding material that can just never match, and making it work. It's like a really great puzzle. Thanks for sharing these.

  2. It looks like this dress was designed to be like this. Just lovely!


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