Thursday, September 8, 2016

Vow Renewal Dress Completed

It's finished!  I have been working on this project solid for the past two days and it's finally done!  For those of you not familiar with this project, click here for more info.

Front close-up.

With the quilted wrap.

So - let's start at the beginning here for this project.  Here is my original wedding gown in it's box as it has been for the last 25 years.

With the lid removed, ah, there she is, resting peacefully.....Until two days ago....

I was surprised how well she had held up after all of this time.  Not too shabby - but boy - look at those sleeves!  Holy cow they are huge!

Close-up of the front.  I knew I wanted to reuse the front bodice portion somehow.

Side view of the sleeve - I think one sleeve is as big as my head!!

And the back view.  There was no way I was going to be able to zip up that zipper so the back had to be completely reworked.  And look at that bow - did I really have a bow that big on my backside?  

And here's the train.  I liked all of the lace cutouts and insets on the train, but they turned out to be more of a pain to work around than I originally thought. 

So - first things first - remove that skirt and train.  

And the sleeves.  Geesh - it still looks big here on it's own!

Here's the sleeve ironed completely flat.  That's alot of fabric in a sleeve!!

Using the train, I was able to cut out a basic straight skirt using Simplicity 1465.  My original plan was to cut a high/low wrap skirt of some sort but that didn't work out.  The majority of the train was cut on the straight grain, but it had all of the lace insets running thru it.  Those lace insets made it difficult to find an area big enough for just a straight skirt let alone a high/low wrap skirt.  I also needed to squeeze in the back of the halter from the train portion. I used McCall's 6745 as my starting point, but heavily modified it by adding 2 extra darts and extra width to the sides to make the front portion fit properly.

Here's the back view.  The only separating zipper I had on hand was a large one with plastic teeth.  A non-separating zipper just wouldn't work for this.  I know it's not the correct zipper, but it will serve it's purpose here ok.  The zipper and darts on the skirt look a bit wonky here, but they will be fine after a good pressing. 

For the wrap, I used the front of the skirt to cut out three different pieces to get the length I wanted for the wrap.  It is 14" x 60".  Then, using some lining and batting from the stash, I quilted the wrap.  Using the lace cut-out from the sleeve, I then transferred that onto the center of the wrap, zig zagged around the edges and then removed the quilted backing to create the see-thru effect.  From the bottom ends of the wrap, I used the bottoms from each sleeve and gathered the quilted portion slightly to make them fit the sleeve ends.  At the bottom center of the wrap, I used the same pearl bead that hung in the center of the back on the original dress and hand sewed some of the remaining pearls from the back around the edges of the inset.  

Another view:

Can you see the pearl drop on the center of the wrap?

Close-up of the end of the wrap using the bottom of the sleeves.

So here you go - from start to end.

Here is what's left from the train:

Not much left from the front portion.

My original goals for this dress are below and I think I satisfied them pretty well.

1.  When we travel, we only take a small carry-on suitcase per person, so it must be able to fit in that suitcase, along with the rest of my travel clothes. I don't want to travel with a separate case of some sort to house the "renewal garment".  Yes - this garment will fit in my carry-on, but, I may just bring a separate garment bag to save ironing it when I get there.  
2.  I'm looking for something simple yet appropriate for the occasion.  As you can see, I have alot of yardage to work with here, so I'm game for any ideas you have!  Yes - this is simple and very appropriate I think.  I love the way it turned out!  Is it too early to start thinking about how to reuse this again for our 50th anniversary?  

So - now that the big project is done, I'll be moving onto other simple garments for the rest of September Sew for 30.

How are your projects coming along?

Happy sewing everyone!



  1. Simply beautiful. You have done a stellar job.
    Vancouver Barbara

  2. What a fantastic transformation - it really is a magical little dress now. And I hope your anniversary is just as magical. Wishing you well for the next 25 years as well.

  3. Wow those were big sleeves! But a stunning dress and I think you've really done it justice. Your new dress is perfect, you've done a super job and I bet you will look beautiful in it

  4. Absolutely fabulous! You really thought out how you were best able to use different sections of your dress. Congratulations on 25 years, today most marriages only last 25 hours!!

  5. Just beautiful! and in only two days!! Best wishes for a wonderful celebration and the next 25.

  6. What a special and beautiful re-fashion. Hope your next 25 years are are wonderful as this dress.

    1. Thank you Jane. What a nice thing to say!

  7. Wow!!! Great job with this transformation of your original dress. The original and this one are beautiful. Congrats on 25 years!!

  8. OMGosh-this is so beautiful, both before and after. What a labor of love. Congratulations on 25 years!

  9. Wow this is a terrific remake. You should be very proud. It looks beautiful and up to date. Terrific creativity. I'm very impressed.

  10. That is stunning! What a transformation. LOVE the wrap!

  11. My goodness this is so beautiful! And it's such a creative labour of love. I think this must be the best wedding dress refashion that I had seen for a while. I particularly liked the quilted wrap. Great job and congrats!