A couple years ago I met Kim who owned Shirt Happens Now at the time. Shirt Happens Now was working with me to create t-shirt designs for my 1 million subscriber event (those are also the t-shirts we are selling now) and Kim mentioned to me that she used to own a bridal shop where she would transform wedding dresses. She still had some vintage wedding dresses in storage and she offered them to me so I gladly took them off her hands. Thank you so much Kim! I hope you had fun seeing me transform this dress. It took me 2 years to pull this out of my closet and come up with this awesome creation so don't feel bad when you thrift something great but can't come up with an idea immediately.
Let's begin with how I came up with the new design.
First, what do you like and don't like about the dress? For me I didn't like the high neck and ruffled collar. I also wanted the dress to be more fitted on me and thought that the chiffon material would drape some much nicer if it didn't have that layer of stiff tulle underneath. I love a dress with long sleeves so I know I want to keep that, and I also loved the skirt with the mini train in the back.
No matter what you're transforming, the most simplest way to begin is to take the entire dress apart. I know this sounds like a lot of work but it'll save you a headache down the line. Also by taking apart a garment, more ideas will pop up along the way which is why my original design or sketch never come out as I first imagined. All I sketched was a v-shaped neckline, the rest I had to figure out along the way.
I would say this is one of the simpler wedding dresses to undo because the lace applique was sewn on piece by piece. The dress didn't have any beading I had to remove and add back on later, and it was pretty much in my size so I didn't have to size it down too much.
I started reconstructing the chiffon layer on top and once I had the bodice and skirt attached, I didn't know how I'd attach it to the lining dress anymore. Keep in mind when I'm doing transformations, I'm literally figuring things out as I go and in this case, I already finished and lined the chiffon waistband and no longer wanted to attach it to the lining dress. And that is how I came up with the idea to just keep the two layers separate, for a 2-in-1 dress design which i'm super proud of. It can actually be worn as 3 different dresses if you think about it: the chiffon layer reminds me of a nightgown/lingerie (someone said honeymoon lol), the dress underneath can be the reception dress, and the two together can be for the ceremony! I love that you can also layer any dress you want underneath of the chiffon outer layer.
For the lining dress, I kept it simple and only changed the neckline into a sweetheart shape. There is no boning to hold it up making it very light and comfortable to wear. I didn't want to spend money purchasing more materials for this dress so I did whatever I could to make it work. The only additional materials I did end up purchasing was 1 yard of chiffon to line the waistband and bodice pieces, and an invisible zipper instead of the metal one that was part of the original dress.
The dress turned out great in the end but it's important to understand that using an old wedding dress means that there will already be stains in random areas and the fabric might be worn out and beginning to tear. Chiffon is super delicate so its very common that the edges start fraying, in my case it was the bottom of the dress where the flower trim was sewn along the hem. Since I wanted to keep the length of the dress, I only resewed the flowers on along the bottom by stitching another row to secure them even more.
I hope you enjoyed this behind-the-transformation though process kinda post! Don't forget to watch my youtube video to see how I sewed everything: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SaPhS9c5Fw