Getting married this summer? Now is the time get your gown in.
What do you suppose a certain recycling crazed seamstress has on her mind?
Why, extending the life & use of bridal gowns!
Of course I’m serious. Look at it this way: No matter what the expense of a gown, more is invested in it than money. For many brides, their gown represents more than just a special dress for a life-changing event (as if that wasn’t enough!). As a memory in the making, it’s a tangible expression of what’s anticipated.
In the more extravagant cases, the Gown becomes a major – if not the major – focal point in many ways and often can even be said to be the “Star” of the Production. After the conclusion of its purpose, where does it go?
Most likely back into the bag or box and into storage for who knows how long. No longer appreciated or admired, the memories surrounding it lose some of their joy as they fade. In rare instances plans to “pass it on” to some bride in the future actually happen, but even then the enjoyment of it is fairly short lived. Why not give it another “life” by changing it?
There are quite a few possibilities & some of the options offer the opportunity to create something that will become an heirloom; something passed on in the future and treasured, maybe, for its beauty but certainly as a symbolic keepsake.
One of my favorite re-uses was by a “second-time-around” bride, in her 40s, who was ecstatically pregnant for the first time.
Her gown was a very light dusty rose satin sheath, elaborately beaded with an extravagant, detachable train. She was planning to keep the memory of this event fresh by having the train made into a canopy for the baby’s bassinet and, when her daughter was older, transforming that into a headboard for her bed. The dress itself could have become any of a number of things; some of the beaded areas would have made a wonderful cover for the wedding photo album, covered one or more of the photo frames or be transformed into decorative pillow covers.
Other possibilities include:
Make a miniature copy of the original gown to fit a doll & display it in a glass case. Use the bodice to make a bustier, maybe adding different colored beads or other “fancies” to enliven it.
Cut the gown into sections & make a traditional pieced quilt, using the beaded pieces at the center and layering the tulle over other fabrics.
Put sections on the collar or cuffs of another blouse or dress, or use smaller pieces as appliqués.
One of my favorites, for holiday ornaments cut beaded fabric sections to fit on Styrofoam shapes, trim & hang with ribbon.
Really, there’s virtually no end to the things begging to be embellished if you start looking around and thinking about different uses for a gown. And if you’re creative but not especially “crafty”, many professional seamstresses’ skills are not limited to sewing!
The thing is, in my work I see many pretty gowns and the occasional “to die for” beauties that, after all is said and done, are essentially “disposable” because they’re considered to be “all used up” after that one wearing. I think that, more often than not, significant amounts of money are spent on them and the “return” should be a little more lasting than one day. There’s also the enjoyment of their beauty to consider. It’s sad to just put it away and make the further enjoyment of it a rare thing. If you have a gown in your life that you want to bring out and enjoy again, it doesn’t matter how old it is. Think of it as a treasure waiting to be rediscovered.