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Cutting up a wedding dress

Posted by on July 15, 2013
Little did she know she and her marriage would be an inspiration to many

Little did Cathe know that she and her marriage would be an inspiration to so many

No, this is not about an angry ex-wife.

This is about a wonderful friend, happy and married for thirty something years. She loves her family like crazy and adores her grandchildren.

This friend of mine, she had this idea … and it included me!  She asked me to do something that she knew would stretch me. And she didn’t think twice about it, apparently!

She asked if I would cut up her wedding dress and make a special event dress for her almost one year old granddaughter. CUT UP her WEDDING DRESS! (I’ve discovered my friends have a lot more faith in me than I do for myself!)

Whhhaaat? Her youngest granddaughter was having a special event and she wondered about making her a dress for her from her very own wedding dress.

I’m still shaking my head that I said yes! Especially not even knowing what it looked like. Plus, the fact that there’s only one, that it’s a special dress, for a special event …

But, a yes is a yes, no matter how many times I questioned my abilities.

In planning it out, I had thought it was needed by July, but when I found out that it had been scheduled in June, and I was going to be on vacation the first part of June, I took it with me ON THE AIRPLANE! I checked it in baggage and prayed it wouldn’t get lost – even though I had a direct flight!

Once in L.A., while staying with my sister (she worked half days sometimes, so I could sew while she was gone), I made a muslin of the pattern just to make sure I understood the instructions. I hadn’t sewn a dress for a little girl in AGES, so I wasn’t about to cut up the dress right away. I used McCalls Pattern #M5791, view C. This is a sweet, sweet dress for any little girl. Classic, even.

McCalls Pattern 5791

What an adorable little model!

Oh, and did I mention that I only had Little Miss’ weight and measurements? I’d never even met her! The pattern is for a short dress and I wanted the dress to be about ankle length. Little Miss wasn’t walking yet, but as we know, that could happen any day for a one year old and I didn’t want it to be a frustrating length for her.

Muslin front. I made ties out of muslin, too, but it was so bulky I wanted to try a satin ribbon instead

Muslin front. I made ties out of muslin, too, but it was so bulky I wanted to try a satin ribbon instead

This is the muslin back. I decided to not make a lining in the muslin like I would in the final dress

This is the muslin back. I decided to not make a lining in the muslin like I would in the final dress

After sewing the muslin, my sis asked a friend of hers if she’d try the muslin on her 14 month old.

It fit her perfectly!

This is only the muslin and I was trying to determine how long it needed to be.

This is only the muslin and I was trying to determine how long it needed to be.

After making the muslin, I decided I didn’t like the sleeves, they were too much like wings, and the belt was a little bulky. So, I wanted to try and make the sleeve out of the hem of the wedding dress and get a satin sash for the belt. This muslin was sooo helpful, and I recommend making them for new patterns.

So, what next? The cutting up of the dress! It still churns my stomach a little! The great thing about this dress is that it was a lovely cotton and lace dress. Working with natural fibers is so much easier!

Remember to breathe!

Remember to breathe!

In retaining the lovely hem, I had to measure out from the bodice the length I wanted

To keep the lovely hem, I had to measure out from the bodice the length I needed (which was a guess).

It went fairly quickly and I noted the lining was a really nice quality and since it already had hemming to it, I used the wedding dress lining for the baby’s dress lining, too!

I did have a couple of sewing issues, but that’s pretty typical – for me. When I was basting I looked up and saw what was happening! ACK! I was working on my sister’s machine, but I used to have this problem all.the.time. on my previous machine. Her machine was great and did the job just fine, I just needed to pay attention!

No Bueno

No Bueno

So, by the time I was to return home from SoCal, I carried the not quite finished little dress with me on the fight home. I still needed to put in the zipper and hand stitch the bodice lining down. I returned on a Friday and it was needed by the next weekend. Totally do-able.

But, other than that, plus that little fight with the zipper, I finished it and was satisfied. The last breath held was whether it would actually fit her!

And it did!

IMG_3147

I know it’s difficult to see the detail of the fabric since it’s white on white, but it was so sweet! There is embroidery throughout the fabric, with the lovely trim along the hemline and sleeves. Grams and Mommy were totally happy and it looks like Little Miss liked it, too.

Thank you, Cathe, for having more faith in me than I have in myself, and for letting me be a part of such a special day. You’re an amazing woman and I love it that we’re friends.

4 Responses to Cutting up a wedding dress

  1. Star taylor

    Oh, my goodness – that is so special- everything about it. This brought tears to my eyes- wow… :)

  2. catherine

    And tears to mine. I’m Grams!! Terry did a FABULOUS job on this ‘scary’/vintage endeavor, and our little sweet Lucy couldn’t have looked more darling on this extra-special day. I know that
    God gives encouragement and affirmation though a variety of avenues. Terry’s gift to me brought encouragement and joy knowing that my 35-year-old wedding dress has been used in such a meaningful and beautiful way (rather than in a bag in the hot attic.)
    Yes Terry- I DO believe in you and appreciate who you are in my life and in the lives of so many others.

  3. Crystal

    Cathe you were almost as beautiful as a bride as you are today. What a wonderful idea you had for your granddaughter’s christening gown. The pictures don’t show lovely it really was.

    Terry, you are truly brave in all you endeavor; not lacking fear but forging ahead in the face of fear.

  4. Jennifer

    Terry it’s beautiful! Anna hopes to wear my wedding dress, with a few changes, in her own wedding… maybe you’ll be in the alterations field by the time that happens??? One can only hope.

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