I blogged a while back here about a project I took on this summer... the transformation of a wedding gown
into a baby's baptismal dress.
The baby is due in early November, and this weekend seemed like a good time to get started.
Since this dress came from a rather well-known bridal shop in the area, I really wanted to do this right and NOT mess up. I studied the pattern and picked out all the pieces I needed, cutting them free from the sheets of tissue and reading all the directions. The sleeves are rather puffy, and I found an oval shaped pattern piece to make inserts to keep them upright. This heavy bridal satin may not require that piece but I'm ready if it does!
The mom-to-be wants me to use the embroidered lace for an overskirt. It's beaded so this might create some challenges, but I'm thinking that one over.
Saturday afternoon, bravely clutching my Gingher serrated edge bent trimmers, I approached the dress to begin dis-assembly. I cut off the lace overlay at the empire waist, and trimmed it away from the zipper. It's not one piece! It's actually a kind of U shaped affair, with the edge trimming around the outside edges of three sides. Hmmm... needs some thought. It's a very soft tulle with floral motifs attached at various places. It's got three seams and is narrower at the top than at the hem.
Next I removed all the buttons, and set them aside. Mom also wants me to use the bow from the waist at the waist of the baby gown, so that came off and was also set aside.
The skirt had a cut-on train, bustled up with small buttons and button loops half way down. I bit the bullet and started removing the skirt at the empire waist, again cutting around the zipper.
Laying this out on my cutting table, I saw that the panels of the dress are wedge shaped, in typical 'flared skirt' style. The back panels are about two yards long, but they flare out, and the top of the panels are only about 10 inches wide. Oh, and only part of each is on the straight of grain.
Lucky me, there are three seams where the seam allowance is more than 1 inch wide! If I can steam out the stitching lines that will give me extra fabric.
The pattern for the baby skirt is a big rectangle, or rather two rectangles, one front and one back. Placed on the fold of normal yardage, this is not a problem. Placed on the fold of a bridal gown with flared seams, this will be a challenge for sure!
I ran into an issue with the bottom of the train being a bit dirty. You can tell the skirt dragged a bit on the ground when the bride was walking, dancing, doing what brides do. There were also a couple of spots where something must have spilled. Since I'm not laundering this fabric I had to cut around those spots.
The main skirt pieces of a baby dress are the largest, so I placed those first, and cut around them but not on the cutting lines. Then I examined the remains for the best parts for sleeves and bodice pieces. The dress had a pretty good under-skirt, and when I removed about 8 yards of netting, I had enough to cut the entire lining from it.
I'm going to pick up some satin ribbon to trim the bodice and see if I can find a little bit of lace to trim the sleeves. The lace in the overlay is too large for that so I'll see if I can find something soft that will resemble the overlay. And there are two design lines on the bodice front that I thought I could trim with some one inch satin ribbon and maybe one of two of the smallest flowers from the overlay.
It's starting to come together in my head pretty nicely! Once my camera battery is recharged I'll add some photos.