Tuesday, October 16, 2012

It's Looking Like a Dress!

I worked on my wedding gown conversion project last weekend.  I have to say it's been scary and fun, all at the same time.

I know wedding gowns cost a lot of money these days.  When I got married over 40 years ago, I spent more than a week's wages on my dress.  Knowing you're only going to wear it once makes it seem kind of frivolous, but brides everywhere feel they must have THE dress! 

Cutting into the dress with which I was entrusted was a bit intimidating.  It was only the former bride's desire to have a dress for her daughter that made me even dare to take up my Ginghers and make the first cut.

The skirt on this baby gown is a large rectangle.  Well, two actually, one front and one back.  The gown itself as you can see from the photo had panels that angled out from the bodice and flared at the hem.  So the first challenge was finding enough yardage to cut the pieces of the long skirt.

Did you know that in the early Irish Catholic church there was a saying that went something like "may the baby's life be as long as the skirt on its baptismal gown"?  That's why the traditional gown had a skirt that covered way more than baby's tiny toes!

This dress has a 1 1/4 inch hem, and the skirt is going to be a bit more flared than the pattern calls for.  You can see that there was about an inch extra at the hem.  There are going to be seams in the skirt that aren't in the pattern, but I had to work with what I had.  The skirt will be covered with lace anyway, so it won't be noticeable.


The small pieces of bodice and sleeves fit easily into the pieces left after the skirt was cut out.
Before insertion -- the sleeve cap being gathered to a 3 inch length!  Such a small pice but such a big impact...

The sleeves on this dress have an interior cap that holds up the extreme puffiness.  Once those were sewn in, the sleeve stood up perfectly.

This is the back (buttonholes to be sewn in on the left) and below is the front, just needing some elastic in the lower edge of the sleeve.

The pin is holding on a motif cut from the skirt.  There were many shapes, I cut the one I thought was the most symmetrical, and that wouldn't overwhelm the small bodice.

The bow on the front was on the bodice of the wedding gown, and Mom specifically requested that I reuse it.

This is a close up of the trim I put around the neckline.  It's a bit shiny and sparkly to coordinate with the beads and sequins on the lace overlay I'll be using.

All that remains now is to finish the skirt... which means laying out the lace from the bridal gown and finding the right pieces to make the overlay for the baby gown.  This is going to be a bit challenging since the lace has both vertical and horizontal seams, needed in order to make the edging go both around the hem and up the front.
I'm mulling over that one for a bit.  The baby's due in November but Mom says they're planning on having the baptism around Thanksgiving.
I'll have a couple of weeks to work undisturbed, since I will be home bound starting on Thursday of this week, for about two weeks.
Keep your fingers crossed that what I make looks as good as what I took apart!
Sew on!