Vintage Wedding Dress Updated
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Vintage Wedding Dress Updated

When Jennifer brought me  her grandmother’s vintage wedding dress, it really showed the difference between today’s wedding fashions and the styles from 1945. The dress was a knee length sheath made from a beautiful cotton lace. It had a jewel neckline which was way to close to the neck for Jennifer’s taste and it was sleeveless. The hemline probably hit the much shorter grandmother just below the knee. It had yellowed in few places but nothing that couldn’t be fixed. Unfortunately, I did not get any “before” shots this time! Check out more vintage updates on my alterations page.

Jennifer needed the dress re-fit, the neckline changed and the style updated. She had chosen a sheer stretch lace with a raised pattern to add to the dress. The color matched the original dress and the texture was sure to give Jennifer the design she was envisioning.

First, I removed the tight facings and undid the stitching in the shoulders. The dress darts were way higher than they needed to be for our contemporary bride and undoing the shoulders allowed me to drop the dress enough to correct the dart placement. I used the new lace to add a gathered cap sleeve. I changed the jewel neck to a V and lowered the back. Then I reshaped the dress to fit Jennifer’s figure, and shortened it carefully leaving the extra fabric in case the next wearer wanted more length. With vintage garments, you never know who will want to re-use the dress so I like to leave as much of the original as possible.

Close-up of neckline and sleeve.
Close-up of neckline and sleeve.

Once we had the sheath fitting the way we wanted, I added the skirt. She was wearing very high heels and wanted a fun skirt added to the hipline for more of an updated look. We placed the skirt exactly as  needed for Jennifer’s va-va-voom figure. (She fills out the dress much better than my tiny dress form!) It is open in front up to the hemline so it moves out of the way when she walks, and we left a slight sweep train in the back. The skirt can easily be removed if a future bride wants to reuse the dress.

Back View of Dress
Back View of Dress

Barbara Stone Designs has been a full service Alterations and Custom Clothing business since 1981. Barbara started her training at UC Santa Barbara, where she majored in Art. Wanting to work with her hands, she then earned her Dressmaking and Alterations Certificate at Shasta College in Redding, CA. After that she honed her craft by taking workshops and classes all over the United States, studying with teachers from all over the world. Some of the classes included advanced tailoring, pattern making, image consulting, design and color, moulage, proper fit, and many classes on specific construction techniques such as lace applique, working with sheers and satins, interfacings, and dye techniques. Barbara continues to advance her skills. Her most recent workshop was on teaching an on-line class which she hopes to offer very soon.

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