My wedding dress started off life as the wedding dress my Grandmother wore to her wedding in 1954 to my Grandfather. It was then worn by her sister, Joyce. By the time it came into my possession, it had spent many years in storage, was full of holes and had little yellow spots all over it.
I wrote a little about starting my dress here.
I chose the song “Shut up and dance with me” by Walk the Moon, to walk down the aisle to pretty early on in wedding planning. I took inspiration from the lyrics “a backless dress and some beat up sneaks” and went searching for a pattern that was tea length and backless!
After scouring pattern books for a suitable dress pattern that fit all my requirements, I settled on Simplicity 8289.
I made a tester dress from lace and satin I bought off the discount table at Spotlight. I shortened the length of the shorter dress pattern by 6 inches. This was a great length for a party dress, but maybe a little too short for a wedding dress! I made the wedding dress three inches shorter than the pattern, which was perfect!
Once I started working with Grandmas dress, it quickly became apparent that the lace was extremely delicate and would need some support. I decided to sew each piece of lace to a piece of tulle. I used seed beads, Swarovski crystals and seed pearls to stitch the two layers together.
The pattern sewed up relatively easy once I had beaded all the pieces. I did struggle with were the facings meet at the front, and ended up having mum hand sew them into place, which did the job.
I even managed to salvage two button loops from the cuffs off Grandmas dress and use them as the closure on the neck of my dress, with some of Mums pearl shell buttons!
The dress has three layers. The outer layer is lace from Grandmas dress, sewn to tulle. The middle layer is silk, sourced from op shops, the bodice has silk dupion to give it a bit of structure, whilst the skirt is a very light weight silk. The lining is cotton voile.
I absolutely LOVED have a circle skirt, especially since our first dance was swing! I wore a rainbow petticoat underneath, and I was just like a little kid, showing off how high I could make my skirt twirl!
It was important to me to make my own dress. It was an absolute honor to be able to re-purpose my Grandmas dress. And I hope that this dress will be continued again, maybe my children or niece will re-purpose it? I hope this story isn’t finished! I hope this story will continue writing itself!
I have to add, I never completely finished the dress. There was some beading around seams that I just never got to. But it kinda felt like one of those structures, that if it was ever truly finished, it would cause some kind of apocalypse! haha.