Saturday, October 26, 2013

Refashion Runway Season Two: Winter White

Some women tuck their wedding dresses away, saving them for a future daughter, while others have them framed to hang in a stairwell or bedroom wall.  I refashioned mine.

My wedding was magical, complete with an ocean sunset, close friends and family, delicious food, dancing, and even fireworks!  These were courtesy of a nearby hotel and totally unrelated to our wedding, but nonetheless…  I loved every minute of it, especially my gorgeous gown.  Wearing it made feel like a movie star, elegant and glamorous.  

 Yet, this gown that was so precious to me sat in the back of my closet for over four years.  I guess I never found an opportunity to wear it again, and as you can tell from the before photo, it was a bit snug! When this week’s Winter White challenge rolled around, I knew that it was time to give it a new life.  

I'm really sucking it in here.

Some of you may disagree with my decision.  It was a difficult choice, and it took me almost half an hour to make that first cut.  Before I began this refashion, I had already spent a good amount of time thinking it over.  I do not regret my decision.  I don’t have a daughter, and even if I did, I would want her to wear a dress that matched her own style.  I don’t have space in my house to frame a rather long wedding dress.  And I don’t want it tucked away forever, to be forgotten under a bed or in the back of a closet.  I want the spirit of this dress to be part of my everyday life as a reminder of that spectacular evening that changed my life forever.   

Using my measurements, I created a self drafted blouse pattern.

To add a little detail to the blouse, I decided to create a separate shoulder and back piece.  I cut these off of the top part of the pattern.

 The body was cut from the silk chiffon overlay.  

The top detail pieces were cut from the polyester underskirt.

I connected the top pieces to the body using piping that originally outlined the bodice of the dress.  

I stitched very close to the piping.

After the top pieces were installed, I sewed the blouse panels together using a French seam.

Sew seams together with wrong sides facing.

Flip seam over, iron it down and stitch with right sides facing.

Blouse Front
Blouse Back
The placket, collar, and sleeve bias were made from the raw silk bodice.  To get enough fabric to make these parts of the blouse, I had to piece together the bodice.

 I didn’t have enough of the raw silk for the entire collar, so I improvised and used the polyester underneath.  

Collar pattern

I pinned the polyester and silk pieces together, right sides facing.

I stitched around the edges on three sides, leaving the bottom part open.

Once the collar pieces were attached, I sewed it to the blouse.  

I stitched the polyester side of the collar to the shirt, right sides facing.

I then turned the collar over and sewed the silk side, turning down the edges.

With the collar installed, I created the placket out of the raw silk. Before installing the placket, I added a strip of interfacing to the blouse to create stability.  I found that it bubbled if I didn't.

It's a junk photo, but you can see that I cut the placket out of the raw silk.
Placket pieces cut.
I stitched the wrong side of the blouse and right side of placket together.  
I then flipped the placket over and tucked the raw edges under neath.  I then stitched it down.

Placket installed.

I had originally planned to add buttons on the placket, but I couldn’t bring myself to cut buttonholes in the beautiful raw silk.  So, I placed hooks and eyes all the way down the front.  Whew!

I marked the inside of the placket with a sewing marker, making a dash every  1 1/2 inches.
I then stitched on the hooks and eyes, making sure that each one matched up.
Finally, I added bias, made from the silk bodice, to the armholes.  

I stitched around the edges of the bias, leaving the bottom for last.  I then measured and stitched the right sides together before stitching in on the blouse.

As you can see, this was a long process, but it was well worth it. I am so happy with my wedding dress refashion.  Now I have a special blouse that I can wear out to a nice dinner or just around town.  Don't forget to head over to The Renegade Seamstress and cast your vote for your favorite!  Warning:  Competition is steep this week.


  1. What a great way to honor your dress. You make a hot couple too!

    1. Thank you! I wish I could have still fit into the dress. A lot has changed in four years. I really like the idea of honoring the dress.

  2. Thanks. I think I did the right thing. It's so hard to keep things nice in Hawaii, and the dress was starting to get rust stains. I didn't want it to ruin sitting in my closet. Now I can wear it again.

  3. What a gorgeous blouse from a gorgeous dress ... I'm sure it was a labour of love, and it will bring good memories whenever you wear it. Beautiful wedding photos, by the way - just beautiful.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Jenny. Completing this challenge brought back wonderful memories of a beautiful day. It was a little hectic, though, because I didn't want to make a mistake.

  4. Trish, I think you did a beautiful job! I can understand that it was a hard decision to make, but now every time you wear it you will enjoy all those beautiful memories. And, how fun to see a few pictures of your lovely wedding! It's been fun participating in this challenge together. Good luck!

    1. What a sweet comment, Susan. I'm glad that I refashioned the dress. It was getting ruined by the wet and muggy climate. I've really enjoyed seeing your unique creations. There's nothing you can't sew - even witch spats!

  5. Very brave, Trish! The end result turned out so, so nice....very clean and professional looking. You did a great job making this completely from scratch! And also, I salute you for putting out such a pretty piece after having a trying week last week. After the terrible time I had this week, I know I was absolutely done... I wouldn't have been able to do another project this week, at least not anything very good. Wonderful job, Trish! :)

    1. It was a hard challenge this week. My hands were shaking at first, and I doubted myself a few times. I'm happy with the outcome. I think you did a terrific job sewing your piece this week. Those fabrics are so difficult, and it looked very well put together. Congratulations for pulling through with a great piece!


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