Case Study – Wedding Dress to Christening Gown

I have the most wonderful privilege to be part of many extra-special occasions by designing and manufacturing those once in a lifetime garments.  So I’m always honoured to receive a new commission and to become part of another unique event.

Last month I received a slightly unusual  commission when I was invited to remodel a wedding dress and re-cut it into a christening gown for Connie’s new baby granddaughter.  Whilst I’ve been asked on my occasions by brides if I would be willing to shorten or alter their dresses after the occasion so they can wear again, this has never in all the years I’ve been designing for brides, happened.  However, this was the first time I’d been asked to remodel such a momentous dress into another family heirloom.

The first task was to carefully unpick the delicate dress.

Connie’s original wedding dress – simple and elegant

I wanted to utilise all the features of the dress which included the unusual lace detail on the sleeves.  Rather than risk damaging the lace by unpicking it from the sleeve, I merely re-cut the sleeves to make them smaller.  As the christening gown sleeves are much shorter than the original I utilised the excess lace and incorporated this on the bodice.

Lace detail on original sleeve to be incorporated into new design
Lace detail on original underskirt was too good to hide for remodel

My aim was the keep the new dress similar in style to the original.  However, to add a little detail I decided to pleat the bottom edge of the skirt.  I finally finished it off by unpicking the lace from the original dress lining and reattaching this to edge the dress.

Surplus lace incorporated into the bodice
I found some old baby buttons which my grandmother (who was a tailoress) had kept.
With the lace too delicate to elasticate, I added a ribbon to gather and create the fullness
Pleating and lace detail on the hem

With the remaining fabric, I fashioned a little bonnet, my first ever attempt at a bonnet.

My first ever bonnet
The finished dress

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