Saturday, June 24, 2023

Wedding Dress Update by Vanya Designs

Linen dress
 My daughter bought this simple linen dress originally to get married in, and as it got closer to her wedding date, she started reconsidering her decision. She REALLY wanted a "real" wedding dress and she knew what style she wanted, but couldn't find it anywhere.

She had already tried on my wedding dress from 24 years ago, and it fit perfectly. And while it was NOT the style she was looking for, her creative mind saw more in it and had hidden the idea back in her mind that it might be converted to the dress she had envisioned. 

So many weeks later, when we were almost out of time, she pulled the idea back out after we looked for some dresses that she might be happier with and our shopping trip fell flat. She tried my dress on again, and it really did look like we might be able to turn it into the dress of her dreams. Here is what we had to work with...

JC Penney Wedding Dress 1999
This is me in 1999

JC Penney Vintage Wedding Dress
This is the dress 24 years later

Near Atlanta where I grew up, we had "JC Penney Outlet" and they had racks and racks of wedding dresses. That's where this dress came from. But I didn't buy it there. When I was 17, my mom found it at a garage sale for $50 and had me come try it on! It fit perfectly, and I had no idea when I would ever marry, but it was worth the purchase at that price. (I didn't get married until TEN years later!) This dress was made in the USA.

After we thought we might be able to make it work, Anna went out for the night, so while she was gone, I started chopping away at the dress. I was terrified. What if I ruined it?! Then I realized I didn't really care, and it was only $50! So this is how far I got before she came home and tried it on.

Vintage Wedding Dress Makeover

I think the pictures we took of the initial try on must be on her phone. But she said YESSSS. We tried to tuck the sleeve under to see if she would want the sleeve to stay on, or just have the lace, and it was a really hard decision. What wasn't a hard decision was where to get it finished. I can sew (kind of) but I was not about to try and finish this myself. So Anna called Vanya Designs and set up an appointment. Libbi helped us decide to lop off the sleeves. We also needed to add a slip, a new shorter zipper in the back, boning on the front (and later on the back), elastic to the lace over the arms, and a few other details that helped bring it all together. This is the first fitting after initial alterations, and it is not quite finished here, but it is my favorite picture showing the transition the dress has made. 

Vintage Wedding Dress Makeover

In the end, she was soooooooo glad we did this. You only get married once (well, she is!) and I'm glad we could make her wedding day dream come true. One of the interesting things about Anna is that as a little girl growing up with lots of time after she got her school work done, she used to take items from the trash and turn them into various items for her American Girl dolls! She blew me away with all the little things she made. It's interesting that she took this concept and used it as an adult and took something that seemed useless sitting in a Rubbermaid container and turned it into something useful again. And isn't she beautiful?!

Because you made it to the end, here is a candid shot I took during the wedding. They were kind of far away, so it's a little distorted, but you can still see their joy and beauty as they walk towards the front to get married. More on the wedding when the professional photographs are released...


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