Well before Robbie proposed, I knew that someday, I wanted to incorporate my mother's beautiful 1960's mod style wedding dress on my wedding day. I wasn't sure if that meant designing a dress from scratch and just using some of the fabric, or wearing the actual dress and modifying it. I just knew I wanted to find a way to bring it back to life.
Once I got engaged, my friends kept asking me what my dress looked like. They were usually somewhat shocked when my response was "I don't know" - up until just a couple of weeks before the wedding. Instead of deciding on a dress first and foremost like most brides do, I focused on designing the invitations and decor, the food, the flowers, and the music. I assured myself repeatedly that because I design clothing for a living, that vintage gown on the dress form in the corner of the room was the least of my concerns. Looking back, I know that my dress procrastination was more realistically a result of good old-fashioned fear. This dress was so special, and I was scared to change it. My mom had it custom made when she married my dad, from silk that my grandmother had brought her from China. I just couldn't bring myself to take a pair of scissors to something so important until I knew exactly what I was going to do.
And in the end, it was exactly what I wanted - even if I didn't know what that was until it happened. I ended up basically taking the entire dress and lining apart and starting over, knowing only that I wanted the overall style to remain, but with an entirely different design. I removed the collar and cut several inches off the hem to make a facing for a new boatneck-style neckline. I created a more modern, fitted design by repositioning the darts in the bust and taking in the side seams at the bust and waist. I removed the buttons and pleating from the sleeves, shortened them, and took in the arms. I raised the hem, and removed a couple of buttons. I tried it on over and over along the way, and took baby steps tweaking until it was just right.
I didn't let my mom see the dress until the wedding day. She got tears in her eyes the second she saw me. Robbie had seen the dress as I worked on it, but he teared up too.
Photo credits, from top: Bliss Studio, my grandmother/me, Ray Williams/Bliss Studio, Bliss Studio, Ray Williams