2018 Upcycling Challenge

Rachel Ring

One of my 8-year-old daughter’s closest friends is an only child and the youngest by quite a bit in her extended family. When the girls were in Kindergarten, her mom Sandy asked if I’d consider upcycling her wedding gown into a First Holy Communion dress for Lexie when the time came. Two years later, she didn’t forget! I sat and stared at that gown on the floor of my dining room for a week before I could make the first cut; once I got started, I took apart the entire gown right down to the beaded appliques from the lace sleeves and the tiny satin covered buttons. The new fabric I added was a bright white cotton sateen from Joann Fabrics for the lining of the bodice and the lining of the tulip sleeves; the rest came from Sandy’s gown. I used Mila’s Dress pattern from the Simple Life Pattern Company for the bodice (we all loved the sweetheart neckline and tulip sleeves), and modified it to have a button back. I hand sewed beaded lace appliques from the original gown onto the bodice and waistline seam. For the skirt, I used the Festival Skirt from Striped Swallow Designs as a starting point for the maxi length, and then drafted it to be gathered in the front and a slightly longer a-line in the back. Once the gown was complete, I took Lexie to a local park for a photoshoot. She danced and twirled (and broke in her Communion shoes for the big day!) and I loved being able to capture her joy in her new dress. My daughter Posey and I attended Lexie’s Communion the following weekend, and it was truly an honor to be a part of such a special experience for their family from start to finish.
I’m including a photo of Sandy from her wedding day so you can see the original gown as my “before”, and a few photos of Lexie from our photoshoot for the after. Thanks for reading!

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