So you have this yellowing, dingy, crumpled up wedding dress from your mother’s second cousin, twice removed that is just sitting in a box. But hold on… you take a closer look and think this dress could be something amazing.
I got to alter a dress for a client that was her mother’s recently. True 80’s fashion it was: puffy, long, sheer sleeves but the lace detail was amazing and some of it was done by her grandmother.
Simple Changes To Make a Vintage Gown More Modern
- Removed long, puffy, sheer sleeves
- Trimmed and cleaned up the embroidery around the arm, keeping as much as possible.
- Lowered and finished the armholes by hand and a portion of them with satin bias tape.
- Hemmed the three skirt layers to an above-knee length.
- Netting at the back had stretched out, took in the extra so there would be no more gaping. Also added a new hook-and-eye.
- Made a thin satin sash
She was lucky the dress was in such good condition, some staining and yellowing but it definitely could have been worse.
A Second Chance, When It’s Possible
Let’s be real. When you come across a gown that’s a great steal (or free if it’s a relatives) sometimes a dress is just too far gone. I’ve talked about the red flags of vintage pieces before: rips, tears, extreme yellow stains are just to name a few. It might break your heart not to be able to wear the gown your mother wore, but don’t fret, you could use the undamaged areas for ring pillows or a sash.
Getting Rid of the Yellow
Like an apple fabric yellows over time due to oxidizing of the fibers. No matter how it was stored, it was probably done wrong. Here’s how to properly preserve a wedding dress. If it’s a dry clean only design than that is your only, and best bet. Find a cleaner that specializes in bridal and comes highly recommended.
If the dress can be hand-washed and has no delicate features than it is possible to wash it yourself. Use your discretion, if you feel it’s too risky have a professional clean it.
Mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach (OxiClean, Clorox 2, Purex 2 Color Safe Bleach) into cool water in the bathtub or very large sink. Follow the package directions as to how much product per gallon of water. Put in a bed sheet for the dress to lay on and use that to pull out your dress, instead the actual dress. Completely submerge it and let it to soak for at least eight hours. Check the color every so often. If it looks okay, rinse well and hang (preferably flat if you have the space) to air dry. Do not squeeze or wring the fabric excessively. If it is still yellowed, mix a fresh solution and repeat. It may take several soakings to remove the yellowing but it should come out.
If you have a dress that you need some advice on how to clean or alter just give me a shout! I’m happy to help!