Remaking my mother-of-the-bride gown

My sister-in-law will be coming for the weddings, and very generously offered to bring me a gift. I told her that what I wanted was a sewing machine (I left mine behind along with most of our other belongings when we made aliyah since we didn’t bring a lift), and that the gift would be to bring it to me! She agreed, and I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to it!

The sewing machine isn’t here yet – I just ordered it last night – but just thinking about it got my sewing juices flowing.  We mostly have males to outfit for the weddings, which is pretty straightforward. Early on I bought the ties and bow ties for both weddings, dh got a new suit, and this week I’ll go through the younger boys wardrobes to be sure they have what they need – the clothes from ds’s wedding seven months ago should still fit them.

Then there’s the gowns. The two brides found their gowns each within a couple of weeks of their engagements (and quite miraculously neither gown needs alterations), but despite my desire to get the gowns for the sisters and mother wrapped up much earlier on, these are still very much in process.

For the first wedding, the color scheme is blue and I was fortunate to find a gown in the first place that I went.

For the second wedding, the color scheme is maroon.  I went to three different gown places and couldn’t find anything. There aren’t a lot of maroon gowns available, so finally I ordered a gown online. It was the perfect color and it had a couple of features I liked but would require a matching shell and another significant alteration (you can see the pic here). As I thought about the alterations and shell shopping, I kept thinking about adapting a gown that I bought for ds24’s wedding.

It’s a very high quality gown that I got for a great price but I purchased it before we decided on a color scheme for ds’s wedding, so the color (black and ivory) didn’t work. It’s been hanging in my closet all this time, and I thought fleetingly, what if I took apart both gowns and then put them back together, combining different elements of each….it might work.

Too much work to sew by hand, and with no machine, it wasn’t an option. But like I said, my creative juices started flowing at the thought of the sewing machine. So around 11 pm, when due to tiredness there was less well-reasoned restraint to hold me back, I started taking them apart. I intended to just start taking it apart, little by little, but the new gown was assembled in a completely different way than I had anticipated. So once I started I had to completely take it apart.

With the new gown I had just purchased now a pile of cloth – the only thing left assembled was a zipper barely connected to the original lining – and the other one partially disassembled, I mused ruefully that I might have just ruined two perfectly good gowns if my idea didn’t work out. I wouldn’t have time to re-sew either one of them before the wedding, and in any case, neither of them worked for my needs without substantial alterations and there wouldn’t be time for that by the time the sewing machine arrived.  I reassured myself that my backup plan would be to rent to a gown and if I couldn’t find a maroon gown, I’d get a neutral solid color gown instead.

At 3:45 am, I decided to call it a night, but by that point the gown was mostly finished. Yes, sewn by hand. Amazing what you can do when you’re not being interrupted by young children! I still want to do something with the sleeves but I think the gown actually looks quite nice. The bodice is black, the skirt section is maroon and overset with black lace. I don’t think anyone would guess that this wasn’t the way it looked originally.

After I finished it I thought it’s too bad I didn’t take a picture of both gowns before I started, but since I don’t have a working camera it’s not very surprising that I didn’t. :) So you’ll have to wait for the pictures from the wedding to see my handiwork.

Dd21 was very complimentary when she saw it, and since it’s for her wedding, her opinion is the one that matters the most to me.

So I can now check one more item off of my to-do list!


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