Pictures and beginning alterations

Here are those promised pictures of the dress post cleaning. I was so eager to hack into the dress that I almost forgot snap them!




It’s amazing what cleaning and pressing will do for a dress! It alreasy seems so new. I tried it on right after eating one of the biggest burgers I’ve ever seen though,  so it was an uncomfortable squeeze. Lesson one: no binge eating day before the wedding.

The more I look at the side profile the less I like it, so I’m going to work on putting in princess seams so the dress doesn’t squish my bust as much.

My maid of honor came down for the weekend ans helped me start the initial changes. We removed the fabric from the sleeves, took the skirt off the bodice, and marked roughly where I want the new neckline.



The biggest thing we accomplished this weekend was finding fabric for the front panel. I’d ordered about ten samples from different online places and there were a few that I thought might work, but it’s so hard to judge fabric based on a small piece of fabric, so we went to Joanns and tried a few different things.

Initially we got an ivory satin which looked right in the store, but then when we got it back to the house it was too dingy.

A second Joanns run produced white lace to put over the ivory which made it the right color:


And then also some white stretch satin that Mau be a bit brighter than the skirt – I have yet to check it in more natural light.


See my crazy dress strewn around the fabric store? I had to borrow a table and drape the fabric all over the place.

I’ve found that people are really supportive and also think I’m insane when I tell them my maid of honor and I are remaking a vintage gown. The woman cutting fabric asked me if I was serious when I  said I wanted to buy the entire lining bolt, and when I told her I needed it for a wedding dress I thought her eyes were going to fall out of her head.

Another woman overheard my MOH and I trying to match fabric for the dress, she talked to us for about ten minutes about her wedding and her dress. She even gave me a coupon so I could get my fabric cheaper 🙂

So here we go! There’s no turning back now; the dress is in shreads in my closet and it’s all transformation from here!

Remake or bust, everybody.


It’s here and beautiful!!

As I said, my dress came in on Friday. When I opened up the box I was stunned – the dress is so white! So much whiter than I ever imagined it could be. I have absolutely no idea how Heritage Gown managed to clean it so well, but it’s absolutely perfect and if it weren’t for the tears it looks brand new!

I tried it on last night, but like the forgetful person that I am, I didn’t snap any pictures. I’ve been on a pretty intense workout program for the last two months, and even though I haven’t stuck to the nutrition part like I should I’ve still lost some excess fat, so when I put the dress on it fit better than it ever has before! Talk about amazing motivation.

Like I mentioned before, I removed the sewn in crinoline in the dress before I sent it to be cleaned because the crinoline was weak and tearing – and also incredibly uncomfortable. While the dress was away I got two huge crinolines from my parents’ house that I’d had growing up so I was able to try them on with the dress for the first time last night. Let me just say one thing: WOW. It was so beautiful I almost cried.

One unexpected (and awesome!) thing from the cleaning was that the taffeta is now extremely soft. When I sent the dress off, the fabric was stiff, shiny, and a bit brittle. When I got it back it’s softer and not quite as shiny. Though it’s still definitely weak and thin I think the fact that it’s softer will actually make the fabric more durable.

So there you have it! The dress is back, I’m in love with it, and I can’t wait to get started on it again!

Waiting for Shipment!

Not five minutes after telling a co-worker that I hadn’t heard any updates on my dress I received an email stating that my dress is awaiting shipment!

That’s right, she’s all done and about to come home! I’m so excited and absolutely can’t wait to see how it turned out. I’ll post pictures as soon as I can.

While the dress will have been packed in a box for shipping, it was pressed before being shipped, so this is also the first time I’ll see it in a non-completely wrinkled state.

Moving Forward

I just got off the phone with Heritage and I gave the go-ahead on the gown and I’ve set up the payment plan! I opted for a rush fee as well which ultimately ended up being covered by our military discount (yay!).

They said the dress was some type of silk, though they weren’t sure it was 100% natural fibers. All in all she said it should hold up well in the cleaning process. It isn’t horribly yellowed so the whitening process should go well and the lace also seems strong enough, she said. The only problem could be the metal buttons on the back of the dress – some of which are exhibiting signs of rust. She said if they looked like they would be a problem they would remove the buttons and clean them separately.

With the rush fee I’m looking at seeing my dress again in possibly a month! I’m incredibly excited and more than a little nervous. The waiting game commences, but it’s nice to have some wedding-dress-free time to focus on other things like Save the Dates, catering, and the fifty thousand other details that go into a wedding.

Heritage Gown Preservation

After finally finishing the lace repair on the hem of the dress (Yay!!!) I’ve made the terrifying decision to send the dress to Heritage Garment Preservation for (potential) cleaning. 

Originally I’d intended on repairing all the lace before sending the dress away, but I realized that the amount of time I was putting into the lace would push the cleaning dangerously close to my wedding date — and I still have all the alterations to do! So after calling up Heritage I’ve made the decision to send my dress this week. 

The game plan is that I’ll ship the dress tomorrow (Heritage provided a shipping label so I don’t even have to pay to have it shipped to California!). When they get the dress they’ll evaluate it to see whether the fabric can withstand the cleaning process, we’ll have a phone consultation, and then I’ll give the “yea” or “nay” on whether to go ahead. The cleaning and whitening will be roughly $450, but since the process can take anywhere from six to twelve weeks I plan on rushing it, which will be an additional $50. The cost doesn’t intimidate me as long as the dress makes it through, but I’m petrified that something will happen to it! 

I snapped a quick (bad quality) picture last night after I finished the last lace repair. Goodbye dress! hopefully the next time I see you, you’ll be spotless, pure white, and ready for alterations! 


Remember the picture of the damaged lace from earlier, too? The repair actually ended up going really well!