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The Lilac Petticoat (Upcyling an Old Bridesmaid’s Dress)

My last project was all about taking a 70s bridesmaid’s dress and giving it new life as a petticoat and bum pad for a late Victorian or Edwardian costume.C18CCFD1-8D0C-4032-9873-C16C3C447BA4

There was so much lace, taffeta, and chiffon that I couldn’t resist. (The striped fabric is a scrap from another project).IMG_0155

I love upcycling and repurposing, but it has to be from something that is modern and mass-produced, really damaged vintage, or ugly and unwearable as-is. I was on the fence about this dress because it’s not entirely bad looking, and there might be someone out there who likes to wear 70s bridesmaid’s dresses. Might be. This is what the dress looked like before. 91758DB7-052D-4B41-8F10-616F530AD3AB

In the end I decided there were enough issues with it that it would be better to repurpose it. The dress had some stains and tears, it was meant for an unusual figure (slim and super tall), and the lace was scratchy. I figured super models who like itchy clothing are hard to come by, so out came the seam ripper. (Can you guess what movie I was watching?)IMG_0130

A list of my modifications:

  • I separated the bodice and skirt and removed the back zipper.
  • I put a new waistband at the top of the skirt and added a hook/eye closure.
  • I hemmed up the bottom of the skirt lining and enclosed a strip of horsehair braid for structure.
  • I removed the bottom flounce of lace because it was too long.
  • To make a bum pad out of the bodice I sewed up the openings, stuffed it using parts of a lumpy pillow I was about to throw out, and added some ribbon ties.

 

There was nearly no cutting, so aside from the loss of a zipper, some lace, and some hooks and eyes, some intrepid fashion archaeologist could conceivably remake this dress in the future.

Note: I don’t condone cutting up nice vintage! Please don’t cut up nice old wedding dresses unless they are really trashed. There are plenty of neglected polyester prom dresses that you can use for your own petticoat project.

This dress was thrifted, and most everything else was leftover from another project, so this cost me about $20-25 total! I don’t think I could have bought all that lace new for that price.

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