From Wedding to Baptism

 

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What do you do with your wedding dress after the big day? Preserve and store it away in hopes that someday your daughter or granddaughter may want to wear it? This lucky lady has always wanted her gown made into baptismal outfits for her grandchildren. It’s something that I’m told she’s wanted done for a long time, so when her 50th birthday rolled around this year, her daughter thought that this would be a great gift for the future grandchildren (there aren’t any yet)!

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The dress was originally worn in the early 90s, with a bodice of heavily embroidered and beaded lace and a skirt of silk taffeta. The short sleeves were quite voluminous, with additional beading and the back of the skirt (when not bustled) contained a nice amount of extra fabric.

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Since the gender of the future grandchildren are unknown, we agreed that making a gown for a girl and a romper for a boy made the most sense. Butterick 6045 was the ideal pattern because it contained both garments (along with additional accessory items like booties and a bonnet).

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I carefully deconstructed the dress, removing the many foundation layers beneath the skirt (lining, crinoline with netting) and when I further took the skirt apart, found 7 panels of taffeta to work with. The storage box had been involved in a basement flood, so there were some minor water marking stains on the skirt, but I was able to work around it. The bodice lace was stitched into the bodice seams, so I had narrow sections of the lace to work with, but thankfully there was a piece large enough to get the baby girl bodice front cut from completely.

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The sleeves were voluminous and I very much wanted to make use of the same sleeve motifs in the baby girl gown. You can see how the baby sleeve size compares to the wedding dress sleeve!
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Beneath the skirt of the wedding gown was a satin trimmed crinoline, which I felt also needed to be included.  It definitely adds some volume to the baptismal gown!
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The baby boy romper was much more straight forward, with no lace. The buttons were purchased, as the only other buttons on the original wedding dress were the ones for bustling the skirt and were just a tad too plain (clear and flat). Snap closures were also purchased and hand-stitched to close the bottom of the romper pants and also on the back of both garments to keep them closed.

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There was enough fabric in the skirt of the wedding dress to also used it as a lining and to make the sleeve double layered (as a single layer was a little sheer. I left the sleeves open on the girl gown (used elastic on the bottom of the boy sleeves) and added a satin ribbon at the waist to better differentiate the bodice from the skirt.

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IMG_2240 (2)The floral motif on the skirt was a final addition, as there were two more embroidered roses left and I felt that I really added a nice touch to the skirt. There was an entire skirt panel remaining untouched and a fair amount of lace, if there was ever the need for an additional keepsake, like a bridal purse or “something old”.

All in all, I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to do this project, as it’s something that I’ve always wanted to try and do.  Looking forward to the chance to do it again!

 

 

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