I’ve decided that the easiest way to work on remaking my wedding dress is to go from the top to the bottom. I have a definite deadline on this project (September 28th), so I’d like to get the hardest parts over with first. That coincidently means that I’ll do the sleeves first, the back next, and the hem last. Because everyone knows that in a worst case scenario, your hem can be taped up if you don’t get around to actually sewing it.
Step one, removing the existing sleeves, was fortunately easy. My mother-in-law made the bodice and the sleeves of my wedding dress separately, lined all three pieces, and only then attached the sleeves to the bodice of the dress by hand. This made easy work with a simple seam ripper to remove the sleeves while hanging out with some friends, playing Bananagrams.
It was after I removed the sleeves that I realized that the bodice of the dress was now basically a corset top with underarms in it. Not only did I need to think a bit on what kind of sleeve I wanted to add, but I needed to consider how they would fit in with the high back of the dress.
The ‘sleeve’ I’ve decided to aim for is a retro-feel halter type top, similar to the one pictured below. Because this halter will come underneath my armpits, I’m going to have to (Gulp.) cut my dress in order to place the halter. And this is the part that I’m fearing.
I played around with some muslin (I was wise enough to buy a halter bra right away so that I can place the dress straps to cover the bra straps.) in front of the mirror the other day, and constructed a couple of prototype halter straps. I pinned them to the dress and tried the dress on again, took the dress off, recut the straps, on with the dress, adjusted pins, off with the dress, and so on until I think I have the straps the way I want them. But I can’t get myself to just cut the damn dress! What if I mess it up?! Would there be any saving it? I’ve cut my own knitting without thinking twice. I’ve cut into all types of garments, old and new, handsewn and storebought. But this is my wedding dress! My wonderful MIL made it for me! What if I destroy it?! Is there any hope at all?!
Luckily I have a good batch of friends who I know I can call and ask to just sit on the phone with me while I have a small panic attack and a large vodka and cut away at my beloved dress. So stand by your phones, my friends! The next call you take might just save a dress!