Handmade, Handed Down

An Heirloom Gown for a Modern Bride

Rachel’s grandmother wore this gown in the 1930’s.

It was made by hand by her great-grandmother, an Irish seamstress. The challenge to this restoration was to salvage what could be reused, and to modernize the fit.

It didn’t seem possible to renovate this family heirloom.


What Can Be Salvaged?

She brought in the dress and we decided that the exterior lace gown was in good condition with the exception of slight sweat damage in the underarms. The silk slip-dress underneath was dry-rotted and stained beyond our repair, but we could use it for fitting and patterning purposes to create a new one in its image.

Meticulously Pieced Back Together

We carefully removed the sleeves and opened the side and shoulder seams to determine how much fabric needed to be added and where. Using only the fabric of the removed lace sleeves, we were able to piece in the needed extensions and replace the damaged sections. It was meticulous work – all the added lace was pieced in to continue the pattern of the lace on each piece of the garment. The end result was that it looked like it had been made in 1930 just for her!!