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How To Repurpose Your Wedding Dress (A Quick Guide)

Updated July 4, 2022
How To Repurpose Your Wedding Dress (A Quick Guide)

Now that your big day is over, the gifts are unwrapped, and the “thank you” notes are sent, you may be wondering how to repurpose a wedding dress.

Many women choose professional wedding gown preservation, but that’s not a particularly practical solution.

A wedding gown is a sentimental piece, but this doesn’t mean that it should take space in your closet without any purpose.

You may transform your gown into a meaningful keepsake that will remind you of your wedding every day and can be passed on to your children.

Or, you may choose more unusual wedding dress repurposing ideas – make custom beach dress, tote bag, lingerie, or do an artistic photoshoot.

Casual Clothing Piece

One of the most practical wedding dress repurposing ideas is transforming it into casual clothing. For this DIY wedding dress upcycling project, you’ll need a sewing ripper and good sewing skills – or a sewist.

Depending on your dress design and fabric, you may transform it into a beach dress, skirt, shirt, or anything else – use your imagination!

Minimalistic cotton gowns make perfect casual wear, while lacey and embellished dresses are suitable for romantic or party pieces.

Making casual clothing from a wedding dress allows you to wear your gown over and over again instead of looking at it collecting dust in the closet.

It’s a perfect upcycling project for pragmatic brides who don’t like to waste money on something they’ll only wear once. Furthermore, you can make multiple clothing pieces, as you’ll likely have a lot of fabric to work.

Alternatively, you may use your wedding gown to make kids’ clothing. Preferably, you should use only natural materials for kids’ clothing base, but synthetics can serve as decoration. Lace is great for trimming or as an overlay.

Christening Gown

A christening gown from a wedding dress is a meaningful and practical keepsake that you can pass from generation to generation. It’s among the most popular wedding dress upcycling projects, and for a good reason.

Wedding dresses are traditionally white, and so are christening gowns. They also commonly feature lace that serves as a perfect decoration for a christening gown, either as trimming or an overlay.

Christening gowns are much easier to make than an adults’ clothing piece, so this project is suitable for beginners in sewing.

Furthermore, you’ll likely have a lot of fabric left after making the christening gown, so you can do multiple projects.

Wedding gowns from natural fabrics are the best for christening gowns, as baby skin is delicate and synthetics may irritate it.

If your dress is made from polyester, consider buying a plain white piece of suitable fabric for the gown base.

Unique elements from your dress, such as the belt, lace sleeves, or pleating, will make perfect decorations for a christening gown. However, be careful with sharp embellishments such as sequins and beading.

Clutch or Tote Bag

A bag is another practical wedding dress upcycling project. Unlike clothing, an envelope clutch or a tote bag doesn’t require advanced sewing skills. But if you’ve never tried sewing before, consider finding someone to do it for you.

An envelope clutch bag from your wedding dress can make a meaningful element of your daughter’s or granddaughter’s bridal attire or a stylish party accessory.

On the other hand, a large tote bag is excellent for daily shopping or the beach.

Alternatively, you may use lace and embellishments from your gown to decorate a ready-made clutch or tote bag. This way, you can avoid sewing while still preserving part of your bridal attire as a keepsake.

If you plan to use your gown for a casual bag, consider how easy the fabric is to clean.

Check the label – some fabrics can only be professionally dry-cleaned. Getting your bag regularly dry-cleaned may be unnecessarily expensive.

Jewelry

Jewelry is a perfect no-sew wedding dress repurposing idea for women with basic jewelry-making skills. Even if you’ve never tried it before, some styles are effortless to make for beginners.

You can also find numerous online businesses specializing in making jewelry with incorporated wedding dress elements.

Depending on the design, such jewelry can be worn daily, for parties, serve as a gift, or become a part of your daughter’s wedding look.

The ideas of jewelry from a wedding dress are endless: you may make a bohemian-style long necklace with a lace pendant, a minimalistic solitaire ring with a large bead from your gown, or statement earrings from embellished appliques.

Other creative accessory ideas are an embellished shirt collar and hair slides. All you need for these projects is to remove beading from your dress and sew or glue them to your old accessories.

Cushion or Quilt

Old wedding dresses make beautiful patchwork-style quilts that can decorate your or your child’s bedroom interior or be an heirloom you pass on to future generations.

And if you have some fabric left after the quilt, you can make matching cushion covers.

You don’t need extensive experience to make cushion covers – that’s pretty simple. However, for a quilt, you’ll need intermediate sewing skills. Thankfully, you can find numerous businesses online that will do it for you for a fair price.

For the quilt, you’ll need to disassemble your wedding dress using a sewing ripper, then chop it up in pieces of the preferred size.

After sewing the pieces together, you may use embellishments and lace from your gown for decoration.

If you aren’t particularly crafty, you may take a ready-made cushion or quilt and add pieces of lace or beading from your dress. It’s a simple way to preserve your wedding day memories for years.

Jewelry Box

A jewelry box decorated with lace or embellishments from your gown is the perfect storage for keepsake jewelry.

Furthermore, it’s a no-sew, beginner-friendly wedding dress repurposing idea that doesn’t require a lot of materials.

Get a jewelry box of your liking – it may be a wooden chest-style box or a traditional velvet box – and remove embellishments from your gown using a sewing ripper. Then, use hot glue to attach them to the chest.

If you’d like to try sewing for the first time, consider making a fabric jewelry pouch instead. Pouches are soft and therefore better for storing fragile jewelry than wooden boxes.

Making a jewelry pouch from a wedding dress is simple – use a sewing pattern to cut out two or four pieces of fabric, depending on the design. Sew them together, leaving the top free for the drawstring channel.

Then, make the drawstring channel, finish the trim, and add embellishments from your dress as decoration.

Photo Album

If you’re searching for a worthy album for your wedding pictures, consider making one yourself. You can either make one from scratch or decorate a ready-made one using materials from your gown.

If you decide to make the album base yourself, use durable materials that will withstand the beating of time. Avoid thin cardboard that will wear off quickly.

You may decorate your photo album cover and the pages with fabric from your dress. And if you already have an album you like, consider decorating a photo frame for your favorite wedding picture.

Art Object

At the end of the day, you don’t have to chop up your dress into small pieces to make a cushion or a photo album. You may transform it into an art piece without making it something else.

For instance, you may dye the white skirt into a bright ombre or embellish the entire gown with three-dimensional artificial flowers.

Such dresses are excellent for photoshoots and can even be worth becoming museum exhibits.

If you see art in chaos, consider a trendy “trash the dress” photo shoot. The idea is to take pictures of the bride ruining her dress creatively.

That’s not the best wedding dress repurposing idea for women who see sentimental value in their gowns, but certainly one of the most fun.

You may throw colorful smoke bombs, cover the dress in paint, burn it, or dive underwater – whatever your wild heart wants. Take your S.O. along for a memorable couple’s photoshoot full of laughs.

In fact, “trash the dress” pictures are sometimes so artistic that they can easily compete with the couple’s wedding photos. So, consider leaving some space for your post-wedding photos in your bridal album.

Lingerie

Not all wedding dress repurposing ideas are sentimental keepsakes.

Wedding dresses are often made from delicate, luxurious fabrics such as tulle, silk, and lace that are ideal for DIY lingerie. It’s a creative way to keep the romance burning after the wedding.

Note that not any gown is suitable for this project – it very much depends on the material. Thick, heavy fabrics aren’t suitable for lingerie, though you can use beading, lace, and other unique details for decoration.

If you don’t have the necessary skills, get a plain white underwear set and attach elements from your gown to it or find a company making custom lingerie online.

The underwear doesn’t necessarily have to be all sexy and embellished. Cotton, silk, and lace dresses can make comfortable daily underwear, pajamas, or a nightgown.

Inspect your gown thoroughly and use your creativity to come up with your custom design.

Image credit: Unsplash

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