Attire and Accessories

How to update my mom’s 80s dress?

Hi! I like the idea of wearing my mom’s wedding dress, but I’m not sure what changes to ask a seamstress for to bring it up to date. The back will need to be closeable, and I don’t want to make it strapless. What would you do to improve this?

Best Answers

Re: How to update my mom’s 80s dress?

  • I'm not a seamstress so don't really know what I'm talking about, but maybe the pouff could be taken out of the sleeves? The bodice is fairly classic perhaps the dip in the neckline could be reshaped? It is hard to tell the exact shape since it doesn't close in the back. I think the first thing you need to find out is if it can be made to close. I think it is great that you want to wear your Mom's dress.
    Thanks! Is the dip in the neckline out of style? I’m not great at these things. 
  • CMGragain said:
    This isn't bad.  The sleeves should be replaced, and I would shorten the train a bit.  The biggest problem will be altering the gown so that it will fit around the bodice.
    80's gowns could get very extreme, but this isn't one of those.  Talk to a good seamstress and see what she recommends.
    Thank you! Do you think long sleeves could work with this?
  • I'm not a seamstress so don't really know what I'm talking about, but maybe the pouff could be taken out of the sleeves? The bodice is fairly classic perhaps the dip in the neckline could be reshaped? It is hard to tell the exact shape since it doesn't close in the back. I think the first thing you need to find out is if it can be made to close. I think it is great that you want to wear your Mom's dress.
    Thanks! Is the dip in the neckline out of style? I’m not great at these things. 
    I don't know that it is out of style - I'm not great about those things either LOL! I was just thinking that if you wanted to change it that could be something that could easily be changed. The most important thing is the check to see if the back can be closed correctly. Good luck!
  • CMGragain said:
    This isn't bad.  The sleeves should be replaced, and I would shorten the train a bit.  The biggest problem will be altering the gown so that it will fit around the bodice.
    80's gowns could get very extreme, but this isn't one of those.  Talk to a good seamstress and see what she recommends.
    Thank you! Do you think long sleeves could work with this?
    Long sleeves would be harder to do.... unless you just used the structure of the top and got all new lace/fabric to cover the top and add sleeves?
    image
  • This looks like it could be made into a cinderella-like dress. Definitely less poofy on the sleeves though!
    Clever, thanks! That does make it seem so special
  • justsie said:
    Thank you! Do you think long sleeves could work with this?
    Long sleeves would be harder to do.... unless you just used the structure of the top and got all new lace/fabric to cover the top and add sleeves?
    That makes sense. I supppose it might look disjointed to add sleeves since the top and bottom are already separate fabrics. 
  • Honestly, adding sleeves is not your big issue here.  How are you going to expand the bodice to fit you?  Talk to a seamstress.
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    MesmrEwe
  • though the back is not closed, I like that design. The shoulder sleeve may be replaced by some lace sleeve as below.

    charlotte989875
  • I'd cut some fabric off the back to make a more pronounced "V". 

    I'd also cut the sleeves off completely, make a sweetheart cut up top, and add an illusion neckline that extends to the back. In the back, I'd add fabric covered buttons.

    Then I would borrow some of the appliques from the sleeve and back fabric that was cut out to make the illusion neckline/back look like it's always been part of the dress.

    I'd shorten the train and use some of that fabric (if there's enough) to make a veil.

    These examples are a lot more lacy than what you're dealing with but you get the idea for the top of the dress:
    Image result for illusion neckline wedding dress
    Image result for illusion back wedding dress
    Image result for illusion back wedding dress
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    image
    missJeanLouisecharlotte989875
  • Go try on some dresses to get an idea of your style and what you like.  Before doing one bit of alteration, you really need to know this.  It may be as simple as removing the wrap-around sleeve (even though this is actually a stability point to the upper part of the dress), but it could be more involved.  Then, if you're still set on wearing your Mom's dress, you have a starting point of where to go.  Also have the dress steamed/pressed out.  Then really, if you love the dress as-is, wear it. 

    As much as you may like the idea of wearing her gown, the other reality is you're going to have a lot of alterations work to do to get the bodice to properly fit you such that the alterations bill may be cost prohibitive compared to going out shopping for a dress in the proper similar size which won't need much of any alterations work.  There aren't enough seams that can be let out all the way to get it to close properly in the back.  The "cheap way" would be putting in a corset back, the problem is that is far from cheap because the chest/front isn't lining up properly on you because it's at least a couple sizes off.  This also has to do with the integrity of the construction in how that style of dress holds its shape up top.  That hold on the shoulders is what actually holds up the dress.  
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    CMGragainsouthernbelle0915
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