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My refashioned 1940s vintage modern wedding gown

Added Oct 26, 2010

by squirrellypoo

London, United K...






In 1949 this was my grandmother’s wedding gown, but in 2010 I made it mine!

It started off as a high-necked, long sleeved gown with a large peplum and three foot train . It was way too small (30B!!) so I didn’t feel too bad in completely taking apart the bodice, pressing the pieces, reusing the original buttons, zipper, netting, and piping, and sewing a completely new bodice from the original silk satin (still in great shape after 60 years!). I used 85% couture methods based on Susan Khalje’s “Bridal Couture” book, with spiral steel boning, flannel underlining, and a blue silk crepe lining.

I used a free download pattern from the Brazilian pattern magazine, Manequim, as my starting point for the bodice, but I changed it around so much that the completed dress is much more Me than Them!

You can read a short version about the process as well as comparison photos from my grandparents’ wedding vs ours here

I’ve been posting throughout the entire process of designing, fitting, and sewing this gown (as well as two bridesmaids gowns!) on FehrTrade.com, so if the above links don’t work, you can see and read SO much more about our DIY Wedding by going to http://www.fehrtrade.com/tag?t=wedding

Material Notes

Original vintage silk satin from 1949 – the weight is similar to a heavyweight duchess satin purchased these days




Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Garment Type
Bridal, Evening Wear, Romantic, Vintage



24 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • 9925_1045533354777_1718964731_93721_5811737_n_large

    Apr 1, 2011, 01.08 PMby majnets3s

    Beautiful project! And congratulations,wish you all the best!

  • 9925_1045533354777_1718964731_93721_5811737_n_large

    Apr 1, 2011, 01.08 PMby majnets3s

    Beautiful project! And congratulations,wish you all the best!

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    Nov 6, 2010, 12.47 AMby stephanie-s

    Best Wishes squirrellypoo! You and your grandmother look equally beautiful in each version! I wish you the very best – CHEERS!

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    Nov 2, 2010, 10.35 PMby loloan

    The dress turned out beautifully and you looked fantastic! Great inspiration for me as I’m hoping to refashion a vintage dress (or a couple of dresses) for my wedding. It’s great to see such a lovely example :-).

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    Nov 2, 2010, 08.45 PMby melonhead

    Absolutely gorgeous!! Looks like a wonderful wedding!! :) Congratulations!

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    Nov 1, 2010, 09.30 PMby squirrellypoo

    Lizzy2304 – Oh, I’m a vintage lover, too! You may have missed an important part of the description – the original was TINY! So it was either going to be remade, or sit unloved in a box for 60 more years (and my grandmother threatened to cut it up herself if I got too precious about it).

  • Maria_felix-1-23_large

    Nov 1, 2010, 07.30 PMby lizzy2304

    Ohh!! well even if you look great on it……….me, as a vintage clothes lover can tell you WHY DID YOU change it???

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    Oct 29, 2010, 03.18 PMby demashobby

    you both look happy, congratulations. it was a wonderful idea. best wishes for you.

  • Missing

    Oct 29, 2010, 01.38 AMby qfish29


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    Oct 28, 2010, 09.04 PMby judabra

    Wow that’s an amazing story! You looked lovely.

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    Oct 28, 2010, 06.29 AMby fashion1

    congrats to your wedding! you look fantastic and so happy :)! i wish you all the best!

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    Oct 27, 2010, 08.34 PMby hellagabrielle

    It’s so lovely. I enjoyed watching it come together.

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    Oct 27, 2010, 05.22 PMby popbabe7

    This looks fantastic. I bet your family was quite impressed with this!

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    Oct 27, 2010, 03.38 PMby katexxxxxx

    What a splendid job you made of it!

    Congratulations. The two of you look very happy. :)

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    Oct 27, 2010, 11.19 AMby zaarissima

    Congratulations! wunderful pictures from beautiful Ladies in wunderful dresses!

  • 5c12b52ace24d7a3f10ec8b35d6cd4d44ba1e7f3_large

    Oct 27, 2010, 01.11 AMby gillthecat

    so touching lovely , you both look fab,, and well done a memory forever, even more special,, they were bloody thin in those days, i have lots of 50 patterns im stunned at the sizes,,congrats on a truly lovely out fit

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    Oct 27, 2010, 12.19 AMby sew4my3

    How wonderful that you were able to link your wedding memories to your grandmother! You really did a great job and looked absolutely beautiful!

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    Oct 26, 2010, 07.13 PMby irmchen

    I love this project so much!!! :-)

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    Oct 26, 2010, 05.09 PMby tamezdc

    Great job!!

  • 486043_10200326557759449_664517254_n_large

    Oct 26, 2010, 02.02 PMby heidilea

    Incredible! I love that you have the Before and After side by side and that you were able to use all the original fixings like the netting and buttons. (Also, my husband’s grandmother bought her wedding gown from a bridal shop on South Street in 1946—probably the same one? Her’s was acetate, though, and yellowed badly.)

    2 Replies
    • 150x125_large

      Oct 26, 2010, 02.16 PMby squirrellypoo

      Omg what a coincidence! Do you have any idea of the name of the shop? There was no label on my granny’s dress and she couldn’t remember the name. It’d be fun to try some internet sleuthing to see if I could learn more!

      Funny that they kept the receipt from my grandfather’s tux rental ($5.00!) but not the dress!

    • 486043_10200326557759449_664517254_n_large

      Nov 3, 2010, 02.30 PMby heidilea

      I just asked her, and she can’t remember. She didn’t know Philadelphia well, and only knew her folks would take her and her siblings to South Street for clothes and such (I guess they were wealthier than the other farmers).

      We don’t have the dress anymore, either, as she threw it out a few years back. :(

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    Oct 26, 2010, 01.05 PMby carottesauvage

    Waow so sweet! I love the two pictures put side to side! Your refashion is great!!! Wishing you the best of luck and happiness.X

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    Oct 26, 2010, 12.11 PMby lienepien

    Very beautiful how you turned your grandma’s dress into yours. I think it is also special to do and wear! Hope you have had a nice wedding!

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    Oct 26, 2010, 12.08 PMby Natalia *

    beautiful refashion and congratulations on the wedding. you both look fantastic.

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    Oct 26, 2010, 11.04 AMby girlywhirly

    absolutely gorgeous, congratulations!

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