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  • Writer's pictureBarMade Bags

Completed! The final items in the Wedding Dress upcycling project.

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

Wedding dress and bags made from it
From wedding dress to bags!

Three months on from starting on this custom order to convert a wedding dress into 33 bags and other items, all is now completed and handed over to my client, Therese. You can read about how this request came about and the start of the project in the first blog, and how I went on to use the fabrics from the dress to make a clutch bag, 5 zipped make-up bags and 8 jewellery rolls in the second blog. Here you'll read about the final items I crafted!

Therese is keen on crocheting and wanted a case to keep her hooks in. She knew that the style she wanted was like a boxy pencil case and, having not made such a case before, I used a pattern devised by Anne Weaver. Ignoring the suggestion in the pattern of the type of fabric to use for the outside of the case, I instead interfaced satin from the underskirt of the wedding dress, backed it with fusible fleece and decorated it with lace from the bodice and covered that with tulle from the skirt. Therese requested two of these cases so that she could give one to her niece and suggested using coloured zips. The colours from the zips were used to influence my choice of cotton fabrics for the linings. Ribbons and buttons from the back of the dress were used for the zip pulls. Two more useful keepsake items completed!

Zipped pencil cases made from wedding dress fabrics
Keepsake zipped cases
Rosary pouches made from wedding dress silk and lace
Keepsake Rosary pouches

Therese had ordered two rosary pouches, a tiny one and a slightly larger one. The advantage of making these items was that I could make use of some of the small pieces of fabric from the dress bodice. The silk and lace outers give these pouches a luxury feel.

Clutch bag made from wedding dress silk and lace
Original clutch purse

In the first blog about this project, I pointed out how important good communication is with any bespoke order. For that reason I kept Therese updated on progress throughout the process but our initial discussions about the bags hadn't been detailed enough as regards the clutch bag that she wanted for herself. She was unhappy that the one I'd made (pictured here) wasn't what she would have chosen and that she would prefer a more rigid and plain style without decoration other than the clasp from the bracelet that she'd worn on her wedding day. After a phone call and her sending me a sketch of what she'd like, I set about designing and making an alternative, while knowing that the original would still be welcomed as a gift for one of her friends and just needed a different fastening. By now, fabric was limited but there was enough of the satin underskirt to make the outside and lining of the new clutch bag. For the outer layer, this fabric needed to be backed by a stiff interfacing and I chose to use Decovil to provide rigidity. The satin was covered in a double layer of tulle and the triangular, asymmetric flap had the clasp from the bracelet as its fastening. A button and plaited ribbon loop provided the fastening for the original clutch.

After her wedding, Therese had the flowers from her bouquet converted into items of jewellery which she intends to give to friends and family and so she wanted some gift bags and pouches made from her wedding dress to present them in. For the two envelope style pouches and the eight drawstring gift bags I used satin and decorated them with lace, each in a slightly different way. Being little, I was able to make use of some of the smallest remaining pieces.

I now had just one more item to make: another tote bag. This had been added to the order after I'd made the original three (details of which are in the first blog) and I knew that I wouldn't have enough fabric to make a fourth in the same style. However, Therese was happy for it to be smaller and for me to use a patchwork design to make use of any remaining fabrics in as imaginative a way as I wanted! I had plenty of the tulle left over, but the satin was mainly in fairly small pieces containing the original side seams. I laid out the remaining bits of bodice and lace to think about ways to use them most effectively:

I used a pattern by Karen Davis of Pieceful Life Designs in Auckland, NZ for the basis of the bag but changed the top of the bag to incorporate a zip fastening. The gusset, top, facings and straps were made from my stash of upcycled curtain fabric and I used curtain lining for the inside of the bag. The front and back of the bag each consisted of 4 sections and I was able to make use of most of the remaining pieces of bodice and underskirt and decorate these with the last of the lace or the tulle, arranging the lace to cover the seams from the original skirt. Some of the pearls that were left over from Therese's bracelet were used as embellishments.

Bespoke keepsake bags made from wedding dress fabrics
Bags made from wedding dress fabrics

So the "Wedding Dress Project" is now finished!

All thirty three items have been made and are now with Therese. And I have the satisfaction of having met the challenge of converting this wedding dress in the ways that she wanted, and knowing that she is delighted with the outcome.

Maybe you have a wedding dress or other special garment that you would like me to convert into some unique keepsake bags. If so, do get in touch and let me help you to explore the possibilities!

Why not take a look at other bespoke bags I've made to get some inspiration?

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