Lace Dress Rescue

When you bust a move…right out out of your vintage dress.

vintage dress creative repair before and after

Anna wore this stunning, delicate lace vintage dress to a wedding, and as she told me “my enthusiastic dancing caused me to hulk out of the arm pits.” One, this was one of my favorite messages I’ve ever received, and Two I was so up for the challenge!

We looked over the dress to assess not only the damage, but why it happened. This dress was originally made to fit off shoulder. That fit made this dress way less stable if she planned to move at all. The armholes and neckline needed to have set places that wouldn’t move drastically every time she put her arms forward.

Since the sleeves were so shredded they were no longer wide enough to fit around the arms. I removed the sleeves and angled the neckline so it was no longer draped off the shoulder. I cut pieces from the lace/tulle from the sleeves to hand-stitch into the armholes where the fabric was missing or needed stabilizing after the blowout.

Next, I used bias tape to stabilize the entire neckline so it was no longer supported by just lace. Since she still wanted sleeves, I cut the bottom of the old sleeves into little gathered cap sleeves. I used the rest of the bias tape to sew on the sleeves so I wasn’t sewing through only lace and tulle. I continued the bias tape down to finish off the armholes so that everything was much more stable. I also reset the zipper and reshaped the lace at the zipper opening which had both stretched over the years.

Lastly, to finish off the raw edges of the sleeve cap at the neck, I cut out flowers from the leftover sleeve lace and hand-stitched them over the neckline edge.

Projects like this are so fulfilling! I don’t know how many people are crazy enough to take on something like this, and I welcome the challenge. As I like to say, where there’s a will there’s a way!

Do you have a favorite piece in need of some creative repairs? Email me about it and I’ll see what I can brainstorm!

My mission is to get as many garments that ALREADY exist BACK into rotation. I alter/upcycle garments 1 year or older, and repair garments of all ages. When in doubt, feel free to ask!