Friday, June 21, 2019

Wedding Dress Quilt

Yes, I know I said I was going to talk about what I'm doing with my vintage scraps and I will.  But something came up!  I recently visited a college roommate of mine.  You just never know what you're going to be getting into when you're around Lorraine.

Lorraine is one of the most practical minded people I know.  She is in a major cleaning-out-stuff mode and as we were working on that, she said "What am I going to do with my wedding dress?"  She's kept it all these years (30) but hates the idea of it being stuffed away in a cedar chest for another 30 years.  She doesn't really have any one to give it to and it is not exactly the latest fashion in wedding dresses even if she did.   Kind of half jokingly, I said "You could make a quilt."  She said, "You can DO that???"  And thus the foray into the unknown was born.  She fell in love with the idea and not only am I using her dress to make a quilt, but her mother's dress and veil as well.

Here is the dress (1990).  This is a picture of a picture so not the greatest quality.  Lorraine was slender, but her mother was even tinier!  After doing some searches on Pinterest and Google, we had ourselves a start of a plan.   I am now back home and the dresses are on their way to me as I write.

And here is her mother's dress (1955) . . .

Here is a closeup of the veil lace.

OK, pause while waiting for the post office to do it's thing.  
Cue Jeopardy music, can you hear it in your mind? 
The dresses have now arrived!!
My daughter volunteered to be a model and had a fun time trying them on.  
Here is the 1955 dress without the jacket . . .

And with the lace jacket.

We were laughing about what Dad would say if he walked in on this.  

As you can see, the satins and laces may be slightly different shades, which is perfect.  Lorraine is envisioning a simple quilt with different shades of satin in it. We may have to purchase some additional fabric to supplement.  One possible idea is to do a much larger block in the middle featuring this bodice lace.

I think this is part of the sleeves.  I can't remember at the moment.

She doesn't like a lot of fru fru so it is going to be fairly simple, like this pattern below.  A kind of simplified log cabin in between some plain large squares.  We'll put some of the lace and beading on her dress on selected squares and pieces. I'm going to have to do some math to figure out how many blocks we can make and what size.  The outer border will have a contrasting background color as you'll see further on down.

In addition to this simple layout, she likes the idea of setting the blocks on point. Thanks to Kate for seeing this in a book? magazine? she was reading and sending it to me.  Lorraine can study these two pictures and decide which way she likes best. 

Another idea Lorraine wants to incorporate is the border  lace with a contrasting fabric behind as shown here.  This was found at Mary Manson Quilts.  I will be doing some quilting, but not nearly as elaborate as what Mary has done here.  Lorraine likes some quilting, but wants to keep the overall look fairly simple.   That is another decision to make.  The quilting!  I am going to be doing some practice pieces to show Lorraine to see what she likes. 

We will be using the lace found on the bottom of Lorraine's dress and around the edge of her train for this technique.    Here is what her lace looks like.  Leaves with beads and sequins.   I really like the color that Mary chose to go behind the linen in the piece shown here.  Lorraine will need to give me some input on that.

Will it be satin?  Silk? Tan? Taupe?  Beige? Cream?  Also, should we cut the stitches that attach the lace to the satin or just do a straight cut around the bottom of the dress with the leafy lace still attached to the satin?  Some of this might require some hand sewing.   Decisions!  Decisions! 

Any and all thoughts on this project are welcome!  I would love to hear ideas I have not thought about too.  You guys have always been such a help to me when I'm making decisions.  Has anybody out there made a quilt out of a wedding dress before?  I would love to see pictures if you have them.  And if you have, what tips do you have that might be helpful?

Linking to:
Needle & Thread Thursday
Free Motion Mavericks
Busy Hands Quilts
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop
From Bolt to Beauty


  1. I love this!! I just made a quilt incorporating lace last week, and this week I made a rayon quilt. I love the idea of using non-traditional fabrics in a quilt! Enjoy the journey!!

  2. Let the quilting begin! I have faith in you.

  3. I saw a web page once that people were making crazy quilts out of wedding dresses and it was for something but I don't remember what - the quilts would then be auctioned off for a charity but I don't remember what it was

  4. What a fun project! It sounds like your friend is pretty laid back about it, which is good, since you'll be cutting up her wedding dress. I love the idea of using bits of her lace and beading in the piece. The only advice I can think of is to save some pieces of each material and maybe make a little practice piece for the quilting part. Test different needles, threads, batting, etc. to make sure they will work with all the satins. I know satin can snag easily, so the correct needle might be really important. Best of luck! I'm really looking forward to seeing how this progresses :)

  5. Well talk about synchronicity! My youngest daughter was married in November, and I brought out my own dress, ready to cut into it to make a clutch for her and one for my other daughter in which to keep their phones and a little makeup at the eldest said: DO NOT CUT UP THAT DRESS! and, as I'd hesitated, I did listen... Anyhow my daughter wore my mum's 1959 wedding dress which was cocktail length and a gorgeous brocade, to the rehearsal. I don't know if I could cut into your friend's mom's. When I see your daughter in it, without the jacket, I think it is just stunning. Thanks for the ideas to maybe turn my dress into a quilt, though the eldest still says she wants it to hang as a display piece...

  6. Hi Janice, what an amazing idea! It's going to be fabulous. As soon as you started writing about your ideas, I thought of Cindy Needham. Her older work was incredible and consisted of wholecloth quilts that incorporated vintage lace, hankies etc. You can see some of her work on Pinterest at this address:
    I also highly recommend her course on Craftsy (Blueprint) called Machine Quilting Wholecloth Quilts with Cindy Needham. Please keep linking up your progress on Free Motion Mavericks. I so want to see your progress on this amazing adventure!

  7. Janice, you are so creative! That's fun that you got photos of your daughter in the dresses.

  8. What a wonderful idea! I'm sure that between you both, your friend and you will come up with the perfect pattern. I do like the on point look, and you have all that gorgeous lace to play with.

  9. Oh Janice, I think you are going to start a trend in quilters cutting up their wedding dresses and making quilts! After having a think I came to the conclusion that simple is best for the blocks to show off the beautiful fabrics and lace, so the simplified log cabin would be best but set it on point like the second one. I agree with Sandra about Mom’s dress though, it’s gorgeous and I can see a bride wearing it today, even with the jacket. It looks like it was made for Ashley. You will need to make the blocks on a foundation of calico, remember to pre wash it, even if you don’t normally pre wash. Lastly, great advice from Louise about making a test piece for quilting, if you made it a little bigger it could be a matching pillow, it wouldn’t matter if it didn’t match the blocks, as long as it included some of the lace and fripperies. I’m looking forward to seeing your progress on this one.

  10. You are the creative adventurous one! Me I would run the other way, I don't enjoy working with slippery like fabrics. But I can't wait to see what you come up with:) But it really is a problem as to what to do with our wedding dresses because of the change in styles over the years.

  11. You've got some very fun and beautiful ideas for those dresses. And are very brave for tackling satin and lace stitching!

  12. I haven't made a wedding dress quilt, but I absolutely love the idea. I look forward to seeing what you do with it. I agree that simple and elegant is the way to go.

  13. I love this idea. I'm going to poll my daughter and granddaughters when they are here in a couple weeks to find out if they would object (like Sandra's daughter) to my doing this with my dress from 1969. Mine was not stored properly, so it is discolored and getting a bit brittle. I think making it into a quilt is a way to preserve some form of it. I'm willing to let you blaze the trail - lol!
    But oh my gosh, that mother's dress from 1955 is just exquisite and looks like it is in excellent condition!

  14. Hi Janice! What an interesting project. I do not have any suggestions for you as I've never tried a project similar to this. Lorraine's dress is SO 90s! Your daughter is a good egg for being the model for the dresses! I'll bet your DH would have been quite surprised to see that going on, and wonder if there was something you both wanted to tell him?!! I will love to follow this project along so please don't be shy about sharing your process and decisions! We're here, cheering you on. ~smile~ Roseanne

  15. Just be aware that if the backing is also satin, slippery... if she intends to use it on a bed it will just slide right off!

  16. Please dont cut those dresses up! Your daughter needs to keep Mom's dress to wear to the prom. Its so vintage! And fits her perfectly!

  17. What a wonderful way to preserve the memories of these dresses. Of course, you need to add photos of these dresses (and the wearers) on the back of the quilt.

  18. What an interesting project. I've had my mother's dress for years. Finally when my daughter got married I cut it up and used it to cover a box for her reception. I still have pieces of it. My dress used Belgium lace and I am bigger than my daughter. We haven't done anything with either dress. Sigh. Thanks for the heads up on the commenting things. I have succeeded, at least on my laptop. I'll try later to see if it also corrected the phone and tablet. Yea for smart gals helping the rest of us!

  19. The mother's dress looks so cute on your daughter. The other dress - well, I say cut it up. I have never made a quilt out of a wedding dress. I was going to do something with mine; it is partially taken apart. I made my wedding dress out of white linen. It had a pink flowered trim I put on it and my Mom had a fit about that trim.

  20. All I can say is... Wow! You are a VERY good friend. The is one kind of project that I might NEVER, EVER accept!! Best of luck to you.

  21. Forge ahead where no man has gone before! That's you, my dear! I'll bet you're having all sorts of fun with this project. Can't wait to see the final result.


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