Repurpose Challenge: Wedding Dress

In honor of our Spring 2013 issue’s focus on creative celebrations, our Stitch Craft Create staff decided to dissect a used wedding gown and see what we could create from the pieces. This dress was purchased at a small-town thrift store for just $20, but proved to be a treasure trove of fabric, lace, netting, applique, faux buttons and more. We had a blast together while brainstorming, tearing it apart and reworking the materials into new works that hardly resemble their original purpose. What would you make? Share your ideas with us at editorial@sccmag.com!



Lace Applique Necklace

What You’ll Need

  • Lace applique from salvaged wedding dress
  • Jewelry crimps
  • Jump rings
  • Lobster clasp
  • Jewelry chain
  • Jewelry pliers
  • Waxed paper
  • Paint brush
  • Stiffening agent (such as Mod Podge Stiffy)
  • Scissors

How to create:

  1. Cut away lace applique from dress and trim to desired size.
  2. Working on top of waxed paper, follow package instructions to apply one coat of a stiffening agent such as Mod Podge Stiffy; let dry. Test stiffness and apply additional coats to stiffen applique to your liking.
  3. Attach a jewelry crimp to each side; attach a jump ring to each crimp.
  4. Determine desired length of chain and cut two pieces for each side of lace. Attach one end of each chain to a jump ring. Attach a lobster clasp to remaining ends of chain, using jump rings if needed.



Leather and Lace Bracelet

What You’ll Need

  • Purchased 1-inch-wide leather bracelet
  • Thin leather cording
  • Brown embroidery floss
  • Small lace applique from salvaged wedding dress
  • Two metal charms
  • 20-guage aluminum ring blank
  • Jeweler’s screw-action hole punch
  • Metal alphabet stamp set
  • Steel stamping block
  • Rubber mallet or hammer
  • Black permanent marker (such as a Sharpie)
  • Paper towel
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Jump rings
  • Jewelry pliers
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Waxed paper
  • Paint brush
  • Stiffening agent (such as Mod Podge Stiffy)
  • Glass jar

How to create:

  1. Use jeweler’s hole punch to create small holes at left and right ends of ring blank. Then, punch three small holes along center bottom of ring blank for charms.
  2. Working over a steel stamping block, use metal stamps to hammer the words “LIVE LAUGH LOVE” or a sentiment of your choice across ring blank.
  3. To darken letters, color over punched sentiment with a black permanent marker; then, wipe away excess using rubbing alcohol and a paper towel.
  4. Form ring blank into a wrist-hugging curve by bending over the side of a glass jar.
  5. Cut away a tiny piece of lace applique for charm. Working over waxed paper, follow package directions to apply a stiffening agent such as Mod Podge Stiffy; let dry and apply additional coats as desired.
  6. Attach a jump ring to stiffened applique to create a charm; thread jump ring onto center bottom hole of stamped tag. Use jump rings to attach two additional metal charms to remaining holes.
  7. Cut three 6-inch lengths from leather cording (or a short enough length to lay between purchased bracelet closures). Thread stamped metal piece onto center of one cording length through holes so that stamped side faces out.
  8. Wrap each end of leather cording with brown embroidery floss, tie off on back and trim excess.
  9. Lay leather bracelet onto work surface with right side facing up. Place piece of cording containing stamped metal across horizontal center between bracelet closures; glue in place at ends.
  10. Glue one remaining length of leather cording each to top and bottom sides of first cord so that ends are stackd together.



White Wrapped Wreath

What You’ll Need

  • 12-inch foam wreath form
  • Skirt material from wedding gown
  • Various embellishments from salvaged wedding gown, such as lace trim, appliques, netting, etc.
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Brass embellishment (optional)

How to create:

  1. Snip and rip 1-inch-wide lengths of dress material for wrapping wreath. Remove excess threads and press flat.
  2. Glue wrong side of one strip end to back of wreath and begin wrapping wreath, overlapping edges of strip so that no foam shows. Repeat to cover wreath completely, joining additional strips as needed; trim any excess and glue end in place on back of wreath.
  3. Glue pieces of flat lace onto front of wrapped wreath along bottom right side.
  4. Glue pieces of lace applique on top of flat lace.
  5. Create an assortment of three-dimensional flowers using lace trim, netting strips and other gown embellishments; glue in place atop lace in a pleasing arrangement.
  6. If desired, glue a brass embellishment such as a bumblebee ornament in place for a finishing touch.



Silky Drawstring Bag

What You’ll Need

  • Ruched puff sleeve from salvaged wedding gown
  • Coordinating thread
  • 1/2-inch-wide silk satin ribbon
  • Purchased flower embellishment
  • Bodkin
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine

How to create:

  1. Remove ruched sleeve from gown along shoulder seam. Snip and tear away any excess netting or puffing from inside of sleeve to create an empty tube.
  2. Cut into elastic casing on sleeve hem and pull out existing elastic; discard.
  3. Turn sleeve inside out and lay flat on work surface with hem side at top. Use a blue wash-away marker to draw a curved line across bottom edge in desired location (fig. 1). NOTE: The sleeve pulled from this particular gown was extremely large, so much of the sleeve was cut away to create a small bag. Adjust your bottom seam as desired to create a bag shape you like.
  4. Sew new bottom edge for bag by stitching through both layers along drawn curved line, backstitching at edges to secure. Trim away excess fabric at about 1/8- to 1/4-inch below new seam; zigzag or overlock stitch over seam allowance.
  5. Turn bag right side out and use a bodkin to thread a length of silk satin ribbon through elastic casing to form a drawstring, which can double as a bag handle. Glue on a floral embellishment along drawstring casing.



Silky Drawstring Bag

What You’ll Need

  • Three miniature canvases
  • Two blank wooden letters
  • Pieces of lace and satin-covered buttons from salvaged wedding dress
  • Yellow and blue paint
  • Decoupage medium
  • Paint brush
  • Glue
  • Scissors

How to create:

  1. Paint a set of three miniature canvases yellow, covering front and sides completely.
  2. Decoupage pieces of salvaged lace on top of yellow canvases as desired.
  3. Paint two wooden initials blue; let dry, then glue each onto a canvas.
  4. Form a strip of satin-covered buttons into an ampersand and glue into place on top of remaining canvas. Allow all canvases to dry.
  5. Arrange canvases vertically with ampersand at center. Using either remaining scraps of satin-covered buttons or short lengths of ribbon, attach each top and bottom canvas to center canvas on back. Form a strip into a loop for a hanger and attach on top center back of top canvas.

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