Most wedding dresses are worn only once and then stored. Here are some craft ideas for recycling an old wedding dress.
You could try making evening purses, beaded tops, use as appliques on other tops or skirts, window valances, evening skirts, or prom dresses (by combining part of the wedding dress with a satin type skirt/beaded bodice or satin bodice/beaded skirt).
Make a christening dress for your baby.
How about attaching some of the lace or beadwork to a scrap of velvet in a darker color and then framing the piece in a nice frame to hang on the wall. I have seen this done with lace doilies, brass buttons, medals, etc. It looks very nice.
Dye them and give them to the drama department of the local school. Really bright colors that show up on stage! Red, yellow, orange and purple.
Make a new wedding dress or prom dress out of the ones that are outdated. There are yards of satin, lace and the under-skirting that would make some girl, that otherwise couldn't afford a new dress, something spectacular. Ask the school counselor if there is someone that wouldn't be offended by charity and go for it.
By Carla Bledsoe
One idea is to make angel dolls or angel bears. You could make a small dress pattern and attach feathered wings purchased from a craft store.
Also, there are charity sites that make over wedding dresses into burial buntings for babies. It is such a tragedy for a family when a baby passes; and, of course, they would like to have them dressed in something beautiful. There aren't too many places out there that grieving parents can go shopping to pick up such an item. I think it is a wonderful use for an item that is enmeshed in the symbolism of two people beginning a life together. That dress can then become an item that becomes important to a family as they grieve the earthly loss of their child and celebrate a heavenly journey at the same time.
This is just an idea to think about.
By Peg S.
My grandma made a communion dress out of an old wedding gown and all her granddaughters wore it for communion! It was very special to all of us (5 sisters) that we got to all wear it. The veil too was handmade. She made the sack that the cards are put in for weddings. She also made a beautiful table cloth with some of the lace (she dyed it with tea) and then overlaid it on a beautiful cream cotton satin fabric.
There are so many things. Halloween outfits, head pieces etc. Have fun!
What about fancy hankies for brides as "something old".
Why not make an all-white crazy quilt out of them? You could give the finished quilt as a wedding present. Or dye the fabric different colors before you piece the quilt and keep it for yourself!
I have a small story. It was getting around the time for my daughter to be baptized. I asked my mother if she could give me the gown my grandmother had bought for my baptism. She told me that I could borrow it but not keep it. Well, I wanted to have it to pass it down so that my daughter's child could use it as well, and continue passing it down. In turn, I decided to have her gown made out of my wedding dress and her First Communion dress as well. I even had enough that a new Cabbage Patch doll has a dress exactly like my wedding dress, but smaller for her doll collection.
I used one along with old prom dresses to make 'dress-up' clothes for my niece. All her friends wanted to wear them when they played. A few of the gowns/dresses looked nice enough to actually be worn by a flower girl in a wedding. I also made several ring-bearer pillows from dresses, along with a lacy quilt made for a daughter's christening from her mother's wedding gown.
I have one I put on an old dress form.
How about using the material for wrapping a wedding gift? The beadwork and lace would make a perfect package.
Also, here's another idea. I just finished making a "My Secret Stuff" box for my granddaughter. It was just a paper mache box covered with material in her favorite colors, lined inside with a contrasting color. I folded the material for the sides and top so as to have a "pleated" look. I attached artificial flowers on the top. I wrote her name in puffy pen on a round circle of contrasting color and glued it to the bottom to cover all the pleats.
She just turned 8 years old and she absolutely loved the gift. Inside I place dozens of pieces of candy. Each one was wrapped with paper I printed on my computer with her photo on it and a birthday wish for her. She had lots of sweets to give out to all the little girls who came to her party.
Now after reading the other posts, I would have liked to cover it with material from her mother's wedding dress or my old one. What a treasure to pass down to the next generation. If you made this as a wedding present, you could put family photos of the couple when they were small inside the box. What a fun, memorable gift, made with your own hands!
By Juania (Guest Post) 02/21/2007
The American Sewing Guild of America collects wedding gowns from thrift stores & garage sales to make burial gowns & envelopes to store the information about the baby that died.
They also have women who knit or crochet baby blankets for the mother to keep after she's held her dead baby. All supplies are donated by quilters.
By Diana (Guest Post) 02/22/2007
Donate to Brides for Breast Cancer for Breast Cancer victims to have the beautiful weddings of their dreams
Works for Prom dresses too
By Chip Kid. (Guest Post) 02/22/2007
You could turn your dress into a fancy pillow or a table runner.
By Kimberly (Guest Post) 02/24/2007
I plan to use my wedding dress to make Christmas ornaments. I will pass them on to our daughter (and any other children we might have) when they get a place of their own.
By pearplum (Guest Post) 02/25/2007
how about pressing the flowers from the bride's bouquet ,mounting them on fabric from the dress and framing them as beautiful pictures? They would make great souvenirs for the bride and bridesmaids/mother of the bride & groom etc.
How about pressing the flowers from the bouquet and making pictures using the fabric of the dress as the background? Once framed these would make unique gifts for the mothers of the bride/groom and the bridesmaids and would be a lovely keepsake for the bride herself.
By Betsy (Guest Post) 03/08/2007
I turn old wedding dresses into tree top Angels, Angel ornaments, wedding favors, flower girl baskets, pillows, and more. It's a shame that all this beautiful materials is stuck in a storage box somewhere.
betsyf at se(dot)rr(dot)com
By lana (Guest Post) 11/20/2007
I have already used much of the fabric from my mother's wedding dress to make my daughter's wedding dress. With the leftovers, I plan to sew satin flowers. I'll take them to a florist to be made into a large bouquet to present to my parents at their upcoming 60th wedding anniversary party. I'll also have a boutonniere made for my father. Later, they can display the bouquet in their home.
By sbford (Guest Post) 08/27/2008
I need help, I'm expecting 2 new grandchildren. One from a daughter that has been married 10 years. The other from my son and his wife, after battling brain cancer. This is such a exciting time, and I would like to make something special out of my wedding gown. Any ideas?