Saturday , 23 March 2019

Recycle that wedding dress

Ninoshka Alvares-Delaney

A wedding day is very special. Every bride remembers what she wore on her wedding day and how that dress made her feel. But along with the beauty of the dress also comes the price tag. Wedding dresses are expensive and often a huge chunk of the wedding budget is spent on the bridal dress itself. This can be quite a waste if the dress is worn just once and then stored away for decades. When making bridal dresses, I often advise the bride to make something she can reuse. After all, why should your gorgeous wedding dress be worn just once! Give it a new life.

Here are a few ideas on how to reclaim the dress.

Cut it: Cut off the length of your dress to make it a day wear outfit, or even a cocktail dress. You can probably cut off elements from the dress, like sleeves or a train, to give it a whole new look. Separate the bodice and the skirt to make it a two-piece outfit and pair it up with another garment of a contrasting colour. If yours is a dress made of lace, you can separate the lace from the lining and reattach it to a lining of a contrasting colour. In this way your white lace on a coloured background will completely be transformed.

Add on to it: Add contrast colour detailing to your white dress. You can add a belt, bows or buttons in a contrasting colour. Another way to give your dress a makeover is to embroider the dress in contrast colour threads. If you already have embroidery on your dress, then it would help to either replace or add some colourful beads or sequins to the already existing embroidery. A strapless or sleeveless dress can be modified by adding interesting straps or sleeves. Alternatively, pair it up with a colourful shrug or cape.

Dye it: You can dye the entire dress in one colour.If you want to give a whole new look to your expensive lace, you might consider separating the lace from the lining and dyeing the two in different colours before reassembling the dress. Do note that this process can work out quite expensive, but it will be worth it considering you will be able to wear your up-cycled dress multiple times. Another option is to dye your dress in an ombré effect. Make sure that the thread used for stitching is also dyed in the process as it can look quite unflattering if it does not pick up the colour.

Splatter paint it: Many couples nowadays opt for a trash-the-dress post wedding photo shoot. One idea to “trash-the-dress” is to splatter paint it in your favourite colours, so when the shoot is done, the white wedding dress gets a complete makeover.

Make keepsakes: If your dress is made of lace then you may want to reuse it. After all it’s probably the most expensive of all the fabrics you’ve used in your dress. Making keepsakes out of your wedding lace is a fantastic idea to relive your wedding day every time you see it. Sew on the lace to make a cover for your wedding album. Use it in a frame or for a lampshade that will adorn your house, or stitch cushion covers for your living room. Make a clutch or a bag you can use. Carefully cut out portions of the lace to create jewellery you can wear.

Pass it on: I have had brides who have come to me with their mother’s bridal dress and asked me to revamp it into a modern style so they could reuse it for their own wedding. I have also known sisters to have got married in the same wedding dress after a few alterations and modifications. Many brides donate their wedding dress. Then there are those who cut up their wedding dress to make a christening dress for their first born. Use the lace detailing on another silk fabric to make scarves which you can use, gift your mother or grandmother, or pass on to your daughter.

With a little bit of creativity and the help of a good tailor the possibilities are endless. I’m sure you won’t regret recycling your wedding dress. After all, it’s better than to be tucked away at the back of your wardrobe and been forgotten about. Until next time, stay creative and stay stylish!

(Ninoshka Alvares-Delaney is a fashion designer and is available at

Please like & share: