To Top

Making Something New Out of Something Borrowed: Reworking Your Mother’s Wedding Dress

Is your mother’s wedding dress the definition of outdated? A mass of yellowing lace, puffed sleeves, and loose sequins, the once elegant garment now looks better suited for the local dumpster. Because of how meaningful this dress is to your mom, she may not be able to recognize how visually unappealing it has become. She may beg you to do what all brides dread. She may ask you to wear her wedding dress.

While even the thought of such things may send shivers down your spine, you need not be so nervous at the prospect. Even the worst, most outdated wedding dresses can be salvaged for some purpose in your wedding. Look below for some tips about how to rework your mother’s wedding dress for your big day.


reworking mother's wedding dress

Image Source:

Maybe your mother’s wedding dress really isn’t that bad. As long as there are no stains, tears or pieces of embellishment that are falling off, you have a good base with which to build off of. A few accessories can go a long way toward modernizing your dress. These accessories could come in the form of sparkling earrings, a bulky necklace, a beautiful headband, or a statement belt. These can hide some of the imperfections of the dress while boosting its aesthetic appeal.

Dye it

reworking mother's wedding dress

Image Source:

If the age of your mother’s dress is starting to show in its color, you may be able to revive it! A gradually yellowing dress can look brand new if you bleach it back to pure white. Also, you could change the color to an off-white to make any aging look normal and intentional. You can even add a touch of color if you so desire. Your dying possibilities are nearly endless but are ultimately determined by the color, age, and material of the dress. Certain colors will not react to dye while certain ages and materials will not be able to withstand the act of dying.

Make slight alterations

reworking mother's dress

Image Source:

Reworking an outdated wedding dress is all about spotting potential. Your mother’s wedding dress might need just a couple alterations in order to bring it back into style. Remove some of the layers from the skirt. Cut off the sleeves. Change the silhouette. These and similar alterations are quite simple and thus, are relatively inexpensive.

Shorten it

One of the most simple, yet most drastic alterations you can make to your mother’s wedding dress is changing the length. While the 10 foot long train was cool for your mother’s day, the mass of tulle, lace, and rhinestones may be less than attractive now. Aside from removing a train, you could actually shorten the dress. A tea-length or knee-length dress would have been unheard of in your mother’s day, but it could be the perfect option for yours. If you would prefer a long dress for your wedding, shorten the dress and wear it for the rehearsal.

Use part of it

reworking mother's wedding dress

Image Source:

If the dress as a whole just isn’t working for you, you can still incorporate part of it into your own unique dress. Maybe the top has some beautiful detail but the bottom is gag-worthy. Or the train on the bottom is the epitome of elegance but the top looks ancient. Remove the part of the dress you prefer and purchase a more modern piece to pair it with. You can make an intentionally two-piece outfit or stitch the pieces together.

Also, you could use the fabric from your mother’s dress to make your own dress more meaningful. Rework the lace from your mother’s dress to make sleeves for your own. Use the satin material to make a thick belt. Cut off some of the detail on her dress and connect it to some part of yours. You can make your dress even more beautiful and unique than before with additions from your mom’s dress.

Ask for other meaningful pieces

reworking mother's wedding dress

Image Source:

If all hope is lost and your mother’s dress is completely unusable, look for alternatives. Ask your mom if she kept anything else from her wedding day. Maybe she has a veil that will complement your a more modern dress perfectly. She probably saved the necklace or the earrings she wore on that day.

Maybe you want to wear something of your mom’s for your big day. Maybe she is begging you to do so. Either way, your mother’s wedding dress can be turned into something new that you will love wearing on your own day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More in Wedding