Tuesday, January 25

Wedding Dress Pillow

I'm a sentimental girl. I cried when I gave my dollhouse to Goodwill. But I'm also a practical girl. I gave my dollhouse to Goodwill. Which means that I was unlikely to spend hundreds of dollars to preserve my wedding dress in a box for years to come.

So when my husband kept asking me what I wanted to do with my wedding dress, I had finally decided to give it to the Glass Slipper Project. But I kept dragging my feet. It's my wedding dress. Then I started touring around blog land (leading to me starting this blog), I started to get the bug to DO something with it. It's really more of an evening gown, and with a little bit of work, I could wear it out to a nice restaurant for a hot date night or something.

I stumbled across three important things:
1) RIT Dye's Up-Cycling Contest
2) Sherry @ Young House Love and her I Wanted to Dye post
3) Charlie @ Attempting Aloha and her Wedding Dress/Daddy Shirt turned Flower Pillows

And I learned, that it IS okay to cut up your wedding dress to make something you might use, and it IS okay to dye your wedding dress to make it into a dress that you can still wear. Love it!

So I put on my big girl britches, gathered up my supplies, teared up when I made that first cut, and went for it. Here's how:

Step 1: Since I am not a super seamstress, I hung a similar dress of desirable length over my wedding dress, and made a mark on my wedding dress (WD) 2 inches below the hem of the other dress. Then I measured up from the bottom of the (WD) hem, (19.5 inches) and made marks all the way around my skirt 19.5 inches from the hem.

Step 2: I forgot about the liner, but I wanted to cut that separately, so for the time being, I rolled it up and pinned it out of my way. Then I cut from mark to mark all the way around my skirt. {Sniff}

Step 3: I wanted my memory pillow to reflect our wedding colors ( Winter Wonderland - ice blue and silver). I also wanted to practice dye the material before dyeing the rest of my dress. So I decided to dye the material using Royal Blue from the RIT Liquid Dye Line. I used less than the ratio that was suggested on the bottle, because I wanted a lighter color - I used about 1/4 of the bottle for about 1 gallon of water. {Note: I don't know that my water was warm enough b/c I was worried about the fabric. Next time I will use hotter water.}

Step 4: Stir and soak and stir and soak. I dyed my fabric for about 30 minutes. Bottle said 30 - 60 minutes. I erred on the low side because I was impatient wanted a lighter fabric. And it looked dark in the dark pot...

Step 5: I wanted to batik the fabric using this technique at RIT. Unfortunately, my Internet was down, and I tried to wing it, but forgot some of the details. All I could remember was saran wrap and microwave. I definitely didn't nuke it long enough. I am going to have to try the technique again, because I LOVE BATIK. But alas not on this project.

Step 6: I made my own stencil: wrote up what I wanted on the pillow (est. 12.23.2008 - did anyone guess that is my wedding day?), printed it out, and covered the front only of the paper with contact paper. Mistake. I think that had I covered both sides, the stencil wouldn't have curled up as much as it did. Fortunately, I had pinned the stencil to the fabric, so it wasn't too bad. Surprisingly, I had read just the other day how to make a stencil, which warned against just that. I am trying to find that post, but I blog stalk read alot, so I will update ASAP. {I have started keeping an electronic Word document with where I find all these things, so that I can remember & reference later}Then I cut out the letters.

Step 7: I used Metallic Silver Acrylic Paint and the textile medium to make my fabric paint (directions are on the bottle - easy peasy). And then I stenciled away using a sponge.

Step 8: I decided that the ribbon I wanted to put on the pillow looked too washed out against the blue, so instead, I used material from my bridesmaid's shawls to create piping for around the pillow.
(I learned how to do this at Centsational Girl's post Simple Sew: Double Welt Cord) although I don't have a zipper foot. Well I might have a zipper foot, but I don't know what they look like. So I stopped by the store to buy one and learned that not too many places carry them. So I just mashed down my 'cording' which worked ok since I was using old sleeping bag ties. I also used the silver to create a heart. {Too much empty space, and what the heck was established?!? Love!}

and... Ta Da!

I love this because:
1) Wedding memories {sigh}
2) My hunky hubster helped make some of the decisions and also loves it :-) Since he helped and I love him, this is his Valentine's Day gift :-)
3) I'm now addicted to stencils and am already planning my next stencil.
4) The only thing new is the dye, thread and paint (material = wedding dress and bridesmaids, cord = old sleeping bag ties, pillow form = reused from pillow that had indestructible goo on it.)

How about you? Anything you've done with dye or your wedding dress, or {gasp} both?

Have a great day :-) Barbara

P.S. I'm taking my wedding dress pillow to:

and to:

Visit thecsiproject.comButton Redo

Go check them out and enter a project of your own!


  1. Wow you're brave! Thanks for auditioning for American Crafter!

  2. I took my vintage 70s wedding dress and turned it into a blessing dress for my granddaughters. It turned out beauful and all my granddaughters so far have had a chance to wear it. All four of them. Anyway so wonderful to turn something basically unusable into something wonderful and useable.

  3. Amy and Vikki - thank you so much for the great comments.

    Amy - I can't wait to see the contest and how it progresses.

    Vikki - What a great idea! I agree that it is so wonderful to take something that is basically unusable and make it wonderful. That way many more people get to enjoy it and share in the memories :-)

    Thanks again ~ Barbara

  4. You really are brave!!! :) Kudos to you, I don't think I'd be able to do that, but I like Vikki thought maybe I'd make baptism blankets out of my wedding dress later on for my grandchildren (I doubt I could make an actual baptism gown, but blankets are easy) :) Glad you are happy with the result :)

  5. Oh my gosh you are SO brave. My new hero for sure! I would have completely chickened out cutting into my dress, and it's been in the closet every since we got married. I love your pillow, and though I feel inspired to put my dress to good use I don't think I have your nerves.

  6. Wow - thank you guys so much for the posts. I don't think I would have had the nerve to do it either, except that it has basically boiled down to this or getting rid of it altogether. (We recently moved to Hawaii, and as a result have downsized to about 1/4 of the space we had 2 years ago). So basically our outlook on things is that if we aren't using it, it can't stay. :-( So now, we are using my wedding dress :-) Yay! Thanks again for all the great comments. ~Barbara

  7. You are brave...don't think I could do that. The pillow is great and what a great reminder of your wedding everyday!

  8. What are you doing with the rest of the dress? You did such a good job and so brave. I was teary eyed just reading what you wrote, especially the first cut. Love the pillow. so perfect! And dying fabric is so tricky. I not sure i have the nerve to do that either. Wow!

  9. Wonderful idea. I'd love for you to come link up at Inspire Me Mondays

  10. Hi Barbara, so creative! I too am all about repurposing items! Please consider linking up to my blog bash K.I.S.S.=Keep It Simple Sunday, the link is open 'til Tues. evening. So glad I found your blog via tatertots & jello, happy to be your latest and greatest follower. :)


  11. Great job!!!!! I've been super sick this week, so I'm way behind on my Google Reader, but I'm so glad I found this. And thanks for the aloha in mentioning my wedding dress pillows. :)

    Watch for an email from me today, too.



Hi! I hope you've had as much fun reading about my adventure as I have had writing about it! I would love to hear from you! :-) Barbara

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