A thrift store wedding dress, pre-restoration

While perusing the racks at my local goodwill earlier this year, I came across a number of vintage wedding dresses on display for reasonable prices. My hand and eyes have a knack for easily spotting high quality textiles, and when I saw the lace body of this dress hiding behind the gaudy sleeves and bow I knew an atrocity had been committed. THE EIGHTIES.
A peek inside the dress confirmed my suspicions. What was once a classic lace sheath dress, probably from the late 50's or early 60's judging by the label, had become a fancy costume with sleeves as heavy as an average newborn. I vowed to return this dress to its former glory and it didn't take much to remove the sleeves and bow. All that's left is hand sewing the armsceye's to finish the raw edges of the lace, underlining and lining. Some close-ups of the sleeves and their deconstruction follow.

Shoulder strap and sleeve
The lining had been unpicked and restitched to cover the sleeve seams.
Raw edges galore! That fluffy sleeve had so many layers that they added an anchor to keep the bodice attached to the bra straps, otherwise the weight of the sleeves would pull it off the shoulders.

I'm sad the dress isn't quite my size-- a few inches too large in the bust-- but I'll probably give it a good bleaching to remove the yellowing in some spots, and then give it a shot on etsy. It's a high quality garment that simply needed some attention and restoration.

I love thrift shopping.


  1. Nothing says the 80s to me like a giant bow on the butt. Wow. That dress is lucky you found it.


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