Monday, May 16, 2011

The Story of the Convertible Wedding Dress

Last fall, I accompanied a friend to the bridal salon, to inspect a dress that she loved and wanted my help to make even better. The dress had three layers in a mermaid style full lower skirt, and she wanted to know if I could make it that the lowest two layers could be unzipped after the ceremony part of the wedding and become a cocktail length dress for dancing! I checked the construction, and gave her the go-ahead to order the dress, knowing it could become the convertible wedding dress she really wanted.

I found some long separating zippers on ebay. I plan to use three 42 inch zippers, one for the lowest layer, containing the lining and the crinoline. The second would be for the upper layer, containing, the two bottom tiers of gathered lace and tulle. The third zipper will be half used, to attach to a mini lining to zip back in under the remaining lace layer, as it becomes quite see-through without the other layers underneath.

Thus with the zippers in hand and the plan in place, and my amazingly trusting friend.... I cut the lining and crinoline out... then I basted the layers together, then cut the lace layers off (including a nice little train). What is left is this cute little lace and beaded dress!

OK, now don't panic, but I now need to reassemble the dress with zippers so that it gets back to the original condition!! I finished all the cut edges with an overlock stitch to make sure it would be stable and not fray. I then attached one half of the separating zipper to each cut edge. I used the left hip as the start and stop place, so that it would be easy to find and operate the zippers. (the bride will likely need an assistant to help her zip out, but should be able to do this without taking the gown off).

This photo is with the outer layers off, and the crinoline layer still on...

And here is the dress, with zippers attached and dress reassembled... can't see any zippers from the outside. Now it is ready for the big reveal halfway through the evening!

This was one of the most exciting alterations I have attempted. I think it is a great idea to have a dress that transforms throughout the day (she also has a matching shoulder wrap that attaches to the top of the dress for the church service part of the day)


  1. I love that dress. If that was on an episode of say yes to the dress I'd definitely say yes!!!!

  2. This is a wonderful alternative you have created! I love your sewing spunk!

  3. Thank you For posting this. I have a dress that I want to make into a convertible dress and I haven't taken it to my seamstress yet but was trying to figure out how to make it convertible. This is exactly what I was looking for. I wasn't sure whether to use a zipper or some other type of Fastener. I just looked on eBay and found the zippers you were talking about.