After many hours of careful labor, Tessa's family heirloom was completely transformed. Instead of the neck ruff, she has a classic Peter Pan collar in silk satin. The sleeves were shortened and simplified.
The scratchy yellow lining was replaced with soft cotton lawn. The delicate original fabric was given much needed support with an underlining of cotton poplin. These three cotton layers give the skirt a gentle fullness that is still comfortable to wear.
A delicate bias tube with tiny bow at the waist ties the new satin collar and hem together. I really love how the satin brings out the embroidery. The original lace was heavy and coarse. It overpowered the fine detail. With the satin adjacent, the embroidery seems to shine like silk.
Still, I couldn't bear to completely separate the original pieces of the dress, so I attached the original lace to the skirt underlining.
There wasn't another dress like this at Tessa's First Communion and she wouldn't have it any other way! Her mother and grandmother were equally pleased with the results. I was grateful for the opportunity to save a treasured heirloom.
Maybe one day they'll bring it back for me to turn it into a Christening gown.
Photography courtesy of George Aubrey Photography