Tale of The Bride's Maid Dress--Queen Iduna

November 19, 2019

So you get to be asked to be a Bride's Maid for your best friend's wedding.

 

Immediately mixed feelings percolate. On the one hand you are beyond joyous for your friend's nuptials and flattered to be included in a momentous occasion.

 

The other hand? You gotta don the obligatory uniform and you know it's gonna be a crap shoot. Yes, you might be lucky to provide input on the style or color of the bride's maid dress, but in your heart-of-hearts, you know your friend will ultimately chose what she wants, and you've always questioned her taste. By now you are committed, and there's no way out but through.

 

Let the 'Maybes' Begin...

One thing you know for sure, you will never, ever wear it again--not for New Year's, not for a cruise, and definitely not for another wedding--and you know, after 'maybe-ing' it to death, you will never alter or hem it.

 

You think maybe you can re-coop some of your investment on Facebook Marketplace or Nextdoor.com, Craiglist--heck, you'll even try LetGo.com. No bites. You lower the price from $50 to $25 to generate some excitement. And as a last resort, you try to unload at your garage sale--for $10, then $5. Nope. Nothing. Nada. It's time to donate the expensive cast-off because at this point, you just can't keep looking at it in your closet. It's now officially clutter.

 

Swiped To The Left...

At the thrift store, your former dress is now getting 'swiped to the left' over and over and over again, until the dress is literally shamed, heartbroken and downtrodden. (Your bride's maid dress was just 2017! Now think how an 80's prom dress feels like.)

 

A chance encounter with an up-cycler is all this dress can hope for. Up-cycling is trending.

 

"Hello hot stuff!", I say to your dress. "You are gorgeous! and I know exactly what I am going to do with you!"

 

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This is the crux of Costume Take-Out...this is what I do.

I give new life to discarded/donated fabrics in any shape or form--be it drapes, old linens, gaudy 80's belts, velvet robes, ethnic clothing (my favorite: Indian wedding clothing), bed skirts, and yes---tons of unloved prom bride's maid dresses of any decade.

 

Recently I was asked by a mother to make a Queen Iduna costume for her daughter's upcoming production "Frozen Jr." at the Roseville Theater Arts Academy. http://www.rosevilletheatreartsacademy.com/

 

Having a break from a crazy early Fall costume rental season, I had some extra time to really put effort into this project, while attempting new technique and honing and mastering other sewing skills.

 

My Marching Orders

My marching orders were super simple: Queen Iduna, Scandinavian, purple and black. Other than that, I was on my own, and I truly appreciate the creative latitude people entrust me with.

 

Before I start any project, I always do a compulsory Pinterest search for ideas. Even a creative looks for inspiration on Pinterest. Then I search through my massive collection of previously acquired fabrics and clothing items. I pull what might work together. I make a mental note of what else is needed. Then I start to strategize in how to put it all together.

 

I don't draw because I can't. It's not in my personal tool kit. My process is massaging the entire way until it 'feels right'. I can't explain any other way. Kinda simple. Kinda complex.

 

So enough said. I won't bore you with all the technical sewing details because that's not why I blog. I blog to show an up-cycling process that is my artistic expression. And it does help the environment too--not a bad deal.

 

My Total Cost For Queen Iduna: $10.28

All items were purchased at lowest cost possible...purple crushed velvet blouse $1.00, special occasion dress $1.00, sleeveless dress $1.00, bed skirt $3.99, crazy 80's belt (used as necklace) $3.29, beads I have sitting around  (pennies). Total $10.28.

 

Introducing The Cast-Offs!

crushed velvet top...i already reversed the blouse here...what was a button-up front, is now in the back...

 

Cachet brand special occasion dress (think 90's)...

 

frumpy, black sleeveless faux suede 'button up and down dress'...

 

So at this point, you're doubtful, right? It's about to get a lot worse. But with a little massage therapy, you will become a believer : )

 

 

the bed--skirt...

 

nothing like a tacky, gaudy 80's belt...

 

Construction

i will just jump in here...can't button up the dress in the front, so i have to turn it around so the buttons of the top a line with the zipper of the dress....

 

this part of my massage therapy is just painful, warts and all...what a mess...just raw, shapeless everything...

 

here's the view of the back side of the blouse...

 

performing surgery never gets comfortable for me...something about the finality of scissor to fabric...

 

removed former sleeves, reshaped whole blouse to fit a 30 inch chest...this is where my 4 years of doing up-cycling has taken me--the ability to reshape everything...I will not go into how many late nights and frustration it took to learn...nothing is ever easy...but this was easy for me (finally

 

new sleeves attached..still nothing special to look at here...the neck is really starting to bug me, but still have no clue what to do with it...make a turtle neck? be true to the original Queen Iduna collar?...

 

 

 added sleeve extensions...

 

take in the purple dress...

 

attaching blouse to dress...

 

black sleeveless over-dress is way oversized...needs new armhole...

 

finished black overdress...playing around with necklace formerly known as tacky 80's belt...

 

 

let's not get ahead of myself here...i know i am excited to get to the baubbles, but let's give the flat black overdress some attention...making my trim from an old bed-skirt...

 

starting to come together...

 

cut off one of the medallions on the belt-turned necklace--it was bugging me...

 

added sleeve trim...

 

made a waistline embellishment from my bead collection.....

 

just a little detail, but makes a huge impact....

 

important to show the 'fails' as well as the successes (i'm still learning)...my attempt at a cowl collar was a no-go...

 

decided the only thing i could do, because there were additional limitations on the back of the dress, was to remove the collar completely and make some bias tape and finish it...

these fun little bias makers are amazing and so easy to use...

 

here's some technical info...bias strips are cut at an angle where the most flexibility occurs in the fabric so it can curve--like around a neckline....

 

 

voila! done...picture would have been better minus the blue rubber band...

 

one more thing...i need to lengthen dress with extra velvet I had from the blouse....

 

 

And it is done! I did it!

 

 

 

 

 

BEFORE

 

AFTER

 

********FINIS********

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