What can I do with an old wedding gown?

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I have my mothers old wedding gown. I can't bring myself to get rid of it because it meant a lot to her. What can I do with it? Is there someone I could take it to? It's to brittle/fragile to wear. Thanks in advance.
q what can i do with an old wedding gown
  72 answers
  • Yellow Barn Interiors Yellow Barn Interiors on Feb 28, 2017
    Thrift shops will take them.

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    • Yellow Barn Interiors Yellow Barn Interiors on Mar 01, 2017
      Yes, in fact you could add some other things in the shadowbox that relates to her grandmother's life and so it could be a framed shadowbox of her grandmother's history. She could just take a photo of someone (maybe herself) wearing it and put the photo in the shadowbox and that way she could pack the dress away if she doesn't want to cut it.

  • D D on Feb 28, 2017
    The deacon at my church had his mother's wedding gown made into beautiful vestments for the priest and deacon.

  • Harleybiggirl Harleybiggirl on Feb 28, 2017
    I can't believe you would even want to get rid of it. I would love to own my mother's wedding dress. Just keep it, as is, or find out how to preserve it.

  • Michele Vargo Michele Vargo on Feb 28, 2017
    I won't get rid of it just wanted to re-purpose it. Possibly something that I can leave to my granddaughter some day. I wonder if I could still try and preserve it somehow with how fragile it is. Then the question of who do I trust with it. One false move and it's gone.

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    • 516maria 516maria on Nov 08, 2021

      i had my mother in laws dress made into a christening outfit for my first born son. He wore it, my 2nd son wore it and my two grandsons wore it. It may not be so white anymore but it’s the idea that my mother in law wore it on her wedding day… part of her is with us..even though she is no longer here. I also would save any leftover scraps as a granddaughter can place bits in a bouquet or hair accessory for a special occasion.

  • Cathi Cathi on Feb 28, 2017
    What about making christening gowns for her great grandchildren? Frame some lace with a photo of her in the dress, maybe make handkerchiefs for the family members...or maybe someone will wear it one special day!

  • Nancy Nancy on Mar 01, 2017
    I am an antique dealer and I have done several wedding gown fashion shows with gowns dating from 1900-1960. Believe it or not, I have washed many a gown. I also worked in a museum (so don't try this yourself). If a dress is in poor physical condition, stains, large tears, I take it apart. Often, there is a lot of beautiful, salvageable fabric available for sewing projects. I have made seven christening gowns, wedding pillows and flower girl dresses from several donated wedding gowns. If the gown was never cleaned and stored properly right after the wedding ceremony, most likely it has absorbed nicotine smoke. One woman gave me a wedding gown made of Valencienne lace from her first marriage in 1946 that she kept in a grocery bag in her closet. Well actually her SECOND husband gave it to me. He hated the fact that she kept it for 60 years. I washed it, steamed and ironed it and put it on a mannequin in a wedding display with forty other gowns. When I can only salvage a small bit of fabric, I make lace christening bonnets or wedding handkerchiefs. I once made 15 pairs of wedding garters from a 1930's satin gown. They were saved for the future weddings of fifteen great-granddaughters. The point of all this. Your mother looks so lovely in that dress, make something from the fabric and cherish it. Even if its just a simple bridal collage with her fabric as a backing, her wedding invitation and that beautiful photo. Thrift shops don't usually take in fragile, unwearable dresses.
    I

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    • Deborah W Deborah W on Jul 13, 2019

      I too have a wedding dress from the 80's and live in Georgia! If you or someone else could use it, please contact me!

  • Charly Charly on Mar 01, 2017
    I agree with Nancy from Detroit. There are so many things you can make from the fabric of the dress. My sister-in-law made curtains for her bedroom window. She cut her veil down and made her two daughters veils for their First Communion. The tiara from the veil was used by her daughters when they got married. Please don't just toss it aside. The items you can make from that dress will gift a lot of ladies and the memories alone will last a lifetime.

    • Michele Vargo Michele Vargo on Mar 01, 2017
      That dress isn't going anywhere. I would like to recycle it, I just didn't know what I could make with it and still keep the integrity of the where it came from. Thanks so much for your thoughts.

  • Kat Kat on Mar 01, 2017
    what a gorgeous dress!! yes, preserve and use it somehow. if you quilt or sew, how about taking the lacy layers and make bedskirt for daughter/grandaughter, lacy pillow sham, make a memory box/picture (lace, flowers, invitation etc), use lace for a scrapbook (remember some years ago when everyone was making fabric covered scrapbooks/picture albums?), bible cover, pillows, southern wide brimmed hats, cover lampshades, attach lace to material for a tablecloth for special occasions, curtains, edging on blankets........

  • Diana Clabaugh Diana Clabaugh on Mar 01, 2017
    People have made teddy bears out of wedding dresses to keep as memories.

  • Bernice Grace Bernice Grace on Mar 01, 2017
    You could contact nicuhelpinghands.org and donate the dress to . They take the dress to be made into burial gowns for infant that have died. That make beautiful gowns using the material, beads and lace. They give these to the parent.

    • Erin Jones Erin Jones on Mar 06, 2017
      This was going to be my suggestion as well. It would be very special to a family that has suffered such a loss.

  • Felice Birdsall Felice Birdsall on Mar 01, 2017
    You could make it into a baptism dress. Made one for my kids and my grandkids have used it. Will admit that I was a wreck taking a scissor to the material. You can use "stitch-witchery" to adhere any embellishments, like lace flowers, to the dress.

  • Michele Vargo Michele Vargo on Mar 01, 2017
    What great ideas. Thanks so much.

  • Michele Vargo Michele Vargo on Mar 01, 2017
    Thanks Janet. Got some good ideas.

  • Mo Gray Mo Gray on Mar 01, 2017
    From my gown, I made a "Treasure Bag" for each of my two granddaughters. They get their treasure bags each Christmas, Easter, and birthday--completely redecorated and filled with little "treasures", including dollar coins tucked into each pocket. As they get older, the little gifts can get more special. Big Sister just got her ears pierced, and she loved getting her first dangle earrings in her Treasure Bag! Each time I redecorate the bags, I save their decorations in a sandwich bag, labeled with the year and event. Plus, I take a photo of them to help me remember what I've put in them. I don't get to be with them very often, and this has been a special way I can connect with them and pray for them as I spend time putting their bags together.

  • Michele Vargo Michele Vargo on Mar 02, 2017
    What a great idea.

  • Ms.18420290 Ms.18420290 on Mar 02, 2017
    I made ring bearer pillows for several family weddings

  • Jer14389674 Jer14389674 on Mar 02, 2017
    My daughter made bed dolls for her daughters, with hers. Dresses and bonnets. Used the same cloth dolls as used for pillowcase dolls.

  • Michele Vargo Michele Vargo on Mar 02, 2017
    That's an idea. Thanks.

  • Michele Vargo Michele Vargo on Mar 02, 2017
    I love that idea. Could make one for my granddaughter when she gets married some day. Thank you so much.

  • Kate Sullivan Kate Sullivan on Mar 02, 2017
    Use parts of it to make sentimental Christmas ornaments or pillows. Enlarge and frame your sweet mother's wedding photo, using the fabric as matting. Make a shadow box, adding swatches of the prettiest parts of the fabric. Take the gown to a conservator to frame using acid-free products... a beautiful decoration for little girl's bedroom.

  • Arlie Murphy Arlie Murphy on Mar 02, 2017
    I used lace from mine to make garters for my daughters when they got married.

  • Reblcant Reblcant on Mar 02, 2017
    Since you have a granddaughter, why don't you make a garter and a purse for her wedding day? make something like a scarf or shawl for your daughter. As you keep saying to people, you don't want to give it away you want to repurpose it.

  • Dawn Dawn on Mar 02, 2017
    Maybe you could take a piece of the gown and add it to their own gown for their own weddings? I like the idea of making a purse out of the gown. I can't do that with mine. It's purple! And I'm not haging children to pass it on.

  • Me Me on Mar 02, 2017
    Really? It's beautiful. Donate it for another person to use.

    • Michele Vargo Michele Vargo on Mar 03, 2017
      Sadly it's in no condition to be worn. Got fragile over the years from poor preservation. Don't want to get rid of it as it's my moms and she passed in 2015. Thanks.

  • Judy Judy on Mar 02, 2017
    Good evening, there are lots of programs that ask for wedding gowns, especially for service ladies, who can't afford one. They want one, to wear, before their hubby is transferred away at sea., or they go to serve our country. Look in your yellow pages, and look under used clothing, or ask where groups are, that gives clothes to service folks, before they leave on a trip. You may also ask tv stations for they know who to give the clothes to. Especially the call in programs, or noon time programs. This is a lovely program, and you will be deeply blessed, by blessing another person, also. Lots of best wishes, always.

    • Michele Vargo Michele Vargo on Mar 03, 2017
      Unfortunately the gown is in rough shape and can't be used that way. Thanks for the suggestions. Have a great weekend.

  • Cnd16659309 Cnd16659309 on Mar 02, 2017
    We have a group of ladies called Warm Hearts, Warm Babies who sew newborn baby items for moms who do not have any baby clothes. One item they make is from wedding dresses. It is a burial gown for newborns who do not survive.

    • Kristin Kristin on Mar 03, 2017
      I had heard of this group but didn't know their name. TY for that.

  • Michele Vargo Michele Vargo on Mar 03, 2017
    That is one amazing group. I will keep this as an option. My mother loved babies so I will keep that in mind. Thank you for sharing that.

  • Michele Vargo Michele Vargo on Mar 03, 2017
    I don't have a daughter but I do have a granddaughter and that is an option. Thanks.

  • Michele Vargo Michele Vargo on Mar 03, 2017
    Great idea. Thanks.

  • Judy Judy on Mar 03, 2017
    Since the gown is in rough shape, you may consider having a seamstress, or a friend,  and have her do some sewing. This may be for a smaller person, or make a wedding dress for a doll, or a small image, for yourself, just to keep, or give to a needy ill child, in a hosp. All these ideas, would be worth the consideration. Best wishes, Judy. Michele, I wish you the very best, in this matter, for a wedding gown is so precious, for this truly is a example of important times in your mom's and dad's life. Or, perhaps a small doll, or a image in a store front, could be made from this example. Thinking of you, and do let us know the final result, ok?

    • Michele Vargo Michele Vargo on Mar 03, 2017
      I sure will let you know what I decide. Thanks for the great ideas. I do appreciate them.

  • Rei11256847 Rei11256847 on Mar 03, 2017
    I took my wedding dress train off and made Christening gowns for my children. Is there enough of the lace in good shape to do something on a small scale like that?

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    • Cathy Cathy on Mar 03, 2017
      There is an organization that makes burial dresses for stillborn babies, or babies that are born too soon. They use appropriate parts of the dress. What a sweet sentiment for a loved garment.

  • Aleta Hebner Aleta Hebner on Mar 03, 2017
    I used pieces of mine to wrap my daughters wedding bouquet!

  • Pmono7690 Pmono7690 on Mar 03, 2017
    My sister in law takes them for ladies in her area and makes a skirt for the Christmas tree, in addition to the above suggestions!

  • VENA SILLIPHANT VENA SILLIPHANT on Mar 03, 2017
    What about taking some of the fabric pieces that are still useable and making a memento toss pillow. As a decorative item it would not need to stand up to the wear and tear of an article of clothing, but it could still move from room to room if you redecorated. I did this with an old sweater of my Mom's on the advice of a friend, and I'm glad I did. If there is enough usable fabric you could even make "ring pillows" for your children to use in their weddings.

  • Janet Perkolup Janet Perkolup on Mar 03, 2017
    Take your picture of your Mom in her wedding dress and add the material to the picture, then put it in a shadow box tightly sealed. That will preserve some of the dress for you. Good luck!

  • Nona Nona on Mar 03, 2017
    I had my wedding gown made into a christening gown. I have two grandchildren who wore it. There was enough to make a long dress and a long coat with a bonnet. It's old fashion but I love it! I will make a shadow box for it along with pictures of my grandkids wearing it. I'm a sentimental old fool! :)

  • Michele Vargo Michele Vargo on Mar 03, 2017
    I think that is a beautiful idea. I'm sentimental too, we are not fools but have a compassionate heart.

  • Nancy Nancy on Mar 03, 2017
    So often, a daughter just doesn't have the heart to take a pair of scissors and cut up her mother's or grandmother's wedding dress. That's where I usually come in. I also have a great frame shop near me that does beautiful wedding collages. Ask your family members FIRST if they would like one. Any wedding invitation and bridal photo can be copied beautifully. If you also have your mother's headpiece intact, include it in YOUR collage. Don't burden yourself with storing it forever. It will only deteriorate further. From the photo, I am assuming that it is at least fifty years old. Since, I haven't seen the actual dress and its present condition, I can't specifically advise as to what can be made from its fabric. Be advised many dresses stores improperly suffer from air rot which makes the fabric very brittle.

  • Michele Vargo Michele Vargo on Mar 04, 2017
    Nancy, unfortunately you live in Michigan and I'm in Pennsylvania. Who would I look for in my area? How do I then determine if the person is creditable? You're so right, I don't have the heart to take scissors to it myself because I'm afraid I will destroy it. I had no problem with her clothes, which I made quilts for my dad and two brothers. I used the tops that she wore with them to make it more special for each of them. I will make another quilt for my granddaughter with the remaining fabric. Anyway, back to the wedding gown. I don't want to waste more time and risk further damage. I have it stored in a sealed tote for now. I don't have her headpiece but made a replica of it for mine. I also used her bible cover which has been preserved in a frame with the orchids. I would be happy to friend you on FB and continue this further. Thank you for what you shared.

  • Curtis A Lange Curtis A Lange on Mar 04, 2017
    My mom made the ring bearer's pillow for our wedding with part of her wedding dress.

    • Joanie Joanie on Mar 27, 2017
      With all that lace is it possible to make a lace bassinet covering for a new granddaughter or great granddaughter for her baby shower. An heirloom is a forever memory......Good Luck!

  • Janice Miller Janice Miller on Mar 04, 2017
    A lady in our town makes ANGEL dresses to be used for preemies or still-born babies . They have a beautiful gown to be buried in.

  • Mariann McWhinney Mariann McWhinney on Mar 04, 2017
    There are women who make new born dresses. They give the dresses to the hospital for girls that would go home in diapers only. Also could be made into baptismal dress for a relative of the once bride.

  • Laurie Kollins Laurie Kollins on Mar 04, 2017
    My Grandmother's wedding dress was used to make Baptismal dresses for her twins, my mother and uncle. The dresses have been passed down to the family since. I believe the dresses are now over a 100 years old and preserved to use pictures only.

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    • Melissa V Melissa V on Mar 13, 2017
      This is for Irene-Clever use of words...went from you "having" a baptismal dress of interest, to "How the World Turns"...Be Happy😃!

  • Sandra Allen Sandra Allen on Mar 04, 2017
    I wanted to do this before I got RA. A lady makes miniature wedding dresses for fashion dolls (think Barbie but much nicer). The dresses are the exact duplicate of the dress and the results are amazing.
    Here is a link to the images I found on google. If you see something you like, click on the image and it will take you to a page.
    That might be a great idea, but it will only use a small amount of your dress. So I also googled "things to make with old wedding dress" and came up with more ideas than you can ever imagine...
    I hope this helped. But for all the ideas...I like the shadow box the best. Thanks Janet!!

  • RF RF on Mar 04, 2017
    When you are ready to part with it consider high school or college drama departments.

  • Jill Jill on Mar 04, 2017
    Just keep it as it is. When you are gone, someone else can worry about it. :)

  • Pat C Pat C on Mar 05, 2017
    Too funny! Actually, that is probably just what I would end up doing. Thanks for a good laugh!!

  • Laurie Kollins Laurie Kollins on Mar 05, 2017
    I agree... our dress is still in the family...

  • Jackie Lett Jackie Lett on Mar 07, 2017
    You never know...there could be a family member (in the making) that would love to wear a vintage dress that belonged to her great great great great grandmother! I know I would love to have had my mothers....let alone my great great grandmothers! :)

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    • Joanie Joanie on Mar 27, 2017
      I have my wedding dress. My granddaughter may be married in it? I have always wanted to be buried in it, unless she would marry in it. It may sound morbid, but when I walk thru them Pearly Gates, my Mom will see me comin'. I was her only daughter and she spent a lot of time working to earn the money for my gown and wedding. I will wear pearly white flip-flops with it. My Grandmother's first name was Pearl. Until then, I hope it will stay in good shape. I've kept it in a bag, wrapped in blue tissue and the cedar chest at my Mom's. I should say, she did!

  • Kellie Kellie on Mar 07, 2017
    I tore mine apart and made a wall hanging for my home. I had a friend quilt the back for me, I added touches like the gloves I wore, a hanky, and crocheted things my mother had made which we used in our decorations, our theme was vintage lace.

  • Michele Vargo Michele Vargo on Mar 08, 2017
    Unfortunately the gown is to fragile to wear. I would of worn it at my wedding.

  • Casey Wright Casey Wright on Mar 09, 2017
    Frame a piece of the lace with a nice backing and add a wedding photo of your mother. Make lace curtains. Adhere a square to sturdier material and use it to make a quilt or pillow with other memorable family outfits.

  • Rhonda S Rhonda S on Mar 12, 2017
    If you can stand to tear it apart, make miniature quilt tops to use as the face of small sachet bags for each new bride in your family. (And of course, one for each "ALREADY FAMILY" bride) with a nice printed card or even framed statement of whose dress it was and how the dress was the garment of this foundation of your family. May each bride share the strength and kindness (or what-ever description of characteristics you would like to see carried on) into her family, honoring your mother and blessing her descendents. Another thought would be to give one to each new baby, and of course, to each existing memeber of your mother's family. Be sure to wrap the bags in acid free paper, and print your notes on acid free paper so that they can be better preserved.

  • Michele Vargo Michele Vargo on Mar 13, 2017
    Thanks so much for such an awesome idea. Giving a part of mom to everyone would be the best way to do it.

    • Melissa V Melissa V on Mar 13, 2017
      Hey Michele-I wonder, since it's so fragile, have you tried spraying some of the lace (really, the whole dress IS lace) with a light mist of spray starch to see if that helps "hold" it together? I would try a small area, at the bottom. Do one side, then the other. This might be a way to salvage the lace for future uses. The main bodice fabric might be another story, you'll have to find out.

      You really have some good ideas here to think about. The portrait of your mother was gorgeous-anything you can do to cherish that moment of her would be wonderful for all of you to have...as suggested, make memory frames filled with that photo and what each of you (your brothers, etc), want to include from the dress and other keepsakes, to make each one personal.

      I hope the starch idea helps, first I thought of modpodge, but it's too heavy for your moms lace. Take your time and think about it before you make a decision. 😊

  • DB DB on Mar 13, 2017
    We gave a lot of Great grandma's clothes to the city museum. Some are now on display so family members can visit. If you really can't part with it maybe museum staff near you can give you some ideas about preserving. Alternatively maybe you can frame the veil on a dark velvet background. Your Mom was a gorgeous Bride!!!!!

  • Laurie Kollins Laurie Kollins on Mar 14, 2017
    since I last made a comment on using a bridal gown, I read where someone used their gown for a burial gown for their infant. Sad but another purpose ...


  • Eliza Spear Eliza Spear on Mar 14, 2017
    I have taken pieces off of my mom's dress for various grandchildren as they have gotten married...two have used some of the satin for wrapping the bouquet and one has used some of the lace as an addition to her bouquet. My oldest granddaughter is getting married in the fall and she will be using some part of it as well. She is the first great granddaughter to get married .

  • Michele Vargo Michele Vargo on Mar 14, 2017
    Thank you so much Melissa. I will try the spray starch and see what happens. Before I do that I want to pull it out and see how fragile it actually is. I haven't removed it from the tote I got it in. I know what my mother told when we discussed it prior to her death. I really need to examine it and see. I love the frame idea and adding additional keepsakes making them more personal. So many good ideas I might try a few of them.

  • Michele Vargo Michele Vargo on Mar 14, 2017
    Thank you, she was stunning. That is a good idea. Seeking the advice of someone in a museum. I will have to look into that. I'm not even sure the veil is in the tote. My mom never mentioned it only the dress in our conversations. My dad wouldn't have a clue. I do appreciate the advice.

  • Nancy Nancy on Mar 14, 2017
    Be advised. Some dresses have something we realistically refer to as air rot. The seams and threads tend to disintegrate when they hit the air and are handled after being stored for many years. I often have to reinforce every single seam on my vintage WEARABLE clothing. I once had a model in a historic fashion show walk down a long staircase in a 1920's gown. By the time she reached the bottom, all of the back seams split. Luckily, she was wearing pantyhose. I was able to find wonderful tailor and seamstress who knew good quality fabrics and taught me a lot about various fabric and thread types. Many small museum curators (unless they have a fashion degree) will be unable to help you. They usually don't offer assistance with clothing since its such an iffy decision as to how to proceed. Also check for anyone who collects antique clothing or linens In your town. They may be able to offer advice. The dress really needs to be seen in person in order to give you a professional opinion.

  • Michele Vargo Michele Vargo on Mar 15, 2017
    I completely agree. I will take your advice and try and locate someone in my area. If you're ever in Pennsylvania please let me know.

  • Gin17629724 Gin17629724 on Mar 15, 2017
    I turned my gown into a beautiful quilt, looks beautiful on the foot of my bed folded!

  • Rhonda Brooks Rhonda Brooks on Mar 16, 2017
    I have seen where people use their wedding gown for their baby basinette. I think a company can do this. Google it.

  • Deborah George Deborah George on Mar 17, 2017
    I love all the ideas, the Angel program is a wonderful program. Also a Baptismal gown for a great-grandchild if the fabric holds up.

  • PEG16021267 PEG16021267 on Mar 17, 2017
    I made a friend's daughter a beautiful pillow for her bed out of her mom's wedding dress.

  • Faith Faith on Jun 26, 2019

    A friendafe gets into beautiful bed cover .

  • Mary Smith Mary Smith on Jun 26, 2019

    Our city has a museum that features all sorts of relics from our area. I’ll bet there is a museum near you that would love to show it off.

  • Sherry Sherry on Jan 27, 2020

    I had a friend that quilts turn my wedding dress and veil into little pillows w/pockets on the back. I then laminated a photo of my husband and I on our wedding day (me in the dress) and inserted the photo in the pocket along with a letter. I got 11 pillows and gave them to my nieces and great-nieces. That way no one person had to "store" the dress. No one wanted to wear it - especially my son (my only child). So this seemed the best answer to the question. They turned out way better than I had hoped and everyone loved them

  • JosyPaigan JosyPaigan on Apr 11, 2021

    This is an incredibly beautiful wedding gown. It has its history and this is its charm. But if you want to get rid of it you can just take it to a second-hand store or make some curtains for your kitchen. I think that would look great. I have a wedding next week and my gown is white and very simple because I'm a little bit conservative when it comes to traditions and clothes. I love simplicity. My wedding means a lot to me and I wish all my friends and relatives could attend my wedding. But, because of the covid-19, there will be a few people at my wedding. So, my friend asked me yesterday " why not live streaming your wedding?" and I agreed with her. That would be a great option for everyone to see my wedding and support me.

  • Donna Frederick Donna Frederick on Apr 30, 2021

    Donate to a museum.


  • Susan Susan on Nov 08, 2021

    My niece made a beautiful rag wreath by tearing up 2 gowns and adding lace -she made strips of the fabfic( raw edges) and cut them random lengths and also made a bow using all the leftover fabric ribbons and laze. She tied the strips u a metal wreath form ( but you can use grapevine wreath- and cover the wreath by putting long enough fabric strips in the bottom and added hot clue before bringing around to the front and trim in a knot- fill entire wreath this way- or for metal wreath form-tie to all layers of form-starting at back of wreath and go up to do each layer separately so it builds volume( (makes lots of thicker layers) she then used the bow she made on the upper to middle side of wreath by putting a zip tie around bow where it can’t be seen ; and attaching it to bottom of the form- tightening the zip tie-cut excess off zip tie and reinforcing it there woth hot glue. You can then add rhinestone pin or fancy buttons to middle of the bw only- or collect from yard sales and thrift store and add several to actual wreath by fastening them to fabric and using some hot glue on pins so the don’t fall iff