How to Remake a Wedding Dress With an Old One

Whether it's a beautiful, vintage thrift store find or a family heirloom that's withstood the decades, an old wedding dress can look like new after implementing a few basic alterations 1. From shortening the hem of a dress to piling on embellishment for an added dose of glamour, transforming an old wedding gown can save you big bucks on your big day. While wedding dresses are a big business generating millions in revenue per year, sometimes the absolute best dress is the one that's been hanging in the closet for years, waiting for that special day.

Altering an Old Wedding Dress

Have your dress thoroughly dry-cleaned and pressed before you begin your alterations. You'll want a clean slate to get the full-picture on the changes you are capable of making to customize your dress and make it reflect your unique vision.

Shorten the hem of an old wedding dress 2. First, measure the length you would like to cut and pin the hem. Iron the fold til flat, then hem with a sewing machine or by hand with needle and thread. Shortening the hem will completely transform the look of your dress. Whether a tiny tweak or a major alteration, by removing fabric and shortening the length of your dress, it can then be made into a tea-length gown for a garden wedding or a short and sassy dress for a fun and youthful bride. If you'd like a dramatic transformation, alter your gown for a high-low fit, a popular trend in today's wedding gowns.

Add lace sleeves to a spaghetti-strap gown or remove the sleeves on a long-sleeve dress to further transform an old, outdated wedding dress. Select a matching or contrasting fabric and measure the length and width of the sleeve. Then, cut and sew the fabric onto the straps or to remove the sleeve; using a pair of sharp scissors, cut the fabric at the shoulder and fold and hem for a clean line.

Select a variety of beads, rhinestones and crystals to add to your dress once it's been shortened. Once you have chosen where the embellishments will go, whether on your dress straps, around the waist or scattered throughout, use a hot glue gun or individually sew each embellishment to the dress using a sewing machine. Sewing machines are capable of sewing over sequins, but for glass beads, you'll need to use a needle and thread.


If your sewing skills are subpar, employ a seamstress who can make the changes for you, worry-free.