Amani's Vintage Wedding Gown Update

At Lillian Mae Bridal we often get brides who want to find a way to wear or incorporate their mother's wedding dress on their own special day. Our owner, Leslie, is not only amazing at bridal alterations but is an expert seamstress who can help brides transform their mother's vintage wedding dress into a modern and one-of-kind gown.

Amani was a Lillian Mae bride who wanted to take the dress her mother wore and make it a style all her own. We began with her mother's longsleeve wedding gown that was covered in beautiful corded lace appliques.

Amani's mother Fran on her wedding day

Amani's mother Fran on her wedding day

Amani on wanting to use her mother's gown:

My wedding dress journey started a year or so before I got engaged, when my mom decided to unseal her wedding dress that had been sitting in a box in her closet for more than 40 years. My younger sister and I laughed as we both tried on the quintessentially 70s frock with its long, puffy lace sleeves adorned with a bow on each shoulder, an empire waistline, and a train that has some specific fashion-y name but that I referred to as a “cape.” Regardless, in between the fits of giggles I thought aloud, “I could make something out of this.

Fast forward to a year and a half or so later when I ACTUALLY got engaged and my mom asked if I was still interested in maybe getting her dress re-made to which I responded, “YES!” So she went to work researching local seamstresses and found Leslie. I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted from the get-go, which was a pretty unusual design, but Leslie was open-minded and didn’t hesitate to start tearing into my mom’s old dress. I don’t live in Austin so the process took awhile, but at every appointment I had strung out over the next year or so, we kept tweaking the design until I finally got exactly. what. I wanted. Pockets and all :)
Fran's Lace before cleaning and sewing

Fran's Lace before cleaning and sewing

If a vintage wedding dress was not previously cleaned and preserved in acid free paper, it may have yellowed significantly from the original white or ivory color.  The same result will happen if a preservation box was opened years before the use date.  Silver beading will tarnish as well.  We can often clean vintage lace to get it closer to the original color or replace tarnished or missing beading.  We cleaned Amani's mother's dress in house and had a significant improvement in color.  We also use a professional preservation company if needed.

Amani wanted to go with a modern 2-piece look, so Leslie helped her design a stylish v-neck, racer back silk dupioni top with appliques from her mothers original dress.  The separate skirt was made into a full pleated skirt with a silk dupioni lining added.


Amani on working with Lillian Mae Bridal:

Looking back on it, I’m still SO glad I decided to have my mom’s dress re-made. Obviously there’s an emotional attachment and wearing the dress that my mom wore to start her very long and successful marriage with my dad felt like a good luck charm. But also, as a bride with somewhat unique/expensive taste, I was so glad I got to make my dress my very own and for a price we could afford! Other dresses I tried on and actually liked were easily 2-3 times more expensive than mine ended up being, and the lace we used from my mom’s dress would be CRAZY expensive today if you could even find it. My wedding was beautiful and special and perfect in almost every way, but I will say one of the most special aspects was my dress and I am beyond grateful both for the process I got to share with my mom and with Leslie and with the beautiful finished product. It was absolutely the perfect “something borrowed.

Creating something custom or updating a vintage gown is always a process so be prepared for multiple fittings, anywhere from 4+,  to allow your seamstress to perfect the design and fit.  The options are endless when it comes to creating something custom to your style so don't be afraid to think out of the box and discuss your ideas with your seamstress!

Congratulations to Amani and husband Josh! Thank you for allowing us to show the transformation of your beautiful vintage wedding gown.


Photography: Two Pair Photography | Venue: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center | Flowers: Blackbird Floral   | Custom Wedding Gown: Lillian Mae Bridal