What can you make with a sentimental dress?


DRESSFor my two year blog anniversary,  I invited you to nominate people you’ve met through the blogging world who you would like to have as next-door neighbors. It was SO heartwarming to read the lovely comments that came from around the world! The blogger with the most nominations was then invited to send me a once-loved garment to remake into some new treasures and return. This year’s winner was Staci of Crafty Staci, who decided to send her going-away dress from her wedding 22 years ago! She said, “It’s been stored under my bed ever since.  I’d love to have it made into some things I could actually have out to enjoy, and red is still my favorite color, so that’s what I’ll be shipping to you.” I was so excited, and when this exquisite handmade dress arrived, my mind started spinning! So . . .today is the reveal! Here we go!

(1) I always like to start with a pillow, and the bodice of this dress was the perfect size to make a pillow cover for a 12 x 16 cushion. After detaching it from the skirt and shoulder straps and removing the boning, I traced and embroidered the logo from Staci’s blog and Etsy shop. Next, I put the pillow inside and nipped and tucked and pinned until I had a perfect fit, then took in the seams and stitched across the bottom. (The zipper is still in the back, just shortened a bit.) To fill in the armholes at the top, I made a lining with a coordinating floral fabric that could peek out at the corners, checked the fit again, pinned, then stitched the top closed. Then all I had to do was trim the seams, turn, press, and zip the pillow inside.  I love that I got to showcase the lovely lace on both the front and back of the pillow!


(2) Next, I wanted to use part of the still-gathered skirt to make something to wear and decided on an apron! I found my inspiration on page 40 of my A is for Apron book by Nathalie Mornu which had a short skirt over a longer one. I used pieces from several different apron patterns along with some of my own ideas and two fun fabrics from my stash, and it came together perfectly.  Here it is blowing in the wind on photo shoot day!


(3) When I saw the size and shape of the shoulder straps, I immediately thought of a bow clutch–one strap for the bag and one for the bow. However, this project turned out to be a little more challenging! I opened up one of the straps for the bag, made a lining from a coordinating fabric in my stash, and attempted to put in a zipper. Since the bottom was already closed up, that was a total fail! So I carefully removed the crooked zipper and simply blanket stitched the top and lining together, then added a button hole and vintage button for the closure. Next, I opened up the side seams and handstitched the other shoulder strap in on both sides, being careful not to catch the lining since I probably should have done this step first! (Since both pieces are padded, the seam was too thick for my machine.) Finally, I used another strip of the lining fabric to cinch the middle of the outer piece to form the bow. So . . . it’s not as perfect as I had envisioned . . . but maybe it will be cute for an evening event where the lights are low??? ♥


(4) The next step was to trim the hem from the skirt. With it, I made three of those fun  “twist, coil, and stitch” flowers. I had a straw wreath and some red and green ribbon in my craft stash, so I wrapped the wreath, added green vintage buttons to the flowers, stitched the flowers onto the wreath, and added a coordinating green ribbon for hanging.


(5) Last but not least, I decided to make something kind of artsy and festive with a remaining piece of skirt fabric. I cut it into one-inch strips and made a pom-pom, then I hung it from ribbon on a gold wooden frame from my stash. I hope it will inspire the idea of “celebrating the everyday” as Staci lives her very creative life with her loved family and friends.


Thank you for being our good neighbor, dear Staci . . . and your package is in the mail! ♥


120 responses »

  1. It’s always nice to turn something sentimental into something you use everyday so you are reminded of that happy time.

  2. I thought you were amazing before, now you are the Crafting Queen! What awesome things you did with that dress. Love, love the pillow with Staci’s logo on it. I know she will cherish those items you made from her special dress. You are super amazing!

  3. Great job as usual! You and I must have been zipper-sisters for a moment. I had some similar trouble the other day!

  4. Everything is so pretty and fun! I love what you did to the dress… The other day my eldest daughter mentioned my wedding dress in the garage that I keep trying to send to the goodwill… She said it would be neat if I made something for her and her sisters from it. And I thought of you! I am inspired now! ~Laurie

  5. Wow! That was amazing! I’m totally impressed with how you not only used every last scrap, but you created beautiful AND functional items. You are a re-purposing rock star!

  6. so cool! I agree with the comment above, this is brilliant. I have a lot of what I call “memory clothes” never thought to try something like this. Well done Katherine. 🙂

  7. wow – amazing! I have the dress my aunt wore the day I was born (I was born on her 22nd birthday) and it hangs there begging me to do something with it – she was so tiny, I don’t think it will fit anyone in the family now. You have given me some great ideas!

    • What a WONDERFUL idea! I have a page for other “what can you make . . .” projects (see the link in my header) . . . plus there’s always Pinterest . . . I’m sure you can come up with some treasures! Can’t wait to see the results! 🙂

      • thanks – someday I will do something wonderful with it, which is why she gave it to me instead of pitching it. She kept it for FIFTY years before she gave it to me, too. She said it was her favorite dress, so I feel a littl epressure here!

    • Well, I think that was darn sweet of you to actually read my long rambly post, Tamara! 🙂 Usually I keep it short and sweet, but I decided to add details this time. It was really a fun project! 🙂

  8. oh wow – she is going to be SO EXCITED to get this! I just know it. I do love the work you do, and I think that little clutch is quite lovely, can’t see any flaws in the picture at all.

  9. Katherine you have done an amazing job here. Such imagination and such beautiful ways to make memories imbedded in things that can be used everyday. Creating functional pieces of art from fabric has new meaning!!

  10. Wow! I am so impressed by how much you got out of one dress. Very creative, you have inspired me to use more of the old clothes I keep saving. The cushion/pillow is especially lovely. My 9 yr old son is doing a sewing project at school at the moment making a cushion out of a favourite old t-shirt too!

  11. Oh Katherine! What fun! You are (as usual) so inspirational. Everything looks lovely and the clutch purse is just wonderful. I have said before, I have never looked at materials before in the same way since I “met you”. The word is spreading too because someone gave me a “ruined” silk jacket the other day and I thought, hand bag, knitting bag and etcetera! Stay tuned because the young ones and I have “what can you make with an old dolls frock” coming up next week.:) I will let you know when it is ready!! Such fun and so good for the children to learn. 🙂

  12. Kathryn, you amaze me! How you got these four beautiful items from this one dress is wonderful! I love how each item is unique and can be used by Crafty Staci in many areas of her home. I included a link to your page in my blog post today. Just couldn’t resist sharing this awesome post!
    ❤ Kim

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  14. Oh goodness. I tried so hard not to peek, but I couldn’t help myself! I don’t even know where to begin. I love every single thing here. The wreath and frame are both so fun and cheerful! I already know where they’re going. We’re leaving on a mini-vacation next week and I’m wearing a black dress and red shoes the night we go to dinner and a show, so that clutch couldn’t be more perfect! If ever there were a person who needed an apron in the kitchen, it’s me and the one you made is adorable. But Katherine, that pillow. I haven’t even seen it in person yet and it brought tears to my eyes. I love that you kept the bodice intact, and I also love that you embroidered my logo on it! I’m so excited for the box to arrive I can barely contain myself!

    • I’m so happy that you’re happy, Staci! I hope all these little gifts will make you smile each time you see them. Enjoy your mini-vacation, and congratulations once again on all the lovely nominations from your fellow bloggers. Hugs, Katherine

      • The box arrived today! I was out and my daughter texted a photo of it to me and told me to hurry home. Wow, everything is even more beautiful in person than in the photos! I’m going to have to keep an eye on that clutch and apron, because my daughter keeps talking about how cute they are! 🙂 Thank you for all the little extras too. It feels like Christmas! I’m going to write about it on Monday, so watch for the pingback. Again, thank you so much Katherine. You are truly amazing!

    • It sounds funny, but if you gaze at it long enough, you can start to see ways to use the different parts! I have some others I’ve done on my “What Can You Make” page (see link in header), and they’re all different . . . except for they all seem to include a pillow! 🙂 I hope you’ll get to try it sometime, Hannah!

  15. Katherine, you’re a crafting genius! I can’t believe how many things you made out of that dress and all so amazing. Not sure how, but I missed your 2yr anniversary post about this. Sorry! I must have been drowning in fabric or something. I would certainly have had a hard time choosing from all the lovely people here in our little crafting circle, including yourself. Keep up the fantastic work and of course sharing it, love to see your fab creativity.

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  17. WOW! Katherine, I can’t believe you did all these great projects with one dress; they are all beautiful, Staci is one lucky lady 🙂 it’s so nice of you to send her this lovely package 🙂

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