Jan 09, 2010


Wedding Gown to Christmas Tree Skirt

I figured you ladies may be interested to hear what we did with my wedding gown following a good cleaning.  Using the tips I found online, I made this tutorial for our tailor who had never done this before.  She made some modifications and did a wonderful job.  Here's the tutorial and results:


After getting a couple of offers to sell my wedding gown, I decided I wouldn't be able to part with it and thought about different ways to re-use or save some of it for the future.  I'm not keen on the idea of boxing it up - there's no fun in that!  I wanted to see it and cherish it, not dump it in a box and forget about it!  This way I can do both, save some for future generation baptismal gowns and also relive the love from our wedding day each year around Christmas!

After cleaning the gown, I let it hang in the closet for 10 months, then decided it was time to bring it to Reyna's Alterations in White Bear Lake, MN. I'd seen a tutorial online about how to convert the train portion into a tree skirt, and figured this would fit the bill for what I was looking for. Below you'll see the tutorial that I gave to her and the many pictures of the results. The total cost was under $100 for creating and finishing the skirt, and hemming the gown for storage, it took her two weeks to complete.

Here's where I got the tutorial, they have pictures there and may be easier to copy from here into word... -

Cut fabric from the dress

  • The best type of dress to use for this project is obviously one with a very full skirt. Because we’re going to end up with nearly a circle when we’re done, the fuller the skirt, the better.
  • Measure the width of the dress along the bottom hem.
  • Just lay the dress flat on the table and use your measuring tape to determine how wide the skirt is all the way around (mine was 116 inches).
  • Divide your circumference by 6.28 (that’s 2 times Pi), and the number you’re left with is the radius.
  • In other words, it’s the measurement for how much fabric to cut off the dress. Mine was 18.5″ (116/6.28=18.47), so that’s how high I cut the skirt off the dress. I was left with a tube of fabric that was 18.5″ high from the cut edge to bottom hem.

Gather up the skirt

  • Remember that a tree skirt is basically a flat circle with a slit in it (think PacMan). We have a lot more fabric than we need here, so we need to start gathering it up. In essence, we want to reduce the width of the top of the skirt to basically nothing, while keeping the full width at the bottom.
  • Turn the fabric inside out and look at the cut edge of your fabric. Most likely, your dress’ skirt was sewn in panels, so you’ll see where those panels were sewn together.
  • For each panel (mine had seven), use a pen to mark the middle of the fabric between both seams.
  • Use a yardstick and a pen to draw a line from your mark down to the end of the seam on the left.
  • Pin through both layers of fabric, along the line.
  • Repeat with every seam on the dress until you are left with nearly a semi-circle of fabric (folded in half). Before you do any sewing, let’s make sure it’s pinned properly
  • Turn the fabric right side out and lay it flat on the table to be sure that you have a nice shape and it’s almost flat (it doesn’t have to be exactly flat, but it needs to be close). If it doesn’t look right, you may need to adjust your gathering. If it looks good, flip it back inside out and continue.
  • Select any one of your seams and trim the fabric about 1/2″ from the pins. This seam is going to be the slit that allows you to put the skirt around the base of the tree. Once you’ve trimmed it, remove the pins and hem along the edges, making them nice and finished. Do NOT sew these two ends together, just hem them individually.
  • At this point, you may optionally add some bits of soft and flexible sew-on Velcro along both sides of the slit, so that you can hold the skirt closed once it’s around the tree OR leave open so to wrap it around various sized trees

Sew the seams

  • Sew along the remaining pinned seams
  • Trim off the excess fabric. You’ll be left with a nice, folded circle of fabric. Notice how the bottom edge of the skirt is already hemmed, because you took advantage of the bottom hem on the dress.

Finish the center of the skirt

  • You need a hole in the middle of your skirt so that it will fit around the tree trunk.
  • Fold the skirt in half, then in half again, and then again, until you get a nice triangle of fabric.
  • Use your scissors to cut off a couple inches from the point (center) of the skirt.
  • Take the skirt to your sewing machine and hem the edges of the hole you just made.
  • Iron the fabric flat and you’ve got a simple, finished tree skirt!


Wedding Gown to Christmas Tree Skirt photo 1


Wedding Gown to Christmas Tree Skirt photo 2


Wedding Gown to Christmas Tree Skirt photo 3


Wedding Gown to Christmas Tree Skirt photo 4


Wedding Gown to Christmas Tree Skirt photo 5


Wedding Gown to Christmas Tree Skirt photo 6


Wedding Gown to Christmas Tree Skirt photo 7


Wedding Gown to Christmas Tree Skirt photo 8


Wedding Gown to Christmas Tree Skirt photo 9


Wedding Gown to Christmas Tree Skirt photo 10

 So, that's that!  I love it.

(2) Comments

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