10 Ways to Repurpose a Wedding Dress

posted by Andrea | 04/25/2011

Last week, I posted about what I did with my wedding dress… and I asked for other creative ideas from you.

Honestly, I expceted the main response to be, “I could never get rid of my dress” — and there were a few of those comments!!

But for the most part, you had so many great ideas! You can read all the different ideas in the comment section, but…

Here are my top-ten favorites:

1. Use some of the fabric to make your daughters prom or wedding dress.

One women said that her daughter actually made her own prom dress using scraps from the mom’s wedding dress — how cool is that!

2. Use fabric to make something else.

There were so many great ideas of things to make from wedding dress fabric — baby baptism outfits, photo album covers, pillows, and hankies were just a few of the ideas.

3. Give it away.

Obviously, not everyone could simply give their wedding dress away, but I always see wedding dresses at thrift stores and secondhand stores, and I just think it would be such a blessing for someone on a limited budget to be able to wear a great dress.

4. Sell it.

I actually tried to sell my dress on Craigslist, but didn’t have any interested buyers. However, several people told me they had great luck with selling their dress on Ebay, Craigslist, or even at a consignment store.

5. Donate it to raise money for a cause.

I received several comments from women who had donated their dresses to raise money for cancer, or another great cause. It sounds like there are different organizations like these in every state, so if you’re interested, just a do a little research.

6. Send it to another bride via the Secret of the Traveling Dress

Caitlin told me about this REALLY cool website, A Practical Wedding, and how you can put your dress up for grabs, choose the bride you would like to wear your dress, and then send them the dress. They wear it for their wedding, send you pictures, and then pass the dress along again.

If I hadn’t cut my dress up, I might have done something like this!

7. Store it at your mom’s house.

I had to laugh when I heard that so many people still store their dress at their mom’s house! Hey, I guess it’s a way to keep the clutter out of your own house :)

8. Let your kids use it to play dress-up.

This is another great idea if you’re not quite ready to get rid of your dress but want to do something useful with it. What little girl wouldn’t love to play around with her mom’s wedding dress?

9. Wear it for a Halloween or costume party.

A bunch of ladies said that they had worn their wedding dress multiple times for Halloween, costume parties, mystery dinners, etc. How fun!

10. Donate it to the Mary Madeline Project.

This was by-far my favorite use for old wedding dresses. The Mary Madeline Project takes old wedding dresses and makes tiny little burial outfits for still-born babies. Even though this is a horribly sad situation, just think how nice it would be to have a beautiful outfit to bury your baby in — especially since the parents probably would not have time to go out and purchase an outfit.

See aren’t these all great ideas?

So if you’re ready to make the plunge and get rid of your wedding dress, you just might want to try one of these really great ideas!

If you’re not ready, then just enjoy looking at your beautiful dress hanging in your closet or sitting in the box :)

 

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27 comments

  1. Jessica

    04/25/2011

    Yep! Mine is still at my mom’s house. I have visions of wearing it again for a vow renewal ceremony. We’ll see.

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  2. Betsy (Eco-novice)

    04/26/2011

    Great ideas! Mine is hanging in my closet. A very gifted seamstress friend made it for me (we picked out the thai silk together in LA’s garment district). It is so original and yet classic and wonderful. I don’t think I could ever cut it up. I guess I’m hoping some niece or daughter will want to wear it.

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  3. Mandy

    07/17/2011

    My mom made my garter out of her old wedding dress; I loved it! :)

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  4. Jesika

    08/20/2011

    My sister and I sat down and made our Christmas Tree skirts from them!!! I love when I pull it out every Christmas it puts an instant smile on my face and I always feel the need to go and kiss my husband!!! :o)

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    Andrea Reply:

    so sweet! I don’t miss my dress at all, and I can’t wait to use the fabric to make a baptism outfit for our little girl

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    Ann Reply:

    I also made tree skirts from the poofy bridesmaid dresses i’v worn. With the more slender dresses i’v made table runners. Bridal dresses also make beautiful decorative pillow cases.

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  5. sarah

    09/30/2011

    Ok so I was poking around on the new and updated website and I found this gem of a post. To say that I love this is an understatement! I think we are all way too precious about out wedding dresses, I mean we wear it ONCE and generally that day is so well photographed – it’s not like you can forget what it looked like. Although my disclaimer is – if it came to you as an heirloom that’s different and of course if it’s a Vera Wang :) . I had a client who appreciated this wedding dress re-use it notion too and asked me to chop her wedding dress and we turned it into a beautiful duvet for her bed her dress was not traditional white or cream it was more a burgundy wine colour. Mine’s (Yes I made it) ready and waiting for inspiration/time to hit me. My sister’s dress had red wine poured all over it so I can’t wait to get my hands on that one too, (Yes I made that one too it was a fabulous Amsale knock off, I had to re-make it when she dropped soooooooo much weight and when I got to the UK to find out our trans Atlantic measurement sessions didn’t go so well). Now I have ideas for that one but she has to ship it to me so they may just stay ideas.
    I can’t wait to see the baptisim outfit you make.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Wow — you sound like an extremely talented seamstress Sarah! How cool that you made your wedding dress and your sister’s!

    I’m sure you’ll come up with something super creative for both your dresses — and I LOVE the duvet cover idea too!

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  6. Heather

    11/09/2011

    HI Andrea! I have been a long time reader & just came across this post again today. I wanted to share with you what I did with my wedding dress this week: http://www.pinfluence.com/2011/11/07/the-princess-brides/

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  7. Jo Ann Knowles

    01/05/2012

    Right after my daughter selected her wedding gown I started wondering what I should do with my own. I figured my grandchildren couldplay dress up with it when a friend suggested I use part of it to make jewelry pouches for the bridesmaids. I loved the idea. While I had it out, my daughter tried it on. She actually loved it and is having it shortened to above the knee and will wear it to her rehearsal and dinner afterward. This gives me the opportunity to make the pouches, her garter, a drawstring purse for her to carry on her wedding day and still have her wear my dress!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Wow — that’s so great that your daughter figured out a way to wear your dress! And I also love the idea of making drawstring purses out of the extra material!

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  8. DeAnna

    02/19/2012

    I donated mine to a local college. The photography department needed one for the students to learn wedding photography.

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  9. Michele

    03/08/2012

    I would like to use my wedding dress to make a baptism outfit/dress for our little ones in the family. This could be passed down, year after year.

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  10. shelia

    03/08/2012

    I donated my wedding dress to a shop here in Portland, Oregon! It’s called Adorned in Grace. They sell donated dresses that are drastically marked down from their retail price. The money earned from sales goes to an organization called Door to Grace. This group is working towards awareness and building safe houses for young women who are wanting to get out of sex trafficking right here in Portland. My dress sold for $700! it was a blessing to be able to help in such a way. Especially because my wedding dress was given to me. I don’t even miss the dress :)

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  11. Maudy Paden

    04/05/2012

    I provide a wedding dress repurposing service and have descriptions and pics on my website. Take a look and get some more ideas. http://www.sewingbymaudy.com, thanks for looking.

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  12. Karin A

    04/22/2012

    Find a kid with a dollhouse and let the kid cut it up to make fancy tablecloths/curtains/doll clothes.

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  13. Valerie

    06/09/2012

    We used my mom’s dress that was faded in a few spots (plus it didn’t fit me) to make a special guest signature “book” at my wedding. We cut her dress in squares and had fabric pens so the guests could leave special messages for us. I plan on having the squares made into a quilt with the colors of my wedding.

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    Deanna Cowsert Reply:

    I love this ideal!!! I have 3 sons so Im trying to do something with my dress that I could share with all 3. My oldest just got engaged so Im ready to start!! I would love any suggestions.

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  14. wiebke

    07/02/2012

    Hello Andrea and all the other ladies,
    i am very impressed about all of these ideas!!! My dress was weared by a bachelorette party, but they have to cut it in two peaces because the bachelorett was pregnant already ;-). Bbut no doubt it was fun to see her choosen the weddingdress than a pyjama. That was one of a couple of exercises she had to do on the party.
    Many Greetings fromwiebke, germany

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  15. Debra

    07/08/2012

    A local seamstress made my wedding dress into my granddaughter’s flower girl dress for our daughter’s wedding. Loved it!

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  16. Amy C

    08/15/2012

    I have been trying to figure out what I want to do with my wedding dress. I really like some of these ideas. The Mary Madeline Project is an idea that hits very close to home for me. I can relate to losing babies because I lost my two babies due to miscarriages. Now, I can not have any because I had to have a full hysterectomy because of health problems that nearly took my life. Thank you for the ideas!

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  17. Kristina

    09/15/2012

    I just bought my wedding dress last week. I now know exactly what I need to do with it after; my fiance had a brother die just hours after birth. My dress is going to the Mary Madeline Project. Thanks so much for sharing this.

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  18. Janet

    09/17/2012

    Great ideas! I’ve just found out that my mother’s dress was made into a Christmas tree skirt for her church! My mother died at 48 (20 years ago), I need to see if her dress is still being used at that church, it would be neat to show it to my kids.
    My dress went to a thrift store.

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  19. Becky

    10/20/2012

    these are some incredible ideas!! my wedding dress is… at my moms house!!! in a completely different state from me :-) to be fair, we moved before she could get it preserved in a box for me. lol. i dont think i could ever cut mine or change it too much. its so sentimental to me, and i know for my mom too. her wedding dress (which i would have loved to have a chance at altering and wearing for my own wedding if i had been small enough) had been destroyed when i was a little girl. darn hurricanes. it got destroyed along with a bunch of our clothes and linens from water leaks and flooding. so i dont think her or i is quite ready to donate it or cut up a wedding dress anytime soon. lol

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  20. Demaroge

    11/20/2012

    Wow! Love the tree skirt idea! … stockings, too????

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  21. Tracy

    02/10/2013

    Thank you – I am recently divorced, and trying to find something positive to do with the twisting of painful and happy memories my wedding dress brings. The Mary Madeline Project really touched my heart, as I had a dear friend lose a full term child, and know remember well the difficulty they had in choosing an outfit for the funeral service. NILMDTS was not available to them, but a wonderful local photographer took precious photos of baby Alexa, that they treasure.

    I would never have thought of this, nor found the Mary Madeline Project, without your post. Life is full of amazing twists, that bring us exactly what we need, when we need it. Thank you again.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for sharing Tracy — SO glad you were able to donate your wedding dress to such a worth-while cause!

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