Friday, July 16, 2010

How to Spot a Worthwhile Investment in a Vintage Wedding Dress

We wanted to share some tips we read in DIY Wedding: Celebrate Your Day, Your Way by Kelly Bare.  Enjoy!

Start with the fabric – natural fabrics (silk, cotton, wool) are superior to synthetic.  Rub it between your fingers – each has its own unique qualities: Silk shantung should feel heavy and substantial, lace should be delicate and lightweight, satin should be smooth and free of snags.  High quality fabrics will feel good in your hands, look beautiful and drape well on your body.  If the fabric needs “brightening”, a natural fabric brightens best.

Look for a designer’s label and make a note of what it says.  You may recognize the designer’s name immediately but if you don’t do some research.  (Note; handmade items often don’t have a label: consult an expert if you’re not sure what you’re looking at). 

Check the seams – are they double- or single-stitched? (Double-stitched is a sign of fine workmanship)  Either way, how are they holding up and can they withstand a night of dancing?  If there is not adequate seam allowance, do not think you will be able to alter a dress that is too small.  For that matter, don’t think you can lengthen a dress that is too short.)

Inspect the garment for obvious signs of wear – pilling, thinned fabric in places, tears and holes – and for stains.  Look more closely than you think is necessary and then take the garment to a window or even outdoors to get a good look at the dress in the kind of light you’ll have on your wedding day.  Broken zippers can be repaired but dresses with holes, stains and tears on other than a seam should be avoided.

If the dress has beading or other detail work, check the quality.   Pull (gently!) on the beads to see how firmly they are attached.  Look to see how many are missing.  If the garment is old, it’s almost guaranteed that some will have fallen off.  A seamstress can easily replace them

Speaking of seamstresses, our own Splash Consultant, Lynn Nelson, can honor any heirloom dress you may come to possess.   Check out her website to see some of the beautiful work she has done.  If you can dream it, she can design (or re-design) it!

Happy Planning-

Deb Merriner, Splash Consultant

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