Emma’s dress: start to finish

Restyle project

Taking Emma’s mother’s wedding dress and bringing it forward into the 21st century, giving it a second life for a new bride.


Design brief

Emma loved the Laura Ashley summer dress her mum married in, but felt that the straight neckline didn’t suit her and that the fit of the bodice wasn’t right for her frame. The skirt part was nice however, with a cute shorter length ideal for a casual wedding in sunny Puglia.

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Work in progress

Emma had some great design ideas and a strong sense of what shapes suited her after trying on several dresses elsewhere, but she was looking for creative input on how she could incorpoate her favourite contemporary features into her mothers’ dress. I sketched up several options for her, at a wide range of cost estimates, and we decided together which would be the most sucessful.






I replaced the bodice from the original dress with a new one in plain white, fused cotton. The design is a more contemporary shape: strappy, with a plunging neckline and high apex, princess seamed cups on a wide waistband. The cotton fabric keeps the casual feeling of the skirt, but stiffening it with fusing has created a more contoured, formal gown fit. To increase the volume of the skirt very slightly and improve the opacity we decided to add a new lining layer inside.




This dress couldn’t be more personal and I’m totally thrilled to see Emma looking so radiant on her wedding day. It’s not an easy task to hack into the bridal gown of another womans’ late mother, but I’m so glad I did! This has been one of my absolute favourite projects – so thank you Emma for bringing me along on this journey 🙂


You can find more of Emma’s wedding photos here.

Hannah’s dress: start to finish

Restyle / alterations project

Hannah bought a beautiful gown from Sarah Seven with a view to customising it.

The dress is a style called Sunsets Forever, which has sleeves and high neck line but is entirely open below the shoulders and around to the front waist.

Sarah Seven | Sunsets Forever | Hannah

Sarah Seven | Sunsets Forever | Hannah


Design brief

Replace the sleeves and shoulder panels with slim straps, reshaping the front bodice to function without the missing elements, and adding a new neckline.

Alter the fit at the waist and seat and take up the hem to fit this petite bride.

Sarah Barker | design options | Hannah


How did we do that

I whipped off the sleeves and shoulder panels and opened up the edges of the front panel panel, pinning it in to an estimation of our new shape.

One of the discarded sleeves got chopped up into strips and re-purposed for self fabric-straps. (Thankfully the bride wasn’t taller – the sleeves were a fairly cropped length and only just gave enough to run from waist up over the shoulder without a seam.)

The length of the bodice and the hem had to be shortened. We also slimmed down the fit over the seat and adjusted the silhouette slightly to hug in under the bum more.



Hannah looked fantastic on her wedding day, in a gown which felt trult unique and personal! For more images follow this link to Hannah’s page in the gallery.

Sarah Barker | Hannah