Raise your hand if this scenario sounds familiar: your dear friend asks you to become a bridesmaid at her wedding – a proposal which you feel honoured and excited to accept. If you’re lucky your experience as a bridesmaid is fun and easy-going, if you are not so lucky, well then let’s just leave it at it’s not fun or easy-going (I’ve experienced both situations incidentally). Either way at some point in the process you need to get the bridesmaid dress – again you could be lucky, getting to wear a comfy and beautiful dress, or not so lucky (again I’ve gone through both situations). Either way, after the festivities are done you are usually left with a dress that you don’t know what to do with.
Recognizing this issue Altered Couture put out a challenge to re-design a bridesmaid dress, and I jumped at the chance to try. A little while ago I was a bridesmaid at an Indian wedding that involved multiple costume changes and incredibly elaborate outfits covered in glass jewels and beading. My bridesmaid outfit was a shalwar kameez; a mid-calf length dress over tight leggings. Although the detailing on the dress was incredible, it was terribly fitted (the straps were too short and broke off on the dance floor; the base of the built in bra started mid-bust; and the glass jewels along the arms rubbed my skin, and the skin of my fellow bridesmaid, raw). In short, by the end of the day we couldn’t stand the outfits and were dying to never have to wear them again.
And so when the challenge came along to re-design the outfit I jumped at it. I wanted to take some pieces of the dress and create something casual and comfortable. I ended up with a t-shirt and head band. The headband is created from the strap of the dress that came apart on the dance floor. The embellishments on the shirt are actually the cuffs of the leggings. I painted the inside of the cuff with fabric glue to hold all of the embroidery together so I could safely cut the leggings apart. The success of these simple pieces has led to some serious planning on my part for the bodice from the dress, which will most likely become my next altered piece. Regardless of whether the finished pieces make the cut for the magazine, I’m glad I went through the process and have found a way to wear the outfit again (or at least elements of it) that actually suit me.