Vintage Gowns Do's and Don'ts

October 11, 2017

Vintage Gowns Do's and Don'ts

There are a lot of reasons to go vintage with your wedding dress --a unique look and a classically elegant style, to name a few --but finding the perfect vintage gown is not always as easy as you think. While the reasons and rewards of choosing a vintage wedding gown style are great, the search itself is not quite as simple as a trip to your local bridal salon. You could rummage through your grandmother's attic, ask elderly relatives, and with loads of luck, you might find something -whether or not it would work for you is an entirely different issue, however. If you score - great! But, for those of you not blessed with the perfect hand-me-down, here are some does and don'ts to help you get your perfect vintage wedding gown.

Don't

feel trapped into buying an authentic vintage wedding dress. If it's really only a certain silhouette you're after, consider having a reproduction of a vintage gown made. You can get all the glamour and style of the real thing without worrying about fitting into someone else's dress.

Do

look at the fabric closely. Fabric deteriorates over time so you'll need to know what you are looking at. It would be extremely uncommon to find a wedding gown pre-dating the nineteenth century that would actually be wearable. Also, if the dress was not stored properly, that would accelerate the aging process, causing the gown, which might have been wearable if properly cared for, to disintegrate before your very eyes. Yellowing is often a problem with older wedding gowns as well.

Don't

buy a size 6 vintage gown in you wear a size 6 wedding gown in our current sizes. What used to be a size 16 could now be a size 6. The shape of clothing and how it fits now is completely different than it was then. Even dress seams lie at a different place on the body than they did in days gone past. Shoulder seams used to lie behind the actual shoulder. In addition to that, women's bodies have changed dramatically over the last 200 years. What used to fit a 1900's women's shape might hang like a bag on the shape of today or vice-versa.

Do

think twice about getting alterations done to a vintage wedding gown.You may think you've found the perfect vintage wedding gown, but if it is too big here, or too tight there... buyer beware! Salespersons will tell you, "Oh, a good seamstress can make that fit. They really just want to make a sale. Even an incredible seamstress can only do so much to a vintage gown. Vintage gowns do not include additional materials at the seams like our dresses do today. If you need a seam let out, you will need to buy new fabric. It is close to impossible to match any vintage fabric or trim as closely as it needs to be matched for a wedding gown. If you can let it out at all, you will most likely need some sort of embellishments to cover the old stitching that now shows. Think carefully, you'll be better off to continue your search.

Do

recognize the difference between alterations and repairs. Stains that have been left untreated for one year can be extremely difficult to remove, so just imagine what happens when you multiply that by 40, 50 or even 100 years. A tear to an older wedding gown made of uniquely fragile fabric, particularly one not located near a seam, can be a sign of seriously damaged fabric. Again, unless you have experience restoring vintage clothing, you are better off avoiding dresses that require extensive cleaning and repairs. Whether or not the gown can be restored depends a great deal on the cause of the damage.

Do

think about the cost involved with refitting, restoring or repairing a vintage wedding gown. Changing the sleeves a bit, updating a neckline, looking for rare replacement buttons, a slightly different fit at the waist, a different hem length - all of these add up, so make sure you budget accordingly.

Do 

consider having a reproduction gown made. Old is new again. If you have a specific image in mind for your gown or want an updated look on a classic style, you might want to opt for a reproduction gown rather than an authentic vintage gown. Reproduction gowns are new gowns made to replicate the fashions of days gone by. These reproductions may be created from vintage sewing patterns, cutting apart an old gown to copy the design, or creating an entirely new design from vintage photographs and drawings. Some salons use vintage fabrics for authenticity, but others use new materials, allowing for more flexibility in the design process. If you love the hourglass look of the 1940s but prefer a different neckline, it will be far less heartbreaking to create a reproduction vintage gown than to tear apart an authentic piece of history.

Do

choose Betsy Couture when you finally find that perfect vintage wedding gown that needs alterations, repairs or updates. We are experts who understand the intricacies of vintage fabrics and designs and employ the proper techniques to restore that vintage wedding gown to its best.

Do

Choose Betsy Couture to make your search for the perfect vintage wedding gown a reality.We know how difficult it is to find and deal with an actual vintage wedding gown. We have worked with many a bride to make their vintage wedding gown dream a reality.

Do

choose Betsy Couture to create the perfect vintage wedding gown for you. We are world renowned for our vintage reproduction gowns. We make the vintage wedding gown youwant....the way you want it....with the fabric you want.Whether you want an exact replica made of your fragile great-grandmothers wedding gown or a compilation of design elements from various eras, Betsy works with you to create that gown exactly the way you envision it. Betsy has a broad collection of vintage-inspired fabrics, as well as a wide selection of vintage patterns for you to look through. Whether you greet your big day in a fabulous forties design, a frolicking fifties frock or a reproduction of a turn-of-the-century lawn gown, a vintage wedding gown from Betsy Couture can transform your walk down the aisle into a magical moment plucked from an antique photograph. Who could imagine a grander entrance?