From Mess to Masterpiece: Finally, a Way to Love Those Hideous Bridesmaid Dress Disasters

It’s time we just put all the cards out on the table… While we may never admit it to their faces, we’ve all been involved in a wedding where being a bridesmaid felt more like a punishment.  Namely, because of the ill fitting, unflattering, over-the-top uncomfortable torture chambers we were forced to wear.  Yes, ladies, I’m referring to the ever (in)famous (dun dun dun!) bridesmaid dress.

While bridesmaids’ dresses have come a long way from their 1980 counterparts – eek!!!

photo courtesy of somethingbluedesignscalgary.blogspot.com

There are still quite a few in the mix that are downright dreadful.  Sure, there may not be as many metallic fabrics, ruffled sleeves or giant bows available, but even with all the 2010 trendsetting options, there are still ones that simply should be left on the shelf.

Yet, I digress.  We can’t blame a bride entirely for making us prance around like “What Not to Wear” victims.  In fact, she’s merely the messenger.  She may have found the dress and made you wear it, but she sure as heck didn’t design it.  Therefore, I say we blame the designers of these dresses by demolishing their epic fails and turning them into something we can love (and never have too many of)… throw pillows!

While researching different ways to salvage old dresses, I came across an article Samantha Baldwin wrote for the Examiner.com where she provided step by step instructions on how to turn drab bridesmaid dresses into fab home décor!

Being an avid fan of anything artsy fartsy and creating throw pillows myself, I was all over this idea like white on rice!  Making pillows is SUPER easy – truuuuuust me, if I can do it, ANYONE can do it – and can save you a boat load of money.  It doesn’t take much time at all, and since the material is already provided, the cost will be next to nothing!  Below are some of Baldwin’s examples, as well as Marilyn’s Keepsakes step by step instructions on how to create decorative pillows of your own! 

From drab to fab! Turn old bridesmaid's dresses into warm home accessories! (photo courtesy of examiner.com)

Step by Step Instructions to Create your own Pillows! 

Materials You’ll Need:

  • Bridesmaid Dress for Destroying
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Needles
  • Color-coordinating Thread
  • Straight Pins
  • Sewing Machine
  • Iron + Ironing Board
  • Pillow Stuffing

Instructions:

  1. Find it.  Find the old bridesmaid dress debacle(s) and lay them out flat on the floor.
  2. May it pay.  Take out your anger on the dress (and all the tragic pictures it caused) by cutting away any zippers, seams, necklines or hems; so, you’re only left with non-stitched, raw material.
  3. Shape it up.  Consider the shape you want to create.  Be mindful of the amount of material you have, as you will need to create to equal halves of the same shape.  Of course, it’s easiest for beginners to stick to simpler geometric shapes (ie squares or rectangles) before working their way up to, let’s say, a 12 pointed star. 
  4. Cut it out.  Next, cut two identical shapes out of the raw fabric, allowing at least a 1/2″ for the inseam.  If you notice the fabric frays easily, be sure to add stitching to the edges to prevent any extra wear and tear.
  5. Pin it up.  With the material flipped inside out, place a pair of matching sides together and pin them neatly into place. 
  6. Stitch it up.  Begin stitching the two identical shapes together, leaving space for your inseam and a small opening at the end.  **For the more sewing savvy divas creating rounder shapes, don’t forget to cut small, equidistant slits along the outer edges of any curves you may have.  This will ensure your pillow has a smoother shape.
  7. Turn it out.  After stitching the two shapes together – while still leaving a small opening at the end for stuffing – turn the casing right side out and iron it flat.
  8. Let it breathe.  Then, prepare your small opening by tucking a half inch of fabric inside the pillow and ironing it flat. 
  9. Stuff it full.  Once the casing has been ironed flat, stuff it to your desired fluffiness.  **Pillow filler works great and is available at most local craft stores, but you can use whatever you want to fill it up – beans, Styrofoam balls, feathers, cut up t-shirts, etc.
  10. Close it up.   Finally, stitch your pillow closed and enjoy it!!!  (Perhaps for the first time ever!)