Thursday, November 7, 2019

White Stuff On The Ground! ...and the floor!

Wait! It never snows before my birthday! 

By Linda Thielfoldt

It's December no wait scratch that! It's November 7th and it snowed in the Mitten today.  It never snows and sticks before my birthday so this is rather unexpected.  I have to admit it was pretty on the trees behind my house, you know the trees that still have their leaves.  Yeah read that one again! LOL

Anyway it's put me in the mood for Christmas! I K R!

So I thought since it was early enough to talk about working on Christmas projects I would share a really fun one I did a year ago at this time.

We were married in 1994 amidst all the gobs and gobs of lace, sequins and puffy sleeves that were so popular at that time and oh yes, yards of fabric for the train. Yep! I loved my wedding dress but I was so sad that it's sat in a box, sealed up for dear life for the past 25 years. 

We have moved three times and each time we move the giant hermetically sealed box. I don't have a daughter.  Even if I did I'm not sure she would want to wear a dress that weighed 35#. Seriously it did. And then there are those sleeves. 

I love this pic with my sweet sister Em. She was so happy and was so loved by both of us. You can see a bit more of the dress. (remember this was before digital pictures)

New house, new tree and theme. 

We have always had theme trees. Pigs (for my farm boy) angels and collected treasures. I used to put up three trees every year. But smaller house, simpler decor. I wanted something fancy, something decorating magazine worthy. So I started buying fancy ornaments, mercury glass, crystal, white, get the picture. I got most of them on sale after Christmas and finally had enough to do our 9' tree. 

Then came the reality that my quilted tree skirt would not go at all with the new tree. Pretty as it was, it just didn't go. So I knew I needed to make a new one.  We had moved a few months prior and I was once again faced with the huge hermetically sealed box containing my wedding dress.  

BINGO!  And idea is born.

My dress was a mermaid style with a really full skirt that extended into a rather long train. I thought the skirt would be perfect as my new tree skirt. So I dug out the huge box and was delighted upon opening that the dress was just as pure white as the day I wore it. Guess that preserving stuff really worked.  Anyway I laid it out and got the scissors. 

The dress had a lining, the skirt a stiff crinoline and another underskirt. TONS of fabric.  So I cut the skirt off and realized that it was rather plain. All the bling was on the dress part and the sleeves.  Ah yes, those sleeves.  


Here is the skirt pile.  And you can see how much fabric was in that mermaid skirt. The great thing about this was all along the bottom edge of the skirt was this beautiful lace. So I left that and cut the skirt the right height to allow that to be the hem.  Bonus - no hemming!

Next up to figure out how much of the yards and yards of fabric that made up the skirt would be needed to make my circle tree skirt.  You can see here how long the mermaid part was before it expanded into the train. So much fabric.  No wonder it weighed 35#!

Once I got that figured out and had a plan I kept the crinoline and the lining intact and basted along the top edge to hold the three layers together.

Next up was to deconstruct the bodice and remove the lace appliques I wanted to add to the skirt.  This was so tedious and time consuming but the results were worth it.

This was from the bust and the back of the dress. The back was mesh all the way to my waist and had so many lace applique pieces that there was a lot to choose from. It was just a matter of cutting away the mesh. So many beads and sequins!
This is one of the sleeves. The open work with the lace applique was so beautiful I knew I had to use it. Cutting it off that ruffled satin was tricky but the results were worth it.

This is what I ended up with after I destroyed the sleeves.  

RIP big puffy sleeves!

Next up I had to put the skirt together.  I went with the zig zag stitch over string method as there was so much to deal with that a big basting stitch was not going to cut it. 

Once I got it gathered I realized that there was a bigger hole in the center than I wanted so I cut off some more of the skirt edge and made a gathered insert to make the hole smaller. Bonus was a bit more bling with the hem lace in the center.  I was loving this. Next I started adding the lace applique pieces.  This photo shows what I took off the center front, this was the bust area. So beautiful.  I actually sewed the ruffled insert to the underside of the skirt and then flipped it to the front thereby finishing the inner circle edge at the same time.

I used my zipper foot and clear thread to zig zag stitch the appliques to the skirt only. I left the crinoline and lining free.  That was a fabric explosion under my needle for sure!

I added them evenly around the skirt but planned to have the bodice applique be to the front after it was installed under the tree.  

You can see in the pic below that I was able to use many of them.  I just love how blingy it is and so perfect for my "fancy" tree.

Photo bomber is Winnie 😸

And here is my fancy blingy silver and white theme tree!  I love that I can use my wedding dress tree skirt every year and reflect fondly on how amazing my life has been since I married this guy. I had no idea I would be this blessed. 

BTW I should tell you that my MIL was horrified that I cut up my wedding dress!  Better to enjoy every year than sit in a sealed box in the basement don't you think?  She has since changed her mind after seeing our tree.  

Even though it's only November my wish is that you have a blessed Christmas (or whatever you choose to celebrate at this time of year 💗)




  1. YES!!!!!!! Much better to enjoy than be sealed away! I am working on making a quilt out of my college roommate's wedding dress after being stored away in a chest for 30 years. She is of the same mind as you. And your trees skirt is GORGEOUS!!!!

    1. Oh how fun! Thank you, I"m thrilled with how it turned out. I'm currently working on two stockings from the train...those will be quilted with the hem lace around the top edge.

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