The Re-Worked Bridesmaid Dress

A long time ago, in what feels like another lifetime, I was ‘Chief’ (- obvs) Bridesmaid at my best friend’s wedding. It was a brilliant day – sunshine, flowers and good friends. We spent months planning every detail, including the most important aspect of all(!) – what we would wear.

My friend looked amazing for her wedding – most Brides do?  We were both in our twenties, youthful and full of anticipation for what lay ahead.  But however much she loved her dress and veil, (and she did) I don’t think she could have been any happier than I was in my bridesmaid’s ensemble!  It was a rare joy to wear such rich, bright colours, and beautiful fabric. My skirt comprised metres of heavy, crisp silk, in rich blue, red and yellow.  It was gathered and voluminous, and brushed the floor as I glided up the aisle behind my dear friend, feel so proud and beautiful.  On the top, I wore a yellow silk bodice and a blue short-sleeved, silk jacket.  The skirt, top and jacket were all handmade.


Fastforward 20 -plus years.  Sady, (or not), my friend and I are both now divorced. However – yes, you guessed it –  the clothes have outlasted both our marriages.

I can no longer account for the whereabouts of the bodice and jacket.  I’ve searched in all the usual places, but some things just disappear over time?  But I kept the skirt, hanging gloriously in my wardrobe.  Back in the day, it was probably squashed between several pairs of jeans, and a couple of suits that I had bought for my prospective legal career.

Eventually the skirt was moved to the ‘won’t ever wear again, but cannot bear to get rid of it’ pile on the top of the wardrobe.  Every now and again I would take it out and marvel at how much fabric had actually been used in its relatively simple construction. And so I decided a couple of years ago to take it to my local dressmaker, Patricia, at Cathay Original, Clapham South.  (Sadly, Patricia no longer has a business there, but back then she had a brilliant dress-making and alterations workshop).

Patricia  performed her magic on the dress, and re-worked it into the cool little shift dress I have now.  I chose the sleeves – a small cap, with a slight split over each shoulder.  And my favourite thing of all – the red silk lining.


I’ve worn the dress several times since I had it re-worked.  I’d like to think that both the dress and I are wiser and more mature than we were back then – and with a little more attitude!

Love your clothes..

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