The Secret Costumier - The Little White Dress
From scratch, Thrift Store Thursdays

The Little White Dress

I and 2/3 of my family went on holiday to Tanzania recently. It was undoubtedly one of the (if not THE) best holidays of our life. We signed up for a safari and booked a hotel on Zanzibar, so I had to plan clothes that will work for covering up and on the beach too.

I already wanted to make a khaki shirt, and I realized that I have enough clothes for summer that I really like, so I did not plan on making a lot of stuff ahead of the holiday. Then Pinterest happened. The beautiful pictures of the beaches of Zanzibar inspired me to make just a few more things…

The Secret Costumier - The Little White Dress

I’ve always wanted to have a white summer dress with loads of embroidery, but I did not intend to do the embroidering, so I started looking at all things already embroidered on eBay. I searched through over 100 pages of listings of curtains, tablecloths and napkins until I found this beautiful vintage tablecloth that was about 2m x 3m, and it went for only £11.

When my mum saw it, she was trying to convince me that I should let it be the beautiful thing it was, but I cut into it before we got too attached…

The Secret Costumier - The Little White Dress

The Secret Costumier - The Little White Dress

Since I had only a couple of days before the holiday, without having an actual pattern, I just started cutting the fabric up, trying to make the most of the embroidered parts.

The skirt is made out of 2 rectangles sewn together and gathered, while the bodice is made of the 2 corners of the tablecloth. I inserted some darts there, handsewn some “lining” to the back of the cups and made spaghetti straps from the leftover fabric… and forgot to get rid of some significant amount of thread as you can see below. 😀

The Secret Costumier - The Little White Dress

The Secret Costumier - The Little White Dress

The Secret Costumier - The Little White Dress

While I quite like the look of the dress, I am not extremely comfortable wearing something with that much cleavage on show outside of beach settings. Shortening the straps might improve the situation, but now that I have tested  the dress, I think I may take it apart and make something a little bit different with it…

The Secret Costumier - The Little White Dress


35 thoughts on “The Little White Dress

  1. You did a beautiful job with the dress! If you like the dress except for the cleavage issue, you could add a so-called modesty panel (aka a triangle of fabric in the front).

  2. I love it! It’s beautiful enough to be a bohemian wedding dress. So impressed that you did it freestyling. I’m inspired to seek out some tablecloths myself!

    • Thank you! I haven’t thought about it, but I guess it would work for a beach wedding indeed. 🙂 There were loads of tablecloths on ebay, the only difficulty was finding a big one that was not round…

  3. Beautiful dress!! I have a drawer filled with vintage linens, lace and crochet doilies I’ve been too afraid to cut into yet, very inspired by this to get started though!

    • Thank you! It is quite intimidating to cut into something precious, but you can’t really go wrong with it as long as you have your seam ripper on the ready. 😉

  4. What a great idea! My mother has similar cloth which has been passed down a generation and I did wonder if I could ask to take it to make my wedding dress (tablecloths don’t get used much) but I just knew her reaction would be similar to your mum’s!

    I’d love to do this as a challenge one day, if you felt tempted to start it. Let’s get those tablecloths onto the beach!!

    • That’s actually a brilliant idea -turning it into a challenge. I don’t feel like modifying the dress right now, but I really enjoyed working with it, so it’d be nice to do it again with lots of others joining in.

      Your wedding dress turned out beautifully anyway. The colour was a great choice, especially with the bouquet! 🙂

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