Alicia came to us wanting to wear her Grandmother's wedding gown from 1960 that her Mother also wore in 1985. It wasn't far from fitting when she brought it in. She was fairly fond of the style of the dress and didn't desire to change anything. It looked well loved when we first had a look at it.
This dress just needed a little help. It nearly fit, just barely not zipping all the way up and being tight in her shoulders. An easy fix if you can find the right fabric with which to create some under arm gussets. I was fortunate enough to have just bought a dress that was reconstructed in the 1970s from what we presume was a family dress from the late 1950s or early 1960s. They had added a bunch of polyester satin with a heavy ruffle at the hem to compensate for the lack of length. They used the organdy fabric from a 50s/60s dress (similar to this and our Red Headed Bride's dress) to make a more columnar skirt that fell from an empire waistline and was more in keeping with the bridal trends of the 1970s.
Brown spots like the ones seen above don't usually come out all the way, though we are mighty skilled at fading them beyond obviousness. For roughly $100-$150 (depending on the dress) we will spot, gently hand launder and press vintage wedding gowns that are capable of being submerged in water. Certain fabrics and things with elaborate ornamentation should always be professionally dry cleaned.
Initially, I thought this would require sleeve removal, but we ended up extending the gussets into the bottom of the sleeve a bit.
In the end, this dress cleaned up beautifully and we rented Alicia a 1950s cotton hoop skirt to keep her cool on the big day and to fluff out the fullness of the skirt. The first photo in this post nicely exemplifies how the petticoat, crinoline or hoop skirt beneath your gown can drastically change the whole look. Sometimes with very little effort one can make a family gown or close fitting vintage dress be the dress of your dreams. This dress required approximately 4 hours of labor.