How This Bride Restored Her 120-Year-Old Family Heirloom Wedding Dress

“We did keep the original Belgian lace on here,” Abby Curtis said.

ByABC News
October 22, 2015, 8:10 AM
Pennsylvania woman was 11th person in her family to wear 120-year-old wedding dress.
Pennsylvania woman was 11th person in her family to wear 120-year-old wedding dress.
Courtesy Abby Kingston

— -- This bride was anything but blue in September because she had the ultimate “something borrowed.”

Abby Curtis, nee Kingston, is the 11th bride in her family to wear this lacy Victorian 120-year-old couture wedding gown on her big day.

“It is my great-great grandmother’s dress from 1895,” Abby, 30, told ABC News of the family heirloom. “I will be the 11th bride to wear it.”

Pennsylvania Woman Will Be the 11th Person in Her Family to Wear 120-Year-Old Heirloom Wedding Dress

But Abby never dreamed she’d be able to wear the dress, since it hadn’t been properly cleaned in more than century.

“It was this deep beige color, not very bridal,” she explained. “I put it on and I thought, ‘There is just no way.’”

But there was a way.

“We did keep the original Belgian lace on here,” Abby said.

She enlisted the help of designer Deborah LoPresti of Easton, Pa., to come to the rescue, who tirelessly worked for more than 200 hours to restore the dress.

“We opened the seams in the dress and put in new fabric strips underneath and fused the new fabric to the old fabric so that it would hold together,” LoPresti recalled.

The dress is especially sentimental to Kingston’s mom, Leslie, who wore the gown at her wedding 38 years ago.

“Who would have though that a dress 120 years later could still be worn by a bride?,” her mother asked. “It’s a magical dress.”

Because of its fragility, Kingston only wore the vintage heirloom dress for the cocktail party and to sign her official marriage license to her now-husband, Jason Curtis, so that she’d still be legally married in the gown. For her actual ceremony however, she wore a new Rivini wedding gown.

“I'm equally as excited to have two dresses to wear on my wedding day to incorporate something old, something borrowed and something new,” she explained in September.

Abby’s “something blue” was her grandmother’s blue star sapphire ring.

So how can the everyday woman modernize a vintage wedding gown? The first trick is to change the high neckline.

“It could be made into a low V, or it could be scooped,” said LoPresti. “Or it could even be made strapless, if that’s what she chooses.”

Next, get rid of the long, lacy sleeves and make a more modern cap sleeve.

And lastly, it’s all about the fit.

“It should fit just like a brand new gown,” LoPresti explained.

Fortunately for this blushing bride, the designer was able to turn the vintage dress into the perfect fit for her big day on Oct. 17 at The Lake House Inn in Perkasie, Pa.