A woman in her class made a wedding doll out of a wedding gown. "That's really an heirloom."
The intricate lacy embellishments command a high price in fabric stores, so Pannell doesn't waste any of them. She applies them to vases, goblets, glasses and hand bells and fashions them into an ornate necklace and matching earrings.
An oval tablecloth edged with elaborate lace and seed pearls covers a dining room table. Matching panels made from the same gown cover the chair backs and seats. Each piece of edging was removed from the bottom of the gown and sewn into place along the cloth's edge. She sewed each of the hundreds of pearls into place.
Where does she get these ideas? "They just come to me. I've first thought about doing this a long time ago. When I started writing down the ideas, I came up with 40 right away."
Even the bride's shoes don't escape Pannell's notice. They become a container for flowers or a pincushion. Larger projects include a cream-colored, lace-edged shower curtain and a bedspread and shams trimmed in lacy cutwork.
"People can see all these at the show," Pannell said. I hope they'll see all the things they can do with their wedding gowns and be inspired to please get them out of the closet and do something with them."
Want to go?
WHAT: Gallery of Wedding Gowns Transformed, an open house presented by Shawnee Seniors Group and Armelia Pannell
WHEN: 10 a.m. Sept. 15
WHERE: Shawnee Park Clubhouse
Reach Julie Robinson at email@example.com or 304-348-1230.