After washing and cutting apart all the dresses, I had a nice useable stack of fabric. Cutting them apart at the seams also rendered them a bit less intimidating; after all, if I messed up the dress, I was ruining a bit of the family history. A stack of fabric? That’s comfortable and reasonable!
I thought I’d warm up with some nice strip piecing, cut apart to become stacks and stacks of 4-squares blocks:
See how the unrelated fabrics all of a sudden become less startling when they are smaller bits, all jumbled together?
I then put the 4-square blocks together into the Irish Chain blocks, using the dark green background fabric to calm down the bright mix of dresses fabric: