Sunday, July 5, 2015

Homemade spaghetti straps

Shopping hasn't become any more difficult since I declared a moratorium on strapless dresses, but it has forced me to be more creative with my alteration game. In this post, I'll show you a method I devised for cooking up your own spaghetti straps!

I'll be adding them to this strapless blue dress, which, while adorable, wouldn't stay up for even 5 minutes while I rooted around in my closet for things to wear under it. In the past, I've used convertible bra straps as a quick and easy tool to keep a strapless dress where it belongs, but I don't have any straps lying around that match the color of this dress.

Fortunately, the dress has pockets! And while I love that in theory, in practice, I probably won't ever actually use the pockets. So in this case, I was able to cannibalize some of the fabric from them to make into my straps.
I started by sewing an additional seam about one inch from the edge of the pockets, when they were turned inside out.
Then I cut around the outside of the new seam to get two curved pieces of fabric, which could be stretched into some semblance of a straight strip. I ripped out the original seams and removed the beige lining layer.
Now I faced a challenge—how to turn these strips into usable straps.
Normal spaghetti straps have completely hidden seams (as pictured)—made, I presume, by folding the fabric in half, sewing along the raw edge, then turning inside out. However, I've tried this, and I just can't seem to find a way to turn such a narrow tunnel of fabric inside out. So here's where I had to get innovative.
One problem with the strips was that, because at least parts of them were cut on the bias, they were extremely stretchy—not ideal for something you want holding up the weight of an entire dress. To bolster them, I decided to put a less-stretchy fabric inside them. I cut two pieces of Paracord (you could use any kind of ribbon or string or shoelace) to match the length of my straps.
I then laid each strip down on newspaper and sprayed one side with spray adhesive (rapidly becoming my favorite tool for fabric crafting because it's instant, flexible and repositionable!).
Then I lined up a piece of Paracord with one edge of the strip.
I began rolling the fabric up until the Paracord was completely encased in fabric and I had a tubular strap.
To finish it off and keep fraying to a minimum, I also sewed down the length of each strap with a zigzag stitch.
Then it was time to attach my new straps to the dress! I pinned them in place on the backside first...
Then tried the dress on in the mirror to figure out how long they needed to be, before sewing them down permanently.
And here's the finished product!

The perfect patriotic dress for a Fourth of July celebration!

Of course, you can see that, over the course of the day, a little fraying did occur, but better a slightly fraying strap than none at all. I'll cut off all the ratty bits and then my homemade spaghetti straps will be as fresh as they ever were!

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