Saturday, December 5, 2015

Adding retro halter straps

Normally I don't like to share my DIY fashion projects until I've actually had a chance to wear them in the real world, but this dress is a little too fussy to throw on for work or a weekend, and seeing as it's just one of at least 6 new or recently resurrected formal dresses waiting in my closet, it might be a while before it has its moment. Plus, I have a plan to write a post sharing all my many methods for altering and adding straps to dresses, and this dress involves one of the strategies, so I am going to break my rule and share this refashion while it is still unworn.

You might recall that this dress was designed as a skirt, and that wearing it as a strapless dress was an endeavor fraught with peril.

Well, since it last saw the light of day, I still haven't found an occasion suitable enough to wear it as originally designed (a floor-sweeping skirt) or a top suitable to wear with it, so I decided it was time to take the plunge and commit to a more permanent conversion to a dress!

The maker of this skirt didn't skimp on the material, and the sash was plenty long enough that I could use some of it to make straps and still have enough left to tie in a bow under my chest.

The sash was quite wide, so I cut just enough off the end to equal the length of a single strap, then cut that remnant in half lengthwise. I sewed each half up into a tube to form a strap, then repaired the open end of the now-slightly-shorter sash.

To mix things up a bit, I opted not to make traditional shoulder straps, but instead add halter straps. I was aiming for the sort of wide-set straps you tend to see on sweetheart dresses in the style of the 50's. The trickiest part of this project was attaching the new halter straps in the right place and at the right angle. After several tries in the mirror, attaching with pins, stabbing myself by accident, and readjusting, I was satisfied with the placement.
I sewed them onto the inside waistband, trying to follow an existing seam so my after-market attachment would not be too obvious.

I haven't had the opportunity to wear this somewhat formal dress since I new-and-improved it, but it stands at the ready, for any wedding (or holiday party?) the world cares to throw at me! You hear me, world? I'm waiting!
I think this dress looks just smashing with pajama pants and bunny slippers underneath!

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