Remember a few days ago when I said I spilled my box of straight pins? Well, that’s because I was making over this dress.
The straps had been broken for a while and the dress was just sitting in my closet. Even before they broke, they weren’t very functional. Yes, they held the dress up, but they were way too small and weak for me. So, they had needed to be redone for a while. I figured with no money, a working sewing machine, and leftover fabric from an old project from last quarter, it was time to fix the straps.
First, I picked a silk, but it wasn’t heavy enough against the chunky crochet, so it just didn’t work right. Also, the dress is pretty heavy. I knew if I would have used silk, the ends would curl and it would look more worn out then it already does.
I ended up with this Pique fabric. Pique refers to the weaving in the fabric. So, it kind of looks like a checkerboard pattern on the surface. If you look at it from the back side, it has a diamond look to it. This side could actually be used, too. I call it the summer side and the winter side. The summer side reminds me of a smooth, woven basket and the winter side reminds me of a chunky knit sweater. Either way, beautiful. 🙂
Pique is usually made of something like cotton. This particular one is made of cotton and polyester, so it’s pretty strong, but still has a little bit of a stretch, which I needed for this dress. It never really deserved those small, limp straps.
I cut it from one selvage (the ends where the fabric looks different) 2 1/2 times the width I wanted it to be. Then, I folded it over so the “summer side” was on the inside – since this was the side I wanted to show. I pinned it in place and stitched straight down the side so it looked like a long tube.
You may have noticed I was using white thread. That’s because that is what was in my sewing machine already and I was lazy. I knew it wasn’t going to show anyway.
After I stitched the side, I got a little lost in the project and completely forgot to take pictures! So, the rest of this post, there will be no pictures until the end. Sorry about that! 🙂
So I took one side of my strip and attached a safety-pin to it. I put the pin back through the hold it was attached to. The pin helps guide the fabric through itself to turn the fabric right side out. This is also a good trick to use on your hoodie or drawstring pants. When the string comes out, attach a safety-pin to one end and feed it back through the hole. The pin will help you find the end of the string and pull it out when you get to the end. Thank you, Martha Stewart. 🙂
Once I did this, I put the end of one strap where I knew I wanted it on the front of the dress and pinned it. I then put the dress on and looked in the mirror to see where it should be attached on the back of the dress. I pinned that in place, too.
After pinning the first strap in place, I took the dress off. I measured the end that wasn’t already pinned to the dress against the strap that was already in place to make sure I had enough fabric to make another strap. If you don’t have enough, you need to make another strap at this point.
I cut the strip about an inch below where I wanted my first strap to end and repeated all the pinning I did with the first one. You still have to try the dress on when you’re doing your other strap so you can make sure it would fall on the body right.
After making sure everything looked right, I hand stitched them into place. I don’t like using a sewing machine for this part because they make the stitches show. I was using black thread for this part, so it doesn’t show on the front of the dress at all. When hand stitching, I pulled the thread all the way through the Pique fabric and only picked up a few strands from the yarns in the crochet. Here is the final result:
I love the way the straps look now. I will probably add a few things to the dress later … like a button at the end of each strap. That would help bring a little color to the dress. 🙂