Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Prom Dress (a mini tutorial)

My sister in-law's, sister in-law (how is that for connection) is going to Prom, and she asked me if I could make her dress more comfortable for her in a modest way. Doing this is really easy, there are a number of ways to do it. I will share one way today in this mini tutorial, and another way later when I share the bridesmaids dresses I made for her sisters wedding. 

She bought a lovely dress, that was really quite perfect in every way except the fact that it had two very thin and not very supportive straps holding the top up. She wanted something more modest (but still youthful) and something that would make her feel more secure in the the top. So we came up with some wider straps that kind of add a greek goddess type feel, adding elegance coverage and support. Here is a pretty basic explanation of how I did it.

I measured from the front over the shoulder and the the back to see how long the strap needed to be, then I added a little room for hemming and sewing in place. Then I made it as wide as I wanted it to be, knowing I would be gathering it and pleating it. To do this I would figure out how wide you want it and double that.

Then turn under the edges and sew them in place. Then I sewed a basting stitch down the middle and pulled to gather. Once it was gathered how I wanted it I sewed in in place to secure.

Here is the gather sewn in place a few times.

Then I sewed the strap to the dress. I pleated the strap as I sewed it in place. Since this dress had a lining I was sure to sew to the lining and not through the front so you could not see the stitch from the front. (yes I did that by hand) 

(sorry the picture is so blurry)
Then I did the same to the back pleating the straps in place. I moved them pretty far over to the side so it still had a fairly open back and so the straps had more of a flowing feel to them.

That's it. Now the dress is ready for prom.
Next I will share the broach I made to add to the dress.



  1. I love that shade of purple! Great job!


  2. very pretty...God, I can only pray that my daughters want something more modest when prom rolls around! please God, please God, please God, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease

  3. That looks great! I actually like it better with the new straps than the silly spaghetti straps. Quick question- did you leave the spaghetti straps on or did you take them off? Also- by putting the straps so far to the sides on the back side, do you think there's a risk of them falling down? (I'm totally not an expert at garments- but I'm just curious from an engineering standpoint)

    I hope your client likes it- i think it's beautiful! Don't know how you got the fabric to match so perfectly! Beautiful job!

  4. This dress looks much much better now. I love it.

  5. Amy,
    I was planing on leaving the straps on and using them as my guide, but they got in my way so I cut them off. So in the front the wider straps went centered over the old strap and in the edge of the strap started where the old strap was and then it was sewn in place along the edge. So basically instead of centering it I moved it over an extra inch or so. The straps were made short enough that they actually help hold up the dress, so they are fitted enough at the shoulder that they can't fall off, however we wanted them as close to the edge of the shoulder as we could so they had the look of almost like a wrap.
    The fabric is actually a silk and a sheer overlay to get the color closer since neither fabric was a perfect match but the two together was a perfect combo.

  6. Love the new straps!! They're so much prettier than the original!

    I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


  7. What a great idea! It turned out great (and not frumpy). :) Good job on the hand sewing.

  8. wow..amazing these are really pretty dresses ,I glad to see it
    Prom dress Nottingham


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