How To Shorten Spaghetti Straps

Let me show you how easy it is to shorten the spaghetti straps on your dress.

This is a prom dress whose straps were too long for the customer:

On this dress, there are four straps on each side.

But, the technique is the same whether you have one strap or several.

Not only did this dress need the straps shoretened, but they are spread too far apart, so we’ll fix that problem too:

I almost always shorten the straps from the back of the dress.

This is the first time I’ve shortened from the front in a long time.

I like to shorten from the back because it just seems easier to get into that part of the dress.

Ok, now let’s get started.

First, turn the dress over and look at the lining side where the straps are sewn in:

Do you see the stitches that are to the left of the point of the seam ripper?

You don’t need to take these out.

But if you had some of those stitches where the straps go into the dress (to the right of the seam ripper point in the photo), you’d need to remove them first.

Take out about two or three inches of stitches.

On this dress, the manufacturer, stitched a few stitches in the dress to anchor the front to the back:

If you have some like these, take them out

Next, turn the dress inside out:

This is the lining side of the inside of the dress.

Flip it and you’ll see the facing side.

Yours may or may not have facing.

This facing feels alot like paper.

Facing is a narrow strip sewn to the top of many dresses to add stability to the dress.

In the photo above, do you see the white areas near my finger?

These are the ends of the straps sticking up.

I only take out enough stitches so that I can easily pull the straps up.

Sometimes, the straps will be sewn a second time to just the dress fabric:

Use your seam ripper or a small pair of scissors to take out just enough stitches.

Gently pull those straps up until you have taken up the full amount of what you need to shorten the straps.

In this case, the customer needed the straps to be 3 1/4″ shorter than they were.

So, I measured the 3 1/4″ from the original seam line on the strap, to the original seamline on the dress.

Do you see how I did that in the photo below?

The spot where the blue guide is, is where the seam allowance is on the dress.

You may want to pin the strap down in place so it doesn’t slide around while you’re putting the whole thing under your presser foot.

This is the time to move all the straps close together (if you have more than one strap) and make sure there is no gap between them.

Now just stitch over the original seamline, backstitching at the beginning and end of the seam:

Double check your work by turning the dress right side out and making sure the straps are not caught in the seamline or twisted.

If you have a problem, just take a few stitches out again and adjust the straps and resew the seam.

Once the straps look good, turn the dress inside out again and stitch another row of stitches 1/8″ away from the first stitching line.

This will anchor those straps in well.

Trim the straps if you need to.

See how the straps are much closer together now?

You’re finished!

Wasn’t that a piece of cake?

Be sure to use the sewn in ties on the inside of your dress to hang your dress with. (This dress has lacy ties)

If you hang your dress from the spaghetti straps only, they can easily stretch out over time, especially if the straps were made from the bias of the fabric.

Enjoy the party!

How To Hem a Bubble Dress

Let me show you how easy it is to hem a bubble dress.

Here is a strapless gown that a customer brought in earlier this week:

Sometimes, I can just tack the dress up at random spots and stitch a bar tack in to hold up the hem.

Most of the time, that is how I hem these bubble dresses.

But this dress needed to be taken up 2-5 inches at various spots around the hem.

The bride tried this dress on, and I stuck pins in every 4-6 inches around the hemline:

Once I was ready to start the hem, I made myself a diagram to show myself how much needed to be taken up at the various points on the hem.

I make diagrams because I like the visual.

You may come up with a different system of transferring those measurements.

This is how my little diagram looked:

CF stands for Center Front. CB stands for Center Back. SS stands for Side Seams.

The four darker lines represent side center seams (princess seamlines).

The numbers near each of the lines represent how much needed to be taken up in inches.

Just remember that when you turn the dress inside out, check to make sure that you have the left and right sides of the dress correct. It may now be a mirror image depending on what system you used for keeping track of the measurements

When you look at the hem of a bubble dress, usually, the lining is attached to the dress at the bottom of the hem. The dress side has gathers and the lining side does not.

So, I opened up a seam somewhere where it wouldn’t show or be a bother to the bride.

Here, I decided to open up the center back seam:

When I pulled the dress inside out, I pulled that hemline seam as flat as possible before I began to measure what I need to take up.

Here at the center back, I needed to take up 5 inches, using my seam gauge, so I put a pin at that point:

When I put a pin in place, I poke it through the topside:

and then I poke it through the bottom so that I can see that the seamlines match up:

I’ll put a pin at each corresponding seam and at all the points in between.

You’ll find that this does not have to be done perfectly as you would for a regular dress hem.

In fact, I just begin sewing at the center back and “eyeball” it as I sew along, using the seam gauge to guide my sewing:

You’ll notice that you have much more dress fabric than lining fabric as you sew along, so you’ll need to work in gathers as you sew.

I suppose you could spend the time to stitch in a long basting stitch and pull those threads up, but it would take much longer and this method works just fine.

No one sees the gathers when the dress is hanging.

When you are finished sewing, trim the seam and turn the dress right side out.

Here are how my gathers look. (They aren’t too bad, are they?)

Once you turn the dress right side out, just machine stitch that opening closed.

And that’s all there is to it!

If you’d like to do any other alterations to a bubble dress,

here is a link to a post that I think you’ll find helpful.

The biggest fear people have in altering a bubble dress is how to get in and tackle it.

Once you know how to get into the dress, you just do the alteration the same way you do with other dresses.

Knowing that makes it much less intimidating.

Just have confidence in your ability and you’ll do great!