Saturday, May 21, 2011

Strapless Dress Turned Uni-Strap

This is the story of how I turned a strapless dress into a single strap (or uni-strap) dress. We have three weddings to attend this year, so I was browsing the dress department at JCPenney with a $10 off coupon in my purse. 

I spotted this pretty black and floral strapless dress and had to try it on. I fell in love with the floral design but wasn't 100% sold on it's straplessness (it kept sliding down too, which was a major no-no). Earlier, I tried on polka dot single-strap dress, and while I didn't like that dress in particular, I really liked the idea of one strap. That trend seems to be pretty popular right now. If only this dress had a strap. I looked at the price tag. With the sale price and my $10 off coupon, it would only be $17 (originally $50). Could I sew a strap for it? Should I try it? Would it look good? 

I bought the dress, hung it in my closet, and thought about it for a few days. I bet I could make a ruffly strap. Maybe even a ruffly flower or two. I picked up a 1/2 yard of black cotton fabric, almost an exact match with the top of the dress, and a pack of small silver snaps. I found some dresses online with the look I was going for.

This bride is Tia Mowry from Sister-Sister. Remember that show? 

I folded in half a 6 inch by 56 inch piece of the black fabric and sewed it together lengthwise. Then I turned it inside out, putting the seam on the back and in the center. This would become my ruffled strap. Then I scrunched and gathered it as I sewed it again down the center, creating ruffles. I went back over a couple sections that needed a bit more gathering. 

I tried the dress on and figured out where I would need to attach snaps to the front and the back. Then I pinned the strap in place. I used snaps in order to make the strap removable, in case I ever decided to wear it strapless. I sewed the two flat sided snaps to the interior lining of the dress, and the extended snaps to the strap. 

I did the same thing to the back. I lined it up where I wanted it to attach, pinned it in place, and sewed on the snaps. Man, I am pale.

I also sewed a removable ruffled flower pin to attach to the strap. I placed it where the strap meets the front of the dress, to ease the transition and look like the dress was made that way.  

Here's the finished strap with the flower in place. (I did not wear flip flops to the wedding)

And now on the dress. I love how it turned out! 

It totally made the dress. They should have made it like this in the first place!

I wore it to Ryan and Christina's wedding and it looked great. I don't think anyone could even tell that it was added! My husband even thought it looked good, so I know it passed the test :) 

I'm so happy I tried this and I'm really proud of the results. This is the first time I have customized an article of clothing in such a prominent way (and actually wore it). I feel like Brooke Davis (Clothes Over Bros...One Tree Hill anyone?).

One more look at the before...

And after. 

Ladies, if you've got any strapless dresses hanging in your closet that you'd like to give new life to, try adding your own uni-strap. It's not as difficult as you might think. And you might really love it!


  1. You never cease to amaze me. You are one crafty woman! I LOVE how the strap turned out and it definitely makes the dress. Do you have any other customization projects up your sleeve?

  2. great post! love all the detailed pics :)

  3. Great idea, I was going through Pinterest to see if I could add something to a strapless dress I recently bought that doesn't hold up too well, and this would be perfect! Thanks


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