How to Add Straps to Make a Halter Dress in Sewing

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Halter dresses look attractive on almost any body type and provide more support than strapless dresses -- which translates to more comfort. Halter straps show off your shoulders while freeing you from finding creative ways to hike up your drooping bodice. This popular style evokes vintage icons such as Marilyn Monroe. Whether you're going for comfort or retro chic, adding halter straps to a strapless dress is sure to win you compliments.

Things You'll Need

  • Muslin
  • Fabric (to match the dress)
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Fabric pen
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Seam ripper
  • Choose a style for your halter top. You can have two straps that tie behind your neck leaving a long trail of fabric down your back, two straps that button behind your neck or one strap that meets the dress anywhere from the armpits to the center of the bodice. The straps can be wide or thin. To help visualize the finished product, cut strips of muslin and pin them to the dress in different ways.

  • Mark your chosen location for the straps on the inside of the bodice with the fabric pen.

  • Use the pieces of muslin as a pattern and cut your strap or straps on the fold of the fabric that matches the dress. Make the final cuts 1/4 inch larger than the muslin pattern to account for seam allowances.

  • Sew the raw edges of the straps together with the right sides of the fabric facing. This will turn your strap into a tube.

  • Invert the tube so that the seams are on the inside. If you opted for two straps, fold the open edges on one end of each tube to the inside and sew shut, leaving a nice, clean edge.

  • Align the straps on the bodice using the marks you made earlier. Mark where the edges lie with the fabric pen on the inside of the bodice.

  • Rip the seam between the bodice fabric and the lining or interfacing between the marks you just made.

  • Slip the strap into the hole created by seam ripping, making sure the long end sticks out the top instead of into the dress. You'll have a sandwich of lining, strap and bodice fabric. Pin the sandwich in place.

  • Re-sew along the original seam line and remove the pins.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make the straps from the same type of fabric that the dress is made of; for example, cotton for a cotton dress, jersey for a jersey dress.
  • To make inverting the strap tube easier, fasten a safety pin on one end and feed it through to the other side. You'll be able to get a better grip on the pin than you will on the fabric, and it will pull the fabric along after itself.
  • Stretchy fabrics will provide less support.
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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