Sunday 1 June 2014

Wardrobe Staples: Multi-Strap LBD

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Along the classic white shirt, the LBD is up there when it comes to wardrobe staples that work for all occasions. Lately I've had a thing for multi-strap everything (like this guy),  so here's what I did to combine my two loves.

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About 1.5 m of fabric heavy enough to drape nicely (I used microfibre)  |  Ribbon in a matching color for the straps, about 2 m is good for 4 straps  |  Measurement tape  |  Scissors  |  Pins  |  Sewing machine & thread (if using microfibre, a special needle for that purpose)

I. Fold the fabric in half, right sides facing, pin together, and trace the form of the dress. I did a basic A-line with a very slight V in the front neckline.
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II. Cut the dress out (pinning together lets you cut both the front and back piece together). Using the piece as guidance, trace an approx. 20-30 cm long piece of lining that will be used to sew the neckline.
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III. Separate the front and back pieces and trace the shape of the back. Something like this. Cut a lining piece for the back as well.
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IV. There should now be 4 pieces cut out. (In my finished dress there's an extra seam in the back, I wanted to add it to the back piece to add texture, not necessarily required).
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V. Pin the linings to the front and back pieces, front sides facing. 
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VI. Sew the linings to the front and back pieces using a straight or stretch stitch depending on how stretchy the fabric is. NOTE - leave a gap where the straps will go; at both ends of the neckline, and in the middle of the back piece. 
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VII. Pin the front and back pieces together front sides facing, sew along the lines (and sig-sag edges if the fabric frays). 
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VIII. Measure the length of the shoulder straps from the middle of your back at the level you want the dress to sit, diagonally over your shoulder to the front where the strap will be attached to the front of the dress. Cut 4 of these straps from the ribbon. Take two of them and slip them between the back piece and the lining, through the gap you left when sewing, right in the middle of the back piece.
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IX. Add the two other straps symmetrically at about 10 cm from the middle straps, on each side. Secure the straps in place with pins at the inside, making sure the lining and the back piece have no wrinkles or folds in them. Sew a straight stitch over the straps, connecting the gap in the stitch. Press with iron.
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X. Put the dress on and pin the straps at the front. Experiment until you find the right length that lets the dress flow nicely both in the front and the back. Mark the points with pins, take off the dress, and double check with the measurement tape that your marks are at equal lengths. Again, slip the straps between the lining and the front piece, and sew a straight stitch over the straps, closing the gaps you had left.
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XI. Cut off all excess seam allowances, press the whole thing with an iron, and done.
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