Sewing the strappy dress: neckline and straps

Today we’ll do the most time consuming part of the whole Strappy dress, which is bias binding the neckline and sewing the straps.

To make the binding this thin look good requires some seriously precise sewing, so don’t start it if you are tired. Executed correctly, it will add elegance and lightness to your dress, so don’t rush it.

View A and View B

The Strappy dress has two straps options – the simple loop (view A) and the ties (view B).
The loop straps are sewn using one continuous piece of bias, while ties have back bias and front bias lengths. These bias lengths can be found in the Measurements table under “Bias length front/back View B”. But first, I’ll explain how to sew View A straps (the loops).

Sewing view A straps

And so we begin our binding at notch A on the back of the dress.

Place opened prepared bias face down onto the right side of the back, aligning the raw edges. We are starting at his point because our joining seam will be the least noticeable here. Leave 1.5-2 cm (9/16”-13/16”) of the bias free and start sewing it on.

begin sewing the bias to the neckline

Sew up to the end of the back neckline, measure the length of the strap for your size (“Strap length View A” in the Measurements table) and mark the spot with a pin. Then, align your marked spot with the beginning of the front neckline and continue sewing, until the front neckline is finished.
At this point repeat the measuring of the strap again and continue sewing the back of the neckline, until you have finished.

Once you are at the spot where you started, join the short ends of your bias with a short seam, trim and open the seam allowances.

After this first step the bias is carefully pressed up, then over to the wrong side of the garment.
As a second step, the bias needs to be sewn on again precisely, so baste it if you need to.

press the bias up

But before this, the decorative cross straps must be prepared and attached.

Decorative cross straps and finishing the neckline

The decorative straps provide a focal point to the back of this dress and also stop the dress from slipping off your shoulders due to the low cut back neckline.

We have prepared these straps already, read this post to see how.

And so, place the straps onto the back of the dress, according to the marks on the pattern. Insert the edges under the bias as shown, then baste down securely and press carefully.

Now we are ready to finish the neckline.

The bias is pressed to the wrong side and basted, if necessary. Now sew it on, trying to make sure that your seam is even on both sides of the bias.
You’ll be finishing the neckline, straps and securing the cross straps at the same time.

View B straps sewing (the ties).

Select the length of bias according to the size you are sewing. You will find it in the Measurements table under “Bias length front/back View B”.

To finish the back of the dress, take your back bias and measure the length of the back strap (listed in the Measurements table), then mark the spot. Place the bias onto the back of the dress at the beginning of the neckline and sew it on, finishing at the end of the back neckline. Repeat for the front neckline with the new piece of bias.

After this, prepare the decorative straps as described above and finish the neckline (and straps) by sewing the bias the second time.

close the bias

Press your work and admire. You are almost finished sewing your dress!
In my next (and the last) post we’ll add some finishing touches and hem it. In a meantime, you can purchase the pattern here.


Lena Merrin
Lena Merrin

A dressmaker of many years, I enjoy drafting patterns and create custom garments.