Strapless dresses are popular and often considered to be chic, but not everyone is comfortable in them. To alter a strapless dress to make it modest, find a blouse with a neckline, shoulders, and sleeves that are a similar style, a complementary color and a similar texture to that of the dress. Don't try to match a ribbed tank top with a satiny, strapless prom dress, it will look funny. It does not matter if the blouse fits through the body as long as the top third fits, because only the top portion of the blouse will be used for this alteration.
Supplies Needed to Alter a Strapless Dress for Modesty
- Tailor's chalk
- Yardstick or ruler
- Straight pins
- Sewing machine
- Blouse that matches style, color, and fabric texture of strapless dress
- Put on the blouse, then put the strapless dress over it. Make sure the blouse is tucked in tight and the dress is completely fastened.
- Turn the top edge of the dress down 1/2 inch, and make small tailor's chalk marks on the blouse every three inches, along the folded dress edge. Make small numbered marks on both the dress and blouse showing where side seams and the center front line up. An assistant to help with the marking will be needed for this step.
- Spread the blouse flat on the table, make marks one inch lower than your original marks, on only the front, to make a seam allowance, and line up the straight edge of the ruler or yardstick with the tailor's chalk marks to make a line across the new bottom edge of the blouse.
- Make a mark in the center of the back, four inches blow the original center back mark. Draw a curved line that goes from the side seam to center back. Fill in between the marks with tailor's chalk and use the scissors to cut along the line. The back will need extra fabric to tuck in because sewing right up to the closure on the dress will make it very hard to wear.
- Fold the newly cut bottom edge under 1/2 inch, then fold it a second time directly over the first fold. This will completely finish the raw edge by folding it in. Pin the folded edge with the straight pins. Finish the edge by running the sewing machine's stitching along the inner edge of the fold, 1/8 inch from the edge. Remove the pins.
- Line up the side seam marks and the center seam mark, and pin the blouse inside of the strapless dress, making a 1/2 inch overlap.
- Measure two inches out on each side of the dress closure, and pin the blouse along the original tailor's chalk line, up to this point. Place pins every two inches all the way around the top of the dress. If there are any noticeable puckers, divide the extra fabric evenly between the pins and pin it in place.
- Make sure the thread on the sewing machine matches the dress fabric, and sew all the way around the top of the dress, top-stitching 1/4 inch from the edge.. Start at the mark two inches from the back closure and stitching all the way to the mark on the other side of the back closure.