DIY Style: You Can Add Straps to a Strapless Wedding Gown
Whether you’re a large-busted bride or your wedding dress just has a tendency to slip during inopportune moments, make your wedding dress worry-free by adding two simple straps. That way, you won’t spend your wedding day awkwardly hiking up your bustier, and your posture will automatically look better without wrinkles created by a sagging gown. You’ll be able to smile confidently as you pose for wedding photos without calling a time-out to make sure your dress is sitting right.
If you’re at all worried about your strapless wedding dress now, don’t wait for it to cause annoying problems on the big day. You can visit an alterations shop to have straps added to nearly any style of dress, but adding DIY straps is easy even if you’re not a professional seamstress.
One note before you proceed: straps can’t fix everything.
If the bodice of your gown doesn’t fit well, straps alone won’t solve the problem. Your bodice should feel snug around your torso and should support the majority of its own weight without straps. If the bodice fits well but just has a tendency to slip or sag slightly during certain movements (say, when you stretch your arms up or bend over), adding straps will give you the confidence to move freely around your wedding without worrying about your dress.
The nice thing about starting with a strapless wedding dress and adding your own straps is that you have the freedom to choose any style you like. You don’t have to stick with satin, tulle, or lace. If you’re wearing pearl earrings, for example, you may want to use two strings of pearls (or faux pearls) as dress straps. If you’re incorporating rhinestones into your wedding day look (embellishing your bridal shoes, for example), use strands of rhinestones. You may also want to visit a fabric store and choose two lengths of your favorite high-quality ribbon.
Want a more cohesive look? Check with the designer of your dress whether there is any extra fabric you can buy. (Some fashion designers sell matching fabric with their gowns for exactly this reason.) You can buy straps on their own from many fabric, craft, and sewing stores, as well as online shops. Look for material textures and colors that match your dress as closely as possible. You may even want to commission a fashion artist to make custom straps for your dress. If your favorite artist is in another city, you can even send photos of your dress (although, of course, in-person consultations are more precise).
Sometimes, adding simple straps to a wedding gown can make all the difference for it being allowed at a church wedding. If you’re absolutely in love with a strapless gown but your church venue prohibits bare shoulders, ask about adding wide straps to the gown. Straps of ruched tulle or pleated taffeta, especially if they incorporate a lace overlay or beaded appliqué, can enhance a dress’s elegance without adding bulky elements like bridal shawls or wraps.
As you consider strap materials for their aesthetic appeal, don’t forget to factor in comfort as well. Some strings of beads, for example, are gorgeous to behold but can dig uncomfortably into your skin when they’re being used to hold up a dress. If you’re not sure how comfortable your straps will be when worn for a whole afternoon, try them out ahead of time. (You don’t have to wear your wedding gown around the house for a day; attach the straps to a dress or shirt made of a heavy material instead.) If you feel at all uncomfortable during the trial wearing, or if the straps leave pressure marks on your skin, look for a wider and softer material.
The tighter your bodice fits on its own, the less weight will pull on the straps, so make sure your dress is a snug fit around the ribcage. That way, you’ll have more leeway to add embellishments like rosettes without worrying about discomfort.
If you can’t get around the problem of straps digging into your shoulders, consider an alternate type of strap-like a halter tie (or vice versa). Sometimes, simply moving the straps to a new path gives your neck and shoulders the relief they need.
When you design your own dress straps, you create more than a DIY hobby project. You give your bridal gown, which is the focal point of a bride’s wedding-day look, a special touch that is unique to you. You ensure that no other bride in the world will show up in photos wearing the same ensemble. Best of all, you get to tailor your fashion choice to fit your body and style exactly. If you’re a bride who wants her wedding day to be perfect, start with the fit of the dress and the rest will follow.