Adventures in sewing: Shoulder straps

As I mentioned yesterday in my eShakti review, I have had to tailor the shoulder straps on two recent eShakti dress purchases. You can also read in this post about how I had to sew up the shoulder straps on my first eShakti dress.

First, here’s a visual on how much I needed to take up on the shoulders on my bicycle print dress and my red jersey cotton dress:

Librarian for Life + Style | Adventures in sewing: Shoulder straps

So how do you take up shoulder straps? The bicycle print dress was much easier to do, as there was already a seam at the top of the shoulder straps, and both the front and back sides of the shoulders were the same width. Therefore, I just had to measure how much I needed to take off (an inch), pin the sides together, and sew a straight line across.

Librarian for Life + Style | Adventures in sewing: Shoulder straps

Then it was time to take off the excess of fabric, as it definitely looked lumpy on the underside. But before cutting off that extra inch, I sewed a zig-zag stitch above the straight seam I had just sewn; the zig-zag stitch prevents the fabric from unraveling after it’s cut. I then ironed the shoulders down and hand-sewed the edges down for a smoother finish.

And here’s the final result of my lovely bicycle print frock. Isn’t the deep v-shape in the back a nice surprise? (And sorry about the contrast in color. In the photo below on the left, the dress looks grey, but that’s because of the terrible indoor lighting. The photo below on the right has a truer color balance, due to the natural outdoor light.)

Librarian for Life + Style | Adventures in sewing: Shoulder straps

The red dress was harder to do, as the back side of the shoulder straps was wider than the front side. This meant that if I had simply followed the same steps as above, there would have been a huge gap at the center seam between the front and back sides of the straps. The shoulders also had a fabric binding/edging along the sides, made out of the same jersey cotton fabric as the dress itself. So with these complications, I realized I had to do a few extra steps at the beginning:

  • Unstitch the fabric binding on each side of the central shoulder seam about two inches down on both sides
  • Trim the sides of each strap (mostly the back side) to evenly match up when I took off an inch
  • Restitch (by hand!) the fabric binding on each side of the straps

Then it was time for the sewing machine! I could then pin the straps together, sew a straight seam across, zig-zag above the straight seam, cut the excess fabric, and then hand-sew the sides down. WHEW.

Librarian for Life + Style | Adventures in sewing: Shoulder straps

There was also one more step with the red dress, to resew the bra strap holders back into place. (I’m also planning on adding bra strap holders for the bicycle print dress!)

Here is the final result for how the undersides now look on both shoulder straps. In the close-up below, the zig-zag stitching shows up well on the underside of the bicycle print dress. On the red dress, the bra strap holder — the satiny bit — is blocking most of the work I did. (And yes, that’s black thread I used for the red dress, because I was too lazy to switch out the thread on the sewing machine. Inbetween fixing the shoulders on these dresses, I also rehemmed my black maxidress. I had a very productive weekend of sewing!)

Librarian for Life + Style | Adventures in sewing: Shoulder straps

But all that work was worth it! I wore my red dress the very next day (a full outfit post will be coming soon, I promise), and the shoulders looked and felt great. And best of all, with the straps tailored to fit my frame, everything else fit better in the bust and waistline.

Librarian for Life + Style | Adventures in sewing: Shoulder straps

It’s funny that during sewing, how little time is actually spent on the sewing machine. So much more time and work goes into the planning, prep, and finishing stages. And deconstructing an already-made garment takes some time, too, to figure out what needs to be done and in what sequence. When a garment is really well-made, like eShakti clothing is, it’s even harder to deconstruct and tailor the piece — because there are features like bindings, linings, and rolled hems to deal with!

I definitely pay more attention now while shopping to how a piece of clothing is put together, plus I feel more confident in making these kinds of minor alterations when I need to.

If you’re interested in more of my sewing adventures, just click here. Enjoy!

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3 thoughts on “Adventures in sewing: Shoulder straps

  1. Pingback: Sewing adventures: Tailoring two new eShakti items | Librarian for Life and Style

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