Make It or Buy It? '70s Style Spaghetti Strap Fringe Dress

Posted by on Jul 31, 2016

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Item of Clothing: 1970s Navy Blue Sleeveless Spaghetti Strap Fringe Dress 

Assessment: The best thing about this dress may be the fabric. The dress itself would be fairly easy to make. It appears to be two or four rectangles (depending on the fabric print) sewn together, which is kind of brilliant in its simplicity. 

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Skill to Know: Making thin spaghetti straps. The hardest part of making this dress probably be the spaghetti straps. These don’t have to be hard though if you have the proper tool.

My favorite tool for making spaghetti straps is the Dritz Loop Turner, a simple thin metal rod with a hook on one end and a ring on the other. Insert the rod into the strap that you need to turn right side out, scrunching it up, if necessary, on the rod. Latch the hook through the fabric securely. I often hook through the seam allowance (two layers) to prevent the hook from pulling out mid-turn. 

Getting it started is always hardest. Gently pull down on the Loop Turner ring while also easing the fabric on the hook end up and over itself. (For more details, watch the video by Marrisa Rae above.) Once started, I usually slide the fabric from the middle, carefully working it up and over to prevent it bunching up on itself. No need to worry about stretching it all out right away. Concentrate on getting the hooked part out the opposite end; once that happens you can just turn the easily with your fingers.

Construction Tip: To keep the neckline from stretching out, don’t cut along a normal seam allowance. Leave a good amount of fabric above your stitching line, like four to six inches. Sew with a normal stitch length along this line. Next, prepare your bias neck binding using one of the handy Dritz bias makers. 

You probably want to make 1/2-inch bias so that you wrap 1/4-inch around to the underside. Without yet cutting away your extra 4 to 6 inches, line up the edge of your bias tape with your stitching, then sew into place along the fold line 1/4-inch from the neckline. 

Afterward, go ahead and press your bias up toward the neck opening to make sure you've sewn everything correctly and your neckline is even. Once you are happy with it, trim away all your excess seam allowance right to the edge of your stay stitch line. Then press and fold your bias over to the wrong side so that a small 1/4-inch is visible on the right side (leaving a bit more than a 1/4-inch on the wrong side). This way you will be able to stitch in the ditch, as we say, right next to the crevice made when you attached the bias. 

Supplies needed: If you wanted to try your hand at making your own unique '70s fringe dress, some possible fabrics that could be fun to use can be found on at Britex Fabrics and Etsy. You could also use a sari or other Indian fabrics which are often printed with a border. 

Fringe is sold by the yard and this particular kind is called knotted fringe. For the smooth, delicate look, you will want it to be silk or rayon. About four to five yards will probably be enough. 

Decision: This dress would take about two-four hours to make. Fabric and fringe would probably cost somewhere around $40 to $50. You’ll really have to do some searching though to find a fabric similar to what this dress is made out of. At $58, this is more of a Buy than a Make.

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