How to make sheer straps or sleeves for a wedding dress

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Wedding trends vary from one year to the next. If you’ve found a wedding gown that fits well but is strapless then you can add sheer straps or sleeves to get the look you’re after. It might be that you don’t want so much bare skin or fear a wardrobe malfunction.

You can get sleeves or straps added by a seamstress, but if you have basic sewing skills then you can make the additions yourself.

Put the gown on and measure across the top of your shoulder where you want the strap to sit from the front of the gown to the back. Add 3 cm (about 1.25 inches) to this measurement and write it down.

Decide how wide you want the straps to be. There is little point in making spaghetti straps with sheer fabric, so they should be at least 2 cm (4/5 in) wide. If you want sheer sleeves you will be attaching them to these straps.

Cut the straps to the measurements you have taken and include a hem allowance. Use pinking shears as serrated cutting seems to suit sheer fabrics best.

Use a scrap of the fabric to test your stitching. Set the machine for about 10 to 15 stitches per inch and use a small single-hole throat plate for best results.

Sew a small double hem along both sides of your straps, then carefully pin them in place inside the top of the wedding gown. Use a fine needle to hand-sew them to the lining.

Decide how long you want sleeves to be if you are going to have them. Work out the measurements and cut sleeves out from tissue paper and pin to the dress. Make adjustments until you are happy with the paper pattern, then use it to cut your sleeves of sheer fabric, including seam allowances.

Use small double hems and pin the sleeves in place. Try the gown on and make adjustments as required. Hand sew carefully in place to the lining of the wedding gown so that the stitches will not be seen from the outside.