My latest make, a scrunchie strap 2 piece dress, delivers major wow factor without having advanced sewing skills. I can easily see any beginning sewist upgrading a commercial pattern by adding these scrunchie straps, which add volume and drama without a lot of extra skill!
The design of this look was intended to be very simple; a basic high waist skirt with front slit, paired back to a clean-lined bra top. Since fabric is everything, a bright floral silk charmeuse was perfect for the job. Silk charmeuse can be a bit wily to sew, as it wiggles a ton and requires extra pins and basting. However a simple outfit like this is the perfect time to practice sewing with such a fabric, since there are no bold curves or exaggerated shapes.
As the scrunchie straps are the main design detail of the look, it’s the portion that I tested out with a toile first, in order to make sure I loved the volume. I used a lightweight linen scrap fabric for the toile, because it was important to see how a lighter weight, limp fabric would hold the shape. In order to make the scrunchie strap, I measured what my typical strap length would be, and subtracted 1″, which was about 15″ total. This is the length necessary for the elastic, so that it has a bit of stretch to hold up on the shoulder, but is not stretched too tight where it would be uncomfortable.
Then, I simply measured out a casing for the scrunchie strap given as assumed volume level. For the toile, I think the strap was 8″ wide, sewn on one side to create a cylinder. In this toile I didn’t think the volume was quite as much as I wanted, so in my final fabric I pumped it up a bit to 10″ wide. As for length of the cylinder, I recommend going 2x the length of your strap and playing around with that. You can always cut the cylinder shorter if you want less of a scrunch effect, but you can’t make it longer!
Sewing the straps was fairly easy. Simply feed the elastic through the cylinder and fold the edges of the cylinder around the elastic, and sew down. You will need to stretch the elastic in order to sew the other end. Then, insert the two folded ends into your top, between the face and lining fabrics. Depending on your fabric, you might need to hand sew a few spots along the cylinder seam to the elastic inside of the strap to hold the fullness in place. It wasn’t necessary for my linen toile because it has more texture, but the silk charmeuse kept sliding around without the small hand tacked parts to hold it in place.
The rest is history! A totally upgraded detail for any simple dress design. Please let me know if you try this scrunchie strap hack with any of your next makes!