I would like to mend the elasticized shoulder straps of a dress. The straps are fraying along the edges. The material of the dress is synthetic, with a close-knit weave and four-way stretch. I do not have access to a sewing machine, so I would be hand-sewing. I understand that zigzag stitches are commonly used with stretchy fabrics, but I'm unsure if that would be the best way to reinforce an edge. I also considered a blanket stitch, but I don't know if that would work with a stretchy fabric. What would be the best stitch or mending method for this situation?
As you mentioned, I also might start with a whipstitch just to clean up the edges. Cut away the fray or use fray check before whip stitching by hand. Whipstitch is just a fast and looser blanket stitch.
Later, I would remove the old straps and tack on new ones.
- matching elastic (easiest method and it comes in more colors these days)
- bias tape
- trim - look up trim at your favorite fabric/craft store for other ideas (lace, twisted cord, eyelet, etc.)
- You may be able to cut the bottom of the dress and recreate the strap with the same fabric, but it won’t be as stretchy. If you need it to be stretchy and use this method, cut the length longer than needed for each side and wrap it around the correct length elastic. You’ll want to use an iron to make it easier to hand stitch.
If you use ribbon, It’s an opportunity to give it new straps and then decorate the dress with ribbon fringe somewhere else on the dress.