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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?

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    Can you add a photo of the fraying section? Or if that's not possible, at least clarify whether the fabric is knitted or woven.
    – csk
    Jul 27 at 4:15
  • Is there fabric covering the elastic? What is the width of the strap? Jul 27 at 17:44
  • Is the strap made with the same material as the dress? It might be cut on the bias and made into a strap, which makes it seem stretchy but doesn’t use elastic. Jul 27 at 17:53
  • Unfortunately, I'm not able to add a picture, but this is what the dress looks like: link. The fabric seems to be woven, and while the fabric itself is stretchy, it is definitely tacked over a stretchy elastic strap.
    – mifftiff
    Jul 28 at 20:55
  • 😊 you can totally replace that with bra strap that can be purchased at a fabric/craft store or online. That will take time and be a tedious fix. But The other ideas of masking the fray should give you more fun ways to keep that dress working. fabric glue and rhinestones, bedazzle it, sequins have fun and jazz it up! Jul 29 at 23:12
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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.

Some ideas:

  • matching elastic (easiest method and it comes in more colors these days)
  • ribbon
  • 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.

Have fun!

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  • thank you @fixer1234 i appreciate your help formatting my answer! 😊 Jul 27 at 23:59
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    Thank you @fixer1234! That's very helpful- I hadn't thought of using a whipstitch, which would both help finish an edge and be more "flexible" or stretchy than a blanket stitch. The fraying is currently minor (about 5mm in length), so hopefully I'll get some mileage out of mending until I need to replace the straps.
    – mifftiff
    Jul 28 at 20:58
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    @mifftiff, I can't take credit, I just helped format the list. The content is the work of Not The Face. :-)
    – fixer1234
    Jul 29 at 16:29

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