How to Make Ribbon Ties for a Sundress

Found a great sundress, but it doesn't have ties on the shoulders, or the ties are too narrow? Add some security by attaching your own ties. It's a simple process, and it easily reversible if you change your mind. Using a wide grosgrain ribbon in a complementary color is a good way to simplify the process and avoid the need for matching fabric.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 to 2 inch wide grosgrain ribbon
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Measuring tape
  • Chalk
  • Straight pins


    • 1

      Put the dress on and have another person measure from the top of the dress in the front over the shoulder to the top of the dress in the back.

    • 2

      Cut four lengths of ribbon that are the same length as that measurement.

    • 3

      Finish one end of each of the ribbons by ironing the end under 1/4 inch, folding it under 1/4 inch, then ironing again, making a finished edge. Stitch along the edge of each ribbon so that each ribbon has one finished and one unfinished edge.

    • 4

      Mark the sundress at the place at the top of the sundress where you want the tie to be. Measure from the side seam to the mark on the dress. Then measure in the same distance from the side seam on the opposite side of the dress and mark the spot so the ties are even. Repeat the measuring process on the back of the dress.

    • 5

      Pin one of the grosgrain ties at each of those four marked locations, measuring so that each tie extends 2 inches below the top of the dress.

    • 6

      Using a straight stitch in the same color as the dress, stitch just above the bottom edge of the ribbon in each of the four locations, keeping the top of the ribbons pinned into place. Backstitch at either side of the ribbon. Then stitch across each ribbon again about 1/2 inch from the top of the dress, again backstitching each ribbon. To wear, put the dress on and tie the ribbons on top of the shoulders.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you don't like the look of a bow or knot at your shoulder, sew a button at the back of the dress, and use two lengths of ribbon as ties. Put a buttonhole at the end of the ribbons that will be in the back, and button the ties on rather than tying them at the top of the shoulder.
  • Adding wide straps to a sundress is a great way to cover up bra straps and other essentials.
  • Although commercial fray-checking liquid is often used to prevent fraying on grosgrain ribbon, do not use it for this project. Those products will wear off with repeated washing.
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  • Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

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