Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Haley Dress Sew-Along Part 3: Button Panel, Bias Tape and Straps

Thanks to everyone who has stuck with me this far. Don't worry, you'll have a finished dress by Thursday! If you missed the other 2 days of the Sew-Along, go HERE for day 1 and HERE for day 2.
Today we're going to get into the detailed stuff. Bear with me, it might get a little wordy :) 


Making the Button Panel, Bias Tape and Straps

Step 1: Make the button panel and closure.

To make the button closure, I followed Jess's tutorial HERE on Craftiness is Not Optional. She explains it way better than I could. The only thing I would do different is to cut your rectangle 3 inches wide and 5 inches long out of your main fabric. Her size was a little too big for my dress.

Follow all the steps for making the button closure until the part where you cut down the line you drew, turn your panel inside out and press with your iron. Stop after that.

As you can see, I didn't stop sewing 1 inch from the bottom like you're supposed to, so my opening is way too big. Read Jess's instructions better than me :)

After ironing and turning, you may want to put a few more stitches from the bottom of your opening to the bottom of your panel to keep your button panel flat. My panel kept flipping up until I sewed it down.

Put a few stitches between where my fingers are

Step 2: Make your bias tape.

Now you're going to make bias tape to enclose the top raw edges of the button closure you just made. If you want to keep it super easy, just buy 1-inch bias tape at the store, I won't judge you ;) If you're using store-bought bias tape, skip down to Step 3.

Measure across the top neckline of your back piece (mine was 7 inches) and add 1/2 inch. Cut out a 2-inch wide strip from your accent fabric in this length, preferably on the bias for more stretch. (Check out more on making bias tape over at Prudent Baby.) That said, I've made bias tape without cutting my fabric on the bias plenty of times. I'll leave the choice to you!

Now that you've cut out your fabric strip, iron it to make your bias tape:

    1. Fold your strip in half long ways (wrong sides together) and iron.

    2. Unfold, and with the wrong side facing up, fold each side to your middle crease and iron.

    3. Fold in half again and iron, and you should have a finished piece of bias tape. Um ew, ignore my
        gross ironing board. I need to recover that...

Step 3: Attach your bias tape.

Now that you have created (or purchased) your bias tape, find the middle of your strip and cut it in half so you have 2 smaller pieces of bias tape (my whole piece was 7 inches long so when I cut it in half, I had 2 pieces that were each 3.5 inches long).

These pieces will be enclosing either side of our button closure we made yesterday, so you will need to have 1 closed end on each strip. You could just stitch the end some, but I'll show you how to make it pretty without exposing any raw edges (another great tip from Jess on Craftiness is Not Optional.

To do this, unfold your bias tape...

...and refold down the middle with right sides together (it will look like an "M" when folded). 

Stitch one end together...

...and turn right side out. Use the end of a pen, chopstick, etc. to push your corner out. You'll see that you have a nice, enclosed end now. Repeat with the other strip.

Now, tuck the raw edge of one side of your back piece and button panel into your bias tape that you just made. Pin and zig-zag stitch across to secure. Repeat with the other side.

Step 4: Make your straps.

Ok so confession: I made my straps wayyyy too long. I definitely botched my measurement, and I realized this after I had sewed them onto my dress - that's why my straps are tied in wonky bows. Don't get me wrong I love the bows, but I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to make them the way I did, which is to try and finagle a bow out of a circle and put a couple stitches through it. I would just make a plain, circular strap if I were you. As in Step 2 above, you can use 1-inch store-bought bias tape for your straps if you prefer.

To figure out how long your straps need to be measure the circumference of the strap on an existing dress, then add an extra 1/2 inch for seam allowance. Cut 2 fabric strips (preferably on the bias) this amount long and 2 inches wide from your accent fabric. My strips were each 12 1/2 inches long with seam allowance, and 2 inches wide for my 2t/3t dress.

Follow the instructions in Step 2 above to iron your strips into bias tape (don't cut these or finish the ends, just iron them.)

(the left 2 are my 2 straps)

Now you want to make a circle with your bias tape. Unfold one of your and place the ends back to back, with right sides together. Sew the ends together.

Turn your circle rightside out and refold - this is one strap. Repeat to make the other strap and set aside.



Today we created your button closure and encased it with the bias tape you made.

We also made both of your bias tape straps.

Tomorrow we will sew everything together and finish your dress!

Thanks for sewing along with me and if you have any questions, email me at myownroad(at)!


  1. ok..1st dummy ? of the day...for the button closure piece..we lay that on our back piece of main fabric face down, is our back piece face up or face down? Like are we sewing this on the outside or inside of the dress? THANKS & I am sure more ??'s to come!

  2. hooray!! I am ready for tomorrow! Super excited to put these babies together & see my girls in them! Thanks for your awesoem tutorial & loads of help!!


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