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How to stop sundress strap slippage

Apologies to the gentlemen in my circle of readers: today’s post will be quite unhelpful for you.

how to stop strap slippage

What’s strap slippage?

Well, the straps of knit sundresses don’t usually pose a problem, but if you’ve ever owned a sundress made of woven fabric, you know that sometimes the non-stretchy straps do not want to stay on your shoulders.

Especially if you, you know, move while wearing the dress.

Of course, you can prevent public viewing of bra straps by wearing a strapless bra, that still doesn’t fix the annoying problem of the dress straps always falling down your shoulders.

I have two dresses (both from Goodwill, actually!) with this issue.

This white dress was particularly problematic because of the button closure in the front…the strap can easily rotate on the button, which makes it prone to falling off the shoulder.

white Goodwill dress

So, I decided to finally get around to fixing that, using some ribbon and sew-on snaps.

(I saw this idea on the internet a while back but I can’t remember where!)

how to fix straps that fall down

Basically, I just added a tiny strap underneath the dress strap, which holds the dress strap onto the bra or camisole strap.

(Would you like me to say “strap” a few more times??)

The idea is that the stretchy understrap of your bra or cami will hold your non-stretchy dress strap in place.

how to add bra strap holder

Apparently, well-made clothing used to come with these included, but I’ve definitely never seen any in my lifetime!

To make this, I cut a piece of old ribbon to the appropriate length and then held the ends over a lit match to melt them (this keeps the ribbon from fraying, and works on almost every ribbon I’ve tried it on!)

use a match to melt ribbon ends

Do be careful not to burn yourself.

Then I sewed one end of the ribbon right onto the strap. I hand sewed mine, because my machine isn’t super great at doing tiny bits of stitching.

making a strap holder

Then I sewed one end of the snap onto the dress strap (being careful not to sew through the strap but just to catch the inner side of the strap with my needle) and sewed the other half of the snap onto the ribbon.


The first time I did this, I sewed the snap pieces on upside down.

So, um, make sure you think about how the pieces go together!   😉

I sewed another set on this pink dress, which longtime readers may recognize from back in 2009.

the frugal girl 2009

(Zoe was a leetle smaller back when I got this dress!)

bra strap holder on sundress

This project does end up taking a little time because you have to sew three things (the ribbon and both sides of the snaps), but I wouldn’t say it’s difficult.

And it would be very easy to do this while, say, waiting at your kid’s music lesson or sports practice, since you can do it all by hand.

sundress bra strap holder

I found my snaps at Michael’s, but you can also buy them online if you live in a craft/sewing store wasteland.   Make sure you get the sew-on sort, and make sure you buy a size that’s small enough to easily fit on your dress strap.

I hope I explained this clearly, but please do let me know if you have questions.

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Tuesday 12th of May 2015

Thanks so much for the pictures and description. I just bought some tanks tops and my darn bra straps keep sliding out and so I thought I could go to the store to buy some of these, but the stores don't seem to carry them anymore. I knew it wasn't a complicated thing but I hate sewing and not good at it and the other sites that showed how to do this just made me feel frustrated (talked about being careful you don't cause the shoulder from bunching up). Looking at your site made it look so simple that I will definitely feel more confident doing it myself, thank you.


Friday 15th of August 2014

This is a couture technique which I have seen on the (few) high end dresses I have ever owned. It is on one dress that I have now which is boat necked. It keeps your bra strap from showing in the corner of the boat neck.

Great idea!!!


Wednesday 13th of August 2014

Many tailors in India stitch these strap with hooks to prevent your dress from slipping down!


Wednesday 13th of August 2014

I bought a sundress from Lands End this summer that has the strap holder. I love it but never thought to add it to my other dresses. Thank you for the idea.


Wednesday 13th of August 2014

Great idea, but, ummm, how do I keep the darn bra strap up????

Mine NEVER stay up.


Monday 17th of July 2017

Silicone is a great fix for this. Like the kind you get at the hardware store. I always have a tube around the house for something and just reapply a tab when it starts to wear off.


Thursday 14th of August 2014

Ugh, that is annoying. Tightening the straps helps some, but then you have to make sure the band is tight so the whole thing doesn't just ride right up.

I think some people have more sloping shoulders too, which doesn't help matters.

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