DIY Prom Dress Repairs

ripped dress

Although it's not fun to think about, it's entirely possible that your beautiful prom dress will need a minor repair during the evening. No doubt, all that dancing can tear delicate fabrics. Fortunately, a portable repair kit and some basic instructions for fixing common problems can save you any embarrassment, and have you back on the dance floor in no time.

Fixing Five Common Prom Dress Problems

Don't let a little rip or a stain ruin your evening. Just follow these instructions to make your dress as good as new.

How to Repair a Broken Strap

A broken strap is one of the most common issues that girls have, especially if the dress has narrow spaghetti straps.

  1. Use a safety pin to hold the strap in place until you can get to the restroom.
  2. After you find a mirror, check to make sure the length of the strap is correct. Adjust the pin as needed to fix it.
  3. Remove your dress and open the sewing kit. Thread a needle with a color that matches your gown, and tie a small knot in the end of the thread.
  4. Starting from the inside of the dress, sew through the dress fabric and the strap fabric. Sew up and down in this spot about six times, trying to tuck any frayed edges inside the dress.
  5. Tug the thread gently to see if it makes a pinging noise. This indicates that you've made your stitches nice and tight and can cut the thread.
  6. Trim the thread close to the spot you were sewing. Trim any other loose threads or frayed fabric.

The repair should only take about ten minutes, and when you're done, you can rejoin the party with confidence.

How to Fix a Torn Hem

If someone, maybe your date, accidentally steps on the hem of your dress, it can tear. Although this may look really bad, it's not that difficult to repair:

  1. Find a quiet place to sit down. You won't need to take your dress off for this fix. Take a good look at the rip. The size will affect how you handle it.
  2. If it's very large, use dress tape to put the fabric back together. Then thread your needle, and knot your thread. Take a few small stitches, starting from the inside of the dress, to secure the hem every few inches. This will help the dress tape hold up the hem.
  3. If the rip is small, you can repair it with the sewing kit. This is a better choice, since it's more secure. Starting from the back side of the fabric, take several small stitches to close the gap in the hem. When you're done, snip the thread close to your repair.
  4. Trim any loose threads or pieces of fabric.
  5. If you notice that the fabric is starting to fray or run, apply a little bit of the Liquid Thread, and allow it to dry before going back on the dance floor.

How to Re-Attach an Embellishment

If your dress has beading, flowers, or other embellishments, these can be vulnerable areas. However, don't despair if you notice something falling off; it's an easy fix. Just follow these steps:

  1. Hold your hand over the embellishment, and make your way to the restroom.
  2. Carefully remove your dress to avoid doing more damage.
  3. Re-attach the embellishment using the Liquid Thread, being careful not to get excess glue on the fabric.
  4. Adjust the embellishment so it looks just like new. This may mean moving beads around or changing the angle of a flower. Allow the glue to dry.
  5. Use your scissors to remove loose threads that may be hanging.

How to Sew a Tear in the Dress Seam

Sometimes the movement of dancing can be too much for the delicate fabric of your dress, and you may notice that a seam is starting to gape. This is a problem you should repair right away, since it will worsen quickly.

  1. Pinch the fabric on either side of the seam, and head for the rest room.
  2. Very carefully remove your dress, trying not to pull on the seam at all as you do.
  3. Turn the dress inside out, and find the spot where the seam is opening up. Check the condition of the surrounding fabric. If the fabric is chiffon and seems to be fraying, carefully dab a tiny bit of the Liquid Thread on each frayed area. Allow it to dry before proceeding.
  4. Thread your needle, and tie a knot in the end of the thread.
  5. Place the right sides of the fabric together, closing the seam. Use pins to hold it closed.
  6. Start sewing about an inch before the rip in the seam, where the dress is still looking fine. Use the littlest stitches you can, and sew right where you can see the stitch holes from the original seam. Continue sewing until you've gone about an inch past where the rip ended.
  7. Trim the thread, and trim any other loose pieces of thread or fabric.

How to Replace a Missing Button

If your dress is missing a button, you can easily replace it. Here's how you do it:

  1. Depending on the location of the button, you'll likely need to remove your dress. Head to the nearest restroom for privacy.
  2. Find the spare button in your sewing kit. Thread your needle with thread that matches your dress, and knot the end of the thread.
  3. Starting from the inside of the dress, sew a couple of stitches up and down in the place where you'll be replacing the button. End with the needle on the outside of the dress.
  4. Slip your needle through the button, and then bring it back down through the dress fabric. Continue adding stitches to the button until you've gone through it at least six times. End with your needle inside the dress.
  5. Tug the button gently to make sure it's secure. Add more stitches if it isn't. If it is, trim the thread right near where you finished sewing.

Assembling a Prom Dress Repair Kit

A well-stocked repair kit is the key to fixing your dress and getting back to the party. Purchase a few basic items, and keep them in an evening clutch. That way, it will be easy to make repairs for your dress and your friends' gowns if necessary.

Liquid Thread Glue

Liquid Thread is an adhesive for fabric, which retails for about seven dollars a bottle. To quickly fix a problem with your dress, you simply glue the seam or replacement piece on the dress with the Liquid Thread. It will dry quickly and be clear and permanent. This takes the place of sewing, which makes it much easier on you if you do not know how to sew well.

Dress Tape

Dress tape, such as Hollywood Fashion Tape, is a great tool for fixing a problem until you have access to a needle and thread. This is a two-sided tape designed to take fabric and stick it to your body. You can use it on loose seams, ripped tulle, or other tears on your dress.

Sewing Supplies

Although Liquid Thread is a quick fix, a sewing kit is also essential for larger repairs or for sewing on a button. Here's what you'll need to include:

  • Folding thread snips or scissors, such as Fiskars Heritage Folding Scissors
  • Thread to match the color of your prom dress
  • Spare buttons to match your dress
  • Hand sewing needle and straight pins
  • Safety pins

Spot-Removal Supplies

If you notice a spot on your gown or on one of your friend's dresses, these supplies can help:

  • Ordinary chalk - This can help remove a spot on a light-colored silk gown. Simply dab it on and brush off the dust.
  • Baby wipes - Perfect for getting stains out of polyester and other manmade fabrics, baby wipes are a good choice to keep in your repair kit. Simply dab the wipe on the spot and air dry.
  • Portable stain treater - You can pre-treat and actually remove many stains using a portable product, like Shout Wipes.

Wax Pencil or Wax Paper

Zippers get stuck from time to time. If yours sticks, you can use a wax pencil or wax paper to make it slide easier and zip correctly. Simply take the base and rub the wax pencil or paper on it. Then carefully wiggle the zipper to get it free; it should zip perfectly.

Get Back to Having Fun

No matter what happens, don't spend too much of your evening repairing your prom dress. Try to use the quickest repair you can and get back to having fun. After all, that's what the evening is really about.

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DIY Prom Dress Repairs