How to Sew a DIY Open-back Strappy Dress For Summer

8 Materials
3 Hours

In this tutorial, I will show you how to make a beautiful open-back, strappy dress that you will be able to wear everywhere, from vacation to special events. You can download the pattern for this flowy, backless maxi dress, and then you’ll be ready to start.

Tools and materials:

  • Dress pattern
  • 3 to 3½ yards of non-stretchy, woven fabric
  • Thread
  • 12mm bias tape marker
  • Glass head pins
  • Safety pin
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine and serger
DIY open-back strappy dress pattern

1. Cut the pattern pieces

Cut the pattern pieces outlined in red in the above image from your fabric as indicated. Cut out two sets of the front and back, because you will use the second set as your lining.

Sewing the back of the dress

2. Sew the dress back

With right sides together, pin two back pieces together, and sew the center back seam. Repeat with the other two back pieces, for your lining. Press the seam to one side without opening it.

Sewing the front darts

3. Sew front darts

Pin and sew the front darts as marked on the pattern. Sew the darts on the lining pieces as well. Then press the darts to give them the right shape.

Stabilizing the neckline

4. Stabilize the neckline

Stay-stitch the front top edge of the front lining to stabilize the edge and the shape of the armhole and neckline. Be careful to ensure that the point of the V-neckline is positioned exactly at the center-front.

Pinning the V-shape neckline

Fold the front lining at the neckline V and pin the corners to keep both sides in place and equal.

Checking the symmetry of the armholes

Check the armholes to ensure they are also symmetrical.

Stay-stitching the back lining

5. Stay-stitch the back lining

Stay-stitch the top edge of the back lining.

Sewing the summer dress

6. Sew the dress

With right sides together, pin the front and back of the dress at the side seams, and sew the side seams.

Do the same for the lining.

Press the side seams to the back of the dress.

Attaching the lining

7. Attach the lining to the dress

With right sides together, pin the lining to the dress around the top edge of the back, the armhole, and the neckline.

Marking the center of the neckline

Mark the center of the V-neckline so it will be clear where the stitch line should go.

Sewing the lining to the dress

Sew the lining to the dress, sewing on the lining side and using your stay-stitch seam as your guide.

Trimming the seam allowance

Trim the seam allowances of the back and the armhole to ⅛-inch.

Under-stitching the back and armhole

Turn the seam allowances towards the lining and under-stitch the back and the armhole, stopping 1-2 inches before the front points.

Trimming the neckline seam allowance

Trim the seam allowance of the neckline to ⅛-inch.

Clipping the corner of the neckline

Clip the corner of the neckline, stopping just before the seam. Be careful not to cut through the seam.

Under-stitching the lining

Turn the seam allowances towards the lining and under stitch the lining to keep it from rolling towards the outside. Also, under stitch the neckline.

Pressing the edges with an iron

Press the edge of the armhole and the neckline.

Making casing for the straps

8. Make the strap casing

Fold the corners of the front piece down towards the wrong side ⅝-inch and pin.

Pinning the open edge

At the back, pin together the open edge of the lining and the main fabric, matching the side seams. Make sure to turn them in opposite directions so it won’t get bulky.

Sewing the corners

Sew the corners of the front to make the casing.

How to sew a maxi dess

Staystitch ⅝ of an inch from the edge of the back opening and serge.

Pulling the excess thread through the stitches

Pull the excess thread through the stitches to hide it.

How to sew an open-back dress

At the back, fold the serged edge ⅝ of an inch to the wrong side. 

Pressing over the glass pins

Pin and press.

Cooling with a clapper

Cool it down to set it in place without twisting the fabric.

Sewing casing for the straps

Make a stitch in the middle of the serge seam, ½-inch from the edge, forming a casing. Press and cool the casing.

Making the straps

9. Make the strap

You can use a ready-made cord for a strap or make your own. If you choose a ready-made cord, select one that is ¼-inch wide.

To make your own strap, sew the cut-out pattern strap pieces into one long piece. Then use a 12-millimeter (0.47-inch) bias-making tool to prepare the strap for sewing.

Pressing the straps

Press and cool the strap as you go.

Folding the straps and pressing

Fold the strap in half, pin, press and cool.

How to sew straps for a strappy dress

Sew the strap ½-millimeter from the edge and press. Your strap should be about 3 millimeters (0.12 inches) narrower than your casing.

Inserting the straps

Insert the strap into the back of your dress first, distributing the fabric evenly, then through the front casing. Tie off both ends of the strap with knots.

Adding a ruffle and hem

10. Add a ruffle and hem (9:20 – 10:30)

Follow the video from 9:20 to 10:30 to make and attach the hem ruffle.

DIY open-back strappy dress

DIY open-back strappy dress

Give your dress a final press and take a look at how beautiful and flowy it is. I hope you try making this DIY strappy backless dress and let me know in the comments how yours turned out.  

Suggested materials:
  • Dress pattern
  • 3 to 3½ yards of non-stretchy, woven fabric
  • Thread
See all materials

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