How to Make: Popover’s bias straps and hem

So we got the Oliver + S Popover Sundress side seams finished and added the yoke, now we get to finish it off.

Now time to do the bias straps. You can do them with self-fabric or be justifiably lazy and use 1/2″ double-old bias tape. I bought a bias tape maker not too long ago and will be trying that out on the next dress. For this one, I just followed the directions.

Fold the bias strap in half lengthwise, then in half again, on one side only.


I followed their directions, but also added a step. The stretch of the bias and the stretch of the underarm curve made for some frustration for me. I had to re-do it on one side and decided to just stay-stitch to avoid the double stretch.

Stay-stitch just less than 1/2″ from raw edge, using a smaller-than-normal stitch. It doesn’t have to be perfect (you’ll see mine isn’t even–at all) because it’ll be hidden behind the strap. Just don’t go beyond the 1/2″ seam allowance.


 Pin strap to dress, right side of strap to wrong side of dress.  Use plenty of pins and stretch the bias strap just slightly as you round the curves.

This was my first attempt and you’ll see I didn’t do the stay-stitching and I pinned, then sewed from the back/wrong side. Don’t do that. Sew it from the front, stitching (just outside the stay-stitching) at 1/2″ unless you want to spend some quality time with your seam ripper.


Trim about 1/8″ off the seam allowance; it will make for a neater edge when you turn it (i.e. less bulk).


Carefully fold the bias tap over to the front, bringing the folded edge just past your stitching line and pin, pin, pin.Take your time, the curves can be a bit persnickety.


Stitch right along the edge, starting at one end of the strap and down around the underarm edge and to the other end. Be sure to stitch across the end of each strap several times.


Now, if you are anything like me, you think you are done. Then you realize, oh yes, the hem.

Oliver + S says to stitch a 5/8″ basting line around the hem, fold at that line, then turn in the raw edge and stitch. This works just fine.

I decided to fold up the raw edge one-inch, using a sewing gauge to keep it even, then folded down about 1/4″ along that edge and stitched.

You choose your own hem adventure.

Stitch twice along the hem, 1/8″ apart to make for a stronger hem.


And –voila!– you’ve made a dress!

Super quick and simple, though it could be embellished in all sorts of ways–rick rack, lace, pockets, different fabrics, etc. I’ll be trying out some other things on more dresses to come.


If you’re making this dress for a little one of your own –she’s gonna love it!

If you’re making it for our Sewing for the Orphans sewing drive/fundraiser, please email me and I’ll tell you where to send it. And, really, thank you so very much!

Scroll to Top