Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Sewing Spaghetti Straps

I recently watched The Great British Sewing Bee and was fascinated to see them making Rouleau straps.  I'd never heard of the term - I call them spaghetti straps.  I have always wondered how they make those beautiful, tiny straps.

Since I'm on a mission to learn beautiful sewing techniques, I decided to teach myself how to sew Rouleau straps.  I found this handy tutorial which explains the process.

I started by cutting myself some 2cm bias strips using my quilting ruler and rotary cutter.


I then ironed the strips in half lengthwise and carefully sewed down the length of the strip 5mm from the folded edge.


To make it easier to start the turning, I trimmed the excess fabric around the opening that was going to be pulled inside first.  I just cut an angled piece off the seam allowance at the end of the strip (about 2cm long).  According to the tutorial I was following, you can use the threads at the end of the strip for turning the strap inside-out.  I found that my thread wasn't strong enough for all the pulling involved, and it snapped.  The other option is to use a special tool for turning the strap.  I used a Prym Loop Turner.


This is an inexpensive tool to add to your sewing kit (about £3.50) and make the job of turning straps so much easier.  You start by threading the tool through the centre of the strap, hooking the loop over the end and pushing the hinged spike through the fabric.



It's then just a matter of pulling and easing, until the whole strap gradually turns inside out.  It took a lot of encouragement, and picking at the puckered fabric, to get the turn started, but once it was started it was quite easy.  I didn't sew the seam close enough on the first strap and it ended up looking too thick, and didn't hold a nice rounded shape.


For my second attempt, I sewed a bit closer to the folded edge (3-4mm).  Again, it was quite fiddly to turn, but the result was a beautiful, tiny Rouleau strap.


I'm thinking I might teach myself shirring next and make the girls some pretty summer dresses with spaghetti straps.  Maybe I might start with a little doll dress instead!

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