In Summertime, strappy dresses with spaghetti straps are all must-haves for the new season. If you are about to leap into summer then knowing how to turn a tube of fabric to make straps, ties and snazzy bag handles is going to be on your to-do sewing list. It doesn’t matter if you are going for ultra-thin spaghetti straps or a more substantial chunky handbag handle, the process is the same.
What are Spaghetti Straps?
Spaghetti straps are very thin straps used in clothing to hold up dresses, tops, lingerie and singlets. They are also referred to as rouleau straps.
Because of their small width, spaghetti straps need a few sewing tricks to turn them the right way out.
Spaghetti straps are usually made from woven fabric but may also be cut from fine knits.
Cutting woven fabric on the bias (diagonal) will add a small amount of stretch and make the straps easier to turn and more comfortable to wear. You can cut your spaghetti straps from the same fabric as the main fabric or use a piece of bias tape.
It is quite common to see adjusters at the back of spaghetti strap clothing items since the thin straps can cut into your shoulders or fall off if they are the wrong length. You can see an adjuster at the back of the photo on the left.
Before you Start Sewing Spaghetti Straps
Here are some suggestions to make your job easier –
- FABRIC WEIGHT – The finer the fabric the easiest it is to turn.
- FABRIC CUT – Cut your fabric on the bias as it will be easier to turn. Cutting on the bias also means that the fabric will fray less.
- STRIP WIDTHS – When practicing, cut strips of fabric 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5cm) wide. Eventually, you will be able to do thinner but start with these.
- LENGTH – Only cut your fabric as long as you need. The longer the strap the harder it is to turn.
- THREAD – Use a matching color of thread so no stitches show through the seam. I always use a darker color on samples so you can see my stitching.
To Sew the Straps
- FOLD – Fold your strip of fabric lengthwise with right sides together
- STITCH – Stitch with a small stitch length. Try 2.0.
- BACKSTITCH – at the beginning and end of the straps
- FRAYING – For fabrics that fray, sew the seam with a second row of stitching just a fraction outside the first row. This will strengthen the strap. If your fabric does not fray, just sew the one row as 2 rows will add a tiny bit of bulk.
- TRIM – Trim the seam allowance to 1/8 inch (3mm)
How to Make Spaghetti Straps
Here are five methods used to turn a tube of fabric into spaghetti straps. If you like gadgets there is also a commercial tube turning tool available but these tried and trusted home methods work just as well and are free!
Here I am showing you 5 methods of how to make spaghetti straps
- Skewers – Easiest for thin straps
- Safety Pin – Easy method for medium-width straps
- Cord – Good method for thin straps
- Needle – Good method for thin straps
- Flat – Easiest method for beginners as it has no turning
Method 1 – Skewers
Step One: You will Need:
- Skewer or something thin either from your sewing kit or the kitchen
- Straw or Tube
Now you can turn straps with just something pointy like a skewer but the width of spaghetti straps makes them almost impossible to start the turning at the end. Using a straw and skewer I was able to get a strap under 1/4 inch (6mm) in width.
The thin spaghetti straps need a plastic or metal straw for the tube part and a wooden skewer will do for the pushing tool. Larger straps need a larger tube like a piece of pump tubing and a larger pushing tool like a chopstick or piece of wooden dowel.
Step Two: Cut and sew your fabric to a width that will fit over your straw. Stitch across the end of the fabric to close the tube. Trim the seam allowance.
Step Three: Slide the straw into the fabric all the way to the top where you stitched to seal the end.
Step Four: Take your poking tool (the skewer or the chopstick) and from the end, push it inside the tube and inside the fabric at the end where the fabric was sealed. You will be amazed at how easy this makes starting the turning process.
Step Five: You will transfer the whole fabric tube onto the poking tool and it will come through right side out. Then remove the poking tool and there you have your strap ready to use.
Step Six: Press your strap so the seam is along the edge and cut the end if necessary.
Method 2 – Safety Pins
It is possible to pull your spaghetti straps through using a safety pin. While this is an easy method, the thinnest the straps I was able to get with this method was around 3/4 inch (2cm) with a 2 inch (5cm) fabric strip.
Step One: Stitch the strap and trim the seam allowance. When stitching the spaghetti straps, leave both ends open. Choose a safety pin. The thinner the straps the smaller the pin.
Step Two: Insert the safety pin into the fabric at the top of the tube about ½ inch (12mm) away from the edge. Turn the pin around so its head is inside the fabric.
Step Three: Gather the fabric over the pin pushing the pin through the tube of fabric. The fabric will start to double back on itself as you push the pin through to the other side and ease the fabric along its own tube.
Step Four: Keep pulling and pushing to ease the fabric and the pin out at the other end. When the fabric is completely through to the other side pull right through and press your turned tube. Now it is ready to use.
Method 3 – Cord
Use thin cord, yarn or string to turn the strap the right way out. This is my favorite method and I think it is the easiest for really thin straps. The cord needs to be cut longer than the length of your fabric straps.
Step One: Cut the straps in your desired length and width.
Step Two: On one end of the strap, sew the cord just to the side of the center. Sew across a few times so it will be secure. The cord should be much thinner than the strap. I used yarn.
Step Three: Fold over the strap lengthwise around the cord and pin it to hold the strap in place. Stitch along the length of the strap making sure you do not catch in the cord. Sew along the end with the cord leaving the other end open with a tail sticking out.
For really thin straps you could use a zipper foot so you can get close to the cord edge. Keep in mind that you will need to turn the straps the right way out so don’t make it too hard for yourself.
Step Four: Trim the seam allowance to 1/8 inch (3mm).
Step Five: Now grab hold of the end of the cord and start pulling gently. The strap will slowly turn the right way out. You will need to do some smoothing and wriggling but you will eventually get there. You need lots of patience for spaghetti straps.
Once the strap is the right way out, cut the cord and it is ready to be joined to your item.
Method 4 – Needle
Step One: Thread a needle with a strong double thread with a large knot on the end.
Step Two: When you have sewn along your strap, trim it to 1/8 inch (3mm) from the seam allowance. For fabrics that fray, sew a second row of stitching just outside the first.
Step Three: Put the needle in at the end of the strap through one layer. If you are worried about the knot pulling through, take a small backstitch.
Step Four: Insert the needle back into the tube. Carefully thread it along the inside of the strap. Don’t catch any fabric in.
Step Five: When you get to the end, tug on the thread and your strap will turn the right way out.
Method 5 – Flat Straps
This is an easy method to produce spaghetti straps and involves no turning.
Step One: Cut your fabric 4 times your required finished size. For example if you want your straps to be 1/4 inch (6mm) then cut fabric 1 inch (2.5cm) wide.
Step Two: Press the fabric with wrong sides together so the raw edges meet in the middle.
Step Three: Press it again in half.
Step Four: Stitch along the open edge with a small straight stitch length.
You can also use 1/2 inch (12mm) single fold bias tape and then just press it in half to become 1/4 inch. This is a really easy way to do it since half the work is done already.
Spaghetti Straps – In Conclusion
With all of these methods, after you have finished give the straps a good press with a steam iron. Make sure the seam is pushed out. Sometimes for really thin straps, they are left unironed to give a rounded shape instead of flat.
The turned tube of fabric can also be stuffed to make puffy straps or several thin spaghetti straps can be plaited.
Spaghetti straps are useful as ties to hold things together and for making bows to decorate different cushions and covers.