Tuesday, August 27, 2013

spaghetti: not just for eating {sewing tutorial}

there’s this thing i do, and i’m sure i’m not alone: i look at something, admire it, and without ever taking the time to research it just decide that it’s too hard and i can’t or won’t be able to do it myself.

i don’t do it all the time—a lot of the time when i sew it’s because i saw something and thought “hey, i can do that!”. but there are certain sewing techniques that i’ve written off as simply IMPOSSIBLE…without ever even trying them.

i know, i know. you’re shaking your head at me now and saying “stupid stupid girl.” and you’re absolutely right. i am. because standard sewing techniques are definitely not rocket science or brain surgery or whatever.
they’re just that: Standard Sewing Techniques.

so it went with the spaghetti strap. i’d always admired them on a handmade garment. but i could never do that myself. looked too…tiny and fiddly and requiring heaps of patience and time i just don’t have. until, you know…i tried it. and shockingly, it was easy.

lesson learned: try it. research it. if someone else did it, then you probably can to. have faith in yourself.

i learned there are three simple—yet important--steps to mastering the spaghetti strap, and now i will share all of my wisdom with you young grasshopper.


mock smock dress2

it’s obvious because i’m using a plaid that it’s cut on the bias. (bias: the cut is diagonal to the grain lines/selvedge edge. you know—the way that doesn’t make sense because you’re WASTING SO MUCH FABRIC)
but bias cut = stretchy which in turn = much easier to turn and makes a nicer laying strap. trust me on this: bias cut.


mock smock dress5

don’t just sew a straight stitch from one end to the other. taper down at one side almost to nothing, as if sewing a dart. i say almost because you want to leave a tiny hole at the end.

then snip a little opening a tiny ways down from the end of your tube. you’ve now created the perfect handle for your tool. which leads me to number 3…


mock smock dress1

okay, so if you google “how to make spaghetti straps” you’ll find a lot of people who say you don’t need anything fancy—just a safety pin will do.
but this bad boy can be found on any notions wall, and with a coupon i think it cost me about $2.50 at joann’s. it’s a long thin rod with a loop handle at one end and a small gripper at the other end kind of like a latch hook. yes—a pin will probably work okay. but you’ll probably be frustrated and annoyed and it will take WAAAAY more time. get the tool. (which i obviously can NOT remember the “official” name for…loop turner? maybe?)

there you go. 3 simple steps to ensure slinky spaghetti strapage.

want a quick run-through of the method?
(please excuse the varying fabrics/photos…i needed more pics for this than i initially took. i made a stunt double strap)

o1) cut a length of fabric (ON THE BIAS SEE TIP 1!) the width/length will vary based on what you need.

length: measure where the strap is going and add a couple inches for safety.
width: for the polka dot strap in these photos i went with a 1” width and a very tiny seam allowance (like 7/16”). the plaid strap is closer to 1.5”, still with a tiny 7/16 s.a. if you cut a wider strap and sew with a larger seam allowance your strap will be rounder because the seam allowance will act as stuffing when you turn it right side out. you’ll have to experiment and see what works for you.


o2) sew a straight seam tapering across the top to almost nothing at the end (DUH SEE STEP 2). i say almost because you want to leave a tiny hole for step 4. sew this with a nice tight stitch—you don’t want stitches popping or gaping in your strap after it’s done. that’s annoying. i use a stitch length of 2 on my machine.


o3) cut a little mouth about 1/2” down from the tapered end of your strap.

mock smock dress3

happy strap is happy.

4) slide your loop turner in from the bottom of the strap, and grab the top section through the little mouth you created. then pull. you may have to wiggle it a bit to get it started, but the tapered top makes it much easier to get the strap started than if you’re pulling a big chunk of fabric.



mock smock dress4

5) TA-DAH! you’ve just made a spaghetti strap. like. a. boss. now get busy spaghetting all the things.


mock smock dress16

(elliot’s plaid dress blogged here)

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  1. Making a point at the end of the strap... genius. Thanks for sharing. =)

  2. It's called a bodkin. :)


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