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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Technicos: Strip Strap Sewing With Ease (Spaghetti Straps - No Tube Turner Tool)

I have made spaghetti straps or fabric tubes using a standard tube turner tool. But I much prefer this technique. I may have learned about it originally, in a reader letter in Threads magazine, but I'm not sure. I just know I've made a lot of fabric tubes this way with very little fuss. However I don't hear about other sewists making them this way. 

Maybe you'll like doing them this way like I do. And you will never have to figure out where you last put your tube turner again:-)

Fabric - A strip somewhat longer than you actually need. It should be more than twice as wide as the tube/spaghetti strap you want. In fact, if X is the width of the desired strap and S is the amount of seam allowance you are going to use it should be 2X+S wide. 

For example - If I want a tube 1/2 and inch wide and I plan to sew a 5/8 inch seam allowance, then my fabric strip should be 1 and 5/8 inches wide, because (2 x 1/2) + 5/8 = 1 5/8

If I need a total of oh say, 72 inches of tubing, I would probably add another 5 inches just to be on the safe side. (That's very conservative). Because I will be cutting away some of the end of my tube. 

String or an old piece of bias tape, or cord or other stringy thing that won't break apart easily . I keep a roll of packaging string around, but even jute string works. Just make sure the string/cord doesn't get sewn over as you sew along the long edge.

Cut your string/cord longer than your fabric piece. Add five inches total to be really safe.

1) With RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER- Press the length of fabric  you are making into a tube or spaghetti strap, in half down the middle, going the long way.
2) Lay the string/cord down the middle, right up
against the fold and away from the raw edge.
Leave a tail of string/cord sticking out
on both ends
of your fabric.

3) Sew back and forth over one end of the folded piece
securing the string/cord really well. You are going to be
cutting away this end later on, so you don't care
what it looks like. Just make sure the cord can't come out down here.
Also, make sure you leave a little tail end of the cord
hanging out beyond this stitching line to be
absolutely sure the string/cord doesn't pull away.

4) Now, keeping the string/cord on the fold side,
 sew along the long end of your tube.
Don't catch the cord in your stitches!

Leave the second short end open when you finish this long line of stitching.

Make sure you have another tail end sticking out of the open end of your tube! That's the second short end, the one opposite the one you secured so well back in step 3.

5) Trim along in the seam allowance, close to your stitching line.
You don't want fabric in the way of next step.

6) Start pulling on the end of the string/cord tail that's sticking out of your open end.
As you pull the fabric will ruffle up.
That's good!

Push those ruffles back toward the secured end as you keep pulling. Just work them along. They'll be a little hesitant, but you be the boss!

At a certain point you will be able to push the first bit of ruffled up fabric
up and over the original
short end you secured.

7) Oh look what's coming through!
There is the nice little fabric tube you've been looking for.
The seam allowance is on the inside!!!!
Keep pulling until it's all out.

When you're done you'll have a long piece of string
hanging off the secured end. Cut that secured end off now.
You might be able to reuse the string/cord for another tube,
if that tube is a little shorter than this one :-)