So I was working on a tutorial for luvinthemommyhood’s Baby Bonanza this weekend (it’ll be up on Wednesday, sorry to tease), and I needed to make straps.  I hate making straps (as in ties on a hat or drawstrings or purse handles, etc).  It’s always something like “fold the fabric in half and then tuck the ends under and sew it shut” in which case you see the stitching, or “sew it inside out and then try and figure a way to turn it right-side out”, something that always leaves me sticking pencils and other sharp objects through my fabric and screaming. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve sewn a ribbon inside the strap and then had it pull through the seam as soon as I started pulling. 

Not this time.  This was so easy it blew me out of the water.  I don’t know why I never done it this way before, and I’m certain I can’t be the first person to discover this, but honestly I’m feeling pretty brilliant right now so if you’ve done this your entire life just keep your yap shut.  OK, kidding. sortof. 

So here’s my Easy Strap Tutorial.  (click on images to enlarge)

Step 1: Cut your strap fabric.  The finished strap I needed here was 3/4,” so I cut it 2″ wide.  Your finished width will be =[Starting Width - 1/2" / 2].  Two straps are shown here because I was making a pair.  You only need one piece of fabric for each strap. 

Step 2:  Fold strap in half lengthwise to find the center.  Place a safety pin along the fold near one end, with the head of the safety pin facing the other end.  Note: the width of the safety pin needs to be pretty small compared with the strap width since you’ll sew it inside the strap in the next step; for very narrow straps you will need a very small safety pin.  

Step 3:  Fold the strap in half lengthwise so the pin is covered by the fabric.  Line up edges.  If you want a finished end, sew across the end of the strap nearest the pin with a 1/4″ seam.  Turn needle at corner and continue sewing the entire length of the strap with 1/4″ seam, leaving the other end of the strap open.  Clip corners at finished end.

Step 4: Push pin towards open end to turn the strap right side out.  You can stick a tweezers or other sharp object into the strap to help push the corners out if you want. 

Step 5:  Remove pin and press strap flat.  If you want the other end of the strap finished, tuck those raw edges under and press.

That’s all.  Easy, peasy.

Categories: tips and tricks, tutorial
57 Comments
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57 Responses to Sometimes I amaze even myself

  1. Grandma G says:

    That's a new one in my book! Definitely brilliant… give yourself a pat on the back!!

  2. Jodi says:

    GENIUS!

    It really used to make me cry too! Until I found some Dritz Quick Turn tube turners at Joann's.

    I sound like an infomercial, but it was life altering for me!

  3. Jessica says:

    yeeps! brilliant.

  4. Liz @ LivingMySweetLife says:

    I think i love you.
    i can't tell you how many projects i skip because of annoying straps!
    thank you SO much!

  5. flamehair says:

    Oh wow! What a simple and brilliant idea! Thanks for sharing this – I know I'll need to try this at some point.

  6. Jessica says:

    I wish I could pretend that I've been doing it like this all along!! BRILLIANT!

    And it couldn't come with better timing for something I'm working on tonight :)

  7. Melissa says:

    I never would have thought of that in a million years… genius! I hate making straps too… I think that's why I sew with ribbon so much… you don't have to make strap that way..

  8. Jac says:

    You're brilliant and I love you!! LOL

  9. Jenny says:

    Aha! That's pretty good! Funny, b/c I'm working on my tutorial for luvinthemommyhood right now too! Harder work than I thought!!

  10. Rachel says:

    new to me! Love it! Thanks for sharing!

  11. dana says:

    ooooo. brilliant to sew the end shut! LOVE it! totally doing that from now on.

  12. prairiewhisper says:

    I usually use a tube turner, but for those really long tubes, what a great solution.

  13. Chris says:

    Way to go Rae! Thanks for sharing.

  14. Passionate Design says:

    I have the fast turn tubes that I have permanently borrowed from my mother (she will never get them back because they are so amazing). However, this sounds like a great trick when I can find all the parts. Thanks for sharing again.

  15. The Sewing Dork says:

    My favorite trick is to sew about halfway down the strap (inside out of course), leave a gap, then sew up the bottom portion. You can then turn the strap by pulling it through that middle opening rather than trying to stuff the entire thing through the tube. You then topstitch it to close the gap. This method has substantially reduced my swearing.

  16. Gaertners 'R Us says:

    OH MY GOODNESS!!! Brilliance in the shape of a safety pin! This will defintiely become a go-to trick for all the little girly dress straps I've been doing AND I'll quit teaching my son new ways to cuss out fabric! LOVE IT!

  17. Anonymous says:

    cute! I though everyone did it that way : )
    Mariana

  18. marissa says:

    YOu need a loop turner it's the best invention in the world. You'll wonder why you didn't have one before (I sure did) it takes some practice to get the hang of it but they are awesome and way faster than safety pins even this super clever way you've discovered.

  19. Caci says:

    I love this idea! Thanks!!

  20. Rebekah says:

    I will do this forever more :o ) I hate getting my strap stuck half way turned and not being able to get a good grip on anything! This will fix everything!!!
    3sillymonkees.blogspot.com

  21. Desiree says:

    nice.

  22. A. says:

    Ha! Gotta try that. There is nothing I hate more than turning straps. I *was* making some headbands for my shop, but ultimately decided to scrap them simply because I hated turning them so much. I have to try this!

  23. Jenn says:

    sweet! Definitely gonna try that one! I have a loop turner and still end up swearing every time I need to turn a strap. Thanks for the tip!

  24. Bethany says:

    I'm keeping my yap shut :)

  25. casserole says:

    That's SO smart!! I used to have an old TV antenna (remember those?) that I would use to turn straps, but it somehow grew legs and escaped from my sewing room. Will definitely give your new method a try, because sewing really shouldn't involve the cussing that happens when I have to turn straps…

    I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:
    http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-easy-way-to-turn-a-strap-right-side-out/2010/06/08/

    –Anne

  26. Stacy says:

    Nice! I will definitely try that next time. Thanks for the tip!

  27. lisa says:

    My mom showed me how to turn with a safety pen, but with leaving both sides open. I’ve never thought about sewing the pen in first! Of course I always pull too hard and tear the fabric . . .

  28. Sarah says:

    Dude! you ROCK! AWESOME!

  29. Cybele says:

    you deserve a medal! seriously. A big shiny gold medal.

  30. Jesse says:

    Brilliant! I might start making things with straps again!

  31. Debbie says:

    As others have said…brilliant. I've been threading elastic that way my whole life. I would have never thought to use the technique with straps/fabric ribbons. Wow!

  32. Cecilia says:

    I think its a great idea! I always use a long needle to do this, I will try your idea next time!
    Thank you for sharing!

  33. Kathryn says:

    Like most strokes of genius, simple and brilliant.

  34. Nikki - Lilybug_Designs says:

    Seriously, that is fantastic! Thanks for sharing your new method.

  35. Wendy says:

    I keep a box of new pencils on hand and I have found that pushing the eraser end into the end seam of the inside out strap and bunching the strap down the pencil makes turning very easy too. When it is right side out, the pencil easily slides out.

  36. Julie says:

    Brilliant!!! I will definitely be trying this. I too have ruined a few straps by ripping/poking through the fabric. Nothing like teaching you kids how to swear. Those words just sometimes slip out and you can never take them back after they hear you!

  37. moonblossomdesigns says:

    This is life changing! Thank you.

  38. luvinthemommyhood says:

    I love this tip! I finally heard of a thing called a loop turner and haven't looked back since! It's such a great little notion and comes in handy when your straps aren't too long as well.
    Can't wait for the tute tomorrow!

  39. Stephanie says:

    Ever used a chopstick? That's my method of choice. But I don't think you can go wrong with a safety pin, either. Check out how this chick turns the skinny legs of her doll inside out. Inspiring: http://www.marthastewart.com/article/black-apple-doll

  40. Jenn says:

    I CAN'T believe I never thought of that! I absolutely HATE making straps and other skinny, tubey things. Thanks!

  41. Alissa says:

    genius!

  42. Jolene says:

    This one is going to save my fingernails! I turn stuff out by sticking my finger inside and pinching it with my fingernails to pull it out. If I have a narrow tube, or something heavily lined, I'll actually end up with bruised fingernail beds the next day! My fingers thank you for this awesome tip. :)

  43. michal says:

    you ARE brilliant! Thanks!

  44. Grandma G says:

    After reading your post, I remembered reading another tip somewhere that I'd thought at the time was really good. I finally got around to searching it out tonight. You can see it here. It's particularly helpful for spaghetti straps or button loops, but would work for any other kind of strap, too.

  45. Luluuk says:

    thanks for sharing – brilliant

  46. mitzi says:

    love the idea! might I also suggest a long crochet hook would be handy for snagging that pin and turning the strap? that's how I've always turned (minus the pin, which I will now incorporate into my own sewing.)

  47. wan says:

    my god, you are a genius. i've struggled with turning narrow straps inside out so. many. times.

    i bow down to you, strap queen. ;)

  48. Sarah says:

    Awesome, blossom. You really are a genius. Never thought to sew the pin in the strap. You have no idea how much easier this will make my life. (=

  49. Sisters of Grace says:

    Wow, I realy didn't know their was any other way to do it:)

    ♥Michelle

  50. Whosies says:

    depending on how wide the strap is you could use a larger safety pin too— even a cloth diaper one that has the safety close so it won't open and poke out when turning. ouch. :) great idea! love it and it totally works too.

    http://patchworkposse.com

  51. Natalie says:

    Nope.. you really ARE brilliant.. im making a crib bumper, and have 56 ties to make ! i almost teared up when i found your instructions ! if i hadnt, i would have been doing ties till the day this baby was born ! THANK YOU ! THANK YOU ! THANK YOU !

  52. texmex says:

    This method works well for soft fabrics. But I use the heavy decoration IKEA fabric, and I use a long bambou to turn my bag handles inside out after having ironed the first sewing.

  53. Katrina says:

    Thank you! Thank you! I was at my wit’s end! You’re a genius!

  54. Sharon says:

    Thank you. I just knew there had to be an easy way to turn a sash!!!

  55. Cara says:

    Genius!
    I was getting so annoyed about this the other day, and have just stumbled upon your freaking genius tutorial.
    So so so so so so so good.

  56. Lyn says:

    Will this method work for a long drawstring (more than 1m)? I tried doing it but have not been successful. Can’t seem to get the pin out to the other side :( Any tips?

    Thanks!

  57. Cynthia says:

    I can’t thank you enough!!! I have been frustrated the past 40 years as I have struggled with turning straps! You are an angel…and a brilliant one at that! OUTSTANDING!!!!!!!!!!!!

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