Undershirts, specifically spaghetti strap tank tops, are something my wardrobe severely lacks!
They have been on my sewing to-do list for a few weeks now. I’ve been working on completing a few of them. I’ve made all the shirts, but I hit a snag when it came to making the typical thin spaghetti style strap I was aiming for.
I had no idea how to make a spaghetti strap!
My usual techniques for turning the fabric tube weren’t working. The tube was too tiny, the fabric too stretchy, and the tools I was using for turning were too large. So, after a few failed attempts at trying to turn them, I remembered a technique that I had seen before in a lingerie sewing book. I figured I should give that a try.
Well, friends… It worked PERFECTLY! This will be added to my sewing arsenal immediately. This is a technique I will end up using a lot.
So what do you need to create a simple, tiny, knit fabric tube?
- A sewing machine that can make an adjustable zig-zag stitch.
- A tapestry needle
- Durable thread
- Fabric in the desired length of the tube
That’s it. Simple, huh?
Now, let me show you how to make spaghetti straps!
To start with, we need to determine the length of your strap.
This will also be the length of your tube. You can be exact and measure an existing strap or drape a string over your shoulder while looking in the mirror and mark and measure. Or, you can do what I do and just roughly toss a piece of fabric over your shoulder and see if it sort of covers the desired length. (Organized chaos, all day, every day!)
Whichever method you choose, make sure to add 2-3 inches to the desired measurement. This will account for your seam allowance when sewing it to your shirt. You can always cut some length off, but it’s a huge pain in the butt to add more length.
Now, you’re going to cut 2 strips of fabric 1.5″ wide. Take these strips and lightly stretch them out lengthwise. Doing this prevents the tube from stretching too much when they’re in use. There will still be some give though because of the stretch fabric.
Next, decide on exactly how wide you would like your strap to be.
We’re talking spaghetti straps here, but you can make them more like linguini straps or angel hair straps if you wish. Fold your strip in half width-wise and with right sides together. Set your machine to a thin and short zig-zag stitch and sew along the length 1/4″ to 1/2″ away from the folded edge. How far away from the folded edge you sew is how wide your tube will be.
After sewing, we will need to trim off the remaining fabric.
Cut the fabric as close to the sewn line as you can. The closer you get, the better. If there is too much extra fabric it will be impossible to turn it. Be extremely careful not to cut the sewing or your tube can unravel.
Take a tapestry needle that every sewer seems to have. The duller they are on both ends, the easier this will be. Cut a length sewing thread 2 feet long and double it up on itself. Treat these two threads as one moving forward. Thread your needle and tie both ends together into a knot so you have a continuous loop. The needle will be securely knotted in it.
Take the tapestry needle and poke it through your tube near the top of it.
Don’t pull the thread all the way though, instead guide the needle in between the two threads through the loop that was created and pull tight so that it loops the edge of the fabric.
Guide your needle in backward, with the non-pointy side and guide it through the tube.
Be careful not to poke through the fabric. As you’re threading it through, you may need to gently ease the fabric initially when starting to turn the tube. Once the tube starts turning the process will go smoothly. below.
Keep pulling the needle and thread through by the dull side of the needle until it exits the other side. Pull your tube through. Cut the thread and iron your tube if desired. You may want to sew over both ends of the tubes to clean them up. I left mine raw, as they’ll be sewn to the inside of a tank top.
You now have a beautiful, skinny, knit tube!
The same method will work for non-stretch fabrics, as well as larger tubes. It’s a great method to make any sort of tube.
You can use these for straps for dresses, button loops, those adorable strappy bras, and tanks.
I’d love to see what you make with these! What pattern will you use them in?