Who doesn’t love a dress or top with beautiful rouleau straps? It makes those hand sewn clothes just that little bit extra special, more so when it’s something sewn in silky fabrics.
That said, they’re not the easiest strap to sew, especially if you’re a sewing beginner.
So, today I’m going to show you how to make rouleau straps of your own with this step by step tutorial.
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What Are Rouleau Straps?
First, let me explain what a rouleau strap is.
Often referred to as a spaghetti strap, a rouleau – pronounced roo-low – is a strap cut and sewn from a very narrow piece of fabric.
A rouleau really is as narrow as a piece of spaghetti, hence it’s alternative name!
Where Are Rouleau Straps Used?
You’ll find beautiful rouleau straps used as:
- Straps on camisoles, tops and dresses
- Piping accents on coats and bags
- Loops for button holes
- Ties for clothes fastenings
- Lacing for corsets and bustiers
What Grain Are Rouleau Straps Cut On?
This is a really important question, and the answer is that it depends.
For my DIY sleeping mask pattern, I considered cutting the rouleau strap on the straight grain as I initially wanted to limit the amount of possible ‘stretch’. In the end I cut it on the bias.
Traditionally rouleau was cut on the cross grain, so there would be a tiny amount of give.
Many people now cut rouleau straps on the bias which gives them a lot more ‘give’.
Before decided what grain to cut your rouleau on, decide how much ‘give’ you need it to have.
Tools Needed For Making Rouleau Straps
You don’t need much to make your own rouleau straps!
I only use a piece of string or a bodkin, but you can use a special tool – called a loop turner – which has a little hook at the end to help turn the fabric of your rouleau through.
I have found that as rouleau is usually open at both shorter ends, a bodkin works perfectly fine if that is what you happen to have.
Tools you may want to use are:
- Loop turner
- Bodkin – I have the Dritz bodkin but I find it quick finicky and better suited to elastic grain instead, so I also grabbed this 4 pack of bodkins which are super easy to use!
Other obvious tools are your sewing machine, fabric scissors etc, but I’m assuming you already have those!
How Do You Make Rouleau Straps?
Right, now that we’ve covered all the essential questions that you might have had, let’s get on with making a role strap!
The example you’re going to see here is the strap I made for my DIY sleep mask pattern. I wanted rouleau strap instead of elastic as I didn’t want anything to feel ‘tight’ on my face.
Step 1: Preparing The Fabric
Start by cutting the amount of fabric needed. Make sure to consider which grainline you want to cut your fabric strips on, to get the best rouleau for your needs.
I cut mine on the bias grain to make use of any possible ‘stretch’ factor.
I then stitched a piece of string to one of the shorter ends of my bias strip.
Step 2: Sewing The Rouleau Strap
Now I was ready to fold the fabric rights sides together along the length of my strip.
I installed by buttonhole foot which has channels for the raised buttonhole stitch line, moved my needle to the appropriate side rather than centred and then sewed as close to the string as possible while leaving enough space for me to pul everything through at the end.
Step 3: Turning The Rouleau Through
To start with, you’ll want to trim away excess seam allowance fabric so that you have less bulk to pass through. I left mine in place as I wanted my rouleau to be more ‘padded’.
I secured the piece of string I had stitched in place to the bodkin, and then fed the bodkin into the channel.
With the seam allowance, piece of string and bodkin, it was a little tight, but determination won through!
The Sleeping Mask With Rouleau Strap
And here is how the rouleau looked as the strap on my Diy sleeping mask!
It is the perfect width strap, with just a little give from being cut on the bias. The string within gives it just a little substance so that it isn’t too thin – in my view, perfect!
Have you ever made a rouleau strap before? Is it something you’ll be doing now, and if so, for what project? Let me know in the comments below!
And if you plan to make your rouleau straps with bias binding, check out my tutorials on how to cut bias binding strips and how to make your own bias binding!
Eve Tokens (aka The Creative Curator) is a fashion designer, creative pattern cutter and sewing pattern designer.
Eve graduated with a 2:1 in Fashion Design from the University of The Creative Arts in the UK, has a BTEC diploma in Creative Pattern Cutting, a Foundation Degree in Art & Design from Wimbledon College of Art and gained extensive experience in the fashion industry by interning and freelancing for London based fashion brands – Hardy Amies, Roland Mouret, Peter Pilotto and others.
As well as running her own small sustainable fashion brand, Eve has more than 25 years experience sewing and making clothes for herself and family members.