Sometimes making fabric straps for a bag or other projects can be a challenge. They seem easy enough: 2 long rectangles sewn together then turned right side out. But sometimes that is difficult to do neatly and precisely. The turning and pressing can be fiddly and annoying. I’ve found that having 2 simple tools can make all of the difference: a bodkin (or safety pin) and a wooden yardstick (or paint stir).
Start with your 2 strap rectangles. I’m using pre-cut “roll-ups” of Stitch Organic, measuring 2 1/2″ wide.
Place the rectangles right sides together and sew one set of long sides together. I used a 1/4″ seam allowance.
Open it up and press the seam allowances to one side. Now you have one nicely pressed seam before the strap is assembled. Put the right sides together again and sew the second seam, as shown below.
First handy tool: a bodkin. This might be my favorite sewing tool. I think I bought this way back when Claire and I were in college together! I’m sure there are different types but this one has served me well over the years. It has little grippy teeth at the opening to grab onto the fabric. The little ring slides down to clamp them tight.
Put the bodkin inside of the strap and clamp the end of the bodkin to one side of the strap end. You could use a big safety pin instead, if you don’t have a beloved bodkin of your own.
Push the bodkin or safety pin up inside the strap and pull it out the other end, turning the strap inside out. This is a little more difficult with bulky fabric or narrower strips.
Now is the strap turned right side out. This crisp seam is the one you sewed and pressed before sewing the second seam. Nice!
Here’s the second seam…not so nice! It’s really curving in and could take a lot of finger pressing and nudging to be able to press it evenly. This is where handy tool #2 comes in! I don’t have a yardstick so I will be using a (clean!) wooden paint stir.
Simply slide it inside the strap and center the unruly seam down the center of the stick. Now you can press the seam on your own mini ironing board!
Keep pressing the seam, moving the stick down the strap as you go and out the other end.