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Sewing Tip for Easy, Elasticized Swimsuit Straps

A reader shares her tip for sewing thin, stretchy straps for bathing suits.

This is a trick I learned when trying to figure out how my bathing-suit straps were made: Cut elastic for the strap as long as the desired finished strap plus two seam allowances and 3 inches. Cut the fabric (with its greater stretch going lengthwise) the length of the desired strap plus two seam allowances and twice the width of the elastic plus 1/2 inch.

To sew the strap, fold the fabric in half lengthwise with right sides together. Place the elastic on top of the fabric with one edge of the elastic aligned with the raw edges of the fabric and the extra 3 inches extending off one end. Sew along the long edge of the fabric and elastic with a zigzag stitch. To turn the strap right side out, attach a bodkin to the end of the 3-inch-long extension and feed it back through the tube.

This technique works with fabrics other than stretch swimsuit fabrics: I’ve used extremely narrow elastic with woven fabric and wider elastic with bias-cut woven. I’ve also used this technique with ribbon instead of elastic. Finally, it’s best not to try to do all the straps in one long length. Trust me on that.

—Nancy Jackson, Shalimar, Fla.

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  1. User avater
    gelizabeth | | #1

    Great tip! I'm replacing a removable neck strap & decided to check this website before I sew it.

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