How to Sew Bra Straps

How to sew bra straps | Cloth Habit

Sewing bra straps might seem ridiculously simple but when I first started out sewing bras, I could never figure out which end went where through the slider. Maybe it’s because I’m lefthanded–the visuals always look backwards. So today’s tutorial may be for the lefties out there!

A couple of notes before we begin:

Straps are constructed the same way whether the adjusters are in front or back of a bra. If putting them in the back of the bra, you’ll need to sew a strip of strap elastic to the back band and leave a little bit hanging off in order to create a loop around the ring. If putting the adjusters in the front of the bra, you’ll need to create a loop for the ring at the top of the cup. This is done in one of two ways:

  • If your cup design has a strap extension (examples of that here and in the Watson pattern), you can loop this around the ring and stitch to secure.
  • If your cup design does not have a strap extension, you will secure the ring using extra underarm elastic. Here is an example of how I did that, while using a bit of firm ribbon inside the elastic to stabilize the loop.

Step 1: Cut Your Strap Elastic

I like to cut my straps about 18 inches for insurance. How long each strap needs to be depends on two things: the length of your shoulder to bust and the design of your bra. Most women need about 15-18″ for a full elastic strap.

Step 2: Attach the Slider

Thread one end of your elastic through the slider. Fold it over so that the wrong (plush) sides are facing each other and stitch a secure seam. I use a small straight stitch (about 1.0-1.5 length), and stitch back and forth.

How to sew bra straps | Cloth Habit

Step 3: Finish Threading The Elastic

Slide a ring over the unstitched end of the elastic (which you can see in the above photo). Then bring the unstitched end up toward the slider, so that the plush sides are facing each other.

Now thread your elastic up and through the slider like so:

How to sew bra straps | Cloth Habit

Keep pulling the unstitched end until you end up with a loop.

How to sew bra straps | Cloth Habit

The finished loop should be about 1-2 inches but no more than that. Remember that you will be tightening your bra straps as the elastic ages, which creates a longer loop.

The straps are sewn at the end but it’s always nice to have them pre-assembled.

As you can see from the top photo I’m making my straps using half elastic and half spaghetti straps using silk charmeuse. I had to come up with this fun design since I forgot to take my own advice and buy extra strap elastic! The Bra-makers notions kit I used includes about 10 inches of strap elastic per strap (since their patterns are designed for a half-fabric strap). I’ve assembled the elastic portion of my straps identically to the nude straps, but the ring and the adjusters will be in the back. The spaghetti straps will go up and over my shoulder meeting the ring at the top of my back.

How do you like to do your straps? Do you favor the adjustment in the front or back?

(p.s. For rouleau/spaghetti ties like mine, here is a very clever tutorial at 3 Hours Past.)

8 Comments on How to Sew Bra Straps

  1. CGCouture
    January 25, 2013 at 9:16 am (3 years ago)

    Nice tutorial! I’m not a leftie (for most things anyway), but I know a lot of people that are, and know that sometimes it can be hard to visualize how to do things “backwards”.

    I actually prefer my adjusters in the front, it’s just easier for me to get them set properly if I can do them myself while wearing the bra, as opposed to getting my husband (and his freezing cold hands!! 😉 ) to do it for me.

    Reply
    • Amy
      January 25, 2013 at 3:48 pm (3 years ago)

      I know! I have a friend who is a prolific knitter and she tried to teach me to knit. She had to come behind me to hold my hands and we were laughing the whole time because my orientation was totally backwards for her. I’ve actually resorted to flipping pictures on my computer…

      Reply
  2. Rebecca
    January 25, 2013 at 6:09 pm (3 years ago)

    Thanks for the great idea Amy. I love love those bra straps made from rouleau. I would never have thought of that myself but that is totally what my bra is having. So much prettier. I think I need to go and check out the bra departments of a couple of stores and get some more ideas. If anyone in Sydney sees some crazy women taking pictures of bras, come and say hello. I’m not really some kind of weird pervert.

    Reply
    • Amy
      January 25, 2013 at 11:01 pm (3 years ago)

      that’s exactly what I do! Most of the construction ideas I get come from looking up and down the seams of bras.

      Reply
  3. Carolyn
    January 25, 2013 at 9:55 pm (3 years ago)

    I love the rouleau idea, and will definitely use that sometime, thanks for the inspiration Amy!
    I made my own straps from the same fabric as the bra, because the options available to me here are very limited colour wise. That goes for all those little bits and bobs; elastic, hooks and eyes, sliders and rings. That’s if I want to support my own local fabric stores, and I do. I’ve still got your dyeing idea tucked away in my head for the future though!
    Thanks again for the brilliant sew-along!

    Reply
    • Amy
      January 25, 2013 at 10:22 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks! I think I might try this more often, because elastic can be hit or miss with dye (you don’t always know the content). And now that I think about it, a fabric strap may last longer!

      Reply
  4. Andrea
    January 28, 2013 at 12:24 pm (3 years ago)

    Great explanation and visual!
    I was surprised to see how little strap elastic is included in a bra kit from Bramaker’s Supply. I can salvage some from other bras if necessary.

    Reply
    • Amy
      January 28, 2013 at 12:35 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks! I guess it’s this way because many of their patterns have a partial fabric strap. They also have a “notions” kit without the fabrics and I thought this may have more strap elastic. It’s too bad, because their elastics are really great quality.

      Reply

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