Wednesday 17 April 2013

Making a Rouleau Strap

Update 29th April - I've tried this method out.  It is easy, and I've made a video which you can find on today's post.

I hardly ever watch television, except for the Great British Bake-Off, and now I'm following the Great British Sewing Bee - whether the link will let people abroad watch the programmes, I don't know, but in any event BBC iPlayer only keeps the episodes of a series online for about a week after the last instalment, which is next Tuesday.

Last night I settled down to watch the four remaining contestants tackle a set task - a child's dress with a shirred bodice and rouleau straps.  I'm not convinced rouleau straps are particularly practical on a child's dress.  Because they are cut on the bias they stretch, and a single line of straight stitch will get pulled.  Sooner or later the thread will snap.  I am totally in agreement with Sandra who disobeyed the rules and made the dress with flat straps.

What I find slightly frustrating about the programme is that it shies away from showing the techniques involved.  They didn't show how the contestants did their rouleau straps, there was just passing mention of pulling the tube inside out with a hook.  This makes viewers think they will need special equipment if they want to try it at home.  They don't.

I've never actually made rouleau straps, but if I ever need to, I will follow these instructions, which show how to make a rouleau and use it for button loops.  Ingenious and simple.

Here is the source of the diagrams, a beautiful little book dating from 1928.


  1. I totally agree with your comments above. I love the program, but then it is the ONLY sewing program on the box as far as I am aware. I just hope it starts a rush of them!

    I took at look at the other clips on the BBC Sewing Bee web site. I was rather disappointed at what they showed regarding changing the look of a dress and changing a top neckline. The dress changes made the dresses look very cheap and nasty to me and very poorly done, and the neckline on the top at the back looked very uneven - one side seemed to have a different curve to the other.

    Still enjoying it though!

    Anne g

  2. Hello Anneg,

    It's pretty compulsive viewing. Even my husband watched and enjoyed last night's instalment. I'm sure all the contestants could do a better job at home, in their own time, using their own machines. If I were there I would have insisted on using the treadle, which is never more than a quick blur in the background.


  3. I have found a couple of tutorials on youtube from the Great British Sewing Bee, being in the states, that is where I have been watching it, only two episodes so far, I'll have to check out your link! But the fly zipper and something else was on there too, oh pyjamas (their spelling, not mine)



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