Colette

Tutorial: Creating Adjustable Bra Straps

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How to sew adjustable straps

Adding adjustable straps to your sewing projects is a simple way to bring an incredible level of functionality to your clothing. Whether you’re making lingerie, a layerable camisole, or a strappy summer dress, knowing how to make a strap adjustable is an important skill that you can use on a variety of different projects. The step-by-step tutorial below will show you how it’s done!

Supplies

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  • Two yards of 3/8″ lingerie strap or plush elastic.
  • Two 3/8″ bra rings
  • Two 3/8″ bra sliders

How To

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1) Cut 5″ and 18″ length of elastic.

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2) Thread the 5″ section of elastic through the bra ring, matching the raw edges of the elastic.

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3) Stitch the ends of the elastic together at a scant 3/8″ to secure. If you are using a piece of elastic with a right side, make sure it is facing outward.

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4) Thread the 18″ section of elastic over the center bar of the slider, pulling about 2″ of the elastic through. If you are using a piece of elastic with a right side make sure it’s facing upward.

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5) Thread the end of the elastic through the bra ring.

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6) This part tends to be the most confusing. Turn the strap over and pass the raw edge of the elastic above the center bar of the slider, then turn it back toward the bra ring and insert the raw edge under just the center bar of the slider and pull 3/4″ through to the other side. If your raw edge is sandwiched between two layers of the strap you did it right!

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7) The strap should still be turned over with the wrong side (the part that faces your body) facing up. Use zig zag to secure the elastic to the wrong side of the strap. Do not stitch through the last layer of the strap.

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Now you’ve created an adjustable strap! Repeat the steps above to create a second strap.

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Let me know if you have any questions in the comments!

Kris Blackmore   —   Designer

Kris is the designer at Colette, and also writes and illustrates our sewing patterns. A graduate of The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM), this Texas native worked for a variety of companies in the fashion industry before joining Colette in 2013. On our blog, Kris helps solve your wardrobe woes through the Wardrobe Architect series she writes.

Comments 17

mia

Where can I find metal bra rings/sliders??

Sarai colettepatterns.com

Mia, check out the resources section in this month’s issue of Seamwork: https://www.seamwork.com/issues/2015/02/resources

It has listings for a number of bra and lingerie supply places. :)

Sophie-Lee tworandomwordsblog.com

My tip would be to turn the straps around, so the adjustable part is at the front. That way it’s much easier to adjust throughout the day if you need to (rather than having to undress or ask someone else to do it for you)

Sarai colettepatterns.com

That’s a good tip. I know some ladies prefer this, but I always wondered: Do you ever find that the slider shows through in an obvious way when you put it in front, like if you’re wearing a thin t-shirt? That’s the only thing that prevents me from putting them at the front, but maybe it’s not actually a problem.

Sophie-Lee tworandomwordsblog.com

I actually think it’s a bit less likely to show up under a t-shirt – my knit tops are usually very fitted across the back so they’ll show through, but on the front I have a natural sort-of-hollow across the upper chest below my clavicles/collar bones where the fabric isn’t as tight

Sarai colettepatterns.com

Hmm, good point! I’ll have to give it a go.

Robin

Do most women actually make adjustments to their straps as they go through the life of a bra? Doesn’t RTW primarily include them so they can fit a wider range of bodies? Isn’t adding this function equivalent to building elastic into a waistband? Ditto for the extra row of eyes on the back strap fasteners.

I really appreciate learning how to do it (thanks!), I really am just curious. For years it never even occurred to me to adjust the straps of bras I owned. I guess I just got lucky with fit and my breasts didn’t change shape or size for the time I owned the bra. If you experience changes due to monthly periods, I can see where adjusting them for comfort would be important.

gabrielratchet

well, i don’t know about most women, but this sample size of one does.

justine sewcountrychick.com

The elastic can stretch out so it’s necessary to tighten bra straps up sometimes for good support

Robin

Thanks, that makes sense.

Kristen

Good question! In addition to Justine’s comment, I find that if I’m layering a camisole with another top, adjusting the straps can help the garment sit where I actually want it to. That way the layered garments look better together. Or if I’m wearing a strappy dress, I can adjust to straps so that it hides my bra better.

Juliette

This is a good feature to add to a strappy sundress. I often find that as the fabric heats up with my body heat, my straps can become too lose and flop off my shoulders. This would definitely give more control throughout the day. Thanks !!

Lucinda sew-wrong.com

I just cut out the Florence bralette this evening and am looking forward to whipping it up tomorrow, thanks for the photo tutorial of the bra strap steps!

Jan janmadeit.wordpress.com

About finding the hardware; you can buy it at many fabric stores but you can also recycle it. I save the straps of bras before I toss them just to have the hardware.
Great tutorial. Thanks!
Jan

Tina Brown

I find it easier to pass the strap end through the slider and stitch that little end to the middle of the slider first. Then I pass the opposite end through the ring and then thread it back through the slider over top-this encloses that stitched end. It ends up looking the same, but to me less cumbersome.
Admittedly, for a long time, I did it the way mentioned and many times got that last step mixed up, making it non-adjustable. But, once I found the new way, I haven’t had to take out and redo my work and haven’t looked back.

audrielle lilaclanepatterns.com

you make it seem so simple and easy. Thanks for the tute maybe just maybe one day ill take it on

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