How I …..Make Rouleau strips

I hadn’t considered doing any ‘tutorial’ type posts – and I am still not certain that I should – but I had a comment by someone who was having problems turning their rouleau and thought that having made what seems like miles of this spaghetti over the past few weeks I would share my method. I don’t say that it is the right way, certainly not the only way, to make it – but it is the method I have used successfully for a long time. If only one person is helped by this then it is probably worth it – if you feel I am trying to ‘teach my granny to suck eggs’ I apologise.

First step is to put the cat out – even if he is a neighbours cat and shouldn’t really be in at all!

Make yourself at home B!

Make yourself at home B!

Strips of 4 or 5 cm width

Strips of 4 or 5 cm width

Lazy way to find the true cross

Lazy way to find the true cross


Next cut your strips on the cross grain. I use a very lazy method of cutting a true cross using a book or magazine to get a 90° angle, and then cut strips 4 or 5cm wide. This  does mean that you end up cutting away an excess after sewing – but I can’t imagine trying to sew using strips just wide enough to turn through.



Sew two seams with a 'funnel' at the top.

Sew two seams with a ‘funnel’ at the top.

Fold the strips in half and find a guide mark on your machine foot that gives the width you want to sew. DON’T SEW THAT DISTANCE ALL THE WAY DOWN! Start off a little away from the guide line so that you sew a ‘funnel’ shape at the very top – this will help you to start the turn. Then sew another line close to your first line of stitching. I think that this helps you to turn more easily, prevents the seam from bursting out along the tube, and also fills the tube nicely so it isn’t too flat.

Cut the funnel to a point - with a selvedge if possible

Cut the funnel to a point – with a selvedge if possible


Once you have done the sewing, press gently and trim away the excess close to your seams. If you now cut the funnel (which will look like the one on the left in the photograph) into a point (like the right) it is easier to turn through. Push the rouleau turner into the narrow end, pushing until it pops up through the funnel. I like to try and save an edge that has the selvedge to it, if you catch that edge with the hook on the turner it is less likely to pull through the edge of the fabric half way through the turn. Ask me how I know. I also like to get the turn started and try to get as much fabric pushed up onto the wire turner just in case it does break part way,  that way  I can get the leading end out through the hole as quickly as possible and lessen the risk of losing the piece. Unless you need to have a long piece for spaghetti straps I prefer to make several shorter lengths which are less likely to go wrong.

Bodkin turner for wider ties.

Bodkin turner for wider ties.

I have made bodices which needed lacing to match the fashion fabric and by far the easiest way is to make your own. It probably takes less time than trying to find a ribbon to match.In this case I use the length of the fabric to cut a strip before I cut out the garment so I don’t need to join it and risk it breaking when worn. As these tubes are wider I find it easier to use the ‘bodkin’ style turners which have an eye that can be used to sew it (securely!) to the end of the tube (with the ball inside) which makes it easy to turn. Once turned you can put on some good music and spend an age with your iron and pressing clapper making it look like tape.

I hope that explanation is clear- it is late and I have been sewing all day. If anyone would like me to clarify anything please ask – I am sure I could have been clearer but at the moment I can’t see where.

I am getting to the point where the work pile is hill sized rather than mountainous now – I am looking forward to being able to have a complete day off soon!

Happy sewing everyone.


7 Comments on “How I …..Make Rouleau strips”

  1. pjhap says:

    I always leave a generous seam allowance and turn this inside to give a padded effect to the spaghetti especially when using as lacing or straps. You can get a metal ‘loop turn’ which is like a long thin knitting needle with a hook on the end. Post it through the sewn strip, hook it into the top of the material (yes selvage is good to stop fraying) and pull through.

    • The turner you are describing is the one in the photograph showing the seam detail and funnel. Not everyone likes them but I think they are great – clearly you do too 🙂
      Thank you for taking the time to stop by and comment.

  2. Ooh that wss useful, thanks so much!

  3. sew2pro says:

    I also use a double row of stitching to stop a seam from bursting, In addition, I sewed in a cord for the first time, as recommended by BHL but this doesn’t help with the initial bulk which is where your advice to sew a funnel is genius! Thanks 🙂

  4. pene says:

    Hi there to all, it’s really a nice for me to go to see this website, it contains precious Information.

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