Hey everyone! I have a fun Cottesloe hack tutorial today – tie straps! I like the idea of the straps being adjustable, and I’m sure it’s perfect for any nursing mamas. It can be done with any of the views – one piece or bikini. You can make the straps short and stubby, long and tied in a bow, rounded or pointy. This is just a starting point! I actually made two versions, and I’ll show you both at the end.
It’s pretty simple when you think about it – just extend the straps on the pattern! But don’t fret if the hack still makes you nervous, I’ll walk you through every step I made – from pattern adjustment to construction. Let’s do it!
To start, tape your front pattern (again, can be any view) to a piece of blank paper.
Starting with one strap, extend each side straight up. For the example I’m using here with the shorter rounder ties, I extended 3″. You could make them longer if you want, too. I’ll show you an example at the end of the post with a longer extension for bow-style ties.
Find the center between the two sides, and make a mark another 1″ higher.
Connect this 1″ higher mark to the two sides. You can make it rounded, like me, or pointed like a triangle. Up to you!
Repeat for the other strap.
Cut out your new pattern piece.
Now you need to repeat for the back piece. Note: If you are making view B like I am here, the shape of the back will cause the straps to overlap when you extend the lines straight (shouldn’t be a problem with the other views). Obviously, this won’t work….
… So simply just angle the lines slightly so that they don’t overlap. Not angled too much so that it’s awkward and bent, but just enough so they don’t overlap.
Repeat the same process of marking an additional 1″ and either connecting with rounded or straight lines.
Cut your new back piece out, and now you are ready to cut out your fabric.
A note on linings/shelf bras: If you are adding a lining or shelf bra, and it is in the same color as your fabric, you can definitely extend the straps of the lining/shelf bra as well. But if your lining or shelf bra is not the same color (like mine above), I would not extend the straps of those pieces. Cut them out as normal. That way the color doesn’t show on the other side of the ties.
Now pin and sew together your suit at the side seams (and crotch seam if you’re making a one piece) just as directed in the instructions. But do not sew together the shoulder seams.
Ok, so now about elastic. We are actually going to cut our neckline and armhole elastic the same length as indicated in the pattern instructions. That is because we are are not going to extend the elastic all the way up the ties, only to the shoulder seam. There really isn’t a reason for the elastic to extend into the ties, so this keeps it simple.
So starting with the neckline elastic, divide it into four sections just as indicated in the instructions. If you need help with this, see this post. BUT, this time, we’re actually going to cut at the right shoulder mark.
So now you have two neckline elastics – one for the front and one for the back.
Attach your neckline elastic by starting with one end at the original shoulder seam. If you’re using the original lining or shelf bra like I am – It’s simply at the edge of that. If you’re not, make sure you mark this point from the original pattern.
Match up the center front mark, and the other end at the other shoulder seam.
Same process for the back neckline elastic.
For the armholes, cut the elastic length the exact same length as indicated in the pattern instructions. Also divide into four equal sections as indicated.
But here, instead of starting at the underarm, begin with one end of the elastic at the shoulder point, the middle of the elastic at the underarm, and the other end at the back shoulder point.
Attach your elastics by sewing a zig-zag down the center of the elastic.
If you need any help with any part of the elastic process, look through this post.
OK, so before we fold over again to finish the elastic process, let’s talk about how we are going to finish the ends.
If you made your tie ends pointed, you could use a mitered corner finish for a clean look.
If you did a rounded end like mine, here’s a little trick for folding under a rounded curved/edge – sew a line of basting stitching around the curve, 1/4″ from the edge.
Just lightly pull on the thread tales to slightly gather up the curve, this will naturally make it curve in towards to inside, allowing you to help keep it rounded easier.
Now fold the edge over towards the inside of the garment, around the entire neckline/armholes and tie ends. The elastic will be sandwiched in between the fabric now. Pin in place if needed.
From the wrong side, zig-zag stitch again. This time right up against the raw edge and around the entire neckline/armholes/tie ends. This will enclose the elastic.
Here is a close up of the wrong side of one of my rounded tie ends. (I wish some of the sides of the straps were neater, but I was concentrating on those rounded ends!)
And here is a close up of one of them from the right side.
That’s it! Just knot ’em and wear ’em!
And as promised, here’s an example of a different tie length, too…..
For this one, I believe I extended the straps by 5 1/2 or 6″. Same sewing process. But when I tied them, I kept the ends tucked in, bow style!
// LOOKING FOR MORE COTTESLOE POSTS? //
Here’s the full list of Cottesloe posts and tutorials:
- Pattern Tester Round-up
- Inspiration + Ideas
- Where to Buy Swimsuit Fabric
- View B Full Suit Construction (+ Optional Lining)
- View A Full Suit Construction with Shelf Bra and Ties
- Views C & D Bikini Construction
- Basic Elastic Insertion for All Views
- Waistband and Underband Elastic Insertion for Views C & D
Don’t have the Cottesloe sewing pattern yet?! Order Cottesloe today! We absolutely love seeing what you make, so don’t forget to tag your creations with #MNcottesloe and @megannielsenpatterns when sharing on social media, and check out what everyone else is up to!