DIY Detachable Swim Straps

Here as promised and I do believe in record time from mouth to blog, a how-to for some alternative straps for those beloved Bombshell Swimsuits. These are just your typical, thin elasticated straps which I’ve made detachable here but can also be sewn straight on and used on any swimsuit, obviously. There’s a bit of a trick to these so don’t fret if it all looks quite un-lined-up to start with. Just trust. I literally spent hours staring, like a crazy woman, at a pair of straps on a suit I own trying to figure out what kind of magnificent machine was used to get the elastic inside the straps but also attached to the straps from the inside. Turns out it’s not a machine, just some clever placement of elastic and fabric. Read on to find out….

Swimwear fabric
3/8″ wide swim elastic
2 x clear plastic g-hooks (is the formal name for those do-hickeys that make bras convertible)
Cut two strips 20″ x 1 1/4″ of swimwear fabric and two 20″ strips of swim elastic. Fold each piece of fabric in half lengthways, right sides facing and with raw edge to the left, mark 1/4″ in from the edge.

Mark the center of each piece of elastic like so. Place elastic on top of fabric, lining up the markings and pin. You will see the elastic sits just shy of the raw edge of fabric the whole way down and that’s what we want.

Pin the layers together along the length, with the raw edge of fabric to the right (so that you’ve got something to hold onto on the left as you sew).   Position your needle over the line you marked on the elastic, which if pinned correctly will sit 2/8″ in from the raw edge of swim fabric.

Using a stretch stitch (or narrow zig zag), sew elastic to fabric with a 2/8″ seam. So far so good.

To pull strap out the right way, attach a safety pin to the end, catching elastic and fabric.

Now here is the fun bit. Go on, thread that elastic back through the fabric and admire the work of art that is your beautiful, flat swimsuit strap…

To finish of the ends of the straps, fold them under approx 1/2 ” and secure with pins. Sew in place, ferociously, back and forth several times.. This is my bodgy bit, the straps kept getting caught on the feed dogs and moving around so  props to you if you’ve got your stitching looking all pretty on this part. Cut off any excess fabric/ elastic. If you are bi-passing the detachable part, your straps are now read to sew on…

To attach our ‘g-hooks’, thread straps through the hole then back over onto themselves, pin in place, making sure you have a pair of opposites. Sew back and forth again across where you’ve pinned.

The next step is to making the teensy tiny loops that fix to the body of your swimsuit, where the g-hooks attach. Cut a strip of fabric roughly 3″ x 1 1/4″. Fold in half length ways, right sides together and pin.

Sew a 2/8″ seam with stretch stitch.
Attach safety pin to one end and pull tube out the right way again.

Cut tube in half and abandon baby tubes for the moment. So, to make that little loop on the swimsuit where the g-hook will slide into, one end of these baby tubes will be attached right after attaching elastic to the top of the Bombshell (or other suit) but before the part where you fold that top edge down over the elastic and zig-zag the entire rim. On the Bombshell suit there are markings where the straps go (marked here with a pin) but it’s a good idea to try your suit on at this point, pinning your new straps to make sure you’re happy with the same placement.

Lay your suit flat with the front facing you. Take one baby tube with its center seam facing outwards and place over strap marking on suit with raw edges matching. Pin in place. Attach tube to suit with two rows of stitching, one at 2/8″ from edge and one at 1/8″. Stitch back and forth for reinforcement.
The last step is to make the actual loop. You can see here that I’ve folded the top of the swimsuit over the elastic ready for the final zig-zag stitching. Fold the baby tube over to make a loop and pin close to the raw edge of the suit. As you zig zag around the whole top of the suit, you’ll catch the bottom edge of this little loop. Go back and forth several times over this spot, but making sure it’s as close the edge as possible. I learnt the hard way that if you let that stitch creep up then it makes it really hard to get the bloody g-hook in there. Trim off excess fabric.
So that is it. Slide your cute straps into the loops.
Admire your handy-work.
 Now get out there! Your goods ain’t going nowhere…

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  • Mariawrote:

    Just found your blog and I love it! And all the sewing tips!

    -Happy new reader from Finland

  • Samanthawrote:

    I LOVE that fabric!! I can’t wait to make myself one of these! Great blog and great tips!

  • Joyreewrote:

    EXCELLENT tutorial! Thank you so much.
    Hugs, Joy

  • Rubywrote:

    OMG, thank you thank you! I’ve also spent quite a bit of time staring at my bathing suit straps. I didn’t figure it out….so glad you did! Your bathing suit looks amazing!

  • oonaballoonawrote:

    “sew in place, ferociously.”

    yes please.

    i walked into a spandex joint yesterday with the intention of copying your suit, and left with fabric that was made FOR a joint. but at least it will have fancy straps, thanks to you!!

  • sallie oleta barbeewrote:

    Awesome tute, dude!

    I kinda cringed after typing that… but seriously, this is genius and I think I’ll be switching out the straps on my bombshell now, thankyouverymuch!

  • Kellywrote:

    This is a great tutorial! Thanks so much!

  • gingermakeswrote:

    Oooh cute! Love this!

  • Rosiwrote:

    Thanks Sophie. Love these straps!

  • twirldesignswrote:

    Fantastic! I actually ended up cutting apart a bikini top of mine trying to figure the same thing out. You can do this with a wider elastic and make it into the bikini band. 🙂

  • kristinwrote:

    Love it, Soph! Yer smart.

  • Katwrote:

    Fantastic tutorial sophie!

  • poppykettlewrote:

    This is fabulous, thank you! I had actually been wondering how to get some structure in the straps… 🙂

  • Printingtextil Natashawrote:

    Love this so much! Yes, its fabulous

  • Anne Weaverwrote:

    Awesome!! I’ve scheduled a post for Craft Gossip for later this evening that links to your tutorial:

  • Summer is here! | A Handmade Wardrobewrote:

    […] at the back, keyholes with ties at the sides of the bottoms and at the center of the top. I used Sophie’s method for the straps  – a brilliant method of keeping the seam line at the back of the strap. I […]

  • The Nerdy Seamstresswrote:

    How about your fabric? It’s gorgeous! I didn’t realize it, but it’s the beach scene. That’s pretty cool!

  • Galactic | Penelopingwrote:

    […] matter of making a bunch of straps and playing with strap placement. I used 1/4″ elastic and Ada Spragg’s Bombshell strap method to make five straps, about 22″ long each. I played with placement on the mannequin, then used […]

  • Ingridwrote:

    Thanks for this!! I had no idea where to start and was so glad when you turned up in my desperate google search!

  • Completed: The Watson Bikini | LLADYBIRDwrote:

    […] covered straps and apply them the same way that the strapping is done on a regular bra. I used Ada Spragg’s tutorial on making elastic swimsuit straps (GIRL THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS SHIT), and they turned out pretty nice! I left off the adjustable […]

  • sewing princesswrote:

    what a great idea! thanks so much for the tutorial!

  • The New Craft House A Bikini In The Middle Of Winter – Holiday Sewing!wrote:

    […] used Sophie’s tutorial for the straps. I couldn’t get my head around how it was going to work but then I turned the […]

  • refashioned watson bikini!wrote:

    […] and here) did and went with the modified racer back strap-tastic experience. I started out using Sophie’s strap guide. But ended up omitting the elastic on the inside in all the straps except the one that wrapped […]

  • bekahbwrote:

    thank you! This is by far the best tutorial on making these straps I’ve found. I will send you a pic of my finished product 🙂

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