Have you ever picked up a bag pattern and discovered that the strap construction is one of those pull-through tube efforts?  Ever wished there was an alternative after you’ve tied yourself in knots and the safety pin you were using on the end of the string to pull through has come out for the 50th time?  Well for the sake of a few inches of fabric, there is a nice way around this challenge in the form of a trifold strap.

The premise for this is quite simple – you cut a strip and make 3 folds to contain the long raw edges, (and ends if required), and topstitch around the outside to hold it all in place.  Since the pull through method tends to require topstitching after the pull through, you’re killing 2 birds with 1 stone.

Firstly you will need to work out the width of the fabric strip you need to start with (the length will remain unchanged).  The rule is, finished width x 4, but here are some of the most common ones:

Finished Strap Width
Starting Strip Width
1 ½”

You have an option when cutting here, in that if your WOF happens to be the length of the strap, you can leave the selvedges on, if they’re pretty, and save yourself a couple of folds later on.

Now take your fabric strip and fold it in half, wrong sides together, matching the long, raw edges and press.

Fold both edges into the centre and press:


If this is not going to be adjustable or sewn onto the outside of the bag in some way, you can leave it at this stage, fold it all up again and top stitch all the way around, about 1/8″ from the edge – the raw ends will be hidden in the seam allowance where they join the bag.

You can also stitch all the way around at this point if you have chosen to keep the selvedges on the ends of your strap since the ends won’t fray.

If it will not be sewn into the seam allowance and you haven’t kept the selvedges, you will need to fold the ends in.  I know people that do this stage first, but for some reason mine turn out more wonky if I do that (feel free to suit yourself though!)

Now fold it all back up again for top stitching:

Go forth and apply your strap to your pattern as directed.