Creative articles about sewing

Sewing straps with Overlock/Coverstitch Part 1: Tie Straps

Dear reader, you can never have enough tank tops, right? With a small series, I would like to introduce you to a few strap variations that make tops and dresses even more individual. This first article is about sewing straps for tying.

Sewing straps for a summer top – instructions

My example is sewn on the bernette 62 AIRLOCK, using the BERNINA Double Fold Binder #C21, which is an optional accessory to the L 890 as well as to the bernette b62/68/42/48. It can be used to make bindings from strips of fabric cut 36 mm wide to a finished width of 10 mm.

Image of bernette 62 AIRLOCK.

bernette 62 AIRLOCK

The coverstitch machine with easy air threading ✓ 4 coverstitches and 3 chainstitches ✓ Can be used for countless applications, with which different fabric types ✓ Sufficient space for large projects ✓ The large working area is brightly illuminated ✓ Stitch length adjustable while sewing ✓ 

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With the Double Fold Binder for Unfolded Tape #C21 you will be able to make perfect 1 cm wide straps.

Image of Double Fold Binder for Unfolded Tape #C21.

Double Fold Binder for Unfolded Tape #C21

✓36 mm wide tapes result in a binding of approx. 10 mm width ✓ An accessory holder is required ✓ Compatible with L 890

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Sewing the top – materials

For this strap top you will need the following material:

  • Knit fabric 75 cm for a top of average length.
  • Overlock universal thread (I prefer Mettler Seracor 120), but in the picture you will see that I also prepared Mettler Silk Finish Cotton 50 Multicolor, matching the colors of my knit print.


The pattern was “made by me”: I copied my favourite top, based on the tips in the blog of Claudia Geiser. If you wish to copy your favorite top as well, then please refer to the blog article of Claudia:

Sewing a tank top with the L 890 and its Double Fold Binder #C21


  • Front 1 x on the fold plus 1 cm seam allowance on the sides and 3 cm hem allowance
  • Back, 1 x on the fold plus 1 cm seam allowance on the sides and 3 cm hem allowance
  • Strip for the strap/armhole binding 36 mm x width of fabric, ca 150 cm, 2 pieces
  • Band for front and back neckline, ca. 60 mm x 40 cm in cross grain knit, 2 pieces


  • Front and back neckline, mark the middle.
  • Band, fold both pieces in half wrong sides together, press.
  • Band, mark the middle.
  • Band, from the middle mark, mark the ends of the band 5 mm shorter than the neckline of front and back.

Why I sew a band instead of binding the front and back neckline? Reason 1, because it allows me to reduce the thickness of the material that is later sewn in the binding. The band and front are 3 fabric layers. Using a binding it would be 5 layers. Attaching a band results in less thick overseams, which must feed through the binder. Reason 2, a band eases to adhere the front and back, which gives a nicer fit with a slightly curved pattern. Yes, adherence would also be possible with the binder, but I think it is a more complex procedure and requires more practice.

This is how the finished neckline of my project will look like:

  • Strips for strap/armhole binding, mark the middle.
  • At front and back pieces, measure the armhole curve and mark this on the strip for the binding, on both sides of the middle mark.

These marks on the binding strip will help me later to approximately define when I have to guide the front and back into the binder.

Band and side seams

Since I want to stitch it all with the b62, I decided to add the band with the narrow coverstitch and then to topstitch its seam allowance with a 4-thread coverstitch towards front and back piece. I want to use the same procedure for stitching the side seams, whereas the seam allowance will be topstitched towards the front.

Thread your b62, or your coverstitch machine, for the narrow coverstitch with LC and CC and stitch a sewing test on some spare double layer fabric.

Pin the band (depending on your pattern with adherence) right on right to the front and back and stitch it in place using the edge of the foot as a guide.

That will look like this when stitched:

Pin the front and back pieces together at the side seams, right sides facing. Since I want to topstitch the seam allowances to the front later, I pin and stitch having the back piece facing up.

Sew the side seams together with the narrow coverstitch, using the edge of the presser foot as a guide. I recommend using a leader cloth at the seam begin for better feeding, since the seam at the armhole will be covered with the binding later.

Now press all four seams flat, then press the seam allowances of the band towards the front and back. Press the side seams towards the front.

Now thread your b62, or your coverstitch machine, with 4-thread coverstitch and stitch a sewing test on some spare fabric. If you wonder why I am sewing a test again, maybe you will experience the same as I did some time ago and notice you need a new needle. I was glad that I noticed before stitching on my project.

Topstitch the band and side seams, using the edge of the foot as a guide and remember to use a leader cloth at seam begin.

Looking decorative from the outside and inside!

Don’t forget to press.

Now trim the band and if needed, trim the side seams at the armhole. The more precise one works here, the easier it will be to stitch the binding.

Straps and binding

For the binding/straps, thread your b62 or your machine with the narrow coverstitch with LC and CC again.

Attach the Double Fold Binder #C21. I usually align it all to the left, to reduce tolerance of the parts.

Adjust the guide as far to the rear as possible, that it is close to the presser foot without touching.

Then adjust the guide of the binding to the left, so that it is approx. 2 mm left of the left needle.

I find this to work easier when the presser foot is down.

Swing the binder to the front as much as needed to allow for comfortable threading of the binding strip.

I have gotten into the habit of cutting the beginning of the strip to a downward tip.

This is the best way for me to thread the strip into the binder. Try if this works for you too.

Pull the strip fully under the presser foot and swing the binder towards the foot.

Lower the presser foot and sew a few stitches to hold the strip in place.

Of course, you will find a tutorial video for the Double Fold Binder C21 which shows its handling in detail, including a few examples of projects. The video shows the #C21 on the L 890, but handling and tips are the same, no matter using the #C21 on BERNINA or bernette coverstitch and/or combo machines.

Before continuing to stitch, add a fabric clip on the strip at the mark that will reach the binder first.

Stitch as little as possible to be able to comfortably check the stitches on the binding. Adjust the binder if necessary.

Stitch as far as the clip and make sure, the binding is fed smoothly.

You will notice that the position from the clip to the needles is approx. as much as the length of the half armhole. That means you can stitch approx. 5 cm more, before you have to guide the top into the binder. Therefore, I moved my clip approx. 5 cm and stitched until reaching it.

By the way, my mark is incidentally easy to see inside the binder.

Now insert the top, right side up, if you want to see the needle threads on the outside. That is how I did it with my decorative threads. If you want to see the looper thread, place the top with the wrong side up in the guide.

Here I recommend sewing slow and guiding the top so that the edge is slightly standing up. At the same time, I tried to stretch the binding slightly, so that a nice round edge is produced. Sounds complicated, but you just try to stitch slowly.

Stitch until done with the armhole, then continue stitching the strap on the other side. At the end of the strap, secure the stitches with the CS Lock Tool.

I admit, I am very satisfied with the result of the first binding.

Proceed in the same way with the other side:

  1. Cutting the beginning of the binding strip to a tip and threading it into the binder.
  2. Stabilizing it under the presser foot with a few stitches.
  3. Setting the fabric clip as a marker.
  4. Sewing up to the clip.
  5. Placing the top between the binder.
  6. Sewing slowly and stitching to completion.

And that is exactly how I imagined it. How did yours turn out? Time to get it ironed!

I tied the straps and then determined the length. At this length, I added a knot so that the stitches do not come loose. Then I cut off the rest of approx. 15 cm.

Alternatively, of course, a cord end could be attached – maybe I will get some colourful ones with the next material order…

It’s so easy to sew pretty straps using overlock, respectively coverstitches! What do you think – that was quick, wasn’t it?

Straps for tying are of course also suitable for dresses, such as this children garment.

Here I first neatened the front and back neckline with a 3-thread rolled hem and gathered the pieces with differential feed. The straps and binding were stitched as described above.


Now it is up to you to hem the piece. Depending on the fabric quality, a narrow, a wide or a 4-thread coverstitch is a good choice. But the decision is up to you!

My tie strap top will turn into a “sloppy” or “shabby” style. That means that I cut rectangles of different widths from a fabric strip of approx. 20 cm in height. They are then pinned to the bottom edge with a little overlap and sewn under the edge with a coverstitch. Then I also trim them back to different lengths… the fabric will curl up. I think this will look great when combined with jeans.

I like this finish to the fabric print.

A hemline like this will mainly suit pieces that are worn over skirts or trousers:

Do you fancy sewing a summer top yourself? Or have you saved this article about sewing straps with overlock and coverstitch in your favorites (the heart icon)? I hope, this first article of my strap series makes you want to copy it and sew even more. Happy stitching!


Free sewing instructions: Straps

Difficulty level: Beginner
Time to Complete: Evening
Used Material: cotton, jersey
Used Products:
bernette 62 AIRLOCK
bernette 62 AIRLOCK
Double Fold Binder for Unfolded Tape #C21
Double Fold Binder for Unfolded Tape #C21

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