How To Sew A Rouleau Loop

Ultimate Dress Animal Print Collage

Ever wanted to make a rouleau loop? I used my fourth make of the Sew Over It Ultimate Shift Dress to snap some photos of my own rouleau loop in the making.

This pattern suggests a hook and eye closure at the rear neckline, but I’ve always applied my own rouleau loop and button closure instead. It’s easy!

rouleau loop

Cut a rectangle of fabric on the bias. It should be 3 inches or 7.6 cm long and just over twice the width of your standard sewing machine foot. Press it in half lengthways, right sides together.

rouleau fabric strip.jpg

Sew a row of stitches down the centre of the folded over strip.

stitched loop

  1. Thread a needle and knot the doubled over thread.
  2. Hand sew a couple of anchoring stitches in one end of your row of machine stitching.
  3. Insert the head of your needle into the loop and push up to the top.
  4. Use the needle and thread to pull the loop inside out and then snip your threads.

Rouleau Loop Collage

Voila! A quick press and you have a rouleau loop. Choose a button.

loop and button

Follow the rest of the pattern’s facing instructions, but before sewing down the facings to the rear opening, insert your rouleau loop between the facing and back pattern piece. Adjust the size of the loop to the diameter of your button.

rouleau loop and button

Job done. The fabric is a polyester bought from Saeed Fabrics. Love it! This is my fourth iteration of this pattern but it won’t be my last.

ultimate shift dress

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23 Responses to How To Sew A Rouleau Loop

  1. dr P says:

    I never thought of doing that. It looks so much nicer and problems easier to do up.
    I’m going to try it next time

  2. Thank you for the great tips.

  3. kalimak says:

    Great dress! And I don’t think there is anything like too many shift dresses.
    Thank you for the tutorial! I was just thinking I should look for one today.

  4. Candie says:

    Thanks for showing how to make a Rouleau Loop. Cute dress and pretty fabric. It looks really good on you!

  5. vintage51 says:

    Reblogged this on vintagethrifter51.com and commented:
    This dress is gorgeous and the tutorial for the rouleau loop is so simple and easy. Thank you for the tip. Cheers, Michele

  6. Kathy Lynch says:

    Genius! That makes such a professional finish too – thank you, Karen!

  7. ellegeemakes says:

    Thanks for the tips…such a beautiful loop!

  8. horopito says:

    Thanks for the tutorial. Love the dress!

  9. Fiona says:

    Hi Karen – you make it look like it can’t go wrong … but I can already see me swearing, tugging at fraying bits of fabric which have been pulled down to the dark zone behind the needle plate or watching helplessly as the former rectangle deforms as I try to pull the thing the right side out and am left with a shape I don’t have a word for.

    By the way, thanks for the post on dressforms. Like you, I think they are good for hanging your makes in progress and admiring them – but useless as a way to help you fit a garment. Fitting clothes on yourself is so hard – I always have to rely on my teacher and I don’t want to be dependant on her forever. I fee like finding a local artist who will make me an exact cast – and then taking out life membership at a gym to make sure I don’t change shape.

    Last thing – polyester. Your dress looks so lovely, but somehow, I can’t bring myself to buy polyester. I keep thinking it will look cheap and nasty or that I will smell. I’m obviously wrong and need to get over this because wearing wool, cotton and linen all the time is a bit mumsy. Any tips, Karen, for particular types of polyester to go for?

    Thanks for the blog, Karen!

    • Katie M says:

      Fiona, I often have this problem too, but have found a fairly easy solution that works for me. I lay my fabric on top of a tissue, then I sew my fabric. On my machine this stops the fabric being sucked down into the needle plate. Once the sewing is finished, the tissue just tears away from the stitching line.

    • Polyester – I think it’s all in the handling, so if ordering online you maybe want to order a swatch first. It definitely does hold heat against the body, not gonna lie!

  10. Helena says:

    Thank you Karen, great post. Will try this later as I attended the Ultimate Shift dress class in Islington on Sunday and managed to make the dress except for hems and the hook and eye. Like Fiona I wonder about Polyester, do you find it to be clingy when wearing tights or are you wearing a slip? Thanks

  11. peterle says:

    nice tutorial. I have two additional tips:
    when you sew the loop with a narrow zig zag, the seam can be stretched. so you can pull the turned loop and it will get narrower, longer and rounder. makes a very neat loop.

    When you leave a long enough tail of thread when removing the strip from the machine, you can use this for turning the loop in the discribed way. No need for anchoring a new piece of thread.

  12. UtaC says:

    Thanks for sharing..love it.. The fabric is amazing.. love the print

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  14. The Stylish Stitcher says:

    Great tip. I made a thread loop for my ultimate shift dress but I think the rouleau loop looks that extra bit special. Will definitely be doing this on my next version!

  15. Farmer's wife says:

    If you snip one end of the “tube” on an angle before attaching the thread, it makes it even easier to pull it through the right way.

  16. Katie M says:

    I too am a fan of the rouleau loop. I’ve been making lots of simple sleeveless tops with a rouleau loop and button closure on the back. I blogged about sewing rouleau loops and spaghetti straps here. I’ve managed to master the really thin, rounded loops. It is my absolute favourite closure method.

  17. Bloody loop turners! I’m threading a needle next time. Jo x

  18. esewing says:

    Big fan of the rouleau loop , looks great on this dress , thank you for the tips

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