Thursday, April 7, 2011

Custom Selvage Camera Strap Tutorial (kind of...)

I'm definitely not going to give you a tutorial on how to make a customized camera strap. If you don't find the strap that came with your camera very, um, attractive, there are some really good tutorials on how to change that.

You can kind of give it the slipcover effect here and here.

Want to get rid of the whole webbing strap, make a new padded one and attach it to the fake leather end pieces? Here you go. I'm sure this would be awesome, but it looks like a lot more trouble than I want to go through.

Rather, this is a tutorial on using selvages to customize the fabric you use to make the strap cover.
For making the actual strap cover itself, I used a tutorial by Amy Priddy which I found very straightforward, with good instructions and lots of pictures.

First of all, let it be said that I am not blaming Amy at all for the problems that followed. Nope. Not one single bit. For that I'm blaming the fact that I had a cold and should have been relaxing on the couch instead of trying to do anything that involved math. When you are on cold medication, you should also NOT be considering projects that involve sharp objects (a rotary cutter), heat (iron) or moving parts (a sewing machine). Really not a good combination.

Nevertheless, my first thought was "how hard could it be??" It was a simple matter of changing out the printed fabric with some custom-made selvage fabric, and then just continue on with Amy's instructions.

The first step was to measure my existing strap. And that's exactly when my problems began. Amy said this tutorial was for a strap that was 22 inches long and 2.25 inches wide. Her instructions were to cut the fabric 23 inches long and 5.5 inches wide.

Okay. My strap was the same in length but only 1.5 inches wide. So 1 inch longer and double the width of the strap. 23 inches in length was fine, and the width should be 3 inches, right? Right? I looked at her measurements again. You know. Measure twice. Cut once. Yep 2.25 times 2 equals 5.5 inches.

I cut the base fabric for my selvages, 23 long by  3.25 inches wide, and patted myself on the back for cutting it wider than it needed to be. Better safe than sorry.

Is anyone seeing the problem already? Well, it had not dawned on me yet that my width was WAY too narrow, so I bravely carried on.

I had a nice pile of Anna Maria Horner "Innocent Crush" selvages all ready to go.

I found it really helpful to use the 45 degree angle line on my ruler to draw pencil lines on my base fabric. (You can safely use any fabric for the base--whether it is coffee stained or from a previous project that didn't quite turn out the way you thought it would).I originally drew the lines about 2 inches apart, but after sewing the first couple of selvages, I realized that drawing a line about every half inch would make it easier to keep the angle of the selvages more uniform when I sewed. And if you're not on cold medication, you might be able to get by with "eyeballing" it.

It helps to add a dab of glue too, especially at the beginning. Start on the right side, sew a selvage close to the finished edge, lay the next one on top, covering the raw edge of the first selvage, sew, continue in this manner until the whole base fabric is covered with selvages.

Turn your finished piece over and trim the excess selvages (a picture of this step would have been a nice touch but I forgot to take it...). My base fabric was now 23 inches long by 3 1/4 inches wide.

I think it was at about this point that I realized it was going to be way too narrow! I started calculating the seam allowances. I looked at Amy's measurements again, and then I saw it. She doubled the width of the strap, and ADDED ONE INCH! Geez.

Time for a "design decision."

I cut two strips of orange fabric and added one to each side. Then I continued on with Amy's directions.

When all was said and done, it was still a tight fit, and involved a needle-nose pliers to pull the existing strap through the new slipcover.

I'm going to try it again. I'll make it (at least) 1 1/2 inches wider. So much easier to trim the width than to ADD to the width.

In retrospect, the orange fabric is kind of a nice little "bonus" and I'm pretty happy with the strap.

My advice is that if you decide to slipcover your existing strap, you probably don't need the addition of the fusible batting.

Oh, and choose a time when you aren't under the influence of cold medication...


05 08
Carla said... #

What an adorable post! Love the strap, even if it's a bit different than you imagined at first. What type of camera do you use? Get some rest, friend...hope you feel better soon!

Pinkadot Quilts said... #

How fun is that! I think it turned out great, hope you feel better.

Tammy Vasser said... #

LOVE IT!!! You're so creative!

Bec said... #

AHHH Cindy, Very very creative.. Send it to a MAG!! FOR SURE!! Its gorgeous! I laughed the whole wasy through your post.. soo funny!! MMM yes maybe you should stear clear of sharp hot and moving objects! xx haha xx hope tomorrow is better for you.. rest up.. You have some TUTES to write me! xx