How to Sew an Adjustable Strap

Written by genevieve van wyden
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How to Sew an Adjustable Strap
Sew an adjustable strap on the sewing machine. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

As you sew something for yourself -- a purse or a clutch with a strap -- don't forget about the straps for the item. Using little more than long strips of fabric and a set of D rings, you can make a simple, adjustable strap for your bag. Because you are making this item, you are free to decide if you want the strap to match or contrast with the bag. To make an adjustable strap, you need to be comfortable working with cut fabric, interfacing, a sewing machine and hemming the fabric.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Fabric, 1 yard
  • Scissors
  • Fusible interfacing
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Straight pins
  • Cotton
  • Sewing machine
  • D rings, 1 set

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  1. 1

    Cut one length of fabric 36 inches long by 3 inches wide, using your scissors. Cut a second length of fabric 12 inches long by 3 inches wide.

  2. 2

    Open the package of fusible interfacing and remove a strip of interfacing. Cut this strip down the centre lengthwise with the scissors. Do the same with a second strip of interfacing.

  3. 3

    Iron the lengths of interfacing to both strips of fabric. Fold each long side toward the middle of the strip and press each fold, creating a deep hem. Fold the long sides of fabric for the shorter strip and press these folds. Pin the folded-over fabric so it stays in place when you sew it. Repeat for the shorter strip.

  4. 4

    Sew the hems with the sewing machine. Remove each straight pin as you reach it during the hemming.

  5. 5

    Fold the short edges over 1/4 inch on both ends of the strap and sew them on the sewing machine. Repeat for the shorter strap.

  6. 6

    Position both on top of one end of the longer fabric strap. Fold the end over the D rings and pin in place. Carefully sew this end securely shut. Back stitch with the sewing machine to create a stronger line of stitching.

Tips and warnings

  • Position the long strap on the item you are making. Pin the end without the D rings to the item and sew it on.
  • Pin one end of the shorter strap to the opposite end of the item you are making and sew it on.
  • Slide the end of the shorter strap through the centre of the D rings and pull on the strap until it is the desired length. Slide the end of the strap through the outer ring, catching the inner ring between the strap and the outer ring. Pull the strap tight.
  • To create a more "finished" look for your adjustable strap, add a row of top stitching with a contrasting colour of thread.
  • Use D rings for adjustable straps on smaller items, like a small purse. The fabric will be less likely to slip through the rings.

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