SLR/DSLR Camera Strap Tutorial

A few years ago I spied another mom wielding her Nikon DSLR with a fabric strap.  My camera and I instantly felt underdressed and I vowed to make one for myself.  Three years later I finally got to the project!  I began with making a simple strap cover–but I didn’t like how it slipped, even though it did make the strap much more comfortable.  Eventually I moved onto complete straps and tried them with and without pockets, with different widths of webbing, etc.

It took many wrong purchases and about 10 prototypes before I settled on the strap you see here: a fabric strap with a double layer of fleece and one pocket to hold my lens cap.  For my own strap, I have also added a quick-release set of buckles.  That way I can swap out straps easily and, since I frequently use my tripod, it allows me to easily set the camera in place.  But that will be a post for another day!

Shhhh…  This is my “it” gift this holiday season since many family members have recently acquired their own DSLR cameras.

Supplies needed:

  • your basic sewing supplies
  • 2 strips woven fabric 36″ long x 3.5″ wide (think about how fabric will wrap around neck when choosing)
  • 2 strips fusible fleece 35″ long x 3.0″ wide
  • 1 strip woven fabric 6″ long x 3.5″ wide (for pocket)
  • 30″ of 3/8″ or 1/2″ webbing (I buy mine from Strapworks)

Ideas for future:

Add buttons, ribbons, ric rac, ruffles and more to add even more dimension.  Try experimenting with the shape of the end of the strap. (You can also cut out vinyl end pieces or repurpose scraps of leather for the end pieces, but they can be difficult to sew and I haven’t found it to be that much more durable.)

NOTE: ALL SEAM ALLOWANCES ARE 1/4 ” UNLESS NOTED!

(You can click on any photo to enlarge it.)

Step 1:  Fuse Fleece

On the wrong side of both long strips, center fleece (bumpy side down) and fuse.  You may find it easier to fuse it from the fabric side.  While you are at the iron, fold the pocket piece so it measures 3.5″ x 3″, wrong sides together, and iron.

Center the fusible fleece as well as you can on the wrong sides of the strips. Don’t fret, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

You can connect pieces of fusible fleece by overlapping pieces a little bit.

Step 2:  Sew on Pocket

Sew along the folded edge, about 1/4″ down.  Feel free to play with a decorative stitch here–but don’t forget to switch back to your regular stitch if you do!

Measure 3″ from the bottom of one of the fabric strips.  Place pocket right side down (if you have a right side) and sew the raw edges to the right side of the strip.  Fold the pocket up so that the raw edge is enclosed and iron the pocket so that it is smooth and flat on the strip.

Basically, you are lining up the pocket with the end of the strap. The folded end is what matches up with the end.

Place the pocket piece right side down. Sew pocket 1/4″ from the raw edge (not the folded edge). Then fold pocket up and press well.

Here is the pocket after being pressed. It is now a pocket that sits 3″ from the end. You can also see the top stitching along the top of pocket here.

Step 3:  Sew Strap Together

Place strips right sides together, being sure pocket stays flat, and sew down each long side.  If you go onto the fleece a little, do not worry.  Turn strap right-side-out and press well.  Tuck in the raw ends 1/2 inch and press.  If you like, you may press and then topstitch along each side (1/8″), but it is not necessary.

Sewing with a 1/4″ seam allowance means you should sew right along the edge of the fleece. It’s OK if you sew onto the fleece a bit.

Fold raw edges inside 1/2″ (or, to the fleece, which should be about 1/2″ from the end).

Step 4:  Attach Webbing

Mark out a 3″ wide x 1.5″ high rectangle on each end.  Using your ruler, make an X in the rectangle and then draw a line down the middle of the X.  Insert the webbing under this line being sure the webbing extends a 1/4″ or so beyond the top of the line/rectangle.  Beginning at the bottom of the line (center of bottom of rectangle), sew over this X and line at least 6 times.  You do not want the webbing to fall/rip out!  Avoid reversing.  Instead, always stop with your needle down and pivot to turn around.

I draw on my marks for the webbing with a disappearing ink pen.

The webbing should extend just a bit farther than the center line.

I usually sew around the rectangle 6 times before moving to each of the center lines. Then, I sew each of the center lines 6 times as well.

The finished stitching.

Step 5: Cut/Melt Webbing Ends

Cut the ends of the webbing at an angle to make it easier to thread through the camera openings/loops.  The ends of the webbing will fray enough to make threading it nearly impossible to thread.  So, you can use a flame (like from a butane lighter) to melt the ends or use Mod Podge or Fray Check to seal the ends.

An angled cut is best for threading the webbing back into your camera.

You’re done!  Use the hardware that came with your camera and loop it through!

All done and ready for a camera!

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