Leather Hide Store has been doing some fabulous blog collabs lately and there have been some very cool tutorials with their stuff (see some on their Facebook page)--and I'm so glad they reached out to me to send me my choice of one of their leather pieces, and the first thing I thought to make was this camera strap!
Turns out with just a few special tools, sewing on leather isn't hard at all, and this strap is just my kind of project! Simple, easy to measure, and, with careful sewing, creates a very pro-looking, practical accessory!
DIY Leather Camera Strap Tutorial
You will need:
- A piece of leather (at least 4.5" x 24")
- Clothes pins, binder clips, or Getta Grip Sewing Clips
- Seam ripper
- Leather scissors
- Leather needle for your machine
- Thread in the colors of your leather and the foundation to your camera strap
- An old camera strap (or the components of the adjustable base and connection point--you can buy adjustable strap materials at the fabric store)
Step 1: Using a seam ripper, take apart the base of the original strap. Those stitches are really in there, trust me! This part takes some patience.
Step 2: Now to the leather. Even it out so you have a perfect rectangle or at least a right angle on one side. Align your ruler and mark it with pen or pencil, then cut with leather scissors.
Step 3: To make the smooth-edged 1.5" strap, you'll a 4.5" piece of leather on itself 3 times, leaving a discrete raw edge on the inside. Cut your leather into a 4.5" wide, 24" strip, using the clear ruler to draw the edge.
(My typical pro Canon camera straps was a little over 1.5" wide by a little over 24" (the nylon/rubbery strap piece only, excluding the base. I cut my leather to be these same dimensions, but you could make yours a little longer or shorter if you like!)
Step 4: Using the ruler and pencil, draw lines along the length of the leather strip 1.5" from the top. You'll be folding it on itself in 3 almost even, 1.5"-plus-fold-room pieces--a tri-fold.
(The tri-fold finish for a leather or fake leather strap is a technique I learned from a sponsor back in 2011; she has this tutorial of the method and some good tips about fine points if you want to get technical!)
Step 5: Since you can't pin leather, to hold it in place, fold it carefully back to the 1.5" line and clip with your clothes pins, binder clips, or Getta Grip Sewing Clips, along the length of the strap.
Step 6: At the sewing machine (put on the leather needle!! and matching leather-colored thread on the bobbin and top thread), top stitch at the edge of the folded side of the strip (I used about a 1/8" seam allowance).
TIP: Use a big stitch length for a more even, professional look and just in case you need to take out a stitch. I hurried through and used different seam lengths in my top stitching, and I wish I hadn't!! Wish I'd used a medium-long stitch the whole way along. Oops. Do as I say, not as I do...
Step 7: Fold the raw edge back toward the folded side, clip in place, and sew along that edge with a matching seam allowance. This time you're sewing through 3 layers of leather, so it may be a little tougher for the machine. Go slow if you need to!
Step 8: Flip back to the first edge and top stitch 1/4" from the first seam.
Step 9: Back on the second edge, top stitch 1/4" from the second seam.
Step 10: The strap is now done. Grab the bases of the original strap (or the adjustable strap pieces you bought at the fabric store) and put the leather strap in between them. Pinch in place and sew through all the layers, retracing the X and rectangle stitching of the original. Repeat on the second side.
Done!! Here it is, smooth and nicely finished and ready for use!
It's perfect. Just the right size/length, has that nice leather smell, is more durable than the nylon/rubber/embroidered strap... so happy with how it turned out!
And here it is in use! Love it!!
If you want to try this yourself, check out Leather Hide Store--and one of you will win the $50 gift card! Enter here or on my Facebook page!