We welcome Meagan Botterill to Janomelife today with her first post. Meagan comes to us with an impressive resume and expertise with bag making and more. Please see our intro post about Meagan here if you missed it a couple of months ago. She sews on our Janome HD9. I think you will enjoy this post ….I know I did and can’t wait to try this for the straps on my next bag! Thanks Meagan for sharing this with us. Ed.
Welcome to the world of bag making where sometimes a simple change can have a big impact on your finished product. There are a lot of fun ways to add some pop to your handbags and travelers – fancy hardware, rainbow zippers, layered vinyl applique – but sometimes the best way to add some fun and dimension is to spruce up your straps.
Say hello to the double-sided strap.
Quite simply, the double-sided strap is a strap for your bag that uses two different fabrics (one on each side). You can choose to make them with a variety of fabrics, but my personal favourite is to do a vinyl/cotton mix. This is also a great way to utilize smaller pieces and allow you to stretch your fabrics further – which is especially useful when using cork, or other more expensive fabrics.
For this tutorial, I have chose to use a marine vinyl and cotton, and sewed it up on my Janome HD 9.
So let’s get started! First, you’ll need to gather your supplies. You don’t really need any special tools to make your strap double sided, but you will still need the basics:
- Your fabric – I chose black marine vinyl and cotton. I interfaced my cotton with SF 101.
- Wonder Clips – remember you cannot use pins on vinyl, so clips are your friend!
- Grid ruler, cutting mat and rotary cuter
- Coordinating thread
- Regular pen
Once you have your fabrics picked out and your supplies ready, it’s time to get started. I have chosen to do a crossbody strap with a final dimension of 1.5″, so I cut my vinyl the width of fabric (54″) by 3″. I also cut two strips of my cotton at about 30″ each by 3″ and interface both pieces with SF 101. I quickly join my two cotton strips on the bias.
Now I have two long strips of fabric and I can get started on my strap. Using the pen, draw a line down the centre of each fabric on the wrong side (the vinyl and the cotton). While you can use your iron and press your cotton strip in half, matching long sides together, to find your centre line, this will give you a crease that you really don’t want for your strap. Using a pen is quick and easy!
Once you have your lines drawn, you will need to bring each long side into the centre line. For your vinyl, fold down and use your clips to secure. For the fabric, bring it over to your iron and press each side in. On your cotton strip, you will also want to fold in your two short raw edges by 1/2″ to create a nice, finished end.
Next up, securing each side of the strap! By sewing each strip individually first, it makes it significantly easier to put them together in the end. For this step, I will sew up two lines in the middle of the strips. The easiest way to do this is to sew with the wrong side facing up, and put your glide foot against the raw edge of each folded in section. This will give you two even lines from the centre of your strap. Do this on both pieces. I use a stitch length of 4 when sewing straps, and the ultra glide foot easily slides along the vinyl, allowing for lovely, smooth stitching.
Once you have finished sewing your two lines evenly spaced from the centre on both your strips, it is time to put them together! Lay them down on your surface and place them wrong sides together. Your cotton strip will be longer than your vinyl so make sure it is centred with equal overhang on both ends. Using your wonder clips, secure the two strips together (this can also be done with double sided tape, but I prefer to use clips), and fold over the excess cotton over the short ends of the vinyl. This creates a lovely, finished end for your strap.
Bring the entire strip over to your sewing machine and sew around your long rectangle along the 4 outer edges securing the two strips together. The HD 9 beautifully sews through all layers, and easily goes over the extra thickness at the two short ends. I like to thrown in an additional line of stitching along the folded edge.
And you are done! Now you can go ahead and connect your strap to your beautiful new bag, or add swivel hooks and a strap adjuster and you now have a removable strap you can bring with you to use on all your lovely bag creations!