I’ve been seeing plenty of handmade camera straps online (LOADS on Etsy) and decided it was time to make my own. I’ve had an ugly grey synthetic one on my SLR for ages. Now it has penguins!
Total invention, no pattern, but I used the old strap as a guide.The fabric is the left-overs from making the Penguin jacket for my godson (and worn by his sister). The amazing silvery-petroly leather ends are made from scraps I got in a big batch from Craft Central.
So to make this, I cut a length of fabric, about 8cm wide, stitched it into a tube, turned and pressed flat. Rather than use synthetic interfacing, which I hate, I cut 3 wide strips of scrap cotton (old sheet I think) and folded the whole lot in half to make a thick sort of wadding. Then I used a safety pin to pull the wadding through the tube. I’m not convinced this was the most effective way to make the strap, but it seems to have worked! I then worked three rows of machine stitch along the length of the strap.
I made the ends using scrap leather and cotton tape. Nylon webbing would probably have been better but I don’t have any and am not about to buy any just to do this. I’m not sure how long the cotton tape will last so I need to keep an eye on it. It might tear really easily so I will have to check often. So the folded tape is zigzagged onto the strap (trimmed to shape) and then sandwiched between the leather. I used the old strap as a guide for the leather pieces. And then sewed the whole lot together – oh, and used a little fabric glue to keep the sandwich together first of all so it couldn’t slide during sewing. I did this all on my industrial machine, I’m not sure my domestic would have dealt well with the thickness of leather and strap. Plus I couldn’t find the leather needles for that machine and the industrial will sew through anything, no trouble.
I used a scrap of fleece to line the back of the strap, so it’s nice and comfy on the neck. I’ve seen ones online with suede or sweat-wicking microfibre for extra comfort, but I don’t use my camera that much and the fleece seems good so far. It’s an experiment so I may revise that plan depending on how this one goes in use.
I made this little one next, for my pocket camera. It’s made in the same way but I started with a ready-made strap, left over from my handbag-making days. It’s just a strip of fabric, stiffened with interfacing, edges folded in, folded in half and stitched along both sides. It was really thick and hard to sew the leather this time, so it’s a bit messy! I used baby ribbon on this one as it hardly takes any weight. Super easy and now I have smart camera straps, ready for a weekend away where I’m planning on taking lots of photos!