Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Reversible Camera Strap Cover tutorial

This is my first attempt at writing a tutorial, so please let me know if things make sense.  I tend to go over the top when writing out directions, so bear with me if I get verbose.

This is a tutorial for a simple, reversible camera strap cover with a flat pocket to hold your memory cards or snack money or your kid's pacifier.  You know, whatever really important stuff you need to tote along with you and your camera.

Things you will need:

  1. A sewing machine and thread

  2. Two complimentary fabrics for the body of the strap cover

  3. A third complimentary fabric for the pocket (or you could use the same fabric if you like to be matchy-matchy)

  4. fusible fleece interfacing (optional)

  5. A rotary cuter, cutting mat and clear ruler--these aren't mandatory but they will make your life easier, I promise.

  6. A steam iron and ironing board

  7. The measurements of the strap you want to cover

Step 1: Cut your fabric.  Here is where the old adage measure twice, cut once comes in super handy.  You want to cut one strip from each of the main fabrics that is the length of your strap plus 1/2" and the width of your strap doubled plus 1/2".

Clear as mud?

For example, this strap was super long and skinny--27" x 2" so I cut my fabric strips to be 27 1/2" x 4 1/2"

Cut your fusible fleece to the exact measurement of the strap (27" x 2" in my example above).  If you want a super padded strap, you can cut two of these but I prefer to just use one so it's less bulky.

Cut your pocket to the width of your fabric strips (4 1/2" above) x 5".  Your final pocket will be half of the length you are cutting so if you want a deeper pocket cut it larger than 5".  You'll want to cut two of these so you can have a handy dandy pocket on both sides of your reversible strap.

Take a deep breath, you are now done cutting!

Step two: The pockets.  Iron your pocket pieces in half.  If you cut your piece to be 4 1/2" x 5" like I mentioned above, your resulting pocket should be 4 1/2" x 2 1/2"

I like to do a little top stitching here right on the top of the pocket (the side with the fold). No reason really, other than it looks nice.  So if you want to skip this you can. But if you want, go ahead and top stitch a line really close to the top edge.  This might be a fun place to use some of your fancy machine stitches if your fabric is plain (and if you have fancy machine stitches!).

Step three: Make a sandwich.  But only if you're hungry. Ha! I jest.

Here's where you want to go ahead and fuse on your fleece interfacing if you are using it.  Your fleece should be a tad smaller than your fabric. That's o.k. We did that on purpose!  You want to keep the bulk of the fleece out of the seam allowances. Center it on the wrong side of your fabric and press according to the directions that came with the interfacing.

Once your interfacing is fused to your fabric strips you need to place them on top of one another, right sides together.  Place your pockets in between the layers, one on each end.  Pin the layers together.

Step four:  Sew!  Stitch all the way around your fabric sandwich using a 1/4" seam allowance.  Make sure you leave an opening a couple of inches wide somewhere in the middle of the strap so that you can turn it right side out later.  Back stitch at the beginning and the end.

Step five: Turn, turn, turn. . .

But first, clip, clip, clip your corners! This will reduce the bulk and make for a crisper corner in the end.  But be careful not to clip your stitches!! Not that I speak from experience or anything. I've just heard that some people do that when they are rushing and not paying attention. So don't be like me. . . I mean, like those people. . . pay attention when using scissors! Didn't we learn that in like Kindergarden? Geesh, who WAS my teacher? They obviously failed me. (Just teasing MOM!!)

What was that I said about getting verbose? Just remember, you were warned.

O.k., once you've clipped go ahead and turn your strap right side out. Make sure you turn one pocket to each side.  Stick your finger, or a knitting needle or something up into those corners to get them pointy and flat. Step back and admire your handy work. We are on the home stretch!

Step six: Attach the "Hook and Loop" tape. Cut your tape to the same length as your finished strap (27" in my example).  I cut mine a little short. Totally did that on purpose, it wasn't because I was rushing and not paying attention while using my scissors. 

If you are crazy and have fingers of steel you could pin this on or baste it, but I like to live dangerously so I just hold it in place and sew slowly.  You want to sew one half of the tape to one side of the strap and the other half to the other side--does that make sense?  On mine, the soft "loop" part of the tape is on the blue side of my cover.  The rough plastic "hook" part is sew on the opposite side of the strap on the red fabric.  Hopefully the picture below makes it a little clearer.

Sew down both sides of the tape, very close to the edge.  You could use a zig zag stich here if you'd feel more comfortable but remember, your stitches will be visible on the other side so if you don't like the look of a zig zag just bite the bullet and straight stitch.  These stitches will also close up the hole you left for turning so make sure those raw edges are turned under (you can press them in advance if you need to).

And viola!
You are now the proud owner of a reversible camera strap cover. Go gussy up your SLR and take some photos!

I love this strap design for so many reasons.  First, you don't have to commit to a single fabric choice.  I love both of these fabrics from the 1974 Urban Chicks collection.  Personally, I tend to favor blues but sometimes I can see myself wanting the pop of color the red side would bring on occasion.  And second, every other strap cover I've seen requires you to thread your strap through the cover. Tedious, in my opinion.  The hook and loop tape on this makes it easy to switch up or take off (say, if your husband thinks it makes your camera look too "girly"). 

I've been known to embellish these a little with a gathered, elastisized pocket rather than the flat one.  The "poofy" gathered pocket is better for holding bigger things like your lens cap or a wallet.  You could also do some quilting or other embellishing if you're into that sort of thing.  The sky (and your imagination) is the limit!

Please feel free to use this tutorial for your own personal use.  If you want to sell items you've made using this tute I think that's great! I'd just appreciate the credit.  My hubby and I worked hard on coming up with this idea and would appreciate credit where it's due.




  1. No doubt, it took me like 10 minutes to suggest using "Hook and Loop" tape (which I call Velcro)instead of bruit strength to reverse the cover. So yes, please give me... er, us the credit where it's due!

  2. Cute! I've been wanting to make one of these for my camera. Thank You!