Fabric Slides Adjustable Strap Tutorial

UPDATE:  If you try this tute and still have questions, please see my updated tutorial post:  Adjustable Strap Tutorial Update.

Sure you can buy adjustable strap hardware at any craft store, but why spend the money when you can make slides out of coordinating or contrasting fabric?  Thanks to Nancy Z. and the video I watched over and over (and over), I made an adjustable strap for a purse I recently made. I decided to make the strap longer than Nancy's.  Her's is cut at 36 inches long and 2 inches wide.  I thought this was too short for a my bag since I want to be able to wear the bag across my body.  I decided on 46 inches long, which, after completing will be 28 inches,  I determined the width, 3 inches, after measuring the fusible interfacing I used.  The process was pretty easy.  Let's get started!

2 strips of fabric cut to determined length and width + fabric for the slides*
Fusible Waistband Interfacing (like Dritz Perfect Waistmaker)
Coordinating thread
*Make the fabric slides by making one interfaced fabric strip a few inches longer and cutting off two strips.  Iron these strips in half and then in half again.  Then edgestitch.  By using the fabric from the strap peice, you are creating slides from matching fabric.  If you want to accentuate your slides, omit this step and use different fabric. 
Perfect Waistmaker

  This fusible waistband interfacing comes in 2 long strips with a preforation down the middle.  It is easy to separate by snipping down the middle.  You can then use this interfacing, which is about 1 1/2 inches wide or you can cut it again to whatever smaller width you desire.  Once you have determined length and width, cut it and iron it to the middle of your fabric straps.  Remember, your fabric strips should be about double the width of the interfacing.
Cut down center

Iron the interfacing to the strips and then iron each "half" to the middle.

Next, determine the middle of each strip.  If your strip is 46 inches long, the middle should be at 28 inches.  Fingerpress or press this halfway point.

Now take your slide that you have already sewn and hold it just below the halfway point you determined in the previous step.  Open the strap and cut the slide about 1/4 inch longer than the width of the opened (unpressed) strap.  This step is important...remember to measure after opening the strap peices you have already ironed closed.  The photo shows me measuring the folded and pressed side of the strap.  I figured out the potential mistake just before I cut the slide. 

Next, sew each end of the slide to the opened strap (cut edge to cut edge) at this halfway point.  When you have completed both slides on both straps, refold the straps where you sewed the slides.  I found re-ironing this area helped position slides.  Now, fold each strap in half wrongsides together and sew.  Sew across the strap when you come to the slide.  Try to get as close as you can to the slide.
Now you should have two straps each with one attached slide.  Stack the slides by turning one strap over and "insert" each strap into the other.  You should now have one strap that you can adjust to a shorter or longer length.  Attach your new strap to your bag in whatever method you choose.

 I hope you find this tutorial helpful.  If I haven't explained something well, please let me know.  This is my first tute!


SENA said...

dear sewloquacious, thanks for
yr tutorial. I will try out yr
adjustable strap method and let
u know how it goes. I am a self
taught handbag designer, and I look
for inspiration everywhere, I hope
soon I will give u some tips as

Susie and Cody said...

I REALLY want to try this for the straps on the diaper bag I'm making for my sister but I don't understand. I get it until right after the picture of when you sew the little adjustable strap piece the the unfolded sides of the wide strap (does that make sense?) and then I'm lost. More pictures maybe? Please help!

Angela said...

Susie and Cody,
Sew each slide to each strap. Your slides won't actually slide. After they are attached, stack the straps and they will slide to adjust. Make sense?

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, stacking the straps makes no sense to me. Could you add some more photo's please?

Sew Loquacious Angela said...

Stacking the slides means to place one strap on top of the other...one of the slides will be "upside down." Does that make better sense?
Send me an email so I can email you directly please and I will try to clarify better.

Carla said...

I know this was quite some time ago but I thought maybe you could help. I've tried this for 4 days solid now so many times I'm about ready to pull my hair out. I just can't figure it out. Would it be possible to put in a few more photos?

Lynette @ My Craft Discovery said...

This tutorial made sense with the help of this tutorial's directions and pictures. This a great idea, but unless you've done an adjustable strap before it wouldn't have made sense to me either! This might help...

Sew Loquacious Angela said...

Please see my update to this tutorial here: http://sewloquacious.blogspot.com/2011/06/adjustable-fabric-strap-tutorial-update.html


Kate said...

Thank you so much. I was looking for a great tutorial. I am just learning to sew;)

Where can you purchase the Dritz product?

Thanks, Kate

Anonymous said...

I just finished my first adjustable handles. They work-yeah. I do have a question. My handles seem so thick. I made each piece 40 in. Long. In your directions you said to cut two pieces. Did you mean two, with each one being the 40 inch or do you mean to cut two straps, each half the length you need? Thanks.

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