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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Camera Strap Slipcover TUTORIAL....of the Padded & Lined Variety

 Before I share this much requested tutorial, I thought I would answer a burning question that I have been bombarded with....WHY WHY WHY would I want to share a tutorial on an item I sell for profit?

A little background...I started making and selling camera straps back in January of 2008.  Back then, there was only me and one other person selling the camera strap slipcovers.  It was an extremely successful and rewarding venture for me and one I still enjoy and offer to customers. It helped kick start a business that I love and thrive on.  With so many designers out there now offering camera strap slipcovers, the market is flooded with this particular item.  It became important for me to come up with new ideas and products to ensure that my business grows. I have been extremely blessed to have been able to expand my designs and sell additional camera accessory products which is the bulk of my business. 

My main reason for offering this tutorial, even though I do sell these as part of my inventory, is because I am extremely thankful for the support and business I have received throughout the years and I want to give something back to the "lovers of all things handmade" community. I have received LOTS of tips and help from many, many members of this wonderful community over the years and I want to share something with you all. Just a way of saying THANKS!!

The tutorial idea actually started as a plan for an eBook for my camera strap slipcovers back in June of 2009 (I actually had to look that up...was thinking it couldn't have been THAT long ago).  Time just didn't seem to be on my side and I let the project go on the back burner.  I have finally finished it and have decided to turn my eBook into a tutorial instead. 

My tutorial is not the first tutorial out there on how to make your own camera strap slipcovers.  But mine are a little different.  When I first started making the straps, my first priority was stylish, COMFY straps that make wearing your camera more enjoyable.  So not only did I focus on fun fabrics, the overall quality and construction of the strap, but I came up with a strap that is also lined AND padded.  Not just fabric only straps.  You have 4 layers of fabric plus two layers of fleece padding sitting on your neck.  How nice is that?  Now I am going to share with you HOW I do it. 

Now with all that said (man that turned into a longer spiel than I intended), here is the camera strap tutorial.  I really hope that it is a fun and easy project that you enjoyed and hope that the finished product will bring you lots of joy and COMFORT when shooting for business and/or pleasure.

Padded Camera Strap Slipcover Tutorial

Materials Needed:

· Cotton Fabric (1 piece printed; 1 piece coordinating solid)
· Coordinating Thread
· Lightweight Fusible Fleece
· Rotary Cutter/Scissors
· Acrylic Ruler
· Iron

Finished size for this particular camera strap slipcover is 22 inches long by approximately 2.25 inches wide.  Please read ENTIRE tutorial FIRST before starting.  It makes more sense that way.  :)

NOTE: You can click on each picture to make them larger if you need a better view.

You will need to cut your fabrics (each piece - the print and coordinating solid) 23 inches long by 5.5 inches wide. This will give you TWO separate pieces (one print and one solid).  Press both pieces to get out all wrinkles.  Now lay those aside.

Now cut ONE piece of fusible fleece 21 inches long by 4.5 inches wide. Fleece should be cut one inch shorter (width wise) than the fabric. This will make it easier to sew when finishing your side seams. Length should be 2 inches shorter than fabric. Fleece will stretch when pressing to your fabric and your length will increase as you are pressing. I try and leave a ½ gap at each end of strap so that when you are folding in the fabric, you will not have to worry about the fleece’s bulkiness. Now set aside. 

Putting RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER (printed fabric facing solid fabric), sew or serge together the length (the longest sides) of both fabric pieces using a 1/4 inch seam allowance leaving the ends open (this will make an inside out fabric tubing where printed fabric is facing in). (See image 1).

{Image 1}

With fabrics still facing right sides together (inside out), line up fleece evenly centered (I just eyeball this…I do not actually measure it) on the SOLID fabric piece and press (follow manufacturer’s instructions for iron settings). Make sure that you adhere the entire piece. I then let my fleece cool completely before moving on. (See image 2).

{Image 2}

Once fleece has cooled, turn right side out (where printed fabric is now facing out) and press both side seams. Fleece will now be on the inside of the strap between the WRONG sides of the solid and printed fabric. (See images 3-6).

{Image 3 (Turning strap right side out)}

{Image 4 (What strap looks like once it is turned right side out)}

{Image 5 (Press both side seams)}

{Image 6 (What strap looks like once both sides are pressed)}

Turn both ends of straps ½ inch toward the inside of the strap (tucking raw edges of fabric into the strap) and press. (See image 7).

{Image 7}

Sew both ends of straps (width) together with a straight stitch using a 1/8 - 1/4 inch seam allowance (personal preference....I like mine as close to the end of the fabric as I can get so I use 1/8 inch). (See image 8).

{Image 8}

Fold strap (printed fabric on outside/solid fabric touching) in half lengthwise lining up edges and press.
(See images 9 & 10)

{Image 9}

{Image 10}

Sew the two OPEN sides lengthwise together using a 1/8 inch seam allowance starting at the top. Make sure that you reverse/back stitch at stress points (ends of straps near openings). (See image 11).

{Image 11}

And TADA!! You are done! Was that easy or what?

Finished strap.

How easy was that?  Now all you have to do is slide it on your commercial camera strap and you are ALL SET!!

For those who try it, I would love to hear your feedback and see your finished product.  Was it easy to follow?  Were my instructions clear enough?  This will help me with future tutorials and possible eBooks.

And for those of you who love the camera strap slipcover but do not want to make your own, I do sell them in my Etsy shop and on my website.

I am hoping to share many more tutorials (not all sewing related) over the coming months.  So if you are not a blog follower yet, please see the top left column of my blog to become one.

One last side note, but it is an important one....while this tutorial is meant for sharing, please do not claim credit for the tutorial and post as your own.  Please provide a link back to me if sharing on your blog or other venue.  Thanks!!

Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts!!

Have fun!!