Friday, March 19, 2010

Tutorial - Camera Strap Cover - Revamp an Old Camera Strap Using Thrifted Upholstery Samples and Embroidery

You may or may not know that I hold two University degrees in photography (one as the major and the other as a minor to studio art). I am an artist, crafter, writer, and all around creative, but I usually say I am a photographer first when I am asked what I "do". Six months after I had my first child we moved across the country for my husband's job and I pretty much gave up my commercial photography business. I specialized in shooting black and white film images at the homes of my clients. I shot enough sessions that I would burn out motors and shutters so I would buy "new" used bodies for back ups. Last month, I started going through all of my analog camera equipment. I have 7 SLR bodies, from good working order to parts cameras, that I needed to test. I have gotten through 5 of them, with some of the results here. I love and miss shooting film and now that I know which cameras to keep, I will probably be doing more of it...

This brings me to the project. In the course of going through all my gear, I decided it was time to make my camera straps pretty. My recent sewing class has inspired me to find new sewing projects and a wide, boring, black neoprene camera strap volunteered to undergo a make over. This project can be adapted to your vision. The sky is really the limit on fabric and embellishments. You can even hand sew this project entirely if you don't have a sewing machine. If you don't have a camera strap you can find many boring and suitable candidates at the thrift store. I will walk you through a few simple steps and then off you go...

How-to Cover a Boring Camera Strap to Make it Pretty...

What you need...

- Wide camera strap
- Fabric, I used upholstery samples
- Sewing Machine and thread (or needle & thread to hand sew)
- Items for embellishment like buttons & embroidery thread

1) Using your camera strap to measure against, decide where to cut your fabric. My piece had some grommets I cut off. Here you can see I pinned the fabric up against the edge of the strap. You will need to make a tube around your strap that fits snugly. I think I only had about 1/2" of fabric beyond my strap on each side (so cut fabric 1" wider than strap).

2) If the ends of your fabric are not finished, finish them now. My sample had finished ends which I just turned under when I put my cover on. It was too short, however, to be used as one piece, so I did sew two pieces if it together. I didn't bother to line up the pattern because I knew I would embellish one end... I sewed the buttons where my obvious seam from joining the two pieces is.

3) You can embellish the top front side of your fabric (the part you will be able to see) now or at the end. I actually did all of my embellishing at the end, when my cover was already on, using a curved tapestry needle. I would suggest doing the embellishing before if you want to remove the strap (since I may have sewn through parts of the strap). I just embellished one end. I did it on the end because I knew that part would show while wearing my camera. If your hair is short you could embellish the whole strap, since it won't be hidden under your hair. I cut a flower and paisley from my fabric and appliqued them on, using embroidery thread.

4) Put wrong sides of fabric together, pin, and sew, using a straight stitch, reinforcing each end by front and back stitching. I used a 1/4" seam allowance. Turn your tube right side out.

5) Slide your cover onto your strap. If you already embellished, you are now done, If not, go ahead and do it now.

Voila! Now go, shoot something, and wear your camera with pride...

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