Ruched Camera Strap Slipcover Tutorial

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

This post originally featured on Designed by Dawn Nicole on 5/8/13.  In case you missed it over there, here it is again!

I want to put this out there before we go any further:  I am not a skilled seamstress. I started sewing last year and have taught myself basically everything I know, which is why I am so darn proud of this project!  I figured it out completely on my own, which, for a novice sewer like me, is a huge deal!  If you don't sew, my one piece of advice would be to just start. It's so fun and rewarding, and not nearly as hard as it seems!

So, my hubby, Steven and I are leaving for Disney World on Friday, and I knew I wanted to bring my good camera because we're going on a behind-the-scenes tour of Magic Kingdom and I want to make sure I get some great shots!  So that meant that I needed to make my camera strap a tad more comfortable.  I could have just made a plain jane one and it would have taken half the time, but I wanted it to look cute and special, so hence, the ruched camera strap slipcover was born!

You can make one too!  It's really much easier than it looks.  This slipcover will fit most standard DSLR camera straps, up to 2.5" wide.

1/4 yard of fabric*
(I used a heavyweight duck cloth because it's what I had, plus I thought it would be more durable in the long run, but feel free to use whatever you want!)
1/4 yard cotton flannel (not pictured, for padding and overall comfort)
Notions:  thread, scissors, rotary cutter, acrylic ruler, cutting mat (This was the first chance I had to use my acrylic ruler, and I'm telling you what... save up your money, use your coupons and go get a rotary cutter, ruler and huge cutting mat - talk about making your life much easier, not to mention your cuts much straighter!)

~2 hours

*If you want to use a contrasting fabric on the back side (which would be so cute!), then you only need 1/8 yard of the front fabric and 1/8 yard of the contrasting fabric.  I didn't because I didn't have any that matched, but if you are a novice sewer like me and have a hard time sewing a super straight line, it's probably best to use the same fabric on both sides, that way any imperfections will be camouflaged.

After you cut the selvedges off using your handy dandy ruler, it's time to cut the fabric.

Cut list:
Ruched front:  4" x width of fabric (in my case 54")
Back fabric:  4" x 28"
Flannel: 4" x 28" (2)
Pocket:  4" x 5" (make sure you cut it in the same direction as your other pieces)

Now, we're going to work on the front first.  Using the longest straight stitch that your sewing machine will do, stitch along both long sides of the front piece, making sure not to backstitch at the beginning or end.  It's important to use a matching thread here because there's a possibility (again, if you're a novice sewer like me), that some of these stitches may be visible in the final product.

Pull the bobbin threads (the ones on the bottom) and scoot the fabric up the thread to ruffle it.  I would do one side a few inches, then switch to the other side and ruffle it, then switch back, until the ruffled piece of fabric was 28" long.

Take it to your ironing board, and iron all the ruffles flat, trying to keep the long edges as straight as possible.  This is hard because the edges want to be all wavy but just work with it.  It's very important that they are as straight as possible.  At this point, trim all those threads that have been unraveling.  You'll thank me later.

This is how the front piece should look after it's ruffled and ironed.

Somehow I didn't get a photo of this process, but you need to hem the pocket before you go any further.  Take it to your ironing board and turn over the 4" edge 1/4", then another 1/4", iron and sew to secure.

Now we're ready to start putting the strap together.  Gather all your pieces.

Lay them on top of each other as follows:

Pin one of the long edges, making sure the ruched piece is secured in the pins and is as close to the edge of the other fabric pieces as possible.

Sew with a straight stitch (make sure you set it back to a normal stitch length after ruffling!), using 1/2" seam allowance, backstitching at the beginning and end.

Trim the excess seam allowance as close to the stitches as possible, making sure not to cut through them.  Open up the fabric and iron flat.

Now it's time to hem the ends.  Fold each end over 1/2", iron, and sew to secure.  If you want to build a little more seam allowance into your length, you can fold the hems over again to hide those raw edges.  I didn't bother.

I ran two seams along each edge, just because I liked the way it looked.  You could also use a decorative stitch if you want.  Get creative!  (Yes, I see that my stitches look like I was drunk when doing it, but it's hard to sew a straight line through 5 layers of fabric!)

Okay, now we need to sew the other edges together to form a tube.

Line up the edges as best as you can and sew using 1/2" seam allowance.  If I were to do this over again, I'd even use a little larger seam allowance because some of my ruffling stitches didn't get hidden in the seam.  Very few of them, and no one will ever notice, but just keep that in mind.

Trim the excess seam allowance and start turning the strap right side out.  This is not the easiest thing in the world, but just keep working with it - it can be done!

Iron the strap once again to get those side seams really flat.

The next step is optional, but I really like how much more finished it looks with a topstitch.  If you so choose, sew a topstitch along both long edges using a 3/8" seam allowance.

Here's a before and after if you're unsure:

If you do choose to do a topstitch, stop before you get to the pocket, or else your lens cap won't fit in and that would just be tragic!

Feed your boring old camera strap through and that's it:  your very own fancy camera strap slipcover!

Here it is in action, as teased on Instagram (@jenna_lovelakeliving).

It's super comfortable and so cute I can hardly stand it!!

Be sure to pin it for later! :)

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