10 June 2011

Hello, friends!

Yesterday I shared Part 1 of the camera strap cover tutorial. I showed you how to make a universal-fit cover with a hand-gathered ruffle and a lens cap pocket.

Today I'm going to show you the following variations:
* custom-fit cover (to fit your specific camera strap snugly)
* with padding
* machine-pleated ruffle
* finished with a serged, rolled hem


This is a slightly more 'specialty' camera strap cover. It takes equipment that not every beginner sewer has (this is why I am showing so many variations). But they are definitely tools you may start pining for once you see all the glorious things they can do. :)

Things I'll use in this tutorial:
  • scissors or rotary cutter and cutting board
  • sewing machine loaded with coordinating thread
  • tailor tape
  • iron and ironing board
  • ruffler foot (you can find one here or here)
  • an 8"x30" piece of fusible fleece (you can get this at JoAnns or here)
  • a serger (you can find the one I use - and love - here or here)
  • up to two coordinating fabrics (I used quilting weight cotton for both: Theory Rain Forest Leaves and Laurel Dots in Periwinkle)


Okay, that should be it. Let's do this!

Camera Strap Cover Tutorial: Part 2
{custom fit, padded neck, rolled hem, machine ruffled}

In order to custom fit your camera strap, you'll need some paper, a pen and some tailor tape. I love graphing paper, so that's what I'm using here.


Measure the widest point of your camera strap (likely the leather binding at the ends)


and the length of your strap. You will want your cover to go all the way down over the leather binding. Feel free to be a bit generous here.


Now draw on your grid paper the finished size you'd like your strap to be (2"x27" in my case).

To figure out the cut size you'll multiply the width (2") by 2 (for both sides) and add 1" for seam allowance (1/2" for each side). That equals 5".

For the cut size of the length, just add 1/2" to each side of the finished length (27") to get 28".

Now we know to cut our body fabric 5"x28".

Your dimensions may be different, but using these formulas you should have no trouble determining the cut size.


If you plan to add a ruffle you will want to cut it about twice as long as your body piece and just about as wide as your finished width of your cover. I cut mine 1 3/4" wide and 60" long.

(Note: If you do not have a serger and cannot stitch a rolled hem, you will want to add additional width so that you can turn each side in twice and create a narrow hem. Take this into consideration when you are figuring the width of your ruffle.)

Now, cut your fabric to the sizes you calculated. You will probably need to piece your ruffle fabric together to get 60 inches, so do that next. Then you will have all of your fabric ready to go.


Now we'll finish the raw edges of the ruffle fabric. I'll use the rolled hem setting on my serger. If you don't have a serger, turn each side in twice about 1/4" and stitch the narrow hem closed.

If you have a serger, finish the edges with the rolled hem setting.
Here's a video in which I tell and show you how to use your serger to create a rolled hem. Also in which I sound like a big dork. (Oh goodness, I'm so embarrassed - please be gentle!)

Alright, that wasn't too painful, right? Right?


Now that your ruffle is ready to roll (ha - get it?), we need to make a mark on your body fabric so we know exactly where to attach it.

Here's how I figured it:
This drawing is to scale (the other one wasn't), and each square represents 1/2". The width of my body fabric was 5" (10 squares). I marked my seam allowances on the outside and the center of the fabric.


From there, I need to find the center distance between one seam allowance and the center mark. That's where I want to center my ruffle. (In my case, the mark I need to make is ultimately 1.5" from the right side.)

Make that mark all the way down your main body fabric using an air soluble marker if you have one. (Pay no attention to the fact that my ruler slipped off the line when I took the picture. It really should be 1.5".)


Now, on to the machine of glory.

Hello, old friend.


But wait. First, I want to introduce you to a new friend!

Y'all, this is my ruffler foot.


A little closer?



Yes, it looks intimidating. Let's be honest - it is a little intimidating. But once you figure out all the glorious things it can do, you'll be glad you got to know it! It goes far beyond camera strap covers, y'all.

You can see in the photo below that it has four settings. You can choose for it to ruffle every 1 stitch, every 6 stitches, or every 12 stitches. The star means that it won't pleat at all.


Less intimidating already!

Once it's attached to your machine (just like any other foot, except that you'll slide the big black hook-shaped thing onto the top bar that moves up and down with your needle) it's a good idea to manually advance your needle to make sure that it can move safely in and out of the small hole in the ruffler foot (I've broken a few needles as a result of skipping this step).

You can adjust screws and settings according to the directions that come with it, but this is just a basic introduction.
So, your ruffler is attached. Now we need to line up the fabrics and get them ready to go. Place your main body fabric under the ruffler foot and lay your ruffle fabric on top, centering it on the line you made.


As you can see in the photo below, the ruffle material is being fed through the upper part of the foot and the main fabric is traveling below the foot. (This is the view from the left side of my sewing machine).


And this is the view from the back side of my sewing machine. Just because it's a lovely view. :)


Now, there's jut no sense in me trying to tell you what it does in action when I could show you. So, lucky day that it is, here is video number two for y'all!

The ruffler foot in action (you can count it ruffling the fabric every six stitches):

You probably noticed me having to take a moment to move the ruffle out of the way at one point. I've found that the rolled hem makes the top layer slightly bulky to slide through the ruffler foot, so from time to time I have to move it out of the way with tweezers so it doesn't get caught in the stitch. I also keep pausing to check that it's centered on my purple line. I'm a bit of a perfectionist.

BUT, can we talk about the fact that it's gathering the top layer WHILE attaching it to the un-phased bottom layer??? It's everything, y'all.

Okay, so once it passes through the miracle foot, it will likely need a little love from you. Just make sure all the ruffles are going in the right direction. Join me: be a perfectionist. Your camera will thank you! :)


We're getting closer.

Now grab your fusible interfacing and cut a piece just slightly smaller than your main fabric. (See all those little white dots on it? You can feel them too. That's the glue. When you press it onto your fabric with a hot iron - glue side down, of course - it will fuse the fleece to it and make a nice cushion for your neck. You neck will also thank you.)


So I flipped my happy piece of camera-strap-cover-in-the-making over and laid out my fusible fleece. (Truth: I have been a fusible fleece hog lately and by the time I shot this tutorial I was out of pieces big enough to cover the entire area. I pieced them together though and no one will ever know. Well, you'll know, but just forget it if you can, mmkay?)
And now for my useful tip of the day: lay a piece of scrap fabric over your interfacing when you iron it. Otherwise, the heat will be so intense that a little bit of glue might want to sneak through the loosely woven fleece and attack your iron. Just a warning.


Now it's backed with fleece and a little flatter for the wear. That's okay, it'll fluff again! Nice and even though, eh?


If you read my tutorial from yesterday (Part 1 of the camera cover tutorials), you'll know just what to do next. We're hemming the ends.

But first, I picked out a few of the stitches at each end so the ruffle could be straight on the end and tuck under nicely. Personal preference.


Now just fold each end under 1/2" and press.


Then stitch the hem in place. I like to do a few rows of stitches. I think it looks nice.


Okay, now we're really almost there!


Fold the cover right sides together lengthwise and stitch. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end so it won't come undone.




Before we go any further, it's a good idea to double check and make sure your camera strap fits within the space you've made for it.


Check check.

Now trim your seam allowances to 1/4".


And it's time to invert. Not my favorite part of the project, but it's got to be done.

I had a bright idea to pin the end of my camera strap to the inside of the cover so I could kill two birds with one stone: turning the cover and putting it on my strap. Not sure if it's anything genius, but it worked for me.


I used a small dowel rod to guide one end in through the body.


Halfway through.


And finishing up. Yes, I realize it probably doesn't require five photos of me inverting the strap to make the point, but I'm an over-achiever. (ps - it helps to bend the leather ends of the strap in half to ease them through. A bonus tip!)
Ah! All finished. (yes, I realize the cover is not attached to the camera in this picture. It's just too much trouble to do that since I actually need my camera to take the pictures. Sorry!)


It makes me happy and I think it will make my camera happy too.


Here's another one I made with Anna Maria Horner's Maybe in Blossom and Lovesme Lovesmenot in Petal. So many camera straps, need more cameras!


So, between Parts 1 and 2, you've got a hundred combinations of camera strap cover styles and ideas to pick from. You can do a universal fit with fusible fleece and a machine ruffle or a custom fit with no padding and knit machine ruffled. Y'all, the possibilities are endless!

Make it yours!

(And share it if you like! I would love to see your creations in my Flickr Pool if you get a chance!)

Happy Friday, friends! Have a lovely weekend!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Brother NX800 machine mentioned above for free in exchange for a mention of the product in my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.


Kaira said...

just lovely :)

Christine said...

Thanks for the videos, especially (from my perspective) the little ruffler foot one. It does make it less intimidating, I'll admit. I like that you made this more specialized strap padded. Genius.


LeAnna said...

I believe I'm now coveting a ruffler foot!!! Eeeekkk!!! So cool.

Sarah-Anne said...

ruffle footers are big...& scary. but i think i want one. ;)

About Us: said...

you are so darn cute. love your tutorials. happy weekending!

Taylor said...

So pretty! Someday, somehow, somewhere, I will learn to sew. Our generation has to learn so that we have lovely little things to pass down in our families! Thanks for the awesome tutorial!

Ashley said...

You are so cute! You obviously worked so hard on these tutorials and I applaud you for that! Awesome job.

Brittney said...

Ahhh I have a camera strap!!!! Love Mine!!! :D

Rebekah said...

oh my gosh, i can't tell you how excited i am to come to your site looking for a rolled hem/ruffle tutorial, only to find you are using the exact same serger i have! i've been so intimidated and scared of it (i got it for christmas, and i JUST did a 2 inch test strip this week, 7 months later lol). your tutorial made me much less intimidated, you made it look so easy :) thanks!