I bought a new bag to go to the university because I have to carry too many things... (a donkey would be perfect but animals are not allowed at the university...) but the strap was too short for me. After thinking a lot and looking for the best solution, I realised I could extend it with an old belt! I went to a second hand shop and I found the perfect belt for only 1$!
- An old belt (of the same width of the original strap)
- Needle and thread
- Mesuring tape
- Sewing machine
- A lighter
Take the belt and place it where the original strap is sewn onto the bag. Measure the space between the beginning of the belt and the first two holes (I wanted the strap to start near these two holes).
Take a pen and mark where you will cut the original strap. You must provide enough length to make a little hem and enough space to sew the belt on the hem. The hem is necessary due to the strap material, if you don't do it the black strap will fraying.
I chose 4 cm: 1 cm to make the hem and3 cm to sew the red strap onto it. Once you are sure you have left enough fabric, cut the belt on the mark you've already made.
Naturally, you can also sew the belt directly onto the bag but it's more difficult to sew it exactly where you want, because it's probably too thick. But the main reason not to do it is that the original strap is sewn too close to the zipper. If you try to sew it there, the needle will probably stumble on the zipper and break. Actually, that happened to me.
After cutting the strap, burn it with a lighter to avoid fraying. You need to burn both straps: the belt and the cut strap on the bag as well.
Fold one centimeter of the original strap to make a little hem and attach it temporarily onto the belt.
Now prepare the other side of the belt. I let the same space between the beginning of the belt and the first two holes, but you can do otherwise. Once you've cut it burn the end as you already did on the other side.
On my bag there was originally a piece of plastic to prevent hurting your shoulder. If you also have one, now is the time to place it on the belt.
Take a bag whose strap is long enough for you. Mesure its length. Now mesure the belt and compare both. In my case the belt wasn't long enough to make the entire strap, so I needed a piece of the old one.
To calculate the length I needed from original strap, I did it this way:
The final strap had to be 125cm long
The belt measured 91cm
125 – 91 = 34cm (I needed to add 34 cm from the old strap on my new strap)
So cut the remaining belt keeping only the needed length (in this particular case, 34cm).
Now follow the same steps you followed in the beginning: keep roughly a centimetre of the original strap to make a little hem and sew it temporarily with thread and needle to the other 3cm (on the next step you will prepare the other side of the strap).
Here I had a small problem: the belt was thicker than the original strap, so when attaching the two together the difference was too obvious, and not very nice to see. Also, as one was on top of the other, the resulting strap (consisting of both fragments) didn't stay straight. To fix that I decided to double the original strap on both sides. Thus, the resulting thickness was similar to the belt's.
To do so, I took the original strap again and cut a piece the same length as the one I had sewn onto the belt (34 cm).
Then I sewed this new piece on the other side of the belt, keeping a small section within the two black straps (see picture). After that, I sewed the other end of the strap near the piece which adjusts the strap's length (again, for the sake of clarity, see the picture and sketch).
Now sew all the existing pieces with the sewing machine.
Don't forget to remove all the white threads you used to attach the pieces temporarily.
... And here's the result.
I really need to add a personal touch to my stuff, so I added some chains, safety pins, patches and all I found around! And here's the final result!
As the Rolling Stones famously said: it's only rock 'n' roll (but I like it!).