Hello, my crafty friend!
I’ve got a sewing project today that’s not just about crafting but about problem-solving. Recently, I hopped on a plane and headed to Poland to visit my family and friends. Now, as much as I adore my compact duffle bag, it tends to take a toll on my shoulders when it’s fully packed and heavy.
So, I decided to take matters into my own hands and create a solution: a fabric strap pad. A pad that not only adds comfort but also prevents the strap from leaving marks on my shoulders.
But here’s the twist – I couldn’t find the perfect pattern online . I knew exactly what I wanted – a soft pad with a snap opening for easy attachment and removal, and it had to be the perfect size to snugly fit my bag’s strap. However, much to my surprise, the patterns I found didn’t quite meet my criteria. Some lacked the convenient snap closures, while others were too narrow or too wide. So, what did I do? Well, I decided to roll up my sleeves and draft my very own pattern to the exact size I wanted 📐✂️.
If you want to create a custom-size strap pad, I invite you to check out my previous blog post, where I spill the beans on the intricacies of crafting your own pattern. Otherwise, you can download my FREE Strap Pad Pattern below!
But for now, in today’s post, I’m going to walk you through how to sew this comfy fabric strap pad.
Materials you will need:
- The fabric: You will need external and lining fabric of your choice. You can use various types of materials, such as quilting cotton, canvas, denim, corduroy, cork or vinyl. I mixed a cotton poplin and cotton drill fabrics for my starp pad. If you are looking for a new fabric, check out Minerva! They have a large selection of beautiful materials available in many colours and prints!
- Single fold bias binding: I used 18mm (3/4″) bias binding, but depending on your seam allowance and the thickness of your finished strap pad, you may want to go for a bigger size. You can make one yourself or use a ready made bias binding that matches your fabric.
If you want to make a custom-size bias binding, I have a detailed video tutorial just for you!
- Sewing machine, thread, and needle
- Fabric scissors
- Fusible woven interfacing: When working with a lightweight fabric, such as quilting cotton or cotton poplin, you may need to interface it with some woven interfacing. I like to use Pellon SF101.
- Fleece, Batting or Foam: To add that extra padding and comfort to your strap pad.
- 12 mm (1/2“) Spring Press Snap x 2
- Iron to press your fabric and fuse the woven interfacing and fleece.
- Pattern: Draft your own or download a free copy of my Strap pad pattern 👇
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Now, let’s dive into creating this comfy strap pad that will transform the way you carry your bag. Ready? Let’s get sewing!
First, cut your fabric, woven interfacing and fusible fleece (foam or batting) as indicated on the pattern label.
Once cut, fuse woven interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric first, then add your padding. To reduce the bulk at the seams cut it out without the seam allowance.
Take your metal spring press snaps and separate the pieces. CAP and SOCKET make the female part of the snap. POST and STUD make the male part of the snap.
Transfer the snap placement markings to the right side of the external WING pieces. The WINGS overlap, so decide which one will be on top and which will be on the bottom. Install the MALE part of the snaps to the BOTTOM WING.
Place the lining and external WINGS wrong sides together, align the edges and using 2 mm (1⁄8”) seam allowance baste around all sides.
Unfold one side of your bias binding and with right sides facing down place it on top of the WING. Line it up along the curved edge and clip it or pin it together. Repeat for the other WING.
Sew the bias binding in place about 7 mm (5/16″) from the edge.
TIP: Ease the bias binding when sewing around the corners. Use a smaller stitch length and pivot often at the corners to get the best result. I use an awl to help me guide the bias binding underneath the presser foot.
Fold the bias binding towards the other side, enclosing the seam allowance. Align the folded edge beyond the previous stitching line and pin it around the panel.
Edgestitch the bias binding around all sides and trim any excess.
Install the FEMALE part of the snaps to the TOP WING.
Close the snaps and centre the WINGS on top of the MAIN PANEL (right sides facing up). Baste using 2 mm (1/8″) seam allowance.
Place the MAIN PANELS wrong sides together, line up the edges and baste using 2 mm (1/8″) seam allowance.
Unfold one side of your bias binding and with right sides facing down place it on top of the MAIN PANEL. Line it up around the edge and clip it or pin it together. Make sure to leave long tails at the beginning and the end.
Sew the bias binding in place about 7 mm (5/16″) from the edge, but leave at least a 10 cm (4”) gap between the first and the last stitch.
Mark a midpoint between the stitches on both tails.
Place the ends of binding right sides together at a 90-degree angle, matching the midpoints and pin them in place.
Starting from the corner where the midpoints meet, sew a diagonal seam towards the other corner. Trim the seam allowance to 5 mm (1⁄4”) and press it open. Continue sewing the bias binding until the gap is closed.
Fold the bias binding towards the other side, enclosing the seam allowance. Align the folded edge beyond the previous stitching line and edgestitch around the panel.
Once your bias binding is neatly sewn, your strap pad is ready to use. Wrap it around your bag’s strap and snap it into place.
Sewing tutorial on YouTube
I’ve created a step-by-step video tutorial on my YouTube channel that will guide you through sewing your custom strap pad. In the video, you’ll see the materials you need and a demonstration of each step of the sewing process. So head over to my YouTube channel and give the video a watch! With clear instructions and helpful tips along the way, you can create a beautiful and functional shoulder strap pad that perfectly suits your needs.
There you have it – a simple yet ingenious solution to elevate your everyday adventures. Crafting your own comfy fabric strap pad is a simple way to add a touch of personal style to your bags. Remember, sewing is not just about creating beautiful things; it’s about solving everyday problems with creativity and flair. Plus, with my free PDF pattern, the journey becomes even more enjoyable. So, whether you’re exploring new horizons or simply heading to work, make it a comfortable and stylish journey. Give your bag the love it deserves, and may your travels and daily commutes be a little comfier from now on.
Happy sewing, my crafty friend! 🧵👜✨