What is a strap connector and why would you use them? Strap connectors are a designer-look option for easily and professionally attaching straps to your bags. The results are highly durable and highly yum-yum!
Why use them?
- with their boutique looks, they take your creations to the next level.
- if you are using thicker fabrics/many layers stitching your straps in-between seams is not always viable (or attractive!). Strap connectors enable you to add your straps to wherever suits you.
- they are so simple to use.
- they are very durable/strong.
Today, I'm going to show you how to insert our Diamond Shape Connectors and if you need to make a nice matching twist free faux leather bag strap, I show you how in this strap tutorial. The most sensible time to insert connectors is after you have interfaced the bag outer fabric and before adding gubbins like flaps and pockets and deffo before constructing the bag outer.
Instruction photos are shown below the instruction. I hope you enjoy!
What you will need
- The bag outer. I'm using a piece of cream PU to represent the bag outer. The process would be the same if you were using any other fabric (I say any other fabric, but then, I wouldn't use fine silk, tana lawn or any other fine floaty nightmare fabric. You'd be fine with quilt weight fabric and thicker though :)
- An 11.5cm (4 1/2") square of fusible interfacing (I always use woven fusible - it is suitable for all fabrics) to stabilise the connector area on your bag outer. I'd add this even if your bag outer is already stabilised (as per your pattern instructions).
- A 6.5cm (2 1/2") square of dense fleece or foam
- A 10cm (4") square of fusible fleece
- Seam ripper, fray check and fabric marker.
- Optional - strap ends (coming soon)
- Optional - Chicago screws
1. Interface the area where you want to insert the connector. I used woven interfacing on the WS of my bag fabric.
2. If your pattern has no marking for a strap connector, you will need to add your own marking - no worries, it's easy! So, with the connector WS facing up, position it where desired. To determine how the connectors will look in relation to everything else, I think it's a good idea to lay any pockets/flap/bells/whistles onto your bag RS before positioning the connectors. Have a play and when happy, use a marker to draw around the diamond shape (you will need to do this in 2 stages as the ring will need to be moved out of the way).
3. Straighten the connector prongs. It is important the prongs are all at 90 degrees to the connector base. We are going to use the prongs as cutting guides, so they all gotta be on the level! Unbend and straighten the prongs as shown. Don't wiggle the metal too much (as we all know that over-manipulated metal heats up and then snaps = happy swear jar).
4. Push the prongs into the connector pattern markings. Look directly over your connector pattern marking and push the RSO connector into the pattern marking. You are aiming for clearly visible prong indentations. Repeat for the centre of the 6.5cm square of dense fleece/foam.
5. Use a seam ripper to make holes for the prongs. Using a nice sharp seam ripper (sharp rippers glide more easily through fabric. Blunt seam rippers need to be pushed hard and...then...happy swear jar) make tiny holes at the prong indents for the prongs into the bag outer and 6.5cm square fleece/foam piece. Use a dab of fray check at the prong holes on the bag fabric.
6. At the bag RS push the connector prongs into the prong slits.
7. At the bag WS slip the 6.5cm square fleece/foam piece over the prongs.
8. Slip the washer over the prongs and push the prongs down firmly away from each other. It is important that as you push the prongs down, you are pressing firmly on the connector at the same time (you can see in the 2nd pic I am pressing firmly with my thumb). We are aiming for a nice tight fit as this will make the connector look tightly fitted and almost 'plump' against the RS bag fabric - this not only ensures a secure hold, the 'plumpness' looks really nice. This is why we need to use a dense fleece/foam at the connector back, to 'pump up the plump' (I'm sure there's a song in there somewhere...).
9. Iron the larger fleece square over the connector prongs. If you have added fleece to your lining, this step isn't really necessary. If not, you need to cover the prongs with something to prevent the prongs from being felt on the lining fabric and risk wearing through it. ERK!
10. Using a craft knife, cut away the protective film from the connector. Ensure you are using a sharp blade (see step 5) press the tip of the blade against the part that houses the ring (tilt your knife at the base of the housing). You can see in the pic that my knife is running against the housing base. Take it slow. Don't worry, if you cut along exactly where I have instructed you to, you will not see any knife marks on the connector. I find tweezers handy for removing any tiny bits of film. The protective film is a bit swear jar friendly, but it's so good having it as it keeps the connector sumptuously glossy during transit and construction.
11. Repeat for the other connectors. All done! That was easy! I love it when little work = MORE awesome. Soooo pretty! You can just about see the connector is a tight fit (and looks plump) against the fabric (see step 8). Noms!!
12. Now try making your own nice and smooth twist free bag straps by following my faux leather bag strap tutorial.
13. As you can see in the pics, I am going to rivet the straps to the connectors and I'm going to finish the strap ends with smart metal caps (coming soon). Here is how to do the above. Mark 2 hols on the strap long edge centre (it doesn't matter if you mark under or upper side). Make the 1st mark 2cm (3/4") from the strap short edge and make the 2nd mark 6cm (2 3/8") from the strap short edge as shown.
14. Punch holes at the markings you have just made. I used my trusty Prym Vario punch. Make a hole just big enough (slightly smaller is good) for your rivet.
15. Attach the metal strap end to the strap short edge. Slide the metal end onto the strap and use a small screwdriver to screw in. It's amazing how snazzy these little details look! The metal caps conceal the unsightly strap edges and look so professional.
17. With the strap underside facing out, thread the strap end through the connector ring. Fold the strap over the ring to the strap so that the rivet hole perfectly align with each other. Take your Chicago screw and screw in. All done. Easy peasy and looks so smart!