Adjustable bag straps are simply FANTASTIC and really are so easy to make too! They are great when sometimes you would like to wear your bag on your shoulder and yet other times you want to wear it accross the body….just change the length to suit the need! They are fabulous for example, on messenger style bags, such as my Savannah Messenger.

Or indeed for any bag that has one strap! So just what do you need and how do you make them? To start with, you need a closed end strap. If you aren’t sure what that is, refer to Part One in my Strap Series – How to Make A Closed End Strap.

You also need a slider…also known as slide adjuster or tri-glide ……and a method of attaching the completed strap to your bag. I like to use oval or rectangular rings. In this case I have chosen some oval rings which I have attached to my bag with short strap tabs the same width as my closed end strap:

Slider and Oval Rings for making an adjustable strap

Slider and Oval Rings

Now take your prepared strap, wrong side facing up. Thread the end of the strap through the slider, over the centre bar.

Making an adjustable strap - tutorial by ChrisW Designs

Pull the strap through so it is past the slide, fold wrong sides together, by approximately 2.5-3cm (1”-1¼”). Pin in place. Stitch a rectangular box with a cross through it to secure.

Adjustable Strap Tutorial by ChrisW Designs

TIP: You might like to add some rivets for extra strength, good looks or if your sewing machine finds the thickness of your straps a little too much to get through! If you need help setting rivets, you will find a tutorial on my blog.

Now take the other end of the strap and thread it through one of the oval rings attached to your bags body, going from the inside of the bag to the outside with wrong side upwards.

ChrisW Designs tutorial on how to make an adjustable strap.

Take the strap end back through the slider (the wrong sides are together).

An Adjustable Strap

Close up of Slider

Close-up of Slider

An Ajustable strap tutorial

Thread the strap through the remaining oval ring attached to the other side of your bag, this time coming from the outside of your bag inwards towards the interior. Pin (Or use a clip as I have done) to hold in place:

making an Adjustable strap
Once again stitch using the rectangular box formation. Again, you might like to add rivets for a nice secure job! 🙂

How to make an Adjustable Strap for your bag!

That’s it! That’s all there is to it! Easy Peasy, don’t you think?

Adjustable Strap Instructions!

Completed Adjustable Strap!

Happy Bag Making!


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  1. I’ve never made an adjustable strap, but you make it sound very easy, Christine. Hope you don’t mind, but I’m pinning…

  2. I have now made an adjustable strap for the first time. Once it’s done it is quite simple. But I first had to get my head around how it worked. Thanks Chris!

  3. Great tutorial and so easy to follow. The purse looks very professional. Could you please tell me what tool you used for the rivets and possibly have a tutorial for how to add rivets? It would solve my issue. Thanks.

  4. Thank you so much, I have been messing around all afternoon trying to work this out. Your explanation is so clear! A big e-hug is coming your way!

  5. I’ve been holding on to an old purse just to refer to the strap. Finally I can now get rid of it. I can now actually look forward to making my next bag with an adjustable strap. Thank you. (I’m doing my happy dance!)

  6. Hi Kiah….that would really depend on how long and wide you would like your strap to be. As an example, my Epiphany bag has an adjustable strap that I suggest to cut L 110cm – 140cm X W 16cm (L 43 ¼” – 55” X W 6¼”)…..depending on wether you are tall or short etc…. Hope this helps!

  7. So happy to have found this pin! Was struggling with straps for a Christmas gift and this was just so easy and straight forward. Thank you!

  8. Thanks so much for great instructions. I enjoy hand sewing making totes and belt bags. Using your straps instructions for a backpack. Your cat is very pretty.

  9. Typepad HTML Email
    Hi Jean,
    This is really personal preference and not set in stone. If your adjuster is shiny and pretty, you may want to have it at the front but I find most people seem to put it at the back….but it’s totally
    up to you! 😊

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