How To Make An Adjustable Strap For Any Bag

Adjustable Strap

This tutorial is the follow-up of my reversible fabric and vinyl bag on how to make an adjustable strap.

This adjustable strap consists of two straps –one longer and one shorter– joined together by a buckle with lobster claws at both ends.

The procedure for making the straps and loop are the same.  To avoid showing an unfinished edge we are going to make the edges of the straps meet at the center.  Then we are going to glue the vinyl and fabric together and sew the sides.  Once both straps and loop are done we are going to attach the hardware.

Adjustable Strap


  • Two strips of vinyl 19″ X 1.5″(48cm X 4cm) and one 36″ X 1.5″(91cmX 2cm).
  • One strip of fabric 32 “ X 1.5″(81.3cm X 4cm)
  • One strip of fabric 19″X 1.5″(48cm X 4cm)
  • One rectangle of vinyl 3″ X 1.5″ (8cm X 4cm) 
  • One buckle 1″ (2.5cm) wide
  • Two lobster claws 1″ (2.5cm) wide


How To Make An Adjustable Strap

We are going to be making two straps and one loop. The assembly instructions are the same for the three pieces.

There is a short strap and a longer one, these straps are both going to have a fabric facing.

This adjustable strap can be expanded between 46″ to 40.5″ (117cm to 103cm) in length.

Making The Longer Strap

The longer strap will have a lobster claw on one end and holes on the other end.

Take the longer strip of vinyl 36″ X 1.5″(91cm X 4cm).

Mark the middle of the strip by diving the strip in two and mark each half again in the middle. You will end with three lines on the strip that are exactly 3/8″ apart.

adjustable strap

Apply vinyl glue to the fuzzy side of the vinyl and let it dry about 5 minutes.

Bring the top and the bottom to the center line.  Press and let it dry, use clips to make sure the strap is going to dry flat.

adjustable strap

Make a line at 1/2″ and at 2″ on one side of the strip.

adjustable strap

Do the same on the other end of the strip.

Apply glue and fold the first 1/2″ up press until dry. Use a clip to keep the end from coming apart.

adjustable strap

We are going to do exactly the same procedure but now with the fabric.

adjustable strap

Take a strip of fabric that is 32″ X 1.5″(81.3cm X 4cm).  Divide the strip lengthwise in four equal parts of 3/8″ (1cm) as shown below and using the same technique as above. Bring the bottom quarter towards the center.

adjustable strap

Bring the top end to the center.

Now we are going to glue the fabric strap to the vinyl strap.

adjustable strap

Apply glue on the 1/2″ mark and after the 2″ mark. Leaving a space in between for the hardware (lobster claw).

adjustable strap

Fold the top 1/2″ and place the fabric strap right side up and press.

adjustable strap

Let the strap dry for 10-20 minutes and topstitch the sides at 1/8″.

adjustable strap

Insert the lobster claw.

Apply glue to half the space that does not have glue, let it dry for about 3 minutes and fold the strap over the ring of the lobster claw.  Align the edge of the vinyl with the beginning of the fabric strap.

adjustable strapadjustable strap

Making The Shorter Strap

The shorter strap will have the buckle and a loop on one end and a lobster claw on the other end.

You will need the strip that is 19″ X 1.5″ (48cm X 4cm) in vinyl and another in fabric.

Glue the strip of vinyl and the fabric as above and then glue them together.

Remember to leave 2″ on either end then glue and fold the ends.  Use clips to keep the ends from coming apart.  Leave it to dry for 10 to 20 minutes.

adjustable strap

Making The Loop And Attaching The Loop

Take the rectangle  3″ (8cm) X 1.5″ (2cm).

Mark the middle of the rectangle using a ruler.  Apply glue on the wrong side.

adjustable strap

Make the longer sides of the rectangle meet at the center where you made the mark.

adjustable strap

The bring the top to meet in the center.

adjustable strap

Topstitch the longer sides at 1/8″.

Now we are going to make this little strap into a loop then glue it to the strap.

Place the strap on the table fabric facing up.  Slide the small strap under edges meeting on the fabric side placing it 2.5″ (6.4cm) from the end.  Apply glue under the small strap that now becomes a loop.

adjustable strap

Make a hole right on top of the fabric, this is where the prong will go through.

adjustable strap

Insert the prong right side up under the belt.

adjustable strap

adjustable strap

Loop the end through the frame, apply glue, and secure with some pins until it dries.Top view

adjustable strap

Bottom view

adjustable strap

Side view

adjustable strap

The next step is to attach the lobster claw to the other end of the strap.

Make sure the lobster claw faces the opposite way as the other lobster claw.

adjustable strap

Finally, we are going to topstitch the end of the straps and…

adjustable strap

open the holes for the prongs of the buckle to go through.

adjustable strap


What to do if you do not have enough vinyl to make a long enough adjustable strap?

This is exactly what is happening to me since I only bought a meter of vinyl and so far I have made two tote bags, one clutch, and this adjustable strap so I don't have enough to make it long enough.

So, I'm going to use a slider to attach two straps together to make it in the length I need.

Make an extra strap following the same procedure as above except that you are going to use a square ring or a slider to attach two straps to make a longer one.

adjustable strap

adjustable strap

This tutorial is just one way to make an adjustable strap for any bag. I do know one more way and hope to share that technique in an upcoming project: The Gentleman Travel Bag.

I wanted to thank all of you for the many suggestions on how to improve the reversible fabric and vinyl bag.  I am hoping that if you have any suggestions, don't hesitate to comment below.  I hope when you make your own bag and straps, you incorporate all the marvelous suggestions from the many wonderfully creative and positive thinkers who constantly comment on this blog.

Happy sewing!

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11 Responses to How To Make An Adjustable Strap For Any Bag

  1. Heather Stark says:

    What vinyl glue do you recommend? It’s not listed in your project requirements . Thanks!

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      Hi Heather, I use this one it is strong and flexible so when it is dry you can easy sew. I do recommended to get a pot, lasts a long time and you only need a thin layer of the product to be do the job.

  2. sharon hedrick says:

    please offer this in PDF form. Thank you I am not a social media person.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Sharon, there are a couple of reasons I do not make this as a PDF. One is that you spending time on the site helps me pay for the hosting, security team, social media accounts, and the four people that are involved in this site. The second reason is that printing I don’t know how many pages wastes a lot of ink, money, paper for you and time for me don’t you agree?

  3. Jerri Uffelman says:

    I have E6000 glue… Would this be strong enough, in place of the vinyl adhesive?

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      yes i think it would as long as the glue is new. After a while this glue can become gummy and cloudy and does not work as well anymore.

  4. Pingback: Reversible Crossbody Handbag FREE Pattern - So Sew Easy

  5. Faiza Ahmed says:

    That’s a really great way to make it adjustable.

    Thanks for sharing it.

  6. Teresa says:

    What is the name of the vinyl glue you are using? Where can I get it?

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