General ramblings

New watch strap

September 15, 2012

My watch strap has died. It has been on the critical list for a little while and has been patched up with odd dabs of leather glue from my friendly cobbler, but I think that the time has finally come to admit defeat…

I really like this watch, and when the strap started to die, I did go into a Fossil shop to find out how much a new strap would be. I may be tight, but I thought £30 was a bit steep for a new strap, and anyway, now that My Make Do and Mend Year has started I have left it too late to buy a new one, so I will have to make one if I want to use the watch again.

I browsed Pinterest, obvioulsy, but also looked on Instructables-if you haven’t discovered this site yet, go look! It is AMAZING. Instructions for practically any kind of DIY project you might ever ever ever want to undertake, and plenty more that most normal people would be too scared to ever attempt!

On Instructables, I typed ‘watch strap’ into the search engine thing, and lots of different how-to’s came up, including this. I had thought about making a new strap from a measuring tape, but the lovely hubby pointed out that this might not be the most comfortable option (he is always so sensible..) so I decided to modify the Instructables how-to slightly to fit in with my ‘vision’…

Just in case you ever need to make your own watch strap, this is what you need to do…

  • Dismantle your old watch strap

  • Gather your supplies

You will need some cotton type fabric in a pattern of your choosing; a tape measure; press studs; sewing machine; thread; iron

  • Measure and cut

I measured round my wrist using said tape measure and then added on about 10cm for seam allowances and overlap. Then I measured roughly how wide the face of my watch was and added on ‘a bit’ (maybe about 4-5cm?), and then used these measurements to draw a rectangle on the wrong side of my fabric, that will form the basis of my watch strap. So to illustrate, my wrist measures 15cm, and my watch face is about 2.5cm across, so I drew a rectangle 25cm long by 7.5cm wide. I rounded off the corners as I thought this would look better but if was going to do this again I would keep them straight as it is easier to get a neater finish with straight lines!

I then cut around this piece and used it as a template to cut another one, so then I had 2 equal sized rectangles with rounded off corners, like this

  • Sew together your fabric to make the basis for the strap

I pinned these 2 pieces together with right sides facing each other, and then sewed around the edge with a 0.5cm seam allowance. I basically lined the fabric up so that the edge of the fabric was at the edge of the presser foot, like this

I left one end open for turning out. I left the end open because I was debating whether to insert a cardboard strip to give it some rigidity, but in the end I decided not to, and it is fine without. So if I was going to do this again, I would leave a small gap along one of the long edges for turning out, as this is then easier to sew up neatly!

  • Turn right side out and press

I pressed my seams open and then turned it inside out (or right way out, so now then right side of the fabric is showing) and pressed the seams. I pressed and pinned the opening shut, and then top-stitched around the edge of the whole strap incorporating my gap, to close it. As I said, if I had had straight rather than rounded corners, and had left a gap along one of the long sides, this would have been much easier and resulted in a much neater finish. As it was, I was cursing a little, and it’s not really that neat, but never mind. It’s a learning process…

This is the first part of the strap complete and it should look something like this

  • Make the tape measure part of the strap

As I said earlier, I wanted to incorporate a tape measure into my strap, so this is what I did next.

I found a spare tape measure that I wanted to use (I got 3 used tape measure from a flea market for £2-yay!), and cut the metal bit off the end. Then I threaded one end through the metal bar on one end of my watch face

You need to decide whether you want metric or imperial measurements showing up. I ‘m a modern girl and not really that used to using inches, so I went metric, but I have just thought that you could do one half of the strap metric and the other half imperial, and that would look kind of cool (damn, why didn’t I think of that earlier…?) I then looped it back on itself and sewed across the two bits to make a strap

I got as close as I could to the watch face but the presser foot prevented me from getting as close as I wanted to. (Lightbulb moment, usefully about 2wks after making this…you could use the zipper foot on your machine, and you could then get much closer to the watch face. Obvioulsy. I’m sure all the experienced sewers among you are tutting and rolling your eyes at me..!!)  You could always be crazy and hand sew it, if you wanted to get closer (I avoid hand sewing like the plague, not really sure why, just not convinced it would be that secure…) I was a little worried that the sewing machine wouldn’t really like sewing through 2 layers of plasticy tape measure, but it seemed to cope ok. Again, with the benefit of hindsight, I would have made sure that my sewing line lined up with one of the long cm lines on the tape, and made sure it was dead straight, as this would have looked much neater.

I repeated this on the other side, so that I now had a watch with a tape measure strap sewn onto either end of the face, and a piece of vaguely rectangular fabric.

  • Sew fabric and tape measure strap parts together

So then I just sewed the tape measure straps to the fabric piece. Again this was sligthly easier said than done. I didn’t want to pin it because I was worried I would get left with lots of visible pin holes in my tape measure, so I just kind of held it in place, and so the result is a bit wobbly. I would probably go with pinning if I did it again, as the holes seemed to almost self-seal, and wouldn’t really have been that noticeable.

  • Insert a press stud

I then got the lovely hubby to insert a press stud for me. I was originally going to use the one’s shown in the supplies picture (you remember that from about 3 days ago when you first started reading this seemingly never ending post..), but the lovely hubby again very sensibly pointed out that these might not be strong enough, and so I rooted out some jeans poppers, and used one of these. I would like to tell you how he did it, but I don’t really know. It seemed to involve a lot of hammering, and at one point a small hole in the carpet (!) but I think they usually come with instructions and a little gadget to help you.

  • Et voila!

So there you have it, (if anyone is still reading..!). A new watch strap

And here it is on my wrist to prove that it works…(please ignore my horribly veiny hand)

After all that, I bet you’re now thinking £30 wasn’t too bad for a new strap…

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2 Comments

  • Reply Hit, Miss and Maybe… | My Make Do and Mend Year June 1, 2013 at 6:00 pm

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