Because life’s celebrations shouldn’t cost the Earth

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Fabric Watch Strap Tutorial

Upcycled Watch Band

My watch strap broke this week and, as it was only an inexpensive watch in the first place, it didn't seem worth paying for a replacement but I didn't want to throw the whole thing away.  So I got rummaging in my stash of fabric scraps and stitched myself a new one. As broken straps are a common problem, and the replacement was extremely quick and easy to sew, I thought I would share a little tutorial.

How To Sew A Watch Strap

The catch refused to stay closed and it was only a matter of time before it fell off and got lost, so it had to go!  I carefully removed it using a pin and grabbed the rest of my supplies;

Fabric, rotary cutter or scissors, ruler and elastic

The elastic needs to be just a bit narrower than the strap it is replacing.  Wrap it around your wrist to determine how long it needs to be.  Remember it doesn't need to go around your entire wrist, it attaches to both sides of the watch face, a larger face therefore means you need less elastic.

My poor ruler looks like it has suffered an attack by the rotary cutter!

Cut a strip of fabric twice the finished width plus seam allowance.  My fabric was a slightly worn 'shabby chic' piece of durable cotton canvas.  I wanted the strap to be just under 2 cm when finished so I cut a strip 5cm wide (2cm + 2cm + 1cm seam allowance).  It needs to be long enough to slip over your wrist, the exact measurement depends on how gathered you want the finished strap to be, mine was 35cm which was perfect.

Now stitch along the long edge to form a thin tube.  Trim your seam allowance and turn through to the right side using a safety pin.  Press the seam open by slipping the tube over a thick knitting needle.  I find this trick means I can achieve a lovely neatly finished seam without squashing the whole tube.  In the photo it looks as though the sides have been pressed flat but it's just the camera angle, trust me the tube is still gorgeously round!

You now need to use your safety pin to thread the elastic into the tube.  Remember to pin the first end firmly into place so that it doesn't just pull straight through.

Push the elastic back into the tube so that ends of the fabric extend beyond the elastic by about 1cm.  Pin in place and then machine stitch securely, so that you just catch the ends of the elastic.  

Fold the raw edges over so that they are tucked inside the new strap and hand sew the gap closed using little slip stitches. 

Now turn the ends over to the back and, again using tiny hand stitches, catch them into the line of machine stitching you used to secure the elastic.  This gives you a tiny channel which the watch pins will go through.  The following picture shows the pins in place ready to be reattached to the watch face.

Now just click the pins into place and that's it - All done!  

You could sew some to coordinate with all your outfits or be really kitch and make one to actually match your outfit.  Hey, how about making some in the same fabric as your bridesmaids' outfits so that they coordinate with the other girls and their dresses! The mind boggle at the possibilities........


  1. What a great idea, the strap of my favourite watch is worn out, this could be the answer, thanks for sharing :)

  2. Brilliant, I have a watch that needs a new strap, will give it a go. thankyou

  3. This is genius! I have too watches that both need a new strap and I have been resisting to buy a new straps for them because of the price. Now I don't have to! Really like your blog!