A Guitar Strap is Born

Wow, the new year has been busy!  I’ve started school, and I’m surprised by how much time it consumes, so my blogs will slow to every other week.  I don’t have a lot of time to devote to projects, so I have less to write about.  I plan to continue, because without my projects, life would hold less interest for me.  I have however, found the time to complete a project I was working on.  The hardware finally arrived to transform one of the bands I wove into a guitar strap.  Severe weather slowed their journey across the country.  The guitar strap hardware is made by Annie Machale aka ASpinnerWeaver; good craftsmanship went into their manufacture.  I would try to make these myself, as I do many other things, but she truly does a nice job.  

Woven band, hardware, needle & thread.
Woven band, hardware, needle & thread.

Since I’ve decided to cut this band, I want to treat those areas to prevent raveling.  I used fusible interfacing and cut narrow strips – just long enough to cover the width of the band, and just wide enough to leave a narrow strip on each side of the cut.  This also makes me feel like saving all those bits and pieces of leftover interfacing is practical 😉   I fused it to the under/wrong side of the band using a pressing cloth and my iron set to high.  Of course we have to always keep in mind the requirements and limitations of the material we’re working with, but this cotton can take it.  Since I’ve adopted the practice of keeping samples, both for reference and demonstration in workshops, I cut off a 30″ sample.   I’ve started with a nice long band – the maximum length on my Inkle Loom (2.5 yards).  This is far more band than is needed.  The interfacing makes sewing the cut end easier as the warp ends will stay nice and tight through the process, and the cut end of the sample will stand up to a lot of handing.  This particular band is woven with size 3 DMC Perle Cotton, but I want to minimize any bulk where it’s sewn.  I’ve chosen to use size 5 DMC Cotton (smaller in diameter) in the same color to sew and secure the band to the hardware.  

Securing to bar of slider. Thread passes through sheds.
Securing to bar of slider. Thread passes through sheds.

I’ve been sewing for 30 years now, and I’ve always had a dislike for raw ends, with Bouclè as a possible exception.  So when I sew this band, I’m certain to first fold the edge under, leaving a clean finished look.  I “dry” fit the band to the hardware first to remind myself where to sew first and which way the band should be facing.  It sounds unnecessary, but it takes less time than sewing a seam, picking it out, then sewing it again the right way.  First I wrapped the band around the center bar of the slider, folded down the cut end and sewed the folded end of the band to itself, trapping the bar in the loop.  Then the band goes through the rectangle ring of one of the hardware ends, then it laces through the slider.  The band is finished by going through the rectangle ring of the last hardware end and secured the same way as it was to the slider bar.  I sewed this with a blunt tip needle because I don’t want to pierce the warps; I passed the needle between the warps and also through the shed, in effect, weaving it secure.  I began sewing at the selvage by first passing the threaded needle through the shed and out where I want to weave/sew, both securing and hiding the thread end.  I sewed the folded end to the band with a whip stitch on the selvage.  When I come to the actual join, I passed the needle first through the woven shed of the end for a couple warps, then through the woven shed of the band for a couple warps.  When I reach the other side I secure the folded edge and band the way I began it, but I make a return journey back across the band, sewing it twice.  I pass the thread through the shed to secure and hide the end, then cut it flush with the band.  This, I feel, secures the band and places less stress where the bands are “woven” together.  piercing the warps would cause “pull” on an individual warp distorting it over time.  All that’s left now is to hand it over to its new owner.

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