My best seller on Etsy is the baby flat cap. You know, the Irish hats that 90% of old men (and hipsters) wear - also called newsboy hats as well as other names. I made the first one for my son because they're pretty hard to find, which is why they've been selling pretty well, I suppose. They've evolved over time, and I take great care in the details that make them special.
I kind of prided myself on not being an assembly line kind of shop and offering all the same stuff in all the trendy fabrics (ahem *chevron* cough). BUT I love requests for custom orders and that is how I made my first pair of suspenders! They are so darn cute and go so perfectly with the hats... So now they are a permanent fixture in my shop!
|My First Pair *sigh*|
Then it happened again. I started receiving requests for bow-ties. Another old man/hipster trend. But again, so stinking cute! And they totally go with the hats...
I'm guessing neck ties will be next.
So I guess I'm jumping on the bandwagon. You gotta give the people what they want! Now that I've justified my selling out, let's talk suspenders.
I read through several tutorials, as I always do, and I can't seem to find them again to link up to them - but the two I liked best involve turning a long skinny fabric tube which is possibly one of the most frustrating thing ever. One way you make an open tube and press with the seam in the middle of the back of the strap (you can see that in my photo of the argyle suspenders a little ways down) and the other way you make a closed tube and turn, then make sure to close the opening when you topstitch (practically impossible to get perfectly straight!) Plus, scrunching up the fabric in the tuning process makes it wrinkly, and the interfacing seems to make the wrinkles very resistant to pressing. And, sorry folks, but I cannot stand any elastic in the back of the suspenders like many tutorials out there, I think it is a huge eyesore. So I had to find a better way. I am now realizing that my way requires very little sewing. Just some pressing, some quick topstitching, and zigzag-ing a couple ends.
You need two long strip of fabric that are around 25" long for a baby/small toddler size and around 30" long for an older toddler/child (measure waist-over the shoulder-waist plus 5 inches for accuracy), and 4x the desired width (my hardware is 3/4" so my strips were 3" wide). If you are working with a linear pattern and want to center the design in the strap you have to cut/press/fold your straps very carefully (like this plaid/clover print):
To get started...
- Fold strap in half lengthwise - press and unfold (you just want a center crease)
- Fold the ends in to the center crease and press
Yes, you have just sorta kinda made double fold bias tape!
In order to prevent the layers from shifting as you top stitch the long sides, you sneak a little hem tape in between and iron to fuse them together. This way you don't need interfacing and you don't have to press out any stubborn wrinkles! I got this funky netting type hem tape at Ikea, and when I ran out I found this Heat n Bond tape at JoAnn in the notions aisle:
You'll notice I didn't do any fancy folding on the ends, it is just a raw edge. I'll show you how we finish the raw edges in a minute. We're dealing with 4 layers of material, and if you fold the edge in it's just too bulky. Make sure to trim ends so the straps are even and you don't have any fraying going on. Top stitch the long sides.
Now for threading the straps through the hardware. I'm using two 3/4" vest buckles and four 3/4" suspender clips. Soon I'll do an update on using real suspender slides (and here it is - How To Thread Suspender Slides!). You can do a Y-back with 3 clips but I prefer this way for little kids. I got my clips from Bree's Basement on Etsy :)
The buckle has a front...
Fold the end of the strap down about an inch and sew a tight zig zag or satin stitch. (Before I was doing a rolled hem and a neat row of triple stitching, but I saw this done on some fancy menswear designer's neckties, and I thought it would work great here). This way eliminates bulk. You will need to make sure the buckle clears your sewing machine's presser foot so that it feeds smoothly and you don't risk breaking a needle.
Now thread the other end of the strap through the suspender clip back to front, check the picture to make sure the clip and strap are facing the right way.
And back through the buckle: up through the bottom and down through the top:
And now you have this:
Time to attach the other suspender clip to the other end. With right side up, thread the strap down through the clip, front to back, like the photo. Zig Zag the raw edge in place.
When you do the 2nd strap, make sure your lengths remain even when attaching both clips.
Now take your straps, and criss-cross the ends farthest from the buckle. Space them approximately 2-3" apart, and make the X approximately 4" above the clips. It is best if you can try them on the child to see exactly where you want it to cross.
And stitch in a diamond pattern to secure the X. FYI there are these triangle thingies you can buy to thread the straps instead, I think this makes the back adjustable as well.
And now you have one cute little pair of suspenders!
Why not make a matching hat and bow tie, too!
You could absolutely use pre-made double fold bias tape, or ribbon, or the more traditional elastic for that matter, for the straps. I hope this was helpful - let me know if you try it!
In case you missed it in the post, here is the link to the tutorial where I show how to make these with real suspender slides.