Replace A Purse Strap With A Chain Strap

Replace the fabric strap on your purse or handbag with a trendy chain strap. Ideas and techniques that will help you update that old purse.

Handbags with chain straps are very trendy right now.If you have an old favorite purse, particularly one with a worn strap, you can change the fabric strap to chain easily, and give the bag a new life.

Ready to use chain straps come in handbag length of 21.5 inches and shoulder bag length of 40 to 45 inches.Some have an easy to use lock at each end, which attaches the strap to the metal rings on the purse.Others have a clasp similar to that on a necklace.They come in a variety of metal colors and cost $4 to $10 each.Decorator chain can be purchased by the foot and is quite inexpensive, but you may have to hunt to find the style chain you want.A third option for acquiring the chain is to look at thrift shops for vintage chain belts.These can often be purchased at a bargain price and come in interesting trendy styles.

The first thing to do when changing straps is to determine how the fabric strap is attached to the purse.If it is attached with hardware rings, you are in luck.If it is sewn in, the project will be more complicated, but still doable.Another consideration is whether the purse has a single or double strap.If it has a double strap, you will have to replace it with a double chain, or else the balance will be off.


For a purse with a single strap attached by hardware rings, cut off the old strap so that none of it remains on the rings.A sturdy pair of kitchen shears or a utility knife will handle the job.Now simply clip the locks or clasps of the purchased chain handle onto the hardware and you're done.If you're using decorator chain or a belt, you will need to pry open each end of the chain and close them over the metal rings on the purse.Use wire cutters to cut the chain to the length you wish, and pliers to pry the end rings open and closed.

If you are unable to pry the rings open, you will need to buy hardware in a craft store, or look for D-rings on an old belt or backpack strap.These can be easily pried open, and can make the connection between the decorative chain and the purse hardware.Another option is to use a pair of key rings.Slip a key ring over the hardware loop, then slip the chain strap onto the key ring.Repeat on the other side.This procedure could also be done with two sturdy lanyard hooks, the clasps used when making children's key chain crafts.Lanyard hooks would work best for a small lightweight purse, and might not hold up under heavy use.

For a purse with a sewn in fabric strap, you will need to acquire hardware rings or D-rings.Perhaps you could remove the hardware from another unwanted purse.You will also need a pair of the craft pliers that are designed to attach 3/8 inch 2 part grommets.Using the shears or utility knife, cut the strap off the purse, leaving 2 ½ inches of strap.Fold this piece of strap over twice so that you have three layers of strap, about ¾ inch long.Slip the D-ring into the loop and attach to the purse with a grommet through the layers of strap.(If desired, skip the hardware and attach the chain directly to the grommet.)Attach the strap to the rings as described above.

If you don't have grommet pliers and the fabric strap is fairly lightweight, you can attach the hardware by sewing through the three layers of the loop on a sewing machine.Sew this at least three or four times each so that it will hold up when carrying a heavy bag.

Some designer bags have chain straps combined with fabric on the part of the strap that rides on the arm.This option provides the comfort of fabric with the style of chain.If the fabric strap you are replacing is in good condition, you might wish to create a combination strap using the techniques outlined above.

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