3/99 - Jens Moller -
Making Cable Straps
Cable Straps can simply the clutter of tangled wires that you have in your
cable cases. Radio Shack sells a package of 5 for around $3.00 (US), and
while they work very well, they are not designed for the abuse you will
give them as a musician. They tend to tear out where you put the strap thru
the opening at the end. They were never intended for use by travelling
musicians, rather they are for bundling up wires that are not unbundled
too often. Use them in your Rack Mount cases and on your home studio. Make
these for your performance and touring cables.
If you can locate a Sewing machine that works, you can make your own
Cable Straps, or find someone that can make them for you (or teach
you how to sew and help you make them). I prefer to make my own. Over the years,
many people were surprised to find out that I can sew (My mother taught me
how to use a sewing machine when I was very young - its been a valuable skill
that I have used over the years to fix things as well as make many items that
I couldn't buy otherwise.) Being that I have nearly 100 cables for my
musical gear, and it had to travel, I though that the less un-tangling the better,.
Easy to make in different colors. This is is useful in identifying different
peoples cables, or cables that are used for different functions. The strapping
material is available in many colors. The ones shown here display the stitching
better than some other colors. Normally, I would use thread that matches the
strap colors closer, but you can use any color thread that you want - its
up to you.
To Add the Cable Straps to a cable, you need to pull open the Velcro
and slide the cable onto the strap. Press down the Velcro to hold it the
Cable Strap in place. From here on you will not be opening that
end of the Cable Strap anymore.
Normally, you would use a Cable Strap to hold wires together, however
the design easily allows you to wrap the strap around an Microphone stand,
or, as shown here, a Keyboard stand or Speaker stand. Cable Straps
work on stands up to 1 1/2 inches (3.8 cm) in diameter.
These were made with components available in the United States. Please
subsitute materials with what is available in your area. I have no idea
what sizes of materials are available outside the United States, but
I do include Metric sizes as a reference to help you adapt the design.
- 12 inches (30.2 cm) of 1 inch (25 mm) wide Nylon or Polyester strapping material
per strap made.
- 4 1/4 inches (11.5 cm) of 3/4 inch (19 mm) Velcro. An equal length
of both sides - Hooks and Loops - is required. This is available with a
sticky back, or without. The sticky back type will make the assembly go
faster, but it costs more. I use the cheaper Velcro, but then again,
I make 20 of these at at time.
- Nylon or Polyester thread. You can use a heavy Cotton based (or
a Cotton coated Polyester) thread if need be.
- A package of matches.
NOTE: Be carful about the thickness of the strapping material. We use
the thinnest that is available, which Is available at hardware stores and
auto parts stores. The strapping material that Fabric Stores sell is really
for Belts and it is at least twice a thick - making it more difficult to
The strapping material is nylon or polyester based. As such, it tends to
fray and come apart when cut. You could either sew the edge, or do as
I do - heat it together. Using a lit match, carefully come close to the
end of the fibers and you will notice that they start to melt together.
If you get too close, it will catch fire an burn (just blow it out if that
happens). Heat the entire edge until it melts together without it becoming
a large blob of plastic. The process is shown above. The first picture
shows freshly cut strappng material, the last shows a heat sealed end.
When sewing the Velcro to the straps, you want to sew approximately 1/8 inch
(3 mm) into the Velcro. If you used Velcro that had self sticking adhesive
on the back, stick all the pieces in place and start sewing (it will go
pretty fast). If you don't use Velcro that is self sticking, do one piece
at a time, and take your time to keep the Velcro from moving around as you
sew. Stitch around 2 times, stitching over the place where you started, then
back over that area again. This helps to lock the stitches in place. You can
add a drop of Fray-Check (or a drop of White glue) on the the threads where
the stitching stops to keep it from coming undone.
This shows the top and bottom of what a strap would look like before sewing
the last part. Its easy to see the stitching in these images - they show the
how the Velcro is attached.
The last part is sewn with a ZIG-ZAG stitch. Fold the Velcro over top of
itself (locking it together) then set the strap 1/2 inch (13 mm) away from
the Velcro seam and go back and forth 3 or 4 times accross the seam (set your
sewing machine stitch length to a medium size). When done, trim the
thread and put a drop of Fray-Check (or a drop of White glue) on the threads
to keep them from coming undone.
Photos taken with a Kodak DC25 Digital camera and Tiffen Close-up lens.
Pattern created using Paint Shop Pro under Windows 95.
Related Fabric Reference Hot Links
Sewing Reference Manual. Aimed at the beginner - if you've
never sewn anything before in your life and you need to make covers or
bags, this may help you figure out what you are doing.
- Textiles & Sewing
information. Focused towards making clothing, but, still has lots
of explanations and diagrams.
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