How to shorten a shoulder bag strap that’s too long

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This little red clutch handbag from Coach is one of my favourite purchases from Boxing Day sales 2020.

It has a long detachable shoulder bag strap that allows you to wear the bag crossbody, but it was too long for me so I did a bit of DIY to make it shorter.

White v-neck mini dress paired with beige floral neck tie silk scarf, red coach handbag and nude pointed sandals
Cream floral neck scarf from SheIn. White V-neck mini dress from Zara. Nude leather pointed sandals from Diana Ferrari.

Now I know handbags are meant to be to women what balls are to men, but I just find them so impractical to carry.

They need their own seat at the restaurant, they slow you down when you shop, and don’t even get me started on how they hold you back from unleashing yourself on the dancefloor.

So I’m not big on handbags but if you ever see me wearing one, it’ll be:

  • big enough to fit my iPhone, ChapStick, some coins and keys
  • but no bigger
  • made of quality and genuine leather (I’ve just had too many synthetic bags fall apart on me)
  • minimalistic in design, meaning no flashy branding, bulky hardware or unnecessary garnishing
  • lightweight, practical to use, easy to open and close, easy to zip
  • easy and comfortable to carry

As you can see, I’m very particular about handbags and I don’t really have a main bag because when I find one that meets all this criteria, it becomes my only bag.

To be honest, I’ve yet to actually find such a bag…or maybe I just need to up my budget.

The best things in life are free.

The second best things are very, very expensive.

Coco Chanel

The most difficult criteria to meet is the last point of being easy to carry. Most bags the size I want have straps that are too long or no straps at all.

I don’t like long shoulder bag straps because the bag hangs in a way that chafes the hip or butt area of my outfit causing the material to pill over time.

I can’t do clutches either because I’m too clumsy to function without full range of motion of all my limbs.

When I saw this Anna foldover crossbody clutch from Coach on sale, I decided to grab myself a bargain and DIY the shoulder bag strap to be shorter to my liking.

This detachable strap has built in leather loops that secure the excess tail of the strap down. Add small elastics to the other side (or both sides) where there aren’t any loops.

I used small black elastics here that can be better seen for this tutorial, but clear invisible elastics would be better.

How to shorten a long handbag shoulder strap

For this to work, you will need to be brave and hold your breath while you make a new hole in the strap for the buckle to secure where you want it to.

I wanted this bag to sit above my hip but not so high that it’s invading my armpit. I made the hole with a sewing needle, a thimble and a lot of patience.

How to shorten a long handbag shoulder strap

Once you have your buckle in your new hole, you can thread the end of the strap through the metal loop as pictured below.

I initially tried using the bottom loop where the metal head clips on and threaded the strap under the foldover flap. However, this made the flap sit weird and the bag just didn’t like it.

How to shorten a long handbag shoulder strap

Continue to thread the strap through the other metal loop on the other side, and then through the elastic you added earlier to secure it in place.

How to shorten a long handbag shoulder strap

Finally, secure the end of the tail through the other elastic and then you’re done.

How to shorten a long handbag shoulder strap

The best part about this is that you can always revert back to a long shoulder bag strap if you wish.

How to shorten a long handbag shoulder strap

I hope this tutorial made sense. Please let me know if you have any questions or need further clarification.

I’ll be making a post on outfits you can wear with a red handbag, so stay tuned.


Outfit ideas for Valentine's Day, featuring the red silk camisole
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How to style basics and curate a minimalist wardrobe
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** Linking up with similar fashion and style blogs listed here **

2 thoughts on “How to shorten a shoulder bag strap that’s too long”

  1. Such a good post! I love that Chanel quote and the part where you mention how a handbag makes it hard for dancing… lol, so true. I only buy cheaper bags from DSW and Francesca’s, but everybody keeps saying how cheap bags fall apart! Hasn’t happen to me yet but I guess I’m just waiting for the day…
    Thanks for joining last week’s College Creator Linkup! This week’s is live below, I would love to have you join again.

    Miles of smiles,


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