Hello! One thing about roller derby and, I assume, all skating to some extent, is that you accumulate a lot of stuff. When I go to training I have my skates, knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, a helmet, mouthguard, tape, a skate tool, a couple of water bottles, a small towel, and an extra set of wheels. Plus usually a couple of pairs of socks which I've forgotten to take out and wash (yup, I'm gross!). Which means my bag is pretty heavy, which means this happens:
Ugh! Fake leather bag straps are the worst! I brought this bag from the opshop since it was a) pretty, b) cheap, and c) big, but it's handles have not coped with the amount of stuff I lug around in it.
So, I decided it was time to replace them. Luckily, although the handles are pretty ruined, the rings and other hardware attaching them to the bag were still in pretty good shape. So I brought two bundles of 5.4m long black paracord, cut off the old handles, and started tying some knots!
The knot that I did is called a Solomon Bar, and this video was a huge help in teaching me how to do it. I started off by folding my paracord in half and putting the folded end through one of my bag rings, then I pulled the loose ends through the folded end to knot the paracord onto the ring.
I used the old handles as a guide for how long I should leave the paracord hanging between the rings, and then threaded the loose ends through the other ring. Then it's just a case of doing the knots until you have reached the first ring again. To do one handle look me about 15 minutes, so this is a pretty quick and easy fix!
My Solomon's Bar is not as tight as it could be, but I quite like how it looks looser and anyway, that was all the paracord I had! ~____^
To finish it off, I cut off the long loose ends of the paracord, and then used a tea light candle to melt the ends and help secure them.
A lighter probably would be better for this, but I don't have a lighter and I do have an overabundance of tea light candles. Seriously, I think they breed when I'm not looking. As long as you hold your tea light steady and move your cord around (instead of vice versa!) you will not drop hot wax on yourself. I got distracted and dripped some wax on my bag, but it wiped off easily so no harm done! ^___^ When you're doing this, the important thing to remember is that you are not touching the paracord with your flame; just use the heat generated by the candle to gently melt the paracord.
Melting the cord gives a neat finish, and should ensure that the knots don't come loose ^____^
Since the paracord is quite soft, these handles are still comfortable to use, and hopefully a lot stronger than the original ones!
I have given up on so many bags because of split and stretched handles (I obviously ask a lot from my baggage!), so I'm really happy to have found a solution! My craft store has a lovely range of colourful paracord which means that finding a matching cord to make handles shouldn't be too tricky! And, if in doubt, I can simply remember that black goes with everything ~____^
- Lisa xx