How to Shorten Straps on a Handbag


Have you ever bought a bag you really really love but when you use the strap, it is just a little bit too long for you? This happens to me ALL the time! It’s exasperating! At some point I decided that I needed to figure out how to shorten straps on a handbag. This is the technique that I’ve been going with for years now and boy, does it make a HUGE difference. No more looking like a midget! No more bags slapping on my thighs! I can actually touch the bottom of my bags with my fingers.

If you Google, there are many other ways of shortening straps depending on the type of bag you have (there’s a fantastic YouTube video from Alexa for shortening straps on a Mulberry bag that sadly doesn’t work on my Prada bag), and depending on how much effort you’re willing to put into perfecting your bag and style. Let me show you how to shorten straps on a handbag, my way.


What I love about this technique is that it’s pretty much permanent (which shouldn’t be an issue unless you’re still growing – 0% possibility) and you cannot tell that the strap has been altered (as the strap buckle covers the hole). This technique will work if your strap has a buckle. Needless to say, it also works fantastic on belts.


  • an awl
  • a hammer
  • a pencil
  • a piece of wood


Step 1: Put the bag on with the strap on the shortest version possible and visually measure how short you need the strap to be for it the bag to sit comfortably on your body.

Step 2: Remove the strap from the handbag (if possible) and also remove the buckle. Using a pencil, mark off where the new holes for the straps should be.


How to shorten straps on a handbag - Step 1 & 2 v2

Step 3: Place the strap (top up) on top of a piece of wood and on a hard surface (like a cement floor). Take the awl to create an initial indentation on the markings. Then using a hammer, hit the awl into the marking to create a hole.

Step 4: Push the awl through the hole to create the desired hole size. Do this from the top and from the bottom, turning the awl clockwise and counterclockwise.

How to shorten straps on a handbag - Steps 3 & 4

Step 5: Once the holes are set (I made 2), slide the strap back into the buckle. The buckle and holding strap should cover the holes so that your work is not visible.

DISCLAIMER: I should point out that permanently altering your handbag and handbag strap may void any warranty you have on the handbag, so take a look at the warranty information before you embark on any alterations.



Let me know if this works for you and show me your handbags!

Have a great long weekend and stay posh.


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