This is a Holdup: Make Your Own Suspenders

Maybe you’ve caught yourself staring longingly at the expensive pairs at Urban Outfitters or American Apparel, maybe you dig the JBeals look, or maybe you’re just looking for something new, but I think we both know that it’s high time you get your own pair of suspenders.

Suspenders — which are apparently called braces by British people — are slick little babies that make pretty much any outfit look just that much better. With jeans and a t-shirt? Obviously. Over a button down? Hello! Clipped onto a high-waisted skirt? Why not?

Today I’m going to teach you how to make suspenders for yourself. It’s the first in a few installments I’m going to be writing on DIY clothes because sometimes that’s what has to happen: you have to do it yourself. When it comes to girls who like “menswear,” it can be hard to find what you’re looking for. I know that lots of times I get frustrated when I go shopping because they don’t have what I want, and if they do it’s priced outrageously. There’s really no good reason why you should have to spend twice as much for the women’s version of the exactly same shirt that’s sitting over in the men’s department but isn’t quite made to fit your body. So we’re going to do something about that. This is mutiny: arts and crafts style.

If you have no idea what you’re doing, don’t worry! We’re starting small. Grab a friend to help you with measurements, pull on a pair of pants, and you’re ready to go.

You’ll need


  • one d-ring or o-ring (available at a hardware store)
  • three suspender clips (available at a craft store in the sewing department)
  • two tiny safety pins
  • three yards of elastic
  • thread to match your elastic
  • a needle
  • scissors
  • pliers

Tips for nascent seamstresses and seamsters:


Step One: Bend the suspender clips

If you bought elastic that’s thinner than an inch, you’re going to have to bend your suspender clips so that your suspenders don’t go sliding around all over the place. Using your pliers, carefully bend and pull the metal piece out until you have a triangle-shaped top. Like so:


Step Two: Make the back piece


First, sew the elastic to the suspender clip. Make sure that the piece you fold over is going to end up against your body because you don’t want to show your stitches to the world!

Because you’re only making five seams in this project, it won’t kill you to make sure that they’re really reinforced. Sew back and forth at least twice, and quadruple knot the ends because nothing’s more obnoxious than having your suspenders fall apart when you’re just trying to casually rock them.

To get the measurement right for the piece of elastic, attach the clip to the back of your pants and have your friend mark the place where you want it to end. Or just do it yourself if you’re bendy. Don’t forget to add an extra centimeter for folding over and sewing.

Sew the d-ring or o-ring on to the other end, remembering to keep the folded-over bit to the inside.

Step Three: Sew the front clips

Sew a second suspender clip to a new piece of elastic.

Snap all the clips on your pants and slide the elastic through the ring and back over your shoulder so that you can get a feel for how long you should cut it. Get your friend to make sure that it isn’t twisted in the back and add an inch or so because it’s better to have too much elastic than not enough.

Sew the last suspender clip in place.

Step Four: Secure the back ring

This step is especially important if you’re using a d-ring because you don’t want it to be turning sideways. All you’re going to do is make a little seam right along the edge of the ring to keep the back of your suspenders in place.


Step Five: Adjustments

You’re almost there! Clip them on, grab your safety pins, and tighten everything up by pinning any excess elastic so that it hides above the front clips. Voila! You’ve got suspenders.


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