This handsome strap features 33 small "round ridge" bells from the late 1800s or early 1900s. All bells are #2 size (1 1/4 inches across). The owner provided 28 of the original bells, and we were able to replace 5 missing bells with matching bells from our inventory.
I constructed a new strap similar to the original design, although the owner asked me to use dark brown leather rather than the original black to match his other sleigh bell straps. I opted to machine stitch the edges rather than hand stitch to save a considerable amount of time and money. For heavy-duty stitching like this, I use "Goldie", my antique treadle-powered stitcher. She was made about 1915 and is still going strong.
A stitched-edge strap is attractive, but it has some limitations. The finished strap tends to be firm, so the stitched design is honestly not the best for a longer strap like this one. Long straps need to bend and flex and that puts a lot of stress on the stitching. The strap must also be at least 1/2" wider on either side of the bells to have enough room for the sewing machine housing, so this type of strap works best with small to medium bells like these.
The new bell strap is 2 inches wide and 70 inches long. The narrow billet (tongue) stitched onto the bell strap adds another 12 inches of length. We were able to clean up and reuse the buckle from the orignal strap.
This particular item is a custom, one-of-a-kind project made for a past client. Items in this Custom Projects section are for information only; they are not available for regular sale.