For many riders, motorcycle chaps are a staple in their riding gear. Chaps may no longer fit for any number of reasons, they have stretched out, weight loss or gain, or damage. Replacing riding chaps can be expensive, and it doesn't appeal to many as it takes a while to break the chaps in. Many are very fond of their chaps, as the leather has a way of customizing to the individual that wears them. If the chaps fail or no longer fit, you can frequently repair or alter your own chaps so that they continue to give you the protection and fit that you love in them. You can find replacement leather at a variety of stores, and you should give some thought as to the existing material and finding matching, coordinating, or contrasting leather for your project.
Step 1 - Addressing the Fit
The straps on the chaps generally consist of a belt to strap them around the waist, in addition to strapping the chaps around the leg with an additional two to four straps. Because the legs of the chaps themselves are usually one solid piece of heavy duty leather, they will rarely fail, but can become damaged. The straps, for the most part, dictate the fit of the chaps, with the belt at the waist and straps or buckles around the legs. If the chaps need to be modified to fit either tighter or looser, the straps are where to focus.
Step 2 - Making Additional Holes
If the chaps need to be modified so that they will fit a larger size, this can frequently be accomplished by simply adding some holes to the straps at the belt and legs. A leather punch works the best, but an awl or even a nail and hammer can be used to puncture the leather and create a hole large enough to accommodate the buckle. When using the awl or nail and hammer method, lay the chaps on a work table or bench, and place a block of wood underneath the leather as you work. This will protect the underlying surface from any damage.
Step 3 - Creating New Straps
If the straps are too short, or need to be replaced, you will need to rip out the thread that stitches them to the legs of the chaps. Do this carefully so as not to damage the leather of the leg of the chaps. You also do not want to damage the straps, as these will be used as a template for new ones. Think about the design of the straps and how, if at all, you want them different. Would you like them wider, longer? Lay the now disassembled straps on your strap leather and mark the template or pattern for the new straps with the pen. Use the utility knife to cut out the new straps. Go carefully and slowly.
Step 4 - Attach New Straps
Once you have your new straps, make any holes that will be needed before attaching them to the chaps as they will be easier to work with. When they are ready, use the thread and needle to sew them back onto the chaps. Try to sew them back on in the same manner that they were originally attached.