Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Perfect Fabric Purse Handle Tutorial



I love the look of pre-made leather handles on a handbag but I don't love how pricey they sometimes are to purchase.  In our book Just for You: Selfish Sewing there's a pattern for a handbag called the Crafty Satchel (designed by Sara Lawson) that calls for pre-made leather handles. Today I'm going to show you how to make DIY "pre-made" handles that you can use as an alternative to purchased leather handles. All you need is fabric and a little Soft & Stable interfacing. Here's what they look like on the Crafty Satchel I sewed up for Purse Palooza.

These handles are perfect for using with the Crafty Satchel pattern from our book but you can customize them for any pattern that calls for pre-made handles. They are sturdy and soft and can be as colorful as you want them to be. Okay? Let's get started. The pattern calls for 28 inch handles so that's what my measurements are based on. Adjust the length measurement of each cut as needed.

You'll need...
1/4 yard of quilting cotton
2 strips 2'' x 28 1/2'' of Soft & Stable (fabric covered foam batting) this is the same interfacing used in the bag pattern, you may even have enough leftover to use.
Large spool of thread or circle measuring 1 1/2 '' in diameter
Fabric pen
Quilt binding clips

Cut...
4 strips 2'' x 28 1/2'' from the quilting cotton
2 strips 2'' x 28 1/2'' from the Soft & Stable


Sewing...
1. Stack 2 strips of quilting cotton with right sides together and place 1 strip of Soft & Stable on top. Pin the 3 layers together.

2. Place a large spool of thread 1/4'' from an end and in the center, and draw a half circle. Trim the corners off leaving 1/4'' around the line. This will be your stitch line. Stitching right on the line will give you a perfect curve every time. Repeat for the opposite end.


Here's a view of the layers...

3. Start in the middle of one long sideand sew around all the sides with a 1/4'' seam allowance. Leave a 3'' opening for turning.

4. Cut little triangle notches out of each curved end.

5. Turn the handle right side out. You'll notice that one side of the handle feels "puffy" from the foam batting. Place the puffy side down on an ironing board and press the side seams flat. This takes a little wiggling to make sure the side seams are exposed and in the right place.

6. Tuck the raw edges of the opening inside and press to make a nice crease.

 7. Starting at the center opening, fold the handle in half matching the side seams and clip in place with a binding clip. Make sure the "puffy" side is on the outside of the fold. If you don't have binding clips, clothes pins will work here too.

8. Continue to fold and clip every 2 inches. Stuff the extra fabric to the inside as you fold to get the seams to line up just right.

9. Make a mark 3'' from each end (see the white dot in the photo below). You can mark it with a pin or a little piece of washi tape. These points will be your starting and stopping points for stitching.

10. Starting at one point, stitch back and forth a few times and sew about 1/8th inch away from the edge. Sew all the way to the other end backstitching a few times.


TIP: Instead of taking each clip off when I sew up to it, I slide it down to help hold the middle parts in place before I get to the next clip.


11. Clip your threads and take a look at your handi work. Don't worry if the stitching doesn't look quite perfect. I promise no one will ever notice. They'll only be looking at the outside facing part of the handle which is smooth and perfect.
 
12. Repeat for the other handle. Now you are ready to stitch your perfect handles to your bag. You can even use a sewing machine to sew them on.

For another tutorial on making similar handles out of vinyl, check out Caroline's post HERE.

If you make a Crafty Satchel I'd love to see it. Join our Jusr for You Sewlebrity Sewalong facebook group and show it off.

Happy sewing!

30 comments:

  1. Thank you. I was wondering how those were made.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nice idea--I will definitely put this on my list of things to try.

    Do you have any specific way you use to turn the handles right side out? That would be helpful to know! :)

    Thanks so much for this tutorial!

    Krista

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for this excellent tutorial!
    Susie

    ReplyDelete
  5. You are a GENIUS!!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing you with us!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you for sharing! Always good to be learning!! : )

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for sharing! Always good to be learning!! : )

    ReplyDelete
  8. These handles are AMAZING. I've got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for later today that links to your tutorial:
    http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-make-your-own-fabric-purse-handles/2015/03/20/
    --Anne

    ReplyDelete
  9. Excellent tutorial. Thanks for this.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for sharing! I need to make a new bag and I've always wondered about these!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi,
    Awesome idea, where can you buy the Soft and Stable, I have never seen it .
    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Soft & Stable is carried at local fabric stores but you can also buy it online directly from the manufacturer byAnnie. http://www.byannie.com/shop/category/byannies-soft-and-stable/?gclid=CJ-iwImss8QCFWFp7AodfjMAHQ

      Delete
    2. Pellon now has Flex Foam, available at Joann's, which is the same thing. You can also use automotive headliner, which is cheaper.

      Delete
    3. I managed to get this from cotton patch in the uk

      Delete
  12. Hi,
    Love your site......but does it have Print Friendly ?
    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, there is not a printer friendly version for this tutorial. :)

      Delete
    2. I've often just highlighted, copied and paste to a word document. It works 99% of the time. :)
      It even copies the pictures. Hope this helps.

      Delete
  13. Oh my, I love how easy it is to make these cool handles! I never would've thought to make them like this! :) Lisa

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love the idea. Thanks for sharing. I too would never have thought to make them this way!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Just genius. They don't look handmade at all. Can't wait to try.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Just genius. They don't look handmade at all. Can't wait to try.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank you for sharing one of the most precise tutorials

    ReplyDelete
  18. Great tutorial! Thank you from Belgium!

    ReplyDelete
  19. So Perfect Fabric Purse for women. I like to use this also. Thanks for great share.
    purses

    ReplyDelete
  20. Do you remember where you go the fabric from? I love that fabric!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Rennie. I love it too. It is from Anna Maria Horner's Dowry line. All the fabrics from that line are beautiful. Actually I love everything she does. Here's a link to it https://www.etsy.com/listing/252895092/anna-maria-horner-dowry-twill-bouquet?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=shopping_us_a-craft_supplies_and_tools-fabric&utm_custom1=53117d52-c09d-40ec-b709-237484c12493&gclid=CN_L9OGvr80CFRY7gQodInoJZg

      Delete
  21. Designer fabric at discount prices. Choose from home decor, fashion, upholstery and drapery fab
    Norbar Fabrics

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thank you for this perfect tutorial

    ReplyDelete