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