Today on Simple Sewing Saturdays, we shall go through the very basic steps of making a handle for a bag. Handles are crucial to the comfort and practicality of the perfect purse. I have skinny shoulders and rounded, too thick handles have relegated more than one purse to the closet. Since my venture in Purse/Bag/Tote making, I have found that handles length, breadth and comfort is essential. So off we go to get the basics, the foundations so that future adjustments in your own personal Handle Enjoyment can be explored and created.
To begin, I cut a generous width, usually 5 inches. Please always cut the selvages from your fabric. Even though it's tempting to have such a lovely straight edge, it keeps the fabric from it's weaves propensity. It will keep fabric too rigid. So trim it. Now.An Iron is a sewist's best friend. You simply cannot sew well without it. Press the 5 (or so) inch by however long you want your bag minus 4 inches, well. Turn up 1/4 inch on both sides. The space between the folded edges will be interfaced for durability. I like to use fusible fleece; soft and forms well. Big Secret: I like to use my odds and ends of interfacing scraps here. Just make sure you cut pieces that don't overlap much; you could have too bumpy of a strap. Fuse well. Turn the handle over and press on the other side for real adhesion.When you get to the two short ends, press up 1/4 inch on these as well. Open the ends and fold inward so you have a nice edge. Fold in half lengthwise the entire handle. Press well, matching the ends neatly. Beginning on a short end, sew 1/4 inch from the edge, all around, making sure that no wrinkles or bumps form. Press again once it is stitched all around.Now you have the handle sewn and here's where funkiness, personalization, fun stuff starts. Pictured are mere examples of the options of attaching a handle to the body of a bag. I like to use discarded belt rings. I buy every woven belt at every garage sale and Goodwill, thrift store that I find, provided it cost .25. Or less. I remove the d-rings, 0-rings and whatever fun piece of metal I can find from these items. Hubby seeks out plumbing and electrical supply aisle at Lowe's to aid in my search for an unique handle attachment. Or you can easily and cleanly attach the handle to the the bag; between the lining and the outer bag. Either way, securely, with good thread and a myriad of stitching to hold up the heaviest of purses. A new thing I like lately is the big plastic (looking like metal but without the weight) grommets that are used on curtain applications...Makes for a new, lightweight look...Thus ends our foray into Your Handle for Your Purse 101.
Stay tuned next time for more Simple Sewing Tips!