These diy purse handles can be used as classic bag straps, shopper bag handles or as an addition to a classic tote bag like this one. Easier to make than you think, and so much prettier!
Diy Purse Handles
How to sew double-sided bag handles. Better than the usual ones, sturdier, more stable – and so much prettier! Oh, and one thing more: so easy you’ll never want to make them any other way!
Let’s make them together! You can use this tutorial on any of my other bag patterns in the shop – they would look good on this Teya tote as a longer strap. Drop me an email if you need help with those!
Finished Size of Diy Bag handles
In this tutorial, the finished handles will be 21″ long and 1 1/4 ” wide. Perfect for this tote bag!
- cotton fabric: This tutorial is about making all-fabric handles, not the leather ones. While the principle would remain the same, there would be less layers involved if cork, vinyl or leather were used. I chose cotton because it’s the material every beginner bag maker is familiar with. And it offers so many gorgeous combinations!
- open-ended handles: these handles are meant to be SEWN INTO the bag, not onto the bag. It means the ends are not finished, though it’s easy to adjust them to finished ends.
- stronger: these handles will stand up and won’t be slouchy. Also, they will stand the test of time better than just one-layer handles.
- main handles fabric – cotton (four times the finished handle width)
- accent fabric – cotton (I used the Playroom collection by Art Gallery Fabrics)
- fusible fleece (twice the finished handle width)
- stiff mid-weight interfacing like Pellon Craft Fuse, Vilene S320, or similar
CUTTING Directions for 21″ FINISHED Purse handles
From main fabric cut:
- 2 strips 5″ x 22″ for main handle fabric
From accent fabric cut:
- 2 strips 1 1/2″ x 22″ for handle accents
From fusible fleece cut:
- 2 strips 2 3/8″ x 21″ for main handle fabric
From stiff mid-weight interfacing, cut:
- 2 strips 3/4″ x 21″ for handle accents
HOW TO MAKE Bag HANDLES – Steps
Step 1 – Apply Interfacing
Following the manufacturer’s instructions, apply fusible fleece to main handle fabric and stiff mid-weight interfacing to the accent fabric – interfacing should be centered on the fabric strip.
Step 2 – Fold the main Piece Of the strap
First press both unlined edges towards the center and then fold the strip in half along the center. Press again.
Step 3 – Topstitch along the Long edges
Once you’ve folded the entire strap, topstitch along the two long edges with a 1/8″ seam allowance, using a long stitch length. Repeat with the other strip of the main handle fabric.
This is what you have now: two bag handles that could be installed into a tote, purse, or handbag. But we’re making them even better!
Step 4 – Fold the Accent Piece
Press both unlined long edges towards the center.
Step 5 – Join Main And Accent Layers
Center the accent piece onto the main strip, with the raw edges hidden. Either use pins, sewing clips or – this is the most comfortable option – double-sided sewing tape to fix the position and prevent layers from sliding.
Step 6 – Sewing
Topstitch along the edges of the (narrower) accent strip of fabric to finish the handles. Like before, use a long stitch length for neater seam.
Your beautiful handles are finished! The only thing left is to install them to your main bag pieces.
If you’re looking for a tote idea to attach these handles to, feel free to use my LATEST TOTE TUTORIAL:
Visit the latest Tote Bag Tutorial HERE.
They are not just pretty – super sturdy too. this is how they stayed up after I finished the tote – the next photo is one I took even before pressing the whole bag. Neat, huh?
Save this project on Pinterest for later, and keep for the time you need it:
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