Monday, July 13, 2009

Make your own faux-leather purse handles

Leather (and faux-leather) purse handles are so nice on crochet or knit (and fabric) bags, but very expensive. I have not been able to find any locally to buy anyway! I decided to make my own, and as always, started to search the internet for some inspiration or maybe, if I am very lucky, some angel blogger has done all the work and I can just download the tutorial! No luck this time though.

So, I started playing around with my faux-leather stash and came up with a few very simple methods to make some cute faux-leather handles that will make my bags look great! I will share my method in case anyone else is interested in making their own handles. This is a relatively inexpensive way to make your own faux-leather handles provided you have most of the material and tools needed in your stash. If not, there is another inexpensive option at the end of this post.

Faux-leather bag handles tutorial

You will need:

Tool to punch holes and set the eyelets/snaps
Rotary cutter
Self-healing cutting board
Leather sewing machine needle
Faux-leather fabric (a quarter yard should be enough to start off with)
Handbag hardware such as D-rings, O-rings, buckles
Eyelets, snaps

First decide how you want your handles to look, the length, the hardware you will use, etc. I wanted one longer handle with D-rings at the end that I will sew to my crocheted bag with yarn.

Cut two pieces of faux-leather with your rotary cutter. To ensure I cut straight, I use a ruler to draw a line with a pen on the back of the fabric and then I cut it using the ruler.

Remember that you cannot use pins on leather, so I used paper clips to keep the strips in place for sewing.

Put the two pieces wrong sides facing together and sew right around the two strips. Remember to change the needle, tension and stitch length on your machine before you start sewing. Once you are done, neaten the edges by cutting off extra pieces.

Now you are ready to punch the holes. Put one edge through the D-ring and fold back over the handle. Punch a hole through both pieces of leather, insert your eyelet and set it. I was lucky enough to find my trusted WRM Crop-a-Dile in my scrapbooking stash and lots of eyelets too! It worked like a charm. And you are done! That's so easy, anyone can do it.

Here I made another pair of handles with black faux-leather (my machine hated this leather!) and gold O-rings at the end. I am still experimenting and will be sure to share more ideas soon. Of course, there is another easier way that will cost you nothing!

Go hunting in your closet and take out belts you don't wear anymore, like I did. These are instant bag handles. For a single long handle, thread through a D-ring inserted on each side of your bag and close the end as if you are wearing it. Here is an example of a knitted, felted bag that used this method on the Better Homes & Garden website This purse is on my list of projects!

If you do decide to sew your own handles from leather or faux-leather, do google it and read up on the experiences of others. I learnt a lot that way. I sewed several pairs of handles this weekend, each one made for a specific bag I am busy making. I will post the completed bags with their handles when done. Enjoy, and please let me know if you did try it. I would love to see other variations!


Gingini said...

Yes! This is great! I just bought some belts in a trhiftstore nearby. They'll look great on my purses! :)

Kate said...

Wow, thanks for the great tutorial! I have never really worked with leather/faux leather before. Using paperclips is such a good idea...I have always wondered how to sew leather well without poking holes in it!

sewkalico said...

Oh, you are clever!

Anonymous said...

It looks great! Only one thing:

How do you seal the edge? No mention of that in your procedure :-)

farmlady said...

Great post. I have a couple of questions. Do you need a heavy duty machine if you want to apply the faux to the corners of the bag? Also do you need a heavy duty needle? Have any of you tried putting the faux on the corners or the bottom of the bag? Thank you...Diane

Forgetmeknot said...

Thanks for this idea. I have been looking for alternatives to buying the wooden handles. Try using the buckle as a clasp to close the bag. Gives it a nice finishing touch. And peoples eyes boggle when they see it =)

Avery Schlacter said...

I've always been interested in making faux leather purses and I'm glad I found a blog that showed me how!