How to make handbag handles or purse straps : 7 different types

A handle or strap can make or break the look of a handmade bag or purse. Here are different ways to make them yourself. 

Bag Handle sewing Method 1 – Fabric handle

bag handle making tutorial

This is your everyday bag handle. The one where you make a tube and turn it right side out.

Length = Measure the length of the bag handle you want. Add 1″ as seam allowance. For a medium long bag handle, you can cut the fabric 34 inches long; A sling bag style has 45 -60 inch long straps, 55 being the ideal length; for a shorter handle cut it 25-36 inches long. If you want to add rings add 4 inches extra for going over the rings. 

Width = Twice the width of the bag handle you want plus 1/2″ extra. For a strap of  2 inches wide you need to cut 4 1/2  inch wide fabric.

Cut 2 bag handles fabric pieces like this.

Interface your bag handle fabric.

Fold the fabric right side in and keep the edges together and stitch with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. (Attach a small pin inside as you fold for easily turning the tube right side out). Press the seam allowance.

sew the long edges of the fabric together

Turn your tube right side out. You can adjust the seam to the back and then press nicely. Edgestitch on either side for a nicer look.

Edge stitch the handles

Bag Handle sewing Method 2 – Adjustable fabric handle for bags

You can add hardware to the handle to make it adjustable

Step 1 – Make your long handle and get a slider and two rings to attach it to the bag.

adjustable bag handles

Slide both the slider and the ring through the handle

Bring the edge near the ring through the slider. 

Insert the edge of the handle through the slider in the opposite direction

Sew the edge to the handle.

sew the edge of the handle to the bag handle above the slider

Bag Handle sewing Method 3 – Padded fabric handle

This is a fluffy bag handle some stiffness (with an interlining inside). 

making bag handles

Cut Bag handle fabric

Length = Length of the bag handle you want plus 1″ as seam allowance. 

Width = 3 1/4 inch wide fabric

Interlining 

Cut one for each bag handle

Length = Cut an interlining piece 1 inch longer than the bag handle fabric

Width = 1 1/4 inch wide fabric

Take your strap piece and fold it in half lengthwise with the right side inside.

make your own bag handle with fabric

Keep the interlining piece 1/2 inch to the inside on one short edge.

Make a puffed fabric bag handle

Stitch in place. 

make sturdy bag handle with fabric bag handle making tutorial

Stitch the long edge of the bag strap fabric closed as well.

Using a sharp long object, like a knitting needle or a pencil push the interlining to the inside of the tube.

sew your own bag handles with fabric

When you do this the tube will automatically turn right side out. Press neatly. 

BAG handle DIY sewing

Topstitch 1/8-inch from the outer edges to make a finished strap. You can sew on the other side also for symmetry. Sometimes you may want to topstitch twice. Sew 1/8 inches from the edge first and then sew 1/4 inches from the edge.

You can quilt stitch over it for a textured look or leave it as it is.

Bag Handle sewing Method 4 – Leather handles

You can make leather or faux leather handles by cutting strips of the material in 1-inch widths and then hand sew (or machine sew) along the edges.

leather bag handle

Learn how to hand sew leather – the best stitches.

Another method is to stitch leather on top of webbing. This creates a sturdy and beautiful bag handle.

leather bag handles

Bag Handle sewing Method 5 -braided bag handles 

You can make pretty Braided Handles for your bags.

bag handle braided

Related post: How to make a 3 strand braid; How to make a 4 strand braid ; Make a 5 strand braid; Make a 7 strand braid

Braided cord makes the best type of bag handle. Check out the tutorial to make braided cord here.

make braided cord

You can use different types of cords for making these braids. Check out the different types of cords you can use here.

Or Make thin fabric tubes with a piping tube inside or cut strips of leather or faux leather. To make this cut out two fabric pieces of length 35 inches and 1 1/2 inches wide. Fold the fabric in the middle. Sew 1/4 inches from the fold. Sew a 1/4 inch ribbon or cording to one end. Attach a pin to one end. Take the pin through the casing and bring the casing right side out.

You can go to this post for more details on making a fabric tube. ; Or use t-shirt yarn for this.

Make 3 or 4 or even 5 of these tubes, Start braiding with these.

To reduce the thickness at the ends you can cut off the piping cord from the end edges ( at least from one or two fabric tubes). Attach a flat piece of fabric at the ends to hide the raw edge of your braid.

Bag Handle sewing Method 6 -Webbing

The easiest way to make bag handles is to use webbing.

How to sew the webbing handles on a bag

To mark the position of a handbag handle, measure the top edge of the bag; Divide this by half and then find the middle of this – you can mark this as the point where you can put the handles. Or mark 3″ from the side seam and mark.
Attach the webbing on your bag by topstitching a square and then adding an X along the middle of the square, stitching from corner to corner.

Bag Handle sewing Method 7 – manage extra thickness

If your sewing machine refuses to stitch through thick layers of fabrics but you are in love with the thickest of materials like leather, pleather and home decor fabrics you can make them this way- this method uses a lining on one side; this adds an interest to the plain leather, don’t you think so?.

make bag handle

To make two bag handles you will need to cut two pieces of the thick material and two pieces of a thinner fabric- By adding this thinner material you will reduce the problem of stitching through the two layers.

Cut one strip of the thick material such that the width is twice the width of the handle you want.Ie if you want a handle of 1 1/2 inch cut the thick material 3 inches wide. Cut 2 nos of this. Cut 2 nos of the thinner material (lining) like this. Trim a minimiscule amount from the long edge of the lining material – this will make the lining visible only on the back, no peek to the front. 

Length – take 25 inches for a medium length bag strap.

Mark the middle of the strap piece. Fold the side edges of the thick material to the inside to meet the middle line you have marked.

thick bag handles

Sew the edges in place. This will create 2 stitching lines down the middle.

sewing thick bag handles

Do the same with the other fabric (for lining/under fabric) too.

After this join the two fabric handle pieces together by stitching along the two long edges.

how to sew thick handles with leather

You can keep the fabric lining piece a little lower to create lesser bulk when you sew the handle to the bag.(as in the picture above)

sewing thick leather bag handles 

Bag Handle sewing Method 8 – beaded handles

Buy quality metal frame and then attach beads on them – this is the easy and most used way to make a beaded bag handle.

You can add wood beads, seed beads, rhinestones- there are more than 50 different types of beads and you can add any of them on your bag handle to make it beautiful.

You will need beads with large holes so that they will fit into the metal frame you have. You can drill the holes bigger for this or buy beads that will fit. 

You can make a beaded cord and use this as a bag handle. Follow the tutorial here to make beaded cords.

beaded cord

Related posts : 30+ different types of bags 18 Different types of bag handles ; Different materials used to make bags.; Best fabrics to make bags

Updated on September 6, 2022 by Sarina Tariq

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