How To Sew Bag Straps - A Tutorial

1/26/2012 06:15:00 PM

Making straps for your purse or handbag is very easy, and kind of fun actually!  This is just a quick tutorial to get you through the basics. You can experiment with lengths, widths, and fabrics. Later, when you get adventuresome, you can add O-rings, D-rings, sliders, and lobster clips.  I just love the results, and they turn out so professional looking!

A typical handle length your bag strap is anywhere from about 18" to 26".  I will let you decide how long yours will be.

Handbag Straps - I love making them!
Let's get started:   

1.     Pull out your rotary cutter, mat, and ruler.  Out of canvas, twill, duck cloth, or quilting cotton, cut a rectangle that is 6 to 6.5" wide for a handbag strap that turns out about 1.5" wide. To get a strap that turns out 2" wide (for your large beach bags) cut a strip that is 8" wide.  Cut this width x the length of strap you have chosen.  

HINT:  If you cut it the width of your fabric from selvage to selvage, you may be able to do all your sewing at once and then cut it in half later to make two straps or cut some 4" lengths to be used as O-ring or D-ring tabs.   If you are using quilting cotton, you may want to fuse some interfacing down the middle of the strap leaving 1/4 of the width on either side without.)

2.     Fold entire strip in half length-wise and press. 

3.     Open again and fold outside edges towards center fold and press.

4.     Fold entire strip in half once again, meeting folded edges together and press.  Why four layers of fabric?  Because you won't need interfacing and it makes a nice sturdy, thick strap! 

 5.     Pin every few inches (optional).  TIP:  If you find that the top layer is sliding when you are stitching, I would highly recommend pinning before you do your first stitches on the open side. Pin every 3 inches or so. (Sometimes if I have a material that is sliding quite a bit on itself, I use a quilting foot or walking foot and it works like a dream.)

6.     Using a longer stitch length (3 - 3.5) top stitch along edges using a 1/8” seam and then again 1/8” to the inside to make two rows.  You might also like to stitch a few lines down the strap at ¼” to 3/8" intervals instead. This makes a very sturdy strap.  Experiment with different stitching colors and different weights of thread. Heavy duty thread and quilting thread make gorgeous stitches too. Press stitching to set stitches and heat shrink.

Voila!  Very impressive handbag straps!

Thanks for looking!  
Email me if you need any help 

If you have found this tutorial helpful in the slightest way, please follow my blog by either GFC, Blog-lovin, or email.  And... please share your finished bags with me in the Emmaline Sewing Patterns Group.  I love to see your finished Emmaline inspired projects!

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  1. Great tutorial! Big thanks from Norway!

  2. Wow, perfect timing for this tip. I'm making a bunch of bags for a friend's charity drive. Plus, I need a new purse. This is such a great idea - I've pinned it, and will also tweet.

  3. Great instructions, thanks! I was wondering how to hide the raw edges and this worked great. The straps are perfect even though my fabric was pretty thick (home decor fabric). For those who can't sew all that accurately (like me), using a twin needle for the top stitching saves time and is foolproof.

    1. Sewing with a twin needle is a great idea, and your stitches always turn out perfect! Very great advice! Why do I always forget about the twin needle thing? Thank you for the comment, Julie! Janelle

  4. I have been searching for a tutorial on making the straps...this is AWESOME!!!!

  5. I made a set of these straps for the first time in about 10 minutes! The directions were perfect-clear and easy. I actually didn't even need to pin!

    1. That is awesome. Very glad you have some awesome straps.

  6. I am doing the happy dance! I am working on a few projects that require straps, tote bag, yoga bag etc and this is perfect. Thanks for a great tutorial!


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The contents of this blog, including text, original photos and ideas are the sole property of the author. If you intend to use my text or images, please link back to this blog and give credit to Emmaline Bags & Patterns. A notification email would be greatly appreciated too! Please do not ever republish an entire post, any tutorials, or post photos of my family. Thank you, Janelle