Make a Handbag with Bamboo Handles
I love to make handbags and had these bamboo handles laying around and really wanted to design a bag that would suit them. I delved into my remnant stash to see if I had some fabrics that would fit the idea I had in my mind. Imagine my surprise when I came across a tropical fabric that seemed perfect for the purpose I had in mind. I even had a coordinating geometric fabric for the lining. So, I set about designing a simple summery handbag with bamboo handles that anyone can make. After all we are all about simple cost saving projects here at Sew Very Crafty.
This project only requires basic sewing skills. It is a great opportunity for beginner bag makers to hone basic bag making skills. This bag does not require a lot of fabric. I made mine using remnants. If you need fabric I recommend that you head over to Hobby Lobby or Fabric.com to get exactly what you need for your summery handbag with bamboo handles. If you do have a stash like mine search through it. I bet you will find something that is perfect.
If you would like a video tutorial of this project head over to YouTube and check out my video. While you are there subscribe to my free YouTube channel.
What you will Need:
- 1/2 yd outer fabric
- 1/2 yd lining fabric
- Scrap of Pellon 808 interfacing
- 1/2 yd SF 101 Interfacing
- 1/2 yd Fusible fleece
- 1 Magnetic snap
- 1 Set of bamboo handles
Step 1: Cut Your Fabrics
Cut out your fabrics as follows:
- 2 — 15″ x 14″ outer, lining, interfacing, and fleece
- 1 — 3″ x 10″ outer fabric for flap closure
- 4 — 2″ x 4″ outer fabric for handle tabs
Step 2: Fuse the Pellon 101
Fuse the SF 101 interfacing to the outer fabric according to manufacturers directions. If you are unfamiliar with fusible interfacing it is a simple process to adhere. Simply place the glue side of the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric and press with a hot iron until the glue melts and fuses the two together so that they can be treated as one.
Step 3: Fuse the Fleece
Fuse the fleece on top of the fusible SF 101 interfacing. You will fuse the fleece in the same way that fused the SF 101. Adding the two interfacings adds structure to the bag and should not be neglected.
Step 4: Create the Flap Closure
Create the flap closure. Fuse some Pellon 808 interfacing to the 3″ x 10″ strip of fabric. Fold the strip in half lengthwise to find the center. Measure in from the sides 1/4″ to account for the seam allowance and draw a point. Add one side of the magnetic snap to the flap closure. If you are unfamiliar with magnetic snaps this is a very easy process.
First find the center then measure down about 1/2″. Place the grommet of the snap on the wrong side of the fabric and draw the slits on either side of the circle. Using a seam ripper or a small pair of scissors cut the slits through all layers. From the right side place one half of the snap into the slit using the prongs. Place the grommet through the prongs and bend the prongs away from the center to secure the half snap.
Step 5: Finish the Flap Closure
Fold the strip in half width wise and press. Sew along the lines that you have drawn but leave an opening on one side for turning. Clip the excess fabric from the point. Clip the tip of the point without clipping the stitching. Turn the flap closure right side out and press. Sew the opening closed using ladder stitch. Add a bamboo or wood button for decoration. Set aside.
Step 6: Make the Handle Tabs
Make the handle Tabs. Fold the pieces right sides together and sew along the long seam. Turn right sides out and press so that the seam is in the middle of the back of the tab. Set aside.
Step 7: Stitch the Outer Bag Together
With right sides together sew the two outer bag pieces together along the sides and bottom. From the bottom corners cut out 2″ x 2″ squares.
Step 8: Box the Corners
Box the corners by matching up the bottom seam and side seam of each corner. The corners will lay flat. Measure down so that the corner measures 5″ wide. Draw your seam line. Sew across the seam line of each corner. Turn the outer bag right sides out. The bag should be able to stand on its own now.
Step 9: Add the Magnetic Snap
Find the center of one side of the bag and measure down 1″ from the top and make a mark with a heat erasable pen like Frixion. You are now going to add the other half of the magnetic snap. Place the grommet center on the dot and mark the slits in the same way that you did the other half. Install the second half of the snap in the same way.
Step 10: Add the Closure
Find the center of the other side of the main bag and mark with a pin. Place the flap closure centered on the back of the outer bag with the snap facing up and pin. Baste the flap closure to the back of the outer bag.
Step 11: Add the Handle Tabs
Add the handle tabs to the front and back of the outer bag. My handles are 6″ apart so I measured 3″ from each side of the center of the bag and pinned the tabs to the bag. I then basted the tabs to the outer bag.
Step 12: Create the Lining
Create the lining in the same way that you created the outer bag. This time you will leave an opening in the bottom of the lining for turning the bag. I would recommend that you add a slip pocket into the lining at this point but I did not have enough fabric so I left it out. If you choose to add a slip pocket just measure the size pocket you want and cut two pieces of fabric. Fuse some interfacing for stability to one of the pieces. Sew them right sides together leaving an opening for turning. Turn the pocket piece right side out. Stitch along the top pf the piece. Sew the other three sides to the lining and you have created the slip pocket.
Step 13: Add Outer Bag to Lining
Insert the outer bag into the lining bag so that they are right sides together and the side seams meet. Pin around the top of the bag making sure that the all of the tabs are facing down between the layers. Sew around the circumference of the top of the bag using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Turn the bag right sides out through the opening in the lining. Press.
Step 14: Topstitch Around the Top
Top stitch around the circumference of the top. Because my lining and my outer fabric were such different colors I placed the lining color thread in my bobbin. Sew the opening in the lining closed using ladder stitch.
Step 15: Add the Handles
Attach the bamboo handles. The best way to do this is to unscrew the metal from the bamboo. This will allow you to insert the tabs into the metal. Just replace the screws and the handles are in and you have completed your handbag with bamboo handles.