Piped handles look the most ‘posh’ and professional.
Of all the handmade bag handles, I think piped handles look the most ‘posh’ and professional. As they are very strong and comfortable to hold, they have substance as well as style.
NEED TO KNOW
• To gauge the length of the finished closed-end strap, decide how long you want the length of your piped handle to be, then add 4cm (11/2in). If you want the length of your piped handle to be 50cm (19½in) long, your closed end strap needs to be 54cm (21¼in) long.
• To gauge the finished width of the closed-end strap, measure around the circumference of your tubing and add 1cm (3/8in). If your tubing is 4cm (11/2in) around, your closed-end strap needs to be 5cm (2in) wide.
• To gauge the length of the tubing measure the length of the closed-end strap and subtract 10cm (4in). If your closed-end strap is 54cm (211/4in) long, the tubing needs to be 44cm (173∕8in) long.
• All seam allowances are 1cm (3/8in) unless stated otherwise.
• Piped handles are attached to your bag at the END of bag making. Usually you will have made handle loops (see page 102) with rings attached so you can clip the piped handles onto the rings. Finish making up your bag and clip the hooks onto the rings of the handle loop.
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Fold and stitch the piped handle – fold and pin the closed-end strap in half along its length to form a fabric tube. Measure and mark 5cm (2in) in from both short edges. Stitch the strap along the open edge with a 3mm (1/8in) seam allowance, starting and stopping your stitches at the 5cm (2in) markings.
Stitch a fabric tube for the tubing. Stop and start stitching at the 5cm (2in) markings.
Stuff the handle – insert one end of the flexi-tubing into the fabric tube. Stuff the tubing into the fabric tube until you reach the 5cm (2in) marking at the other end. Stitch a line of stitches perpendicular to the 5cm (2in) marking. Sew one line of stitches and stitch back over the line in reverse for extra strength. This will trap the tubing inside the handle. Repeat with the other 5cm (2in) marking.
Stitch a line of stitches at 90 degrees to the 5cm (2in) markings.
Attach the trigger hooks – thread the ring of one of the trigger hooks onto one of the handle ends. Fold the fabric handle end over the ring by 2cm (3/4in) so that the WS are touching and stitch the end down. Sew one line of stitches and stitch back over the line in reverse for extra strength. Repeat with the other hook and handle end. The handle is now ready to use.
No trigger hooks handy? …
Stitch the handle ends in a box formation into the RS of your exterior bag through all bag layers at the end of bag construction, or sew the piped handle in between the lining and exterior bag.
SIX IDEAS FOR ‘UPCYCLING’ ITEMS TO MAKE BAG HANDLES
• Try plaiting three vintage scarves and tying metal rings on either end for a handle that will bring big impact to a plain bag.
•Try weaving a vibrant chiffon scarf through a length of large-link chain for an instantly glam purse chain handle.
•Try felting 100 per cent wool items (such as jumpers and scarves etc.). Simply wash the wool item in your washing machine at 60 degrees (or above) on a cottons cycle. You should be left with a dense felt-like fabric that has a lovely fuzzy texture and does not fray when cut. You may need to wash the item more than once to achieve the desired texture.
•Try using chunky bangles for quick and eye-catching wristlet handles.
• Try hunting around in charity shops or thrift shops for pre-owned bags and purses and take them apart for spares. If you’re patient you can sometimes salvage some nice vintage bag hardware such as rings, purse locks, chain and, of course, bag handles.
• Try snipping off fabric straps from old bags and then embellishing them with pretty vintage brooches for a ‘shabby chic’ mix-and-match look.