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Tips & Techniques > nicely padded fabric purse handles

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Posted by: SewVeryTall

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Member since: 3/2/04
Reviews: 161 (tips: 68)
Skill level:Advanced
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Posted on: 5/30/04 6:21 AM
Review Rating: Helpful by 3 people   Very Helpful by 6 people   
I always make my own shoulder bags, so the strap is long enough. Normally I make purses from leather, but the new trend toward fabric bags is fun. I didn't like the look of a flat strap made of fabric, so I experimented with yarn to 'stuff' it, making it nicely padded, rounded, and beefier.
I decided how wide I wanted the strap, and cut the fabric 4 times that wide, then folded/ironed like bias tape, so the strap had 4 thicknesses of fabric. Topstitched close to each edge. Then, using several strands of rug yarn, a few inches longer than the length of the strap, I fed the yarn through the middle of the strap with a big safety pin [like inserting elastic into a casing]. First, I machine sewed across one end of the bundle of strands of yarn to secure them together, and so I'd have the stitching for the safety pin to grab. The number of strands of yarn is decided by trial, as much as the strap will hold. After feeding through the strap, I trimmed off the stitched end and any excess yarn, then it was ready to sew into the bag.
The surprise when I was done...the strap had a fancy ruched look, very pretty!

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HeyJane said... (10/3/07 2:56 PM) Reply
I see this posting is from a while ago, but I just came across it. I use the cotton filler cords a lot for bag straps, however many times it gets too rounded in shape and too heavy looking. The yarn seems like a great way to keep it flatter. I will definitely try that method soon. Thanks for posting.
ShereeSews said... (6/29/04 4:28 PM) Reply
Thanks will try this out on my next totebag or purse!
Danvillegirl said... (5/31/04 3:44 PM) Reply
Great tip!
SewVeryTall said... (5/31/04 4:09 AM) Reply
Georgene...I think the cording would be much stiffer, but mostly, the cording was at the store, and the yarn was leftover/free/handy in my sewing closet, lol.'re welcome. I don't have a digital camera yet, or I would post a photo. As for a review, I didn't use a commercial pattern, I always design my own, so the bag has every pocket where I want or need one, including long skinny pen and nail file pockets.
Georgene said... (5/30/04 1:57 PM) Reply
You coul also buy giant cording insert, like one inch thick. I'm sure that Steinlof and Stoller or Active Trimming would have something like that if you can't find it locally in a place that has upholstery supply. (I've reviewed the websites for those 2 shops in NYC, and there must be others.)
PVA said... (5/30/04 10:32 AM) Reply
This is a very interesting idea! Thank you for the review. I hope you will review the bag and post a photo so we can see the result. I love to make bags (and use them) and I haven't been all that happy with the straps I've stuffed with batting. I've used the four-layer method with the straps and I do like them. Thanks again, I'll watch for your bag reviews.
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