Monday, February 6, 2017

Handbag Straps Tutorial

I received a request on how I do the straps on my handbags, so here is a tutorial on my method. This is my current method of doing them but not the only one I have used.

All of the photos below were taken while making a set of straps for a recent bag and while the fabrics look slightly different in some photos, they are indeed the same. Different lighting and my camera sometimes alters the colors on me.

Tab Connectors


  • Heavyweight stabilizer, cut 4 pieces 7/8" x 3" (I am using Stiffy by (Pellon Peltex is another option)
  • Four 1" D-rings
  • Fabric with fusible web applied to wrong side (I use Mistyfuse fusible web), cut 4 pieces 2 3/4" x 3 3/4"

Center the stabilizer on the wrong side of a fabric piece.

Fold the left and right side over and press with your iron to fuse in place.

Fold up the bottom side and press with your iron.

Fold the remaining side and press. Repeat with the remaining pieces.

Fold the fabric covered stabilizer in half and place through a D-ring.

Using the zipper foot on your sewing machine, sew across the fabric just below the D-ring. Don't sew too tightly against the D-ring as you want the D-ring to have some wiggle room.

Apply the connector tabs to the handbag.  I mark on my bag where the tabs go and then align the tab to that mark. Place the tab over the edge of the bag with one side of the tab on the inside of the bag and the other side of the tab on the outside of the bag. The tab straddles the edge of the bag. 

I usually push the tab so it is as far down along the edge of bag as it will go. Clip or pin in place.

Sew the tab to the bag body. I use my zipper foot for this step but you don't have to (stitching on the right side of the foot).

I then sew another line of stitching near the bottom of the tab still using my zipper foot but moving my needle position to the opposite side (stitching on the left side of the foot).

Repeat with the remaining tabs, two tabs per bag side. At this point the tabs are done but I usually add a little bling with a rivet. This is optional. Set the bag aside for now.


  • Fabric, cut two strips 3 1/2" x 24"
  • 1" wide Polypro webbing strap (or similar strap material), cut two 22" (color doesn't matter as it won't show)
A note of caution: if you are using Polypro, polyester, or nylon strap material, be sure to use caution when ironing around it as it will melt if your iron is set too high.

Mark a line along one long edge of both fabric strips, 3/4" from the edge on the wrong side. I use an air fading purple fabric marker.

Fold over the raw edge to meet the line and press to form a 3/8" hem.

Place the webbing strap on the wrong side of the fabric, on the edge opposite the hem, centered between the two ends.

Fold the ends over and pin.

Stitch the webbing to the fabric using a 1/4" seam allowance, keeping the edges aligned and the ends folded over.

Fold the strap over as shown in the following photo. I sometimes use a fabric glue stick and run a line of glue along the webbing (before folding it over) to hold it in place on the fabric. You want to be sure the fabric and strap are nice and tight with no loose areas.

Fold the remaining edge of fabric over and pin or glue to hold in place.  The hem you pressed in the first step should be right at or near the edge of the strap.

Topstitch around the entire strap. Do this with both straps.

Place one strap end through the D-ring on your bag.

Fold the strap end and pin or clip. I fold my straps at a one-inch measurement.

I forgot to take a photo of when I was stitching the strap end, but I again use my zipper foot and stitch along the end of the strap to secure, usually right along the same stitching line where it is topstitched.

Take the other strap end and place through the D-ring on the same side of the bag. Measure a one-inch fold and sew the end to secure. Repeat with the remaining strap on the other side of the bag.

And with that, I have a completed handbag.

If you don't wish to use Polypro strap material, you can create your straps using the double fold method and use a stabilizer/interfacing of your choice to add body to your strap.

I hope you enjoyed my tutorial. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments.