Making Faux-Leather Bag Handles


This was so much fun. Making bags is fun (in my opinion), and being able to make everything from scratch, including faux-leather handles is just icing on the cake.

My inspiration for trying this at all was Heather’s blog post over at The Sewing Loft. But when I sat down to actually do it, I found that her blog post leaves much unsaid. Like how thick your cording should be, how wide you should cut your leather (or faux-leather strips), and what type of needle to use. So I am humbly offering a little more detail. I hope she doesn’t get mad. ๐Ÿ™‚


I used 1/2” upholstery cording (from Joann’s) – this produced thicker than standard handles. 3/8” cording would probably create the size handles in the picture. Wrap the ends of your cording with tape before or after you cut them.

My faux-leather came from Joann’s also. They usually have lots in the clearance rack and it’s cheap. My bag pattern called for 28” handles, so I cut 2” x 28” strips and rounded the ends. My cording pieces are 26” long.

Do not try this without leather needles. Even if you are just using faux leather. Make it easy on yourself and your machine. 


Wrap the strip of faux-leather around the cording. Don’t worry about the raw edges. We’ll take care of them later.


Begin sewing 1” – 1 1/2” from the end. I started exactly 1” from the end and it made tiny little nubs to sew on my bag. It would probably have been easier if I started 1 1/2” from the end. Lengthen your stitch to at least 3mm, and be sure to backstitch. Use a zipper foot if you have one.


As hard as I tried to keep my two raw edges lined up, the top one slipped back about 1/8”. No biggie. I just trimmed my seams down to 1/8”.


Now about that white line all the way down the edge…



You can use fabric paint to cover it up. The paint took longer to dry than I expected (probably because I was painting on plastic), so plan accordingly. 

Now just mark the handle placement on your bag and sew it on, still using your leather needle. I double stitched around my handle to make it extra secure. I also pinned my handles to the bag recklessly putting holes in them. That’s bad, but I sometimes do bad things and can’t help it. 


Here you go… handmade handle! I know it doesn’t look store-bought perfect, but I love it. My logic is that if everything I made looked store-bought perfect, no one would think to ask if I made it, and I’d never get the chance to show off. So I love my little handmade imperfections. <3


Happy sewing this week! Can’t wait to see what you bring to our Show Off Saturday Linky Party. Be sure to vote for your favorite project from last Saturday, so it can get spotlighted on Friday!


Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. ๐Ÿ™‚