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How To Make A Handbag


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Kaylee Lynch



Welcome to the world of DIY handbags! Making your own handbag is not only a fun and creative project, but it also allows you to have a unique accessory that perfectly matches your style. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced crafter, creating your own handbag gives you the freedom to customize every aspect, from the fabric to the design and detailing.


In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of making a handbag. From choosing the perfect fabric to adding the finishing touches, you will learn the essentials of handbag making. So, let’s dive into this exciting journey and unleash your inner designer!


Creating a handbag is a fantastic way to showcase your personal style and creativity. It also allows you to have a one-of-a-kind accessory that you can’t find in stores. Whether you prefer a sleek and minimalist design or a bold and vibrant pattern, making your own handbag gives you the freedom to express yourself.


Not only is making a handbag a fulfilling and enjoyable project, but it also saves you money compared to purchasing a ready-made designer bag. The satisfaction of crafting something with your own hands adds an extra level of pride. Plus, you can customize every detail, ensuring that the handbag perfectly suits your needs and preferences.


Whether you’re a fashion enthusiast looking to expand your accessory collection or someone who enjoys DIY projects, making a handbag is a rewarding endeavor. So, gather your materials, unleash your creativity, and let’s get started on creating a stylish and functional handbag that you’ll be proud to show off!


Materials Needed:

Before we begin making your handbag, let’s gather all the materials you’ll need for this project. Here’s a list of essential items:

  • Fabric: Choose a fabric that suits your style and desired look for the handbag. You can opt for cotton, denim, canvas, leather, or any other material that catches your eye.
  • Lining Fabric: This fabric will be used to line the inside of your handbag. Choose a lightweight and durable fabric that complements your main fabric choice.
  • Interfacing: This material adds structure and stability to your handbag. Select the appropriate weight of interfacing based on your fabric choice.
  • Thread: Use a high-quality thread that matches the color of your fabric.
  • Zipper or Magnetic Snap: Depending on the design of your handbag, you may need a zipper for closure or a magnetic snap for easy access.
  • Handles or Straps: Decide whether you want to use pre-made handles or create your own straps using fabric or leather.
  • Hardware: If you’re adding straps or handles, you may need hardware such as D-rings, swivel hooks, or buckles.
  • Scissors: A sharp pair of fabric scissors is essential for cutting the fabric accurately.
  • Pins or Clips: Use these to hold the fabric pieces together while sewing.
  • Measuring Tape or Ruler: Precise measurements are crucial for a well-constructed handbag.
  • Sewing Machine: Having a sewing machine makes the process faster and more efficient, but you can also sew by hand if you prefer.
  • Iron and Ironing Board: These will come in handy for pressing the fabric and ensuring crisp seams.

These are the basic materials you’ll need for making a handbag. Depending on your chosen design and personal preference, you may also require additional embellishments, such as buttons, studs, or decorative trims.


Now that you have all the necessary materials ready, you’re one step closer to creating your own stylish handbag. So, let’s move on to the next step: choosing the perfect fabric!


Step 1: Choosing the Fabric

Selecting the right fabric for your handbag is key to achieving the desired look and functionality. The fabric you choose should not only match your personal style but also be durable enough to withstand everyday use. Here are a few factors to consider when selecting your fabric:

  • Strength and Durability: Opt for fabrics that are strong and able to withstand the weight and stress of everyday use. Materials like denim, canvas, and upholstery fabric are great options for a sturdy and long-lasting handbag.
  • Weight and Structure: The weight of the fabric will determine the overall structure of your handbag. If you prefer a slouchy and relaxed look, go for lightweight fabrics like cotton or linen. For a more structured and formal appearance, consider heavier fabrics like tweed or leather.
  • Print or Solid Color: Decide whether you want a handbag with a bold and eye-catching print or a classic solid color. Prints can add personality and make a statement, while solid colors provide versatility and timeless appeal.
  • Texture: Explore different textures like smooth, textured, or embossed fabrics to add visual interest to your handbag.
  • Care Instructions: Check the care instructions of the fabric. Some fabrics require special care, while others are machine washable and easy to maintain.
  • Budget: Consider your budget when choosing the fabric for your handbag. Keep in mind that high-quality materials may be more expensive, but they often offer better durability and longevity.

Browsing fabric stores or online shops can provide you with a wide range of options to choose from. Don’t forget to take swatches or samples to see how the fabric looks and feels in person. Additionally, consider the purpose of your handbag. Will it be used for everyday essentials, work, travel, or special occasions? This will help you determine the appropriate fabric choice.


Remember, selecting the right fabric is an essential step in handbag making. Take your time to explore various options and choose a fabric that reflects your personal style and meets your functional requirements. Once you’ve decided on the fabric, we can move on to the exciting step of designing your handbag!


Step 2: Designing the Handbag

Designing your handbag is where your creativity truly shines. This step allows you to envision the shape, size, and features of your dream accessory. Consider the following factors when designing your handbag:

  • Style: Determine the overall style of your handbag. Do you prefer a classic tote bag, a chic crossbody, or a trendy backpack? Take inspiration from current fashion trends or create a unique design that reflects your personal taste.
  • Size and Dimensions: Decide on the dimensions of your handbag based on your needs and preferences. Consider the items you typically carry with you, such as your wallet, phone, keys, and makeup. Ensure that your chosen size can accommodate these essentials comfortably.
  • Compartments and Pockets: Think about the internal organization of your handbag. Would you like additional compartments or pockets for better organization? Consider the type and number of pockets that will suit your lifestyle.
  • Closures: Determine the type of closure you prefer for your handbag. Options include zippers, magnetic snaps, buttons, or even drawstrings. The closure should not only provide security for your belongings but also complement the overall design.
  • Straps and Handles: Decide on the type of straps or handles you want for your handbag. You can choose pre-made handles, create your own using fabric or leather, or even opt for detachable straps for versatility.
  • Embellishments: Consider any additional embellishments you’d like to incorporate, such as decorative trims, hardware, or embroidery. These details can add personality and make your handbag truly unique.

When designing your handbag, it’s helpful to sketch out your ideas on paper or use design software to visualize the final product. This will allow you to make any adjustments and ensure that your design matches your vision.


Additionally, gather inspiration from fashion magazines, online platforms, or even existing handbags. Take note of elements you like and incorporate them into your design. Remember, the purpose of designing your handbag is to create something that aligns with your style and meets your functional needs.


Once you have finalized your handbag design, it’s time to move on to the next step: cutting and preparing the fabric.


Step 3: Cutting and Preparing the Fabric

Now that you have your fabric and design ready, it’s time to bring your handbag to life by cutting and preparing the fabric. Follow these steps to ensure precise and accurate cutting:

  1. Clean and Iron: Start by washing and ironing the fabric to eliminate any wrinkles or dirt. This ensures that you work with a smooth and clean surface.
  2. Pattern or Template: If you have a pattern or template for your handbag, carefully place it on the fabric. Use pins or clips to secure it in place.
  3. Measuring and Marking: Take precise measurements according to your design and mark them on the fabric using tailor’s chalk or fabric markers. Double-check your measurements to avoid any errors.
  4. Cutting: Use sharp fabric scissors to cut along the marked lines. Take your time and cut slowly to maintain accuracy. For curved edges or intricate details, consider using small sharp scissors or a rotary cutter.
  5. Repeat: Repeat the same process for all the fabric pieces required for your handbag, including the lining, pockets, and any additional details.

Once you have cut all the fabric pieces, it’s important to prepare them for sewing by adding interfacing or any other necessary reinforcements. Here’s how:

  1. Interfacing: Use the pattern or template to cut the interfacing pieces and fuse them to the corresponding fabric pieces. This adds structure and stability to your handbag.
  2. Trimming and Finishing: Trim any excess interfacing or fabric, and finish the raw edges by either zigzag stitching or using bias tape. This prevents fraying and gives your handbag a neat appearance.
  3. Marking Placement: If your handbag design includes hardware, such as D-rings or buckles, mark their placement on the fabric using a fabric marker or tailor’s chalk.

Once you have completed these steps, you are now ready to move on to the exciting part: sewing your handbag together. By taking the time to cut and prepare the fabric accurately, you will ensure a smooth and successful sewing process.


Step 4: Sewing the Handbag

With the fabric pieces prepared, it’s time to sew your handbag together. Follow these steps to assemble your handbag:

  1. Pin or Clip: Use pins or clips to hold the fabric pieces together according to your design. Make sure the right sides of the fabric are facing each other.
  2. Start Sewing: Using a sewing machine or sewing needle, begin sewing along the pinned or clipped edges. Use a straight stitch or a stitch appropriate for your fabric type.
  3. Backstitch: As you start and finish each seam, remember to backstitch a few stitches to secure the thread and prevent unraveling.
  4. Repeat: Continue sewing the fabric pieces together following the pattern or template. Take your time and sew slowly to maintain accuracy.
  5. Press Open Seams: After each seam is sewn, use an iron to press open the seams. This creates a crisp and professional finish.
  6. Topstitching and Reinforcement: To add strength and decorative detail, consider topstitching along the edges or reinforcing certain areas with additional stitching.

As you sew, ensure that you leave any necessary openings for turning the handbag right side out or inserting the lining. Don’t forget to trim any excess threads as you go along to keep your work neat and tidy.


If you’re new to sewing or need assistance with specific techniques, there are many online tutorials and resources available to help you out. Take advantage of these resources to expand your sewing skills and achieve professional-looking results.


Once you have sewn all the fabric pieces together, your handbag will start to take shape. It’s time to move on to the next step: adding the straps!


Step 5: Adding the Straps

The straps or handles are an important component of your handbag as they provide functionality and style. Here’s how to add the straps to your handbag:

  1. Measure and Cut: Determine the desired length of your straps and cut them accordingly from the chosen fabric or pre-made handles.
  2. Fold and Press: Fold the fabric straps in half lengthwise, with the wrong sides facing each other. Use an iron to press the folded edges to create a crease.
  3. Sew the Straps: Sew along the long edges of the fabric straps to secure them. You can use a straight stitch or decorative stitching for added flair.
  4. Position the Straps: Decide where you want the straps to be attached to your handbag. Mark the placement on the body of the handbag using fabric markers or tailor’s chalk.
  5. Sew the Straps: Position the ends of the straps at the marked spots and sew them securely onto the handbag. Reinforce the stitching by sewing a square or an “X” shape on each end of the straps.

If you’re using pre-made handles, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for attaching them to your handbag. Most handles come with screws or prongs that can be easily inserted and secured.


When attaching the straps, ensure that they are aligned symmetrically and securely stitched. Test the strength of the straps by gently tugging on them to ensure they can handle the weight of the handbag and your belongings.


Once you have added the straps, your handbag will start to take its final shape. The next step is adding the closure and finishing touches to complete your creation.


Step 6: Adding Closure and Finishing Touches

Adding the closure and finishing touches to your handbag will give it the final polished look. Here’s how to complete this step:

  1. Closure Type: Decide on the type of closure that best suits your handbag design. Options include zippers, magnetic snaps, buttons, or even drawstrings. Choose a closure that is secure and easy to use.
  2. Place the Closure: Mark the placement of the closure on the handbag. Ensure that it aligns properly and allows for easy access to the main compartment.
  3. Attach the Closure: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for attaching the closure. If you’re using a zipper, sew it in place using a zipper foot attachment on your sewing machine. If you’re using a magnetic snap or button, carefully sew it onto the fabric.
  4. Final Touches: Examine your handbag for any loose threads or imperfections. Trim any excess threads and make any necessary adjustments to ensure a clean and professional finish.

After adding the closure, take a moment to admire your completed handbag. Give it a gentle shake to test its durability and ensure everything is securely in place.


If desired, you can also add additional finishing touches to personalize your handbag further. Consider embellishing it with decorative trims, a monogram, or even using fabric paints to create unique designs.


Once you are satisfied with the closure and finishing touches, your handbag is officially complete! Take a moment to celebrate your hard work and creativity.


Now that you have successfully crafted your own handbag, it’s time to showcase your creation and enjoy using it in your daily life. Whether you made it as a stylish accessory or a practical carrier, your handbag is a reflection of your skill and personal style.


Remember, handbag making is a continuous learning process. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different fabrics, designs, and techniques to create even more unique and personalized handbags in the future.


Congratulations on making your own handbag, and happy carrying!



Congratulations on completing your journey to create your very own handbag! By following the steps outlined in this guide, you have learned the essentials of handbag making, from choosing the right fabric to adding the finishing touches. Not only have you crafted a stylish accessory, but you have also tapped into your creativity and showcased your personal style.


Creating your own handbag allows you to have a unique accessory that perfectly matches your needs and preferences. You have the freedom to choose the fabric, design, size, and functionality of your handbag, ensuring that it complements your lifestyle and reflects your individuality.


Handbag making is a rewarding and enjoyable craft that offers countless possibilities for creativity. As you continue to explore this art form, you will gain confidence in your skills and develop your own signature style. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different fabrics, designs, and embellishments to create even more stunning handbags.


Remember, practice makes perfect. Each handbag you create will teach you something new and contribute to your growth as a maker. Embrace the learning process, seek inspiration, and continue to refine your techniques.


Now, go out and proudly show off your handmade handbag! Whether it’s a gift for a loved one or an addition to your own collection, your handbag is a testament to your creativity, resourcefulness, and dedication.


Thank you for joining us on this journey of handbag making. We hope you enjoyed the process and that your handbag brings you joy and satisfaction for years to come.