Satchel Bag – Leather Handle and Zip Insertion

Hi everyone!  It’s stil Sew Fab week here at Molly Blossom and we are exploring the patterns included in the bundle (only available for the discounted rate until  May 13th, 2014).  Yesterday, I showed you my Satchel Bag, pattern by Handmade Therapy.  Today, I’m going to talk a little bit about the particulars that made my bag unique.

Let me begin by reiterating that the pattern is fabulous as is.  It includes a great slouchy shape with an interior patch pocket, removeable short straps and adjustable long strap.

I’ve been making bags for several years and have learned what I like and what I don’t.  I like a bag that will not totally slouch over when I set it down.  What your bag feels like and how it behaves when you set it down is totally dependent on the interfacing you choose.  I like to use either two layers of sew-in interfacing or fusible fleece.  For this bag, I used fusible fleece on the outer pieces and a lightweight fusible interfacing for the bottom of the interior and nothing on the interior sides because I used home decor-weight fabric.

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There’s nothing in there holding it up, folks.  That’s the interfacing at work. Slouchy and shapely all at the same time.  🙂

Alright, now for the handles.  The pattern instructs you to make these cool removeable short handles and shows you how to make a long adjustable strap as well.  I know I do not carry bags cross-body style and prefer a short handle to tuck it under my upper arm, so I opted for permanent short handles.  I have experimented with using a belt for a purse handle in the past and wanted to try it again, so I scoured my closet for options.  You probably have a great selection at your local Goodwill if you don’t have any in your closet you want to chop up.

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Here is how far I got before the belt came into play.  Looking back, it might have been easier to assemble the straps to the rings and the rings through the loops and then basted the loops to the outside of the bag before I sewed the inside to the outside.  Then I wouldn’t have had to deal with handling the whole bag while sewing the straps on.

Here is what I did.  I made four more of the same strips that hold the rings to the bag.  Cut the ends off my belt and cut it in half.  Then I sandwiched the a belt end in between the folded-over unnfinished edges of a strip that I had already looped through a ring.

See?

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The unfinished edges are just folded in and I sewed two rows of stitching just to be safe and make the straps secure.  I have to confess that I did not use a leather needle for this project.  I had an old, used jersey (of all things) needle in my machine, but I was ready if it broke with a leather needle standing by.  So don’t you know that’s why my needle never broke?  If I hadn’t had a leather needle ready, it would have snapped in a second.  Another tip when sewing through many layers or sewing leather is to hand crank your needle through and not use the foot pedal.

Have you ever sewn an interior zip pouch on a bag before?  I find them absolutely essential now for keeping my lipgloss and hairbands and other small things I might not want to dig for.

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You are scared of zippers, you say?  You don’t need to be.  You just need some practice and the best tutorial I know of to help you out.    See how beautiful mine is?  I owe it all to Lisa Lam and her awesome skills.

Here is the link to the interior zip pouch tutorial.  Her blog is really a wealth of handbag information.

So now you have some new things to try.

Haven’t bought the Sew Fab bundle?  Click here to purchase.

Need to know what other patterns are in the bundle?  Click here to read all about it.

Want to see more of the patterns sewn to be inspired to make your own?  I’ll be posting about more of the patterns all the way through the last day of the sale on the 13th.  I’ve been sewing up a storm and I’ve got lots to show you.

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