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1 easy way to sew handles to a tote bag

by Christine Baker

Yesterday on QUILTsocial I showed you how awesome the sideways stitching feature is on the NQ900 sewing machine from Brother. We added the two separate parts of a rectangular turn clasp to the selvage panel we made on Tuesday and our project bag is starting to take shape!

Today we’re going to add handles and make the binding for the bag.

The NQ900 sewing machine from Brother.

The NQ900

I’ve got some lovely Micro Fibre handles from Unique to use for the bag, but each of them has a ring at both ends, so we need something to attach those rings to the outside of the bag.

Micro fibre handles from Unique will be attached to the selvage project bag.

Micro fibre handles

I found some 1″ black strapping, so I cut four pieces that were each 3″ long. In order to hide the raw ends of the strapping, I threaded it through the ring of the handle and then folded it so that one side was longer than the other. I then tucked that longer end over the shorter end as shown in the picture below.

The tabs will be sewn to the front of the bag so that the little folded end is at the back of the tab and hidden by the stitching.

The black strapping is threaded through the ring of the handle and then folded so that the raw ends will be hidden.

Folding the strapping

I did this same thing to both ends of the handle and then used one of my rotary cutting rulers to line them up evenly on one end of the bag. I then pinned the tabs in place so that I could move the bag to the sewing machine without them moving out of position.

The handle tabs were pinned to the front of the bag using a rotary cutting ruler to make sure they were even.

Placement of the handle tabs

I then set up the NQ900 sewing machine the same as yesterday so that I could use the sideways stitching feature. I selected one of the sideways stitching stitches (93) and put on the “N” foot as indicated by the LCD screen.

Sideways stitching settings

Sideways stitching settings

Here’s the ‘N’ foot on the machine. You can see how the handle tab is folded so that, once stitched, the raw ends will be hidden at the back.

The handle tabs are sewn to the bag with the sideways stitching feature of the NQ900.

Sewing the handle tabs

I used the sideways stitches to sew a square on the end of the tab that doesn’t have the ring and then went over the square one more time to reinforce the stitching.

I then repeated this whole procedure to sew the remaining three tabs so that one handle was sewn at each end of the panel.

Making the binding

After we add the vinyl pockets tomorrow we’ll put binding around the outside edge of the bag. I figured that we might as well make the binding today so that it’s all ready to go tomorrow!

Cut two strips of coordinating fabric that are 2½” x 42″ (the width of fabric). Sew these two strips together with a mitered join and then fold in half lengthwise and press with the wrong sides together.

If you aren’t sure how to make the binding, check out my QUILTsocial blog post from October 2014 where I walk you through step-by-step instructions!

Sewing with vinyl

Have you ever tried (and struggled with) sewing vinyl into your projects? Well, tomorrow I’ve got lots of great tips for you and we’re going to use my NQ900 sewing machine to finish making our awesome selvage project bag. See you tomorrow!!

This is part 4 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 3: How to sew on a turn clasp to your quilted bag projects

Go to part 5: 6 best tips ever for sewing with vinyl


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