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Sewing: Getting a Handle on the Market Tote

Let's get a handle (or two) on our market tote. Commercial handles add a professional finish to handcrafted bags.
Let’s get a handle (or two) on our market tote. Commercial handles add a professional finish to handcrafted bags.

 

Sewing is so much fun! Let’s get a handle (or two) on our creatively embroidered mezzaluna market tote. I like to use commercial handles on my tote bags. This hardware is really like jewellery that adds a professional touch to your bags.

These kinds of handles are becoming more readily available in a number of styles, lengths, finishes and fabrications.

The ones I used are 23 inches long and have rings at the end to attach them to the bag. To do this, I created some fabric tabs from the same fabric I used for the bag lining.

To make the tabs, press a 4 by 16 inch fabric strip down the center. Reopen.

Fold the edges into the center crease mark, and then fold the whole strip in half so that all the long raw edges are encased within the strip. Pin. Stitch down one long side and then the other.

Cut the resulting one inch wide strip into four, 4 inch tab pieces. Turn under a scant hem on each tab end and press. Insert the handle rings into the tabs and pin so that the turned under tab edges meet. Slip stitch the tab ends closed.

Tabs attached, and ready to be slip stitched together to secure them to the bag handle rings.
Tabs attached, and ready to be slip stitched together to secure them to the bag handle rings.

 

 

With right sides together, line up the side seams of the bag and lining. Attach them together at the top edge, using Heirloom Clever Clips.

Using the clips will help keep the lining and the outside of the bag more stable, and there’s less chance of having a painful encounter with the pins on the long, long top edge of this bag.

Once the lining and the outer bag are sewn together at the top edge, pull the main body through the opening in the lining. Push the lining through to the bottom of the bag, and press the top edge. Top stitch the top edge. Slip stitch the opening in the lining closed.

Pull the main body of the bag through the opening in the lining.
Pull the main body of the bag through the opening in the lining.

 

 

Now, position the lovely handle tabs where indicated on the pattern template. Pin.
Sew them using matching thread. I find this is easier to if you switch to your machine’s zipper foot, which is more narrow and can get quite close to the handle rings.

In this handle attachment, I sewed along the top of the tab, quite close to the ring, and then down one side, around the bottom and up to the top again. To make it really secure, I stitched an X through the middle of the handle tab.

Do this for all four sides.

The mezzaluna market tote is ready for a day of shopping. Take it to the quilt store, and fill it up. You know you want to....
The mezzaluna market tote is ready for a day of shopping. Take it to the quilt store, and fill it up. You know you want to….

 

 

Now that it’s done, it’s time to hit the markets with a tote that’s all your own. This tote makes a great holiday gift too! You can also downsize it considerably by adjusting the template size. Go ahead, have fun!

Be prepared for compliments. This mezzaluna tote is stylish yet practical and perfect for a season of harvest…perfect for the harvest moon.

My time on QUILTsocial is over for now, but I hope you enjoyed sewing this week’s project. Join us every week for more quilty fun and creative endeavors.

Nancy Devine is a self-confessed craft-crazed blogger. She is a regular contributor to A Needle Pulling Thread Magazine, one of the administrators for The Craft Café, a Facebook page devoted to the international sharing of the creative life, and a curator of an impressive collection of fabrics, notions and seam rippers. In her spare time, she wrangles dust bunnies and writes a blog called Nancy Dee Needleworks. Understandably, her house is a mess.

1 Comment

  1. Barb Jackson

    Love the photos and specific instructions for the market tote bag. I look forward to creating a more professional looking finished product.

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