A girl can never have too many bags and purses which is one of the reasons we love to make them!
However one of the most common aspects of making your own handbag, purse or tote, can also be one of the most frustrating; the simple act of turning a purse strap or fabric tube inside out.
You could use a special tool such as a tube turner, however if you’re anything like me, you can never find them when you need them. I’m all for taking the easy way out, so this is how I do it. I use this … a simple piece of strong cotton cording.
I have various thicknesses depending on how wide my fabric tube is, and I keep them rolled up in little balls in my sewing accessory tray so they are always handy when I need them and they don’t take up much room.
And this method is SO easy.
What You Need
Note: This tutorial is for a 1″ finished width purse strap. You can adjust the measurements to suit your needs.
Cut a strip pf fabric and a strip of fusible interfacing 2-1/2″ by the length of your strap. Following the manufacturer’s directions, iron the fusible interfacing to the fabric strip.
Cut a piece of cord slightly longer than the finished length of your strap by about 3″-4″.
With the right side of the fabric facing up, baste stitch one end of the cord about a quarter of the way in along the short edge of the fabric strap.
Fold the right sides of the fabric strap together lengthwise, making sure the cording is tucked close up against the fold so it doesn’t get caught in the stitching, and sew a 1/4″ seam.
When you’re done sewing the seam, the cording should be basted securely to one end of the strap and extend out the other end of the tube.
Holding the end of the strap where the cord is attached, gently pull the cord from the other end. The strap should bunch up.
Once it’s bunched up a bit, carefully pull the cording so that the other end begins to pull through the inside of the tubing, and it should now be quite easy to pull it completely through so the right side is facing out.
Once pulled through, remove the basting stitches so the cording falls away.
At this point you can press and topstitch your purse strap.
Tip: I find that it’s often difficult to add a really nice topstitch to a purse strap if you try to position the seam along the edge of the strap, so I like to position my seam along the center of the strap. Simply finger press the seam into position and press in place with an iron.
Once the seam is pressed in place, you can easily top stitch along the edges for a nice finish without having to deal with the bulk of the seam.
Tip: For a really easy way to get a perfectly straight topstitched edging, use a stitch-in-the-ditch sewing machine foot and nudge the sewing machine needle over to the left a little. The center guide of the foot is perfect for positioning the edge of the strap and ensuring that your topstitching is straight and even. For topstitching, use a long stitch length. I like a 3mm length.
And what you end up with is … a simple and perfect purse strap !
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