How to Make Handbags at Home

    by Diane Steinbach

    About the Author

    Diane Steinbach has been writing for a variety of professional, educational and entertainment publications for more than 15 years. She has authored several books on art therapy, including "Art as Therapy: Innovations, Inspiration and Ideas." Steinbach holds a Bachelor of Arts in art therapy and behavioral science from Mount Mary College in Milwaukee.


    Making your own handbags at home can be a creative way to update your wardrobe and add versatility and personal style to your closet. With hundreds of fabrics, textures and hardware to choose from, making a handbag for yourself can be easy. If you have some basic sewing skills and a good imagination, you can make one-of-a-kind handbags that will have your friends green with envy.

    Things You'll Need

    • Fabric
    • Pattern
    • Scissors
    • Sewing machine
    • Needle and thread
    • Hardware for handbag

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    Select your fabric. Handbags can be made out of nearly anything, including duct tape and upholstery fabric. Browse through your fabric store or old clothes bin and select material large enough for the handbag size you have in mind. Consider old blue jeans, used prom dresses and out-of-fashion suits for material for your handbag

    Find a pattern. Whether you want to knit and felt a handbag or create your own unique purse, a pattern is essential. You can find handbag patterns or templates at your fabric store, or make your own by tracing the silhouette of a favorite bag. If you are making your own pattern, remember to include two sides, front and back, the bottom of the bag and any flap you might want to use for closing. You might also include a strap.

    Consider your closure and adornments while shopping. You can use a standard frame-style closure and sew it into your handbag, or use something more creative such as old seat belts or ribbons to secure the opening of your bag. You may also want to think of using rhinestones, rivets or buttons on your handbag, which you should incorporate into your design and pattern.

    Cut your material. If you are following a pattern, trace the templates on your fabric and cut. If you want to make an easy bag, simply fold a piece of fabric in half, cut to size and sew up the sides. When cutting material, consider if you need to line your bag to protect your goods from scratchy hardware or protect thin material from poking pens and sunglasses.

    Reverse your fabric and sew up your seams by hand or by using your sewing machine. Hand-stitch on hardware, handles or straps. Turn the bag right-side out and sew on any additional adornments.

    • Get cheap fabric for your handbag at a resale or thrift shop. You can find unique fabrics including old suit linens to use for mere dollars. Look through the belts for closure or hardware ideas as well.
    • For an easy handbag, cut the legs off your blue jeans leaving only the waist and hip portion. Sew up the bottom, add a strap and you're done! You have a handbag complete with pockets.
    • Be sure to double-stitch straps and panels on your handbag to ensure safe usage and a long life for your new bag.

    Photo Credits

    • Hemera Technologies/ Images