I am guessing everyone is busy busy finishing off their Christmas gifts right now? Just in case you are whipping up a last minute Abby’s Alley and happen to have grabbed some pre-made leather straps to finish her off, with I thought it was a good time to share this tutorial written by Pat, on how to attach them! You have to admit, they look very classy! 🙂
So without any further delay…it’s over to you, Pat:
ATTACHING PRE-MADE LEATHER STRAPS TO A BAG
I used 24” pre-made leather straps for the bag. I prefer using straps like this that have 2 pieces joined together with a metal ring of some sort as they hold up better and give you the flexibility you need when finishing the bag.
I use heavy duty thread to attach the handles, and a needle with a large enough eye to accommodate the thicker thread. Make sure you use a polyester or nylon thread on your leather handles as cotton thread will rot out over time and is not strong enough to use on the handles.
I put a small amount of glue on the back of the strap attachment piece to anchor the strap in the perfect position so it doesn’t shift while you are stitching it down. I use Beacon Adhesives Fabri-Tac as it is made for leather and fabric and remains clear when it dries. Make sure you don’t use too much and fill up your stitching holes!
The straps are attached onto the exterior part of the bag before the lining is attached. I position the straps where I want them to be on my finished bag, having the top of the metal piece even with the unfinished top edge of the bag, and then glue down the strap attachment piece. I let the glue dry for a few minutes before I start sewing so the straps remain in place.
I use a doubled thread in my needle (just pull the ends of the thread evenly through the needle and knot at the end. Don’t make the thread length overly long or it will get too tangled. It is better to use a couple pieces than one long one.
To begin your stitching, bring the needle through the fabric and the strap attachment piece from the wrong side of the fabric, up through the SECOND hole in the strap piece.
Go back down through your strap attachment piece through the FIRST hole. I then come back up through the second hole and down into the first hole to make a nice secure stitch at the top of your strap piece. Repeat this double stitch for the next hole, this time coming up through the THIRD hole, back down into the second hole, up again in the third hole and back down again in the second hole.
Check each stitch as you pull it through to make sure the threads are pulled through evenly and not leaving a loop of extra thread on either the front of the strap or the wrong side of the fabric. You may have to gently tug on the threads separately to get them to even out.
Sometimes when you begin stitching and your thread is long it may inadvertently get wrapped around the strap when you are fiddling around trying to get the needle up through the correct hole. Try NOT let this happen or you will have to undo it and begin over again!
Continue stitching around the strap piece, each stitch coming up in the next empty hole and back down into the hole of the previous stitch. When your thread runs out, knot it a couple of times and the wrong side of your fabric and then bury the tail of the thread by running it back and forth under the back of the strap only and cut off the tail. Then start stitching again with a new piece of thread, coming up in the next empty hole and down into the hole of the previous stitch.
When you have reached the last two holes of the strap, finish it off by coming up in the second hole from the top, down into the third hole. REPEAT so you have a double stitich in this hole, and then come up in the top hole, down into the second hole and repeat. You now have 2 double secure stitches on both top edges of the strap.
Knot the thread a couple of times on the wrong side of the fabric and bury the tail of the thread like you did previously when you ran out of thread!
The front of your strap should look like this.
Repeat process for the second strap attachment piece.
Now flip your bag over to the side without straps attached and align the second strap in position with the first one, glue down and stitch it on.
Simply fold the straps down and out of the way when you are stitching the lining to the bag. You will have to sew slow when you get to the straps so you can push it out of the way of the presser foot.
You can get your copy of Abby’s Alley in my shop HERE!