DIY · Sewing · Style · Thrifts

Slipcovers for Handles (or How I Spent My Rainy April Afternoon)


Simple Fix for Bag Handles

I love a good slipcover – white duck cloth on sofas (like this and this and this) and chairs and anything else – I love it. Not that I have white slipcovers in my house – I’m a little bit afraid. But I love the idea. Who knows, maybe when we finally finish the den, I’ll decide to bite the bullet and commit to white slipcovers.

But today, I’m showing you a slipcover for my purse. (Do you say “purse” or “bag”? Or maybe “pocketbook”? I always heard “pocketbook” when I was growing up, but I never hear that anymore. Maybe it’s a Southern thing.)

It’s finally Spring (Happy belated Easter!), but the weather has turned decidedly cold this week. I was thrilled to wake up to rain this morning. Just when I thought I would be packing away my winter boots and bags, today I found myself cranking up the heater, pulling out rain boots, and snuggling in on the sofa for a little sewing project.


Here’s my everyday bag. It’s nothing fancy – something I picked up a Target a couple of years ago. I’ve used it almost daily, repurposing it as a diaper bag at first and now as my catch-all handbag for fundraising files, tissues, earbuds, lip balm, snacks for little people, my current reading, and about a thousand receipts that gather in the bottom and multiply.


And here are its pitiful, overworked handles. I know I can just replace it, and I’m sure I will, but I haven’t yet found one I like nearly as much as this one. And amazingly, the rest of the bag is in fantastic shape. It looks almost new. So I started thinking, what could I do to make it better without taking it to the repair shop to get new handles and have them say, “You know this isn’t real leather, right?” Lipstick on a pig and whatnot.

So I started brainstorming. Lightbulb! I could make little covers for the handles.


I dug out an old thrifted coat (that I used for my beloved clutch several years ago – still my most pinned and visited project on the blog to date).


After measuring the part of the handle to be covered, I determined that the new “slipcovers” needed to be 2″ x 7″ strips. This was found on the coat’s lapel.


I took the lapel apart, removed the lining, and cut the pieces into the correct lengths and widths.



I used brown thread and inserted the needle on the inside of the leather so that the loose ends would be tucked inside.


The thread proved difficult to move through the leather, so I used coconut oil on the thread to help it along. (Is there anything coconut oil can’t help?)


I centered the leather strip under the handle and then curved it around, sort of like a taco shell.





Pinching wrong sides together, I used a blanket stitch to close the leather strips around the handles.


This was a little challenging, and I was wishing for a thimble for this part. (Anyone else have a hard time saying “thimble”? I always feel like I’m saying “cymbal” with a lisp. Every. Single. Time.)


I worked all the way down the opening of the strip, making sure the leather was sewn snuggly around the handles to keep it from slipping.



And here’s my old bag with her slipcovered handles. (A contrasting color of leather would be a fun option, too.)

And here’s also a sneak peek at our new dining room color – Dark Diversion by Clark + Kensington. We are deep in house projects around here – updating the back patio (including outfitting the daybed), painting the majority of the interior of the house, and finally deciding on flooring for the den. But don’t expect a house tour soon – we’ve lived here almost 2 years, and we’re just now deciding on paint colors. Baby steps, folks, baby steps.


4 thoughts on “Slipcovers for Handles (or How I Spent My Rainy April Afternoon)

  1. I love this idea. I may try it on my thrifted Kenneth Cole purse. The body of of the purse still looks good after several years, but the handles look shabby.


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