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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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

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

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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?)

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

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

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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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