Making bags and purse with leather/pleather is all the rage right now. I myself love pleather to bits, we stock 12 delicious (easy to sew with) colours! What is great about pleather is that it's really durable, making it perfect for bag making. But, as you can imagine, sewing with pleather can get rather too bulk-tastic for our poor sewing machines. One bag area where things can get bulky-crazy is the bag straps - all of those strap layers, and there's the strap ends, and there's the attaching of those bulky strap ends to the bag itself - aaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!
Here is my method for making pleather bag straps that look cute and are less bulky, this means your machine will be quite happy to these stitch these straps up for you! These pleather bag straps are made from Pleather (on the top) and lined with fabric (on the bottom). This lessens the bulk, and as the strap lining matches the bag lining, the straps look awesome!
CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE
How to make (less) bulky p/leather bag straps:
1. Cut strap pieces
- If stitching handles into seams: cut 1 x pleather strip to double your desired width. Cut to your desired length + 2 lots of seam allowance + 3/4" (2cm). Cut the lining fabric to same measurements as pleather. Cut fusible interfacing (for lining fabric) to same measurements as pleather.
- If adding hook or ring ends to your pleather straps cut 1 x pleather stripto double your desired width. Cut to your desired length + 4" (10cm) for folding over the hook/ring. Cut the lining fabric to your desired length + 3" (7.5cm). Cut fusible interfacing (for lining fabric) to same measurements as lining.
2. Trim 3/4" from a lining interfacing short edge. Position interfacing into wrong side centre of lining fabric and iron in place. Now, (this bit is important) carefully trim off 3/16" (5mm) from a lining long edge. You will see why this is important in step 6.
3. (See pic below). Fold the lining in half and iron gently (just to get a visible centre crease) and open out. If adding hook/ring ends - fold in both lining short edges 3/8" (1cm) to the wrong side, then fold in both long edges to the centre crease. If not adding hooks just fold both long edges to the centre. Iron all edges, and iron out the centre crease too.
View of right and wrong side. I am adding a ring to my straps, so I've folded the short edges in.
4. (See pic below). Draw a line down the pleather fabric wrong side, long edge centre. Fold the pleather long edges to the WS centre line. Hold the folds in place with sewing clips.
5. (See pic below). Image shows strap right side on bottom, and strap wrong side on top). Set your stitch length to 4 and stitch along both raw long edges (now folded to strap centre). Stitch 1/8" (3mm) from the raw edges. When stitching on pleather remember to leave long thread tails. Leave them uncut till the very end.
6. (See pics below). Position the lining onto the pleather. Bring the strap lining and exterior pieces wrong sides together. The strap lining needs to positioned centrally onto the strap exterior - this means at both ends there should be a little clearance from the lining short edge to the exterior short edge, and on both long edges the lining is a touch narrower than the exterior (we don’t want the lining long edges peeking out, that wouldn’t look nice). Use plenty of clips to secure together.
If making a strap to be stitched into the seams follow as above except, there will be no clearance at the lining short edges (as the lining and pleather are the same length).
Notice how in this picture (of the strap right side) the lining does not peek out from underneath the strap? That's because we took the trouble to trim off the 3/16" from the lining long edge. How neat does that look!
7. (See pic below). If making a strap with hook/ring ends read on - if not, skip this step and follow the next). On both right side exterior strap short edges use a hera marker to draw a line that falls 1/8” (3mm) below the lining short edge. These lines will be stitching guides for the next step.
8. (See pic below). With stitch length still at 4, stitch the lining and exterior strap pieces together. Stitch on the strap right side 1/8” (3mm) from both long edges, and (if making a strap with hook ends) on the short edges stitch along the lines you drew in the previous step. If stitching the strap into the seams just stitching along the long edges is fine.
As you stitch the strap long edges, take care to prevent the lining from riding out from under the exterior (don’t let the lining escape and spoil the look of your strap!).
If you are stitching the strap into the seams your strap is now ready to be attached to your bag. If adding hooks/rings to your strap read on...
9. (See pic below). This is how your strap should look.
The lining side looks cute with it's extra pop of colour and the right side looks professional with some rather swish topstitching!
10. (See pics below). Zigzag stitch both strap short edges.
I set my stitch width to 3 and my length to 2.5, but do test on a folded scrap to see what works best for your machine. The stitches should not be too close or too apart. See my strap and aim for the same.
11. (See pics below). Your strap is now ready for the addition of hook/rings. On my strap I'm adding a strap slider, the method is the same for whatever wing-ding you want to add.
Take one of the strap ends right side out and thread it through the strap slider. Fold the strap end over the slider bar to the strap wrong side by 2” (5cm).
Topstitch the strap end down 3/8” & 1/2” (1cm & 1.3cm) from the strap (zigzagged) short edge. Pull the machine threads to the WS and securely knot the tails together and trim. Also knot any other visible thread tails together.
And here is the strap in situ (on our Hermes Bag). Cute (and effective) eh! :)
Happy (pleather) strap making!