Bag Making Tutorial: How to Install Cut-out Handles

Metal cut-out handles add are a great way of adding professional looking handles to a handbag or tote. They look fabulous and aren't too difficult to install. They are usually circlular, oval or rectangular. I stock some lovely oval cut-out handles in the shop.

statement tote bag

For the bag pictured above, I completed the bag construction first of all and installed the handles at the end. As well as interfacing the fabrics, during the bag construction, I also used fusible fleece to reinforce the bag more. This helps to give the bag stucture and supports the handle parts - I fused fleece to the whole of the main body and upper parts but you could also just use a piece (bigger than the handles) and ensure it is fused to either the lining or outer fabric pieces prior to the bag construction.

3.5 inch oval cut-out bag handles


How to install metal cut-out handles: undo the screws to separate the handle pieces.

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Using one of the front pieces as a template, position it centrally onto the right side of the bag. Use a pencil to draw around the inner oval. Pin through the bag layers, around where the handle will go, to keep the layers aligned. Cut the shape out, going through all the layers. Place the handle parts together, with the bag layers sandwiched between. Trim back more fabric, bit by bit and evenly, all around the cut-out shape until you don’t see any fabric sticking out when the metal parts are put together. You’ll also need to snip little notches, where the screws will be situated.

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Once you’re happy with the cut-out shape, screw the handle parts securely together. Repeat to install the other handle. Optional: for a stronger bond you might like to apply some strong textile glue around the fabric edges and the back of each handle part. Leave to go tacky for about 5 mins and then screw the handle parts together. Leave overnight to cure.

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If you'd like to have a go at using these cut-out handles for a bag making project, you'll find them here in the shop.