The Kimberly Bag & My Version of the Perfect Handle

This weekend I made my first Kimberly Bag.  Kimberly is a pattern by Amy Butler and I made my bag to look exactly like the picture on the pattern cover.  I’m in love with the Primrose pattern from the Nigella line of her fabrics. LUV it!

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This pattern was a bit trickier to work with than I had expected.  This pattern is not for beginners.

I followed the pattern instructions, exactly.   That took willpower.  When I got to the instructions for the handles I almost improvised and made them the way I make them for the bags that I design.  But I decided that I would stick with the pattern and see how it turned out.  I should have improvised.

I nearly burnt my hand off making those darn handles! 

So here is how I make handles.  Simple, easy, quick and sturdy.  Sturdy without bulk.  Here’s how I do it:

For demonstration I am making thin handles.  I prefer these but for my laptop totes I make wider handles since the load is heavier.

I cut my fabric strips 2 inches wide.  If I am using a regular cotton weight fabric I might apply some lightweight fusible interfacing, but most times I don’t.  Thicker fabric I definitely do not interface.  Fold the fabric in half along the long edge and sew together using a 1/4 inch seam. 

Next I turn the tube inside out using a very slick tool that I could not live without.  The Fasturn.

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Here is where the sturdy part comes in.  I insert into the fabric tube that I just made a piece of belting.  I use 1 inch belting and I cut it in half for the thin handles.

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I then stitch along each long edge, stitching right through the belting.  Done. 

When you attach the handle to the purse/tote you sew right through the belting again.  For wider handles I cut my strips 2 1/2 inches wide and I use the belting as is.

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These handles would have worked perfectly on my Kimberly Bag.  I could have saved myself some skin.  Next time.

Oh, and here is the inside of the bag.  I added a little pocket.  So actually I did improvise, a tiny bit.

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28 thoughts on “The Kimberly Bag & My Version of the Perfect Handle

  1. Very very clever and oh so pretty!
    I love your ingenious tube gadgets…
    Oh to be able to sew! I must learn this year.. I have the sewing machine but what I don’t have just now is the time…
    Mx

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  2. wow…..it looks amazing. Absolutely beautiful.
    I certainly won’t be attempting anything like that anytime soon…or probably anytime at all. sigh…
    V.

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  3. The bag looks absolutely gorgeous and ten zillion thanks for the tutorial. I have belting in my stash so I will likely use that technique. Plus I ADORE my fast turn set.
    I took Amy’s Nappy Sack that I had made out of repro feedsacks out antiquing today and was accosted by several ladies who had to know where I bought it. That was a nice feeling. I’m thinking of entering it for the contest. It has NO chance of winning because it has no class of the other bags being entered but it is fun and unique.
    Hope to blog on it later this week when the pics are in.
    Peace out,
    C

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  4. Wowee Suzy!!! What a faboo job you did! I make handles like you show here…I can’t imagine what on earth the AB directions were that caused you to lose skin!?

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  5. Love the purse! I have that fastturn tool kit, I don’t use it much, but when I need it I find it’s perfect! so, maybe if I sewed a little more I could use it a little more! Great purse!

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  6. What a great bag! If I felt more confident installing a zipper, I would try it! Thanks for the handle tutorial! Have never seen them made that way, also have not ever seen the turning tool either. Can you get that in any fabric store?

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  7. Funny, I just made a bag yesterday for our grandson. Would have liked to read this earlier to know your belting tip.
    Do you have any tips for attaching the handles to the bag? I didn’t like the way mine turned out.

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  8. Hi there! I came upon your blog and the very nice handbag you created and low, you mention the very product my father invented! The Fasturn is indeed a wonderful tool, and I am most pleased to see it in use wherever I go. Did you know we were just named one of the “Top 25 ” sewing notions (by PBS Sewing with Nancy TV show)…
    My late mom really started the whole thing (she was the quilter in our family and got my dad — a nuclear engineer — to invent the Fasturn). Any how, I would love to offer you (and your readers) a special. Just ring us (800-729-0280) and mention your blog, we will give you a 30% discount on your order — lots of neat things we now have (and all made right here in Medford, Oregon)!!
    Thank you again!
    David
    http://www.crowning-touch.com / 800-729-0280

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  9. Hi there! I came upon your blog and the very nice handbag you created and low, you mention the very product my father invented! The Fasturn is indeed a wonderful tool, and I am most pleased to see it in use wherever I go. Did you know we were just named one of the “Top 25 ” sewing notions (by PBS Sewing with Nancy TV show)…
    My late mom really started the whole thing (she was the quilter in our family and got my dad — a nuclear engineer — to invent the Fasturn). Any how, I would love to offer you (and your readers) a special. Just ring us (800-729-0280) and mention your blog, we will give you a 30% discount on your order — lots of neat things we now have (and all made right here in Medford, Oregon)!!
    Thank you again!
    David
    http://www.crowning-touch.com / 800-729-0280

    Like

  10. Holy smokes! That is a REALLY great idea for making handles! I will have to try that.
    Very cute bag! I have a couple of Amy Butler patterns but I haven’t set any time aside (or built up the nerve) to make one. I’m glad you posted that great tip for that bag. You just saved all of us some skin!!
    Thank you! 🙂

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  11. Love the bag…I just bought the pattern last week and I’m a little confused when I read thru it today (usually her patterns are so easy)…it says to cut 8 bottom panels in the interfacing? I just read thru it quickly…any quick hints on putting it together…I’m guessing I’m just going to have to read thru very carefully…but I always get so excited to get the bag done.

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  12. Great job. I see pleats, were these taken before the zipper or after?
    I used your idea about the belting as I have loads laying around! Thanks!

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