Braided Bag Tutorial
After having worked on the library bags I decided it was time to try a different type of bag. I am no authority in the ways of sewing, but I thought this turned out to be a cute little bag.
For this bag you need a 28x28" square of heavy fabric, I used a home décor fabric, but a canvas or duck cloth would work nicely as well. You will also need 3 pieces of 4x50" cotton fabric for the handle.
First measure 14"x28" of your fabric, which of course should be the center, but always measure to make sure. Once you have the two pieces cut, fold them in half with the good side facing out. This makes the bag have identical insides and outsides, no messing with a separate liner.
Next take your three pieces of cotton fabric and sew them into tubes, wrong side out, seam allowance isn't terribly important for this part, but I used 1/4". After you have your tubes made pull them right side out and fold in the ends and sew to make a nice end seam.
Next comes the braiding of the handle. Hold all three pieces together and sew the ends together to make a place to start braiding. The handle is so long that you may need someone to help hold one end as you braid the other end. Pull tight every now and then and check to make sure your braid is straight. The cotton likes to twist. Once you get to the end, line up all the edges again and sew across to keep them in place.
The next step will be to tuck your handle in between the two pieces of cloth. This is the only part where my pictures don't look the way I would like them too. I should have had the handle over a little bit further to the edges, right up as close to the edge as you can fit it in there. Squish it to make it all fit in as small a space as possible. If you get your handle like I have here, the bag will still turn out rather nicely, but you may have a little bit of handle showing through on the inside once the bag is complete. I still like it, but its not as polished as it can be. Your handle should rest roughly 1" into the bag. 1" should have the flat sewn edges into the bag, without too much bulk of the braid. This will make the bag very thick at this part, make sure you are using a heavy duty sewing needle. If you get too much bulk it makes the machine very angry.
From here we pin up the bag with right sides facing out keeping all the sides nice and straight. Next sew around the outside of the fabric (which of course doesn't matter since both inside and outside look the same, but humor me) as close to the edge as you can while still catching all the fabric. Trim very close to the seam and flip the bag inside out, taking care to push your corners out as best as you can. Next sew back around the seam, at roughly 1/4" so that all your raw edges are caught on the inside of this new seam. You don't want fraying raw edges hanging out when you flip the bag rightside out. Then and flip back right side out take careful time to push your corners out.
Voila, a braided handle bag.