When Vera Bradley Straps Die (aka replacing straps on a good tote bag)

March 21, 2017

The straps on my favorite Vera Bradley pattern at the time were fraying and looking rather shabby. The photo below is my new favorite pattern (yes, I know it’s not a recent pattern, but I really try to make them last as long as humanly possible, they aren’t cheap!) and what the strap should look like on a tote bag. Now go down to the next photo, to see what I did to save my bag.

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What it should look like when new.
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What you can do to rescue your tote.

I bought four rings that coordinated with my bag. Then as luck would have it, I found an almost exact match for the bag fabric at the local big chain fabric store. I think it was supposed to be a look alike fabric (nice term for rip-off or copy cat) so the colors and design all matched pretty well. I was planning on getting a solid color to match but this was so much better. I did a little measuring to make sure I didn’t cut too low.  I wanted to have enough space to make a loop around one side of the ring and be able to get it onto my sewing machine. That probably means about 4 inches. Don’t quote me, I’m too lazy to get up and measure at the moment.

I recreated the same strap by using a little batting and the usual strap procedure (cut fabric 4 times final desired width and add 4″ to desired length, fold each side in to meet in middle then fold in half again matching folded sides together on one side, stitch lengthwise to secure and mimic the sewing lines on the original straps) to make it look as authentic as possible. Now sew each of the ends of the tote bag’s original straps to the rings and then attach the new straps. Make a lot of measurements as you go to either match the length if you liked how the bag hung on your shoulder or adjust accordingly. Don’t TWIST them in a funny way! You will be ripping out stitches!

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Before and After. Pretend they are the same pattern.

Great way to rescue favorite bags and keep them in use a little bit longer…

Want to see a more detailed video or tutorial? I’ll make one if enough of you are interested!

Thank you to Vera Bradley for making such beautiful bags!

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