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. They really needed replacing. 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.
What to do about it:

I found 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, a look alike fabric (nice term for rip-off or copy cat) so the colors and design all matched pretty well. This fabric was much better since I was planning on getting a solid color. Measured twice to make sure it wasn’t cut too low.  The strap had to have enough space to make a loop around one side of the ring and be able to fit on the 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 (check out this tutorial) 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…

Here is a more detailed tutorial on strap making.

Thank you to Vera Bradley for making such beautiful bags!

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