Rope Handbag

Here’s a quick tutorial for a handbag with rope handles. I’ve pretty much been making the same summer bag for the past couple of years (see here and here).

Long story, but I bought some heavy-duty cotton rope to use for chair seats, then decided to go with wooden seats for the chairs since we have kids standing and spilling on the chairs. So I will be doing a lot of rope projects! This rope is a bit sturdier than the rope trim that you can find in the sewing store, but I think that will do just fine for this project. You could also use bamboo handles as I’ve done in the past, following the same instructions. I secured the rope handles by sewing them and then holding them together with hidden masking tape, but I think it would be a nice detail if you used metal clamps from the hardware store — and perhaps a bit more professional!

The fabric is by Nani Iro from Matatabi.

Click on the image below to download the instructions.


52 comments to Rope Handbag

  • That fabric you used is perfect for this bag, love it.

  • Love the bag great idea for handle.

  • This looks super cute for a cruise in the Greek islands. Bookmarked πŸ™‚

  • Suzanne

    Looks like it would be a nice craft bag too!

  • Oh that is lovely! *downloads*

  • Brendajos

    Loving this and I think it will be what occupies my craft room time today now that I am done with my outside work. I am curious what you mean by metal clamps though? I am having a hard time picturing what you are talking about.

    Thank you for the pattern! πŸ™‚

  • thelongthread

    Something like a clamp that plumbers would use on a pipe is what I was imagining:

    This one is a bit industrial, but you may be able to find something better at the hardware store. You’d have to make sure it doesn’t have a screw sticking out that would scrape you. It’s just something that I thought might give it a different kind of look — maybe with a geometric print. Or even some kind of wooden tube thing might be interesting.

  • I read this post earlier today and didn’t have time to leave a proper comment. I absolutely love this bag! {Being a lawyer, I have been intrigued by Friday’s post and the comments, but I completely agree less talk more craft.} I love what you did with the Portfolio top. I have made the dress and the top is on my to-do list!

  • this is lovely! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Okay this series of tutorials is for sure the best in blogworld. You have done a great job with “doable” patterns/crafts and I am inspired by each one. And I am not biased since I am a Georgia girl too, honest. Thanks so much. I hate paying for patterns sometimes!!

  • Great tutorial! I’ve used plastic aquarium tubing for handles like this too – it’s quite easy to punch holes in the ends and join them with a cable tie.

  • Kat

    gorgeous AND it looks so simple to makeβ€”thank you, i am going to bookmark this for whenever i next get to do some sewing for myself πŸ™‚

  • Jan

    I love this… I’m always on the lookout for oversized bags I can carry over my shoulder. I can see doing that with this one. Thanks so much!

  • OMG this is so pretty! I love love loove this, I need to make myself one. I love sewing and creating new things, and I have the materials to make myself one so I totally must. Thank you for sharing this super cute tutorial πŸ™‚ ( I am bookmarking you!)

  • I love the Nani Iro fabric you used for this bag! I have some that I am saving for a special project. I want to make this bag for sure! It would be a great nautical themed purse for the summer. Thanks so much for the tutorial!

  • Love this idea. The handle looks so cool with the fabric. Thanks for the link for the fabric. πŸ™‚

  • Martha

    I love the new rope interpretation! Thanks for sharing the tutorial. It looks like such a fun, breezy bag for summer.

  • Thanks for a great tutorial! I love how the rope instantly adds that nautical feel. Looks pretty easy. I’m for sure going to do this! I love your fabric choice too!

  • Lisa

    Such a great idea! I have some cowgirl print that I’ve been debating what to do with and this is perfect!

  • Natalie

    Where to you get the cotton rope? I’ve been searching everywhere!

  • thelongthread

    I ordered it from amazon:

    But I bought a lot of it for a chair project, so this would be way too much for a bag!

  • Natalie

    Thanks so much for answering. Wow, you’re right, that is a lot of rope. I’ve searched everywhere and everything I find is coated is some time of plastic. Just not cute. I’ll keep searching for a more manageable amount. BTW, I was lucky enough to buy your book off the Barnes and Noble shelf a few weeks ago (I found out that it wasn’t supposed to actually be out on the shelf, so I got it early!) I LOVE it. LOVE it!! Of course I love you site so I didn’t expect anything less. Thank you for your generosity in your tutorials and your thouroughness in your book. You are an amazing seamstress and I hope to learn more. I plan on sewing every project in the book. Natalie

  • I am disappointed because my computer will not enlarge you directions for me to find out how to make the purse, whether you use anything else other than the lining fabric. Will you please e-mail me and let me know? I would like to make this purse for my daughter. Also, what store sells rope of this kind? Fabric store?

  • I was unable to get directions for the rope bag . Can you tell me what if anything other than cotton or linen lining is used inside bag and where to obtain the rope for the rope bag as well?

  • Em

    This cotton rope can be found at marine supply stores.

  • fatemeh

    hi your website is great. i love this πŸ˜€

  • dls

    it could be a nice option to cover the cord in the same or contrast fabric; I’ve done so and really not that hard; get that turning tool to turn the fabric with

  • I love this and they would make perfect gifts for my grand daughters and my sisters. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Charlene Bray

    I love your rope bag. I have looked in all our fabric stores for this type of rope. No one has anything close to it. Please tell me where I can order.

    Charlene Bray
    Bag Lady

  • Lindi

    You can get ropes of different thicknesses at
    Home Depot or Lowes.

  • Sharon

    Love the simplicity & functionality of the very cute bag. The different handles you have used keep it new & different. Thanks for sharing with us!

  • Karen Nelson

    Im going to make it right now!!!!! Girlfriend just came home from hospital and quick EZ GREAT gift for her when she up and about!!! Get well gift!!!! Thank you thank you!!!

  • Robin in New Jersey

    Very nice! I hope to make one with my 15 year old daughter. She really wants to sew and needs easy projects.

  • I was just browsing and came upon this hand bag you designed. Just thing I need to try for my self and grandchildren etc. I am so looikng forward to starting the project. Thanks so much.

  • Can’t wait to give it a try. I am always looking for something like a hand bag to make in the spirit of the moment. Thank you again.

  • Betsy

    I got my things that I need for this purse. For the rope I was able to get a curtain tassel that I will be able to cut and use for the handle. I found it by the curtain accessories. I’m planning to use grommets to fasten it to the bag. At least we’ll see how it goes! Thanks for the pattern!

  • Great idea – thanks for sharing the how-to!

  • vee

    I like this handbag. I have alot of rope for handles.

  • Hi,
    love the bag however I can’t download it
    only in a small size, don’t I need a large size to trace
    on the material, please help. Blessings Gloria

  • Pam

    Beautiful choice for fabric and looks so simple to make but such an elegant finished purse….These Bags are Perfect for my 2 older gals tastes….Christmas Gifts here we come LOL…
    Happy Turkey day to all…God bless

  • Zoe

    This is so cute, I adore the fabric πŸ™‚

  • Can prequilted fabric be used or would it be too cumbersome



  • Sherry

    Where did you get that fabric? I’m sorry if someone has already asked but I really need to know.

  • Trish Jennings

    I am trying to read the instructions for the rope handbag, but the instructions are VERY
    small print. I would appreciate if you could enlarge the print and send it to my email address.

    Thank you, Trish Jennings

  • Have just retired and looking for something fun and productive to do. I’ve sewn so many projects when my children were younger. They are grown with children of all ages. This is a GREAT return to a “fun” hobby! THANKS so much for renewing my interest!

  • Nena

    I love this purse! I used New England Regatta Polyester 12 strand single braid from West Marine store.–regatta-polyester-single-braid–P002_071_001_002
    It is very soft and pliable and will hold up much better than 100% cotton and it comes by the foot and costs about $1.00 per foot. Buy what you need- no waste. Plus I was able to get one of those fat upholstery needles through it no problem. I used heavy duty polyester thread and some heavy duty duct tape to keep the ends together. I have made this purse in an extra large size and my daughter uses it as a beach and pool tote. I would strongly recommend using a lightweight fusible interfacing for the lining fabric to give this bag some body. Otherwise, this makes a great beach/pool tote or in a smaller version a really cute handbag! Nice work!

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