Understanding a Design Opportunity on Your Next Bag

Lazies, Let’s talk about the design behind using rings on the handles of your next bag. Any place on your bag where different fabrics come together is a design opportunity. Make the most of it. On our latest design, Candice, I used one fabric above the rings and a different fabric below.

For Candice, use the same accent fabric from behind the front slant pocket to attach the rings for the handles. This fabric placement is a very mindful and intentional part of the design. The rings are a show piece for the bag. Call attention to it. Or why do it at all?

Using black below the rings and red above forces my eye to stop at the point where they come together and think about what I am seeing. I am calling attention to the design. The rings are the opportunity to do so very stylishly.

Below, I’ve done a mock-up of the same Candice bag from the cover and I’ve Photoshopped the red/white fabric in place of the black below the rings. It looks nice. You can still see the rings. But visually, your eye is going to want to jump right over the rings from one fabric piece to the other, as though the rings weren’t even there.

Take a look at the two photos side by side. The left has the black below the rings, the right has red/white. For me, the rings nearly disappear in the photo to the right.

If you choose not to use rings, you can still create the design element of where the two fabrics come together simply by piecing your handle fabric at the ends.

To piece handles for Candice:
Cut 2″ lengths for each end of the handle.
Cut the rest of the handle at 24.5″.
Sew the three pieces together using a .25″ seam allowance for a 27″ handle with 1.5″ accent fabrics on each end.

Ring Options
Now, let’s talk about those rings. I have totally been groovin on the Clover rectangular rings. I must say, when I first saw them I thought they were really big. I thought they might over power my designs. Then, I worked them into a prototype and some kind of weird sewing mojo magic happened. They were absolutely the right size and scale. Ah, a new learning curve for me.

I’m frankly quite conservative with my boldness. It’s true. So I surprised myself when I saw these cuties in place on my bag and all was right with the world. I used the 1″ size rings for the 1″ wide handles in Candice.

Studio Kat Designs offers a great set of rectangular rings, too. They are perfect for Candice. Kat sells a pack of 4 in nickel or brass finish. Hop over to her site and check them out: StudioKat metal rings

For more info about rings, see our post: Choosing and Using D Rings


Leave a Lazy Comment

7 Responses to “Understanding a Design Opportunity on Your Next Bag”

  1. Jean Zeiler — November 14, 2011 @ 8:57 am

    I am so glad you shared this info with us. I really like the look and their shape.

    I will order some of them right away. Thanks, as always. Jean

  2. JackieS — November 14, 2011 @ 9:44 am

    You brought up an excellent point. Your eye does stop with the black and it does make a hugh statement. Thank you for this info. It does make a difference.

  3. Rose — November 14, 2011 @ 10:35 am

    Whenever I discard an old handbag that is beyond recycling, I always take off the re-usable parts–zippers, D-Rings, and so on. So I have a variety to choose from now when I make my own Candace bag. I bought the pattern and plan to make one for myself and one as a Christmas gift. The instructions are really well-written and I can’t wait to get started on it!

  4. Pat Elsner — November 14, 2011 @ 4:12 pm

    I have made quite a few Summer Tote bags (her favorite) for a friend of mine over the past 7 years. She literally wears out the straps on them before the rest of the bag shows wear and needs to be replaced, so I always make an extra set of straps while I am constructing her bag then she can easily replace the original ones when they become too ‘ratty.’

  5. Donna Aten — November 14, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

    It’s amazing how much nicer the Candice looks with the black below the rings. I’m really glad I saw this before I started selecting fabric for my Candice!

  6. Kelly Jackson — November 14, 2011 @ 8:51 pm

    Great photos…and you are so right…lots of opportunity to be creative while having the comfort of knowing the pattern will work out!


  7. Lu Ann — November 16, 2011 @ 3:47 pm

    What great ideas that Pat and Rose have! Thanks for lesson on design, also 🙂