Tutorial: How To Choose and Use Our New Handy Tabs

Lazies, Let’s get acquainted with my new line of Handy Tabs ready-to-sew fabric strips. If you missed their introduction a few weeks ago, here’s a previous blog post for some background on the tabs.

Choosing A Color
Handy Tabs come in 10 colors. Pick a few colors that coordinate with your fabrics and audition them as shown below. Decide if you want the tabs to blend in or stand out. There may be a few good options, so stand back, squint, and choose. White Rice, Dark Chocolate Brown and Oregano Green all look good with this line of ‘City Girl’ fabric from Benartex.

The Basics
Shown here, Dark Chocolate Brown Handy Tabs create a loop to hold a fashion handle in place on this sample.

Fashion handles such as the black U-shaped handle shown below offer a hole for attaching to your project. In most cases, you’ll need to attach a handle like this during construction. Others can be attached at the end.

Feed a Handy Tab through the hole on the handle, match the ends of the tab and pin to secure. Here you can see an opened tab and a tab pinned in place.

The Long and Short Of It
The Handy Tabs are 4″ long, pre-folded to 2″. Of that 2″ length, you’ll need at least 1/4″ for a seam allowance. For a long loop, maximum of 1 3/4″ length, match the edges of the tab to the edge of your project as shown here.

For a shorter loop, simply extend the ends of the tab off the edge of your project. Handy Tabs are bound on all edges for strength, so do not cut the extra length. It will be hidden in the seam allowance of the finished project. Be sure to extend all tabs the same amount to make the loops all the same size.

Attach Handy Tabs
Leave the pins in place on the tabs. Find the placement you need to center your handle on the project and determine the length loop you want, then pin the tab ends to your project. Remove the first set of pins (closest to the handle) if you like. Complete your project as directed.

During Construction
Be sure the loop is long enough to allow your sewing machine presser foot to pass by the fashion handle as you sew. If the presser foot runs into your handle, the project will shift and create an uneven or crooked line of stitching.

Detachable Handles
Some fashion handles have removable hardware, allowing you to add the handle at the end of the project. To do so, sew the Handy Tabs into place, creating loops. When your project is finished, feed the ‘U’ shaped hardware through the loop and screw into place.

Shown here is an open tab to the left so you can see its length, and a folded tab pinned in place ready to sew to the right.

For more on choosing and attaching fashion handles, see our blog post here.

Attaching Other Accessories

Many purse and bag accessories such as key rings, swivel clips, etc, can be attached using Handy Tabs. Simply attach them during or after construction using these same techniques.


[tags]fashion handles, purse accessories, purse hardware[/tags]

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5 Responses to “Tutorial: How To Choose and Use Our New Handy Tabs”

  1. Jeannie — June 9, 2008 @ 7:04 am

    Love using these. They are as easy as you explained!! I like not having to fight with the bulk!!

  2. Penny — June 9, 2008 @ 9:23 am

    Great tutorial, I know they will be invaluable with our purse making addiction. They were so easy to use and I look forward to trying some of the other colors. I will use some in my Jump into June project. Stay tuned.


  3. Linda Focht — June 9, 2008 @ 10:00 am

    Hi Joan,
    Thanks for the tutorial. I had never thought of so many different ways to use them. It is nice to see the picture also

  4. Kim Jones — June 9, 2008 @ 10:17 am

    Joan you have made this so simple! Thanks for the tutorial! You took great pics and gave great directions.

    Creating a NEW bag is exciting, but doing the finishing touches can be that last step we just can’t get beyond, you have taken the step to get us through that.
    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!


  5. Judy Bigelow — June 11, 2008 @ 2:44 pm

    These are great colors and will make my bags look even more professional.