Use Rope to Sew a Cute Saddle Bag Purse

Elevate your accessory game with a touch of handmade sophistication by crafting your very own purse using rope. This creative endeavor combines practicality with style, offering a unique and eye-catching accessory that’s sure to turn heads. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps of how to use rope to sew a cute Saddle bag Purse allowing you to showcase your crafting skills and personal flair.

The Basic Principle of Sewing with Rope:

Sewing a rope to another rope, repeating makes a shape only limited to your design & imagination. Since rope is essentially a long thin ‘line’ it is not really that difficult to understand how to create a design. Geometry helps to calculate how to make a certain size shape using the desired length and width of the shapes. The possibilities are endless…

The most simple shapes involve circles or parts of circles ( oblong oval shapes) since the rope is easily sewn around and around. The length of the start piece will also determine the final dimension as well as the number of revolutions around the shape. If there is a way to camouflage the place where the rope ends it will also have a more ‘finished’ intentional look.

Choosing which rope to use:

The main supplies; Ropes are available in many sizes and materials. In our world it seems that the most common ones lately seem to be made of polyester. The ropes that are braided are able to be sewn, as the twisted ones tend to be more difficult (but individual testing is recommended) I do not have an industrial sewing machine so I tend to use a rope that is 1/4″ diameter or smaller. A size of 3/16″ or 7/32″ work well for me and do not strain my machine at all. The thickness of the rope will also determine the stability of the final piece so it a personal preference of whether you like stiffness or a more pliable bag. The weight will also be more with a thicker rope. Different ropes come in different fibre content.

If I plan to carry the purse often it will likely be exposed to some weather and dirt, so polyester will be more soil resistant and washable. The colours of polyester rope are not that plentiful however. I am experimenting with dyeing it and will post on that soon.

Materials Needed:

  1. Thick rope (such as clothesline cotton cord or polyester) my preference is 3/16″ or 7/32″
  2. Sewing machine with heavy-duty needle
  3. Fabric for lining (optional)
  4. Scissors
  5. Measuring tape
  6. Thread (matching or contrast the color of the rope)
  7. Buckles or clasps (optional, for closures)
  8. A lighter if sealing the ends of Polyester rope.

How to start a shape:

Before I start I often make a bit of a test piece. Most often the rope is sewn together with a wide zigzag stitch that catches both sides of the rope. In this case I decided to use one of the decorative stitches on my old Kenmore machine. It is similar to a zigzag stitch but creates triangles.

Once I determined the size of the bag front I measured the starting piece and then folded over to start stitching around. Rather than making a round or oblong shape in this case I am making a flat edge at the top. (see pictures below) If the rope needs a bit of push I use a wood skewer.

Continue to Sew around:

I often make a drawing or sketch to figure out the way the rope will wrap. This shape for the front is a bit more unique than most oblong or circle shapes so I needed to add straight top rows.

As a way of hiding the end cut I did fold it in before the last row. I think of designing with rope as a bit of a puzzle… (no cell phone game here 😉

Determine the size of the Back Piece:

Since the back will fold over the front of the bag, I measured how much of a ‘flap’ it will have. In my case 14″ should be the overall length of the back and it would be the same width as the front. Whenever you are dealing with the round shape of the sewn rope you are using a radius measurement (centre point to outer edge) The width of the piece is 2x the radius.

To create a 13″ long oblong shape, 6″ wide I subtracted the radius (3″) from each end (6″) to use a start strip of 7″. See the pattern below

It is quite easy to adjust the pattern to make the body of the purse whatever size you’d like; just remember to take in account of the radius on the end as well as the width. A narrower purse can be made with a deeper/wider side panel. These purses work well a small cell phone carriers.

I started creating the long oblong for the purse back and fold-over flap. This shape is quite easy to make; continue around.

Starting the Back & Flap panel:

The centre length in my design is 7″ long for a final length of 13″ (once 2x 6″ radius are added)

Keeping i as flat as possible I follow around as many rounds as the front panel.

It took 30 rounds to match the width of the front panel, ending at the bottom of the bag.

To finish the end it is cut and heated with a lighter to melt the ends. Be careful not to catch it on fire though, it doesn’t take much to melt the polyester. If it is cotton rope you can wrap with thread, add extra stitching or put a decorative tab. Perhaps your own handmade label canbe prominently displayed.

The Basic Pieces of the Cute Saddle Bag Purse:

To allow some versatility of the strap I left some loops on the top of the side panels. Rather than being a flat bag it gives the purse a great boxy shape. The options for the closure hardware are quite vast.

Simple Lobster claw D-ring clasps allow swapping of straps. They clip into the loops on the side sections. (like eyelets) You may also consider pre-made straps available in many materials & widths.

To attach the closure clasps the parts will poke through the rope quite easily. Use some pliers or small hammer to bend the prongs. One of the great things about sewing rope is that the inside is as pretty as the outside. I don not think the bag interior needs any lining but if you would like some pouches for credit cards etc you can sew one and attach easily before closing the bag side seams.

Closing the side Seams:

The side pieces are hand sewn to the edge of the front and back. Since it is quite sturdy sewing with a matching thread is quite easy and invisible. There really is no right sides as the exterior pieces (right sides) are the same as inside.

Whenever I want to make sure something is sewn in the centre, I will mark the middle and the sew from there. It is usually a better outcome than starting from one end. Polyester rope also lets the needle through easily compared to hand sewing leather.

Once I am half finished I then plan the placement of the closure so it is in the exact right spot.

The rope does not need to be cut as the prongs can be forced through to hold the clasp buckle.

This rope handbag has impressed me quite a bit considering how simple it is. Since the top edge of the bag (inside of the bag) is straight it closes quite tightly as well.

Sewing purses often involves some complicated sewing patterns and the addition of a stabilizer. The inside of a sewn bag usually needs a lining or pockets. This Cute Saddle Bag Purse has a sturdy shape and enough weight to wear well. It’s hard to believe that a couple packs of dollar store rope can look this great.

Give sewing rope a try, before you know it you’ll be making totes, bowls, baskets and place mats. There’s ways to incorporate your amazing prints as well and make trivets. Endless creative possibilities…

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