When it comes to making handbags my absolute nemesis has got to be handles! Unless I make clutch bags all the time, there is no escaping putting a handle onto a handbag. They just seem to give me no end of grief though.
Take today, for a prime example. I made a lovely little satin bridal bag, with a single strap handle but it took me three attempts to make the handle. The first one, I tried to do some decorative stitching along it which ended up crooked. Second time, I tried a different decorative stitch and I ran out of cotton three quarters of the way along the handle. Trying to match up the stitching again was virtually impossible. The third handle I ended up leaving plain.
Having made the handle, I had to attach it. Simple you may think. I sewed it on when sewing in the lining. Having turned the bag the right way out, I found the handle was twisted. Having unpicked the stitching and trying again, the handle wasn't on straight. Third time was just about acceptable.
If you want to put on double handles, it throws up yet another problem. Trying to get the handles exactly the same length can be tricky. If they are uneven though the bag will be lopsided when you carry it. Making handles can also be troublesome. If you are using a thin fabric, like satin, you can sew them lengthwise inside out, turn them the right way and iron them flat. However, with thicker fabrics it is impossible to make them that way as you can't turn the fabric the right way out again. You have to fold the edges in and stitch all the way along. Maybe it's just me but I seem to have problems sewing in a straight line on a thin strip of fabric.
Finding cheats are a real help. Chain straps, single straps and bamboo or cane handles are really useful. I have also used a leather belt recently which worked really well. I would like to say practice makes perfect but I am not so sure. I just never seem to be able to have stress free handles!