DIY Star Wars Handbags: Carrying the Saga in Style

The Force meets fashion. Learn to make your own R2-D2, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Ahsoka Tano purses!

I love carrying a little bit of Star Wars fun with me everywhere I go. If I can incorporate my fandom into a practical item, so much the better! So it’s a short jump to get the idea to make Star Wars bags to tote around all of my daily essentials. This is the kind of project I love, because you can do almost anything you like, design-wise. While all of the bags below are purses, you can easily use the same applique technique on messenger bags, backpacks, etc.

Here’s how I made mine:

The pattern I chose for my first bag — Swoon’s free Ramona pattern — has optional stripe details on the front. Instead of going with straight striping, I decided it would be fun to use the shapes of the flaps that cover Artoo’s linkage and control arms.

I just drew those onto the paper side of a piece of Heat’n Bond Iron-On Adhesive, then adhered that to blue fabric and cut out the shapes.

DIY Star Wars R2-D2 bag

I had a printed cotton from my local fabric store with a cute R2-D2 print, so I used that for the base fabric of the bag.

I ironed my cut-out details onto the front piece of my bag (which was already interfaced), then stitched around all edges with a zig-zag.

DIY Star Wars R2-D2 bag

Once the detailing was in place, I finished the bag according to the pattern directions.

DIY Star Wars R2-D2 bag

Voila!

DIY Star Wars R2-D2 bag

 

For bag No. 2, I wanted something to carry as I wait not-so-patiently for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and I was inspired by Poe Dameron’s pilot helmet.

Rather than sketching out an idea, I just cut stripes to mimic the helmet. (I used an image of the Rebel insignia I found online as a guide for cutting that element.) Just like with the Artoo-inspired bag, I used Heat’n Bond to create fusible appliques out of fabric. The bag pattern I used for this one is another Swoon pattern called Donna.

First I cut my detailing stripes a little longer than I needed, and arranged them on the front of my bag.

DIY Star Wars: The Force Awakens bag

Once I had the detail appliques arranges the way I wanted them, I trimmed them to fit my bag piece, and then fused them down. I followed up with a zig-zag to keep all of my detail edges in place and minimize fraying.

DIY Star Wars: The Force Awakens bag

I also wanted to have a bit of fun with the back of this bag, so I decided to add a monogram of my initials to the back — in Aurebesh, of course! I have the Aurebesh font installed on my computer, so I just typed out the initials in a nice large size and then traced them right off my computer screen onto tissue paper. The initial tracing was a little sloppy, so I went over the straight edges and redrew them with a ruler as a guide. Then I centered the tissue paper on the back panel of my bag, and carefully stitched right over the tissue paper with a wide satin stitch. (Just in case you’re not familiar with a satin stitch, it’s just a zig-zag with a very short stitch length.) I went over my initials twice to make a nice thick line for my monogram. Once the stitching was done, I just tore away the tissue paper.

DIY Star Wars: The Force Awakens bag

After my applique pieces were in place and the monogram stitching was complete, I finished prepping the front and back of my bag to complete the assembly.

DIY Star Wars: The Force Awakens bag

Once again, I just finished the bag according to the pattern directions (though I omitted the hardware from the handles for simplicity’s sake), and now I’m ready for December 18!

DIY Star Wars: The Force Awakens bag

For bag No. 3, I used the same pattern that I used for my Artoo bag, but I wanted to do a slightly more complex applique on it. And I wanted to use an image of Ahsoka Tano.

First, I traced out an image of Ahsoka that I found online, simplifying all the lines and stylizing it a bit.

DIY Star Wars Ahsoka Tano bag

Heat’n Bond again! (Can you tell I love this stuff?) This time I traced my design multiple times, for each different color I would need to create the larger design. You can see here how I applied the gray segments onto the off-white fabric I would use for the Togruta head tails. The tracing of the larger image that I drew onto the paper side of the Heat’n Bond is visible through the off-white fabric, so it’s easy to align my placement of the gray pieces. This layering prior to cutting out and ironing the off-white piece in place made things much easier later on.

DIY Star Wars Ahsoka Tano bag

When I finished setting all the gray stripes and the pieces that made up the base layer of her head jewelry in place, I cut out the off-white section of my design. Then I carefully placed it over her facial base, which I already assembled on the front piece of the bag using the same method.

DIY Star Wars Ahsoka Tano bag

To add a bit of sparkle to Ahsoka’s head jewelry, I layered an uncut piece of shimmery organza over my ironed-on design. Then I zig-zagged all around the translucent fabric, following the lines of the head jewelry pieces. Once all that stitching was done, I carefully trimmed the excess fabric away. Then I zig-zag stitched around all of my other design elements. Getting around small corners on some details can be tricky; I recommend doing a few practice runs with scrap fabric before stitching your bag.

DIY Star Wars Ahsoka Tano bag

I wanted to create a stylized version of Ahsoka’s eyes. I first drew them onto the face applique with a water-soluble fabric marker (this made it easy to erase and redraw mistakes). Then, I stitched over my drawing with a straight stitch. And lastly, I went over the eye design with a satin stitch.

DIY Star Wars Ahsoka Tano bag

I used one of my sewing machine’s decorative stitches to create the chain segment of Ahsoka’s head jewelry with a fancy metallic thread, then I assembled the bag according to the pattern instructions.

And now Ahsoka lives…on my new hip bag!

DIY Star Wars Ahsoka Tano bag

While you may think that three new Star Wars bags would be enough to keep me satisfied for a while, I’m sure I’ll have another one on the cutting table before long. But for now, I just need to come up with some fun places to tote my new creations!

DIY Star Wars Ahsoka Tano bag

Holly Frey co-hosts the PopStuff podcast at HowStuffWorks.com. She’s an avid costumer, and Star Wars has been an integral part of her life since opening day in 1977.

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