Make a rattan handbag from placemats!

Rattan bags are everywhere at the moment, they are available in lots of different shapes and sizes and are a great summer accessory.

rattan-bag-fashion    rattan-bag-fashion-style

We particularly like the round shaped ones, these really catch the eye!  Check out our Pinterest Board to see more of our style inspirations.

So when we were on a recent trip to Ikea and we saw their rattan placemats we had a lightbulb moment! Can we make our own rattan bag from 2 Ikea placemats?  Lets try!

Ikea Rattan Placemats
What do you need?
  • Two round rattan or straw placemats (we used the Lattad from Ikea which are £3.50 each)
  • Fabric to create the bottom of the bag (we used a black cotton)
  • Interfacing
  • 2 x Sew on bag handles (lots of different styles are available from both amazon and ebay)
  • A sharp large eye needle, plus thimble
  • Embroidery floss in your chosen colour
All you need plus your placemats
How do you make it?

First take your placemats and decide how far up each side you want the fabric to sit on your rattan bag. I took mine just over halfway up each side.  Take this measurement.

For the Ikea Lattad Placemats I used two pieces of fabric measuring approximately 5.5″ x 24″ (14cms x 61cms) but take the measurements for whatever placemats you are using.

I applied some interfacing to the fabric before sewing them together around all the sides (using a 1/4″ seam allowance) and leaving a small hole for turning through.

Once sewn, trim your corners and turn through.  Give it a good press with a steamy iron and top stitch all the way around.

At this point I went directly to sew mine onto my rattan placemats but I have since realised that the fabric could do with a little shaping, just to make it sit nicely on the bag and not fold flat outside the placemats.  So, at this point you can create a small pleat or pinch in the middle of each short end, just fold the fabric in half on the short ends and sew down about 2″ (5cms)

Whats next ?

Next is all the hand sewing to bring everything together for your rattan bag.

Take your fabric and making sure that your pleated side will be facing to the inside of the bag, start pinning the fabric to the edge of the placemat. This can be tricky, I found it easiest to pin straight down the middle of the placemat, but be careful if you end up with the ends of the pins sticking out. You want the fabric sitting just on the outer edge of the placemat.

Be careful of those pins !
Time for hand sewing

Take your threaded needle and bring it from the inside to the outside through the outer edge of the rattan, catching the fabric at the same time if you can.  This just means the knot on your thread will be hidden.

Now we can start to stitch the fabric to the rattan.  Remember to make quite big stitches, taking a good 1/2″ of the rattan in your thread, this prevents the rattan from splitting as you tighten the thread.

Make sure to take a large stitch.

You can sew in a simple slip stitch or a blanket stitch as I have done here.  Continue sewing all the way around until you reach the other end.  I put a few extra stitches in at each end for added strength.

Repeat with the other side of your fabric and your other placemat.  It doesn’t matter where you start as they are both circles.

As a word of warning, these particular rattan placemats are very thick and the hand sewing is tricky.  Use a thimble and take it in small stages.  If your placemats are thinner then it will definitely be easier on your hands.

Blanket stitch on edge of rattan bag
Time for handles

Once the fabric is attached you can get a rough idea of how your bag will look.  The final thing we have to do is sew on the handles.  I chose some faux leather ones which had holes in the straps ready for hand sewing, making my life a bit easier.

Decide on your desired position and sew them on, sewing right through the placemat this time.  You can double up your embroidery floss to add more strength and perhaps consider sewing around it twice to make it more secure.

Sew on the handles

Sewing the handles on is particularly hard on the hands as you are having to push the needle through the thick rattan, just bear this in mind when buying your placemats and buy thinner ones if you don’t love hand sewing.

Ta-da!  Your all finished!
Finished rattan placemat bag

If you make your own then make sure to take a picture and share it with us on Instagram. Don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss any more great tips and tutorials.

Thanks for stopping by!

Nikki x










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