How to repair a broken grommet quilted bag

Have you ever had a sewing project on your to do list for say, 10 years? Me too! Believe or not, I finally got one of them done! Not only is it done but I am going to tell you how to repair a broken grommet quilted bag.


You can see the original grommet quilted bag in the upper left. I loved the bag and spent hours making it. I made 2 others as gifts.

I used it to bring my papers, etc. to school. The grommets popped out within the first month and the bag was too floppy. I was sick about it.

I spent some time sulking, denying and ignoring. This phase lasted a couple of years. Then I got a Keepsake catalog showing a similar bag with a handle which I kept for inspiration. For how long, oh let’s say 5 more years.

When I was in Paducah I spied a kit to make handles and a stabilizer that would adhere on both sides with ironing, perfect! I snapped them up and added them to the bag and the catalog. Two years later, I got serious!bags-re-2

I ripped the stitches from the top part with the grommets and separated it from the bag. I threw that in the garbage. Then I took out the lining and ordered some fabric for new straps. Phew, then I took a break.

I have the picture of the lining on the stabilizer. I opened up the bottom and cut out two pieces. I sewed the lining, the stabilizer and the bag together at the very top. Then I ironed it quite a bit to make sure the adhesive was firmly in place.

bags-re-3Already I was happy, the bag stood up by itself. Of course it needed some handles, the main reason for the repairs.

I cut two four inch strips by WOF, in this case about 60. I sewed them together down the long side. Finally,  I used the heavy interfacing provided in the kit and shoved it in there, phew!

Oh I wasn’t done, that kit had multiple steps. I sewed that stiff strap together, again on the long side, a scant 1/8″ from the edge. I used a tool I had purchased for turning strips inside out to wiggle the plastic tubing inside the strap. I left 6 inches free of tubing at each end.

Those straps were sewn together to make a circle, EVENTUALLY. In the picture it looks like it was the next step. The photo collage is just all about the straps. bags-re-4

I measured around my bag, divided by two and created two pieces that measurement in length and 8 inches wide. I had to piece them to get them long enough but the whole bag is pieced, no biggie.

I hemmed both short edges on both strips before I folded the top edge over and pressed it. I did not interface it as I wanted it to be able to gather easily. I then sewed that piece, right sides together, to the bag top.

I reinforced that stitching on the outside. I pressed it to the inside and stitched that down and bags-re-5reinforced it on the outside as well. That strip is not going anywhere and the stitching looks decorative

After all of this was done, I wiggled the straps inside the top part I had just added. That is why I hemmed the sides, this was where I would snake the handle/strap through and it would look neat.

I sewed the ends together once the handle/strap was inside the top. I considered stitching a smaller channel for the straps but decided against it. bags-re-6I rotated the handles so the sewn middle was hidden inside the top.

I was making this up as I went along and I was shocked it all worked out. I wanted to be able to see inside the bag and have it fit over my shoulder.

Having the fabric gather on the handle/strap enabled me to do both. That was a function of the grommets before, they just didn’t have the integrity to withstand the weight of anything added to the bag.

I managed to salvage the outside which had taken a lot of time to create. I salvaged the lining with all its pockets and found an interfacing stabilizer which adhered to both pieces.

I am really happy with the finished bag. I had a vision and the right products plus tools to make it happen.

And it only took 10 years!

Sew happy!

Want to see and enjoy more quilty fun? Check out my Facebook page. Like the page and join the conversation!

If you want to keep reading my blog, you can subscribe. There are two ways.

Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

Or, look for the square on the side rail. Just type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. You will receive a verification email. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

I have written posts about bags before. Check out this one.

Leave a comment

  • Advertisement:
  • Advertisement:
  • ChicagoNow is full of win

    Welcome to ChicagoNow.

    Meet our bloggers,
    post comments, or
    pitch your blog idea.

  • Meet The Blogger

    Kathy Mathews

    My passions are quilting and sewing. Add to that French, Spanish, books, swimming, travels, new restaurants, yoga and chocolate and you have me. All of these are best shared with family and friends. Except for chocolate, don't touch my chocolate. You can email me at

  • Recent posts

  • Monthly Archives

  • Categories

  • Follow on Bloglovin
  • Follow me on Pinterest

    Follow Me on Pinterest
  • Latest on ChicagoNow

  • Advertisement: