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Amy Butler’s Fringed Hobo Bag

May 4, 2011

I’m not fond of sewing instructions and so if I can find a way around using a pattern I will. But I realize I can’t avoid things I dislike forever so last week I decided to make a real deal bag from a pattern. Sadly, well after cutting all the pieces and begining to put it all together, I realized I didn’t pick the best pattern for someone with a sewing machine that just hobbles along and who, for the most part, doesn’t fully comprehend written instructions.

After working with endless layers of Thermolan, wrangling unyielding wooden tassels, fusing and refusing finicky interfacing and fidgeting with pattern pieces that weren’t quite the right size, I did manage to finish the bag. I was so exhausted and critical of everything by the end of the process that I simply looked at the bag, snipped some loose threads and tossed it aside. This is hardly the welcome a new handmade object deserves though.

This bag was created using Amy Butler’s Small Hobo Fringe Bag pattern from her book, Amy Butler’s Style Stitches. Here’s the run down of the project.

Difficulty: Advanced
Number of pieces to cut: 36
Number of pieces fused together: 22
Number of times my frail sewing machine sat in the corner and wept: 10
Number of times I just had to walk away: lots

All difficulty aside, I do like it. It’s big and bold, unlike me. The wooden tassels are a nice addition even if they aren’t entirely practical. And while we’re on the subject of the tassels, I make this promise to everyone: I’ll never carry this bag with me to a library, a bookstore, a movie theatre or on a secret spy mission. But I’ll probably carry it proudly with me everywhere else because it’d be a shame to hang it in my closet after all the moments, both good and bad, this bag and I shared last week.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. Nikki permalink
    May 4, 2011 9:40 am

    I love the bag! It does look like a “Claire” bag to me! Impressive is all I have to say!

    • Claire permalink
      May 4, 2011 12:20 pm

      Thanks, Nikki. Now that I’ve taken a break from working on it, it’s growing on me 🙂

  2. maryannk permalink
    May 10, 2011 4:50 pm

    I love that bag, too! Definitely a keeper, you are mean to yourself!

    • Claire permalink
      May 11, 2011 11:21 am

      Thanks, Maryann. I do like it now. It’s like a party when I walk. Sadly though, I’ve already lost a few of the beads. I think that wasn’t the smartest embellishment!

  3. Sara Inskeep permalink
    May 22, 2011 12:57 pm

    Um, if you’re just going to toss this lovely purse to the side, you might as well toss it my way. World Market is selling the same type of purses for $35….but they have no real shape to them.

    You are crazy if you don’t use this purse and I’m warning you that if you don’t use it- I will figure out where you live and send Annabelle in after it!


    • Claire permalink
      May 25, 2011 9:08 am

      I’ve actually started to wear it proudly (if not loudly). Everyone can hear me coming. Thanks for your nice words!

  4. July 27, 2011 12:49 am

    Where on earth did you get that awesome wooden tassel trim? I must have!

    • Claire permalink
      July 27, 2011 8:49 am

      Susan, I got it at Hancock Fabrics (I think it’s an Indiana/Ohio store). I kind of geeked out in their drapery section. The selection of fringe is terrific. Good luck finding something awesome for you!

      • August 3, 2011 7:20 pm

        Thanks sooooo much. I do have that store here in California!! Thanks for the tip :).

  5. July 31, 2011 11:08 pm

    Your bag looks FABULOUS!!! Oh, my gosh. I’m so glad you persevered because you really do have an amazing bag. Seriously– you should be proud! 🙂 The wooden tassel trim is divine, as are the fabrics you chose.

    I was on the fence about this one, but seeing yours makes me think I really do need to give it a go. Thanks so much for sharing it!

    • Claire permalink
      August 1, 2011 5:23 am

      Thanks so much, Robin! I can’t wait to see your finished bag once you give it a go! 🙂

  6. August 3, 2011 4:15 pm

    Good gravy! Thirty-six pieces?! I about keeled over from shock when I read that. I’m doing a sew along of the book and August’s bag is this very one. Now you’ve got me scared. That said, I think your bag turned out beautifully. As much of a pain as it may have been to work with that wooden fringe really makes the bag something special.

    • Claire permalink
      August 3, 2011 6:21 pm

      Thanks for the kind words about that bag. Have no fear about making one of your own. If you understand Amy Butler’s instructions you are in good shape. I think I comprehend things a bit differently than her so her instructions confuses me in general, although I love her patterns.

      Also, my Thermolan wasn’t fusing at all, which was horribly frustrating. On my second Fringed Hobo Bag I used felt for the reinforcement panels, didn’t cut them as small as the pattern stated, and then basted them into place. This worked so much better than the Thermolan and I didn’t cry at all during my second attempt 🙂

      Good luck with your bag! Can’t wait to see it.

  7. August 5, 2011 2:49 am

    Very nice work! I’m impressed.

    • Claire permalink
      August 5, 2011 9:51 am

      Thanks so much Kristina. Your Blackbird bags are lovely!


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