Amy Butler’s Fringed Hobo Bag

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 responses to “Amy Butler’s Fringed Hobo Bag”

  1. Nikki Avatar

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

    1. Claire Avatar

      Thanks, Nikki. Now that I’ve taken a break from working on it, it’s growing on me ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. maryannk Avatar

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

    1. Claire Avatar

      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 Avatar
    Sara Inskeep

    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!


    1. Claire Avatar

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

  4. […] made another Amy Butler Fringed Hobo Bag, after doing all but swearing I wouldn’t touch the pattern again with my current sewing machine. Round number two wasn’t nearly as bad […]

  5. Susan @Living with Punks Avatar

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

    1. Claire Avatar

      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!

      1. Susan Avatar

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

  6. Robin Avatar

    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! ๐Ÿ™‚ 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!

    1. Claire Avatar

      Thanks so much, Robin! I can’t wait to see your finished bag once you give it a go! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Sourkraut Avatar

    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.

    1. Claire Avatar

      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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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

  8. Kristina Avatar

    Very nice work! I’m impressed.

    1. Claire Avatar

      Thanks so much Kristina. Your Blackbird bags are lovely!

  9. […] Cosmo Bag pattern from her book Style Stitches. I’ve mentioned before how Amy Butler patterns make me want to scream, yet I make them anyway. It seemed like a better option than me making up a pattern and failing […]

Leave a Reply