Hobo Dance Bag Tutorial

I wanted to sew a purse this year. That was one of my goals. So when Kaye started her dance class and I realized she needed a dance bag for her tap and ballet shoes, I found this to be the perfect opportunity to fulfill my goal. I drafted this idea in my mind and it actually worked out great. I love it when that happens. And it goes perfectly with the ballet bun holders I made last week.

Since it’s a dance bag, I wanted to make it pink and girly. I found pink drapes at the thrift store that I used for the outside of the bag. Then I used freeze paper stencil to paint the ballet slippers on the front of the bag. I also wanted to make it long enough where she could wear it cross-shouldered. Kaye loved it.

Now I want to make one for myself, not a dance bag but a hobo bag for me. Remember, if you make something inspired by Simply Modern Mom, please upload pictures of it to ourΒ Flickr group to show it off to everyone. You may be featured on Simply Modern Mom. And please let me know if you have questions about this tutorial.


  • 1/2 yard outer fabric
  • 1/2 yard matching fabric for inside lining
  • hobo dance bag pattern (click to download)
  • matching thread and needle
  • freezer paper
  • ballet slipper pattern (click to download)
  • permanent fabric paint
  • exacto knife and cutting board

1. Download the hobo dance bag pattern and follow the instructions to put the pattern together. Then end pattern should look like the picture below. You will need two pieces of this hobo bag pattern on each fabric. I folded the fabric in half and cut two at once.

2. Download the ballet slipper pattern that I designed. Then traced it onto the dull side of freezer paper, not the shiny side. Please use actual freezer paper and not wax paper. I will have this pattern tomorrow too.

3. Using exacto knife and cutting board, cut out the pattern but keep the pieces you cut out that were inside the shoe and the loop piece inside the ribbon portion. Then place the stencil where you want it on the right side of one of the outer fabric pieces. Iron on high without steam for about 30 seconds to seal the stencil to the fabric. Make sure to iron over the edges carefully so you don’t have any openings where the paint can seep through.

4. Use permanent fabric paint and paint 2-3 coats onto the fabric. Allow to dry between coats. Check the instructions on your paint to see how long to wait. I waited about 2 hours between coats and 6-8 hours for the entire thing to dry completely.

5. Once the paint has completely dried, peel off the freezer paper. Ta-da! Now grab a thin cloth and place on top of the paint. Iron on high without steam to cure and set it.

6. Gather your pieces and match right sides together. Sew along the outside of the bag from opening to opening (one big U). Do this to the outer pieces and the inner lining. But for the lining, leave an opening at the bottom big enough to fit your hand.

7. This is optional but you can make darts along the curves. Then iron your seams to make it look nice.

8. Place the outer and lining bag pieces together. The outer pieces is wrong side out. The lining’s right side is touching the outer bag’s right side. Match and pin in place. Sew along the U-shape of the opening of the bag. DO NOT sew where the handles will attach to the bag.

9. Pull out the lining of the bag. It should be wrong side out. Then using that opening at the bottom of the lining flip the bag right side out.

10. Iron the seam at the opening of the lining. And hand stitch or sew the opening shut. Then tuck in the lining into the bag.

11. Iron the opening of the bag where the two fabrics meet. Then top stitch that on both the front and back of the bag to keep it in place.

12. To attach the handle strap of the bag, cut 3 pieces of the outer fabric into 28 x 2 inches. Then gather the 3 strap pieces together, fold and tuck into one of the handle openings on the bag. I hand stitched the fabric in place.

13. With each piece of the strap, I folded in the raw edges toward the inside middle of the 2-inch then folded in half, pinned and ironed in place. This is the prevent the edges from fraying. Next I braided the handle and tacked the end of the braid leaving about an inch to tuck into the second handle opening in the bag. Repeat step 12 to attach the handle to the bag.

14. Cut 2 pieces of the lining fabric to 4 x 6 inches. Then fold, iron and sew the top and bottom (lengthwise) seams.

15. Fold over the handle of the bag and sew in place lengthwise. Do this to both sides of the handle. This is going to cover where the handle and the bag attached. Once the edges are sewn together, flip right side out. Use a safety pin or a dowel to help flip it right side out if needed.

16. Do a basting stitch on two opposite sides of the cover to get an even scrunch. I did the basting stitch by hand. Slide the scrunch down to cover where the handle and bag attached.

17. Tack the scrunched pieces in place so it doesn’t slide around. I tacked it in place at the top and bottom. If the top opening of the scrunch is too big to fit around the handle, then do another basting stitch around it inside the seam and scrunch the opening to fit the handle. Then tack in it place. And done!

Β» Tell me… Do you like to sew purses and bags? What are your tips and tricks?

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