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?

98 Responses to “Hobo Dance Bag Tutorial”

  • Emily

    I love it! Can’t wait until my little girl can take dance lessons. Great job with the pattern too. What kind of fastener would you pick for your bag?

    • Giana

      Definetly use a magnetic clasp that is what I did

  • Emily Marie

    This is a super cute bag! I’ve never made a bag before, in fact, I’ve sewed only very basic stuff, but this tutorial is so comprehensive, I feel like even I could figure it out. Of course, I should probably figure out what a basting stitch is first. πŸ™‚

  • Jessica

    I need one for ME! How do you think that you would go about enlarging it?

  • Kim

    Thanks for the great pattern! Was so easy to sew and turned out incredibly cute. I’m sure I’ll be using this one again. πŸ™‚

    • Tiffany

      oh yay! thanks for the feedback. it’s always good to know that others understand what i’m talking about in these tutorials and understand my instructions. sometimes what’s in my head doesn’t make sense when i type it out. πŸ™‚

  • Emily

    Tiffany, this is really cute:) I’ve been needing to make myself a Fall/Winter bag and I love the hobo look. My sister and I make bags (well, she makes most of them) and have also been recently bitten by the freezer paper stencil bug. I hadn’t even thought about stenciling onto fabric for a purse! Great idea!

  • Shirley B.

    I saw this pattern this morning. My 10 yr old granddaughter
    came over and I showed it to her. She picked out her fabrics and we
    finished the bag in time for her to carry it home. She was really
    tickled with it. I have a feeling I’d better cut out a couple more
    so her friends can have one too. Nice, easy pattern. Thank you very

  • Elisa

    Your tutorial has nice pictures and seems easy to follow. I’m looking for a way to add a simple strap where you (starting in step 12) have added a fancy strap. Any chance you can help me figure out how to put a finished strap on? Thanks!

    • Tiffany

      It took me a while to think about this. See if this makes sense. If you have a handle or want to do a simpler handle on the bag, you will have to fold down the seams on the bag where the handles would attach and have the ends of the handle inside the hole before top stitching it together. You will want to top stitch it a couple times on each end of the handle to give it more support.

  • Liz

    I just got my first sewing machine and this is the first thing I made! (And it didn’t even turn out that bad) I linked you here: http://www.tizzielizzie.com/?p=432 , and once I have a decent picture I’ll be sure to check out your Flickr group.
    Thanks for the great tutorial! πŸ™‚

  • Jennifer

    I am making this bag, but with a twist! Do you mind if I put a link to you on my blog?

  • Laura

    I absolutely love this bag! It is so adorable! I am making two for two little girls, one who takes ballet and one who takes basketball. I used the ballet stencil (which was so cute!) and made my own stencil for her name. Then for the basketball one, I made a basketball, backboard, and hoop with net out of felt. I sewed it onto the front of the bag, then stenciled her name on that one. So cute!

  • BetziLou

    Awesome! I’ve been looking for a bag pattern to carry all the books I lug around. I think using denim and reinforcing where the strap connects to the bag should do it.

  • Erin

    That is way too cute! This will be my daughter’s 9th year in dance. She loves taking new dance bags in to show off. This will make her very happy! Thanks for the tut!


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