Wax Print Hobo Bag

DIY hobo bag (click through for instructions)Hello, everyone! It’s Rubyellen, and I have had such a busy spring that I haven’t been popping up here much, but I’m back and have some fun projects to share with you.

I was doing some random online window-shopping and came across this really cute bag from Anthropologie, and while I loved it, I knew I could make my own, so I set off to do just that. I love the look of the wax print fabric, so I searched page after page on Etsy looking for the right ones to use. I think searching for the fabric took longer than the actual making of the bag. 

DIY hobo bag (click through for instructions) This bag is really easy to make, so don’t get intimidated by sewing. I say if you can sew a straight line, you can pretty much sew anything! So let’s get started on making this bag. 

-wax print slouch bag pattern
-1 yard of wax print fabric for exterior
-1 yard of wax print fabric of interior 
-sewing machine 
-coordinating thread
-2 1/2″ x 6″ piece of leather
-1/4″ x 8″ strips of leather for the bag tie (I had a slightly larger leather piece that I used to cut out my rectangle piece and strips from)
-embroidery floss
-hand sewing needle
-four 1/2″ round wooden beads
Seam allowance: 1/4″ 
How to sew a purse step1Step One: Print the pattern. (Download Bag Pattern)

Since the pattern is larger than an 8 1/2″ x 11″ piece of paper, you may need to take it somewhere that can print oversized documents. Once that is done, using the pattern, cut out the pattern pieces for the bag on the fold of the fabric: 2 exterior fabrics, 2 interior fabrics.

How to sew a purse step2
Step Two: Sew together the two exterior fabric pieces with their right sides together along the sides and bottom curve of the fabric pieces, but leave the neckline (and short side of the handle) of the bag fabric open. Repeat for the interior fabric pieces.
How to sew a purse step3
Step Three: Sew together the exterior fabric’s handle ends with their right sides together. Repeat for the interior fabric pieces. Note: picture shown is taken after step four when one side of the neckline is sewn.
How to sew a purse step4
Step Four: With their wrong sides together, place the interior bag fabrics inside the exterior bag; fold the entire neckline on both sides of the bag in 1/4″, pin, and press. Insert one strip of leather 1/4″ in-between the folded fabrics, centered on the bottom of the neckline on both sides of the bag, and pin in place. Topstitch 1/8″ around the entire neckline on both sides of the bag, and your bag is almost done.
How to sew a purse step5
Step Five: Center the 2 1/2″ x 6″ rectangular leather piece on the top handle of the bag, fold so that the long edges are touching, then blanket stitch the two long sides together, enclosing the fabric bag handle inside the leather. Tip: I slightly cut and tapered the ends of the leather rectangular piece.
How to sew a purse step6
Step Six: Paint your round wooden beads and allow them to dry completely before attaching them to your leather strands. Add the wooden beads to the leather strips (two on each side), and keep beads in place by knotting the leather ends.
DIY hobo bag (click through for instructions) DIY hobo bag (click through for instructions)
And there you go. This will be my summer bag. It’s really lightweight, and it will be perfect for toting around on summer adventures with my girls. If you wanted to add more weight to it, I would add some interfacing or canvas cloth between the exterior and interior fabrics. What’s your go-to bag this coming summer? xo. Rubyellen
Credits // Author and Photography by: Rubyellen Bratcher. Photos edited with Spring from the Signature Collection. 
P.S. You should totally check out Ruby’s new book: Let’s Sew Together: Simple Projects the Whole Family Can Make
  • I really want to make this bag but I don’t have a printer that can print up the pattern on a larger scale. What are the dimensions of the bag? Maybe I can manipulate my printer to approximate the right size.


    • I’m sorry, but we don’t have the bag dimensions (the post was written in 2014) but you might try printing the pattern at a FedEx Office or Staples. ????

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  • I don’t think it’s sturdy enough to be a laptop bag, but if you added some weight or extra padding it might work (and enlarge the pattern even more too), but I think it would be best for an iPad or mini iPad, as well as other regular things you would tote around.

  • I think it would take a really long time to do it by hand, but if you are good at hand sewing, then I’d give it a shot if you have the patience. A sewing machine would definitely work best though.

  • Wax print has the pattern on both sides, and yes, cotton will most certainly work too!

  • Ooo I love this! As a beginner sewing gal, what is different in using wax fabric and let’s say, cotton? Is it a texture? The beautiful textile/print? Will the bag hold up if I use cotton instead?
    with appreciation,
    total newbie sewer-in training;)

  • I love how you took these pictures in a nice setting! The place looks beautiful! And of course the bags are so cute…I really like the shape of them actually 🙂


  • what an adorable DIY! love the pattern, and perfect for the farmers market! HeartofChic.com

  • I love the fabric you chose for the outside! I’ve been loving wax prints lately, too. I just posted on my latest wax print purchase and a project from one of the two prints that I had: http://patternandbranch.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/show-and-tell/ and http://patternandbranch.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/show-and-tell-again/ I found inspiration on Anthropologie, too, but they are popping up everywhere! The blog How About Orange also did a post on them recently with some great, informative links.

  • Beautiful print! The tassels add a great touch!


  • What a beautiful DIY! I would love to give this a try. Do you think it’s feasible to make this bag without a sewing machine?

  • Very cute Hobo bag,

    I like it, I think I can sew it:-)

    Love this blog, its a lot like my friends blog:-)

    Heidi from the small country up very north

  • Great post, you have pointed out some wonderful details , I like wise believe this is a very super website.

  • Awesome bag!! I’ve got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for this evening that links to your tutorial:

  • This is such an adorable DIY – and much more affordable than the anthro bag. Thanks for sharing!

  • Such a nice bag! I love it! I also really like your outfit, great skirt!


  • Wonderful result and your explanation is very clear! Thaanx 😉


  • So pretty! All of the little extra details really make it special. Thank you for sharing this great tut!

    Lots of love,
    Being Barlow

  • I love dutch wax prints! This is such a great tutorial, I can’t wait to try it!

  • what a great DIY. I would def. like to try this with fabric that more matches my personal style. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

    rae of love from berlin

  • this is beautiful!! love how it turned out.


  • The bag is fabulous – perfect for summer with its wonderful colours and texture! Do you think a laptop would fit inside? I’d love to bring something like that to college every day – would certainly brighten up these miserable days studying for finals!

  • This is so cute! I absolutely LOVE the fabric you chose. I got a sewing machine for Christmas and still haven’t used it…. This might be the perfect project!

  • Thanks for noticing that! It’s in there now 🙂 – Jacki

  • I love hobo/slouch style bags! This may have to be the first project in my new crafting space, once I get my supplies in order so I can find everything I need. 🙂

  • Will you be inserting a link for the pattern? Or maybe I’m just slow and missed it. 😉

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