Designer Handbag Sewing Tips

Border Print Handbag Nancy Zieman 9b 1

Designer Handbag Sewing Tips

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Border Print Handbag Nancy Zieman 9b 1

Plan your next bag around a border-print fabric! Fussy cutting fabric isn’t just for quilting. Inspired by a designer handbag, Nancy knew a readily-available border-print will make quick work of the fussy cutting. If you aren’t familiar with the term, fussy-cut, it means to feature a certain portion of the textile print in your sewing design. In this bag design, we feature the border. Using the Nancy Zieman’s Trace ‘n Create Hobo Tote Template collection, the designer upgrade is quite simple.

Supplies, fabric, and notions:

  • Pellon Peltex Interfacing
  • Fine-tip non-permanent marking pen
  • Border Print FabricNote from Team Nancy: Use the fabric requirements listed on the Hobo Tote instructions. Keep in mind you may need extra yardage to center the design. The featured fabric, shown here, is unfortunately no longer available. Search “border print” at the Nancy’s Notions web site. Or shop at your local fabric retailer for the newest in border prints.
  • Nancy Zieman’s Trace ‘n Create Hobo Tote Bag Template

Nancy Zieman's Hobo Tote Bag Template Collection by CloverModify the Template

  • To easily fussy-cut the border print, we’ll create a full front/full back template from the provided pattern as described in the Hobo Tote: Style B.

Border Print Handbag Nancy Zieman 1

  • Lay the bag template on the Pellon Peltex Interfacing
  • Use Fine-tip non-permanent marking pen to trace around the template marking center front/back. Notice the center is not the edge of the template, but rather the marked seam allowance line shown in yellow.

Border Print Handbag Nancy Zieman 2

  • Flip the template to the left-hand side.
  • Align the center front markings and trace the left side of the bag.
  • Make two interfacing templates: one front and one back.

Border Print Handbag Nancy Zieman 3

  • Cut out the interfacing templates.

Border Print Handbag Nancy Zieman 5

  • Position each interfacing shape over the border print.
Border Print Handbag Nancy Zieman 6Note from Team Nancy: We decided to only showcase the  floral portion of the fabric design. Notice that the Peltex is positioned with the bag base plus the 1/4″ seam allowance on the green section. 

Border Print Handbag Nancy Zieman 6a

  • Cut the shape.
  • Fuse the Pellon Peltex Interfacingto the wrong side of the fabric, following the manufacturer’s directions.

Border Print Handbag Nancy Zieman 7

  • Repeat these steps to create a bag front and bag back.

Border Print Handbag Nancy Zieman 8

  • Join the bag front and back by stitching the bottom seam.
Border Print Handbag Nancy Zieman 9From this point, the border print designer tote can be stitched following the directions for the Hobo Tote: Style B. Read more about the Hobo Tote construction on this blog post.
Border Print Handbag Nancy Zieman 9c

Watch Hobo Totes—Casual to Classic on Sewing With Nancy online.

For a chance to win a Trace ‘n Create Hobo Tote Bag Template from Clover Needlecraft, Inc., please leave a comment below sharing your reply to; what style handbag, tote, or purse would you like to sew?

Nancy Zieman's Hobo Tote Bag Template Collection by Clover

Happy Sewing,

Team Nancy Zieman

Nancy Zieman Productions, LLC.

Nancy Zieman Productions, LLC

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  • Jane McLean
    June 20, 2017

    I really love the idea of using border print for this style of hobo bag–elevates it far above its humble name! I would definitely create a similar one. And be bolder in my choice of interfacing.

  • Dr Michael J Elinski
    June 20, 2017

    I’ve been wanting to sew a Dresden design in one of my projects for quite some time. This book will surely help me get by my feeling of intimidation, and create a bag, quilt, or wall hanging.
    Thank you for your instructive books, which are very clear with both pictures and easy to follow directions.

  • shirley carter
    June 20, 2017

    Handbag/totes are a new adventure. I enjoy making things for gifts and these will be useful and memorable to friends.

  • Linda Holmstrom
    June 20, 2017

    I love your use of a border fabric in creating the Hobo Tote. It makes a very attractive bag.

  • Pauline Sawatsky
    June 20, 2017

    A good way to use some border print fabric that has been languishing in my stash.

  • Cyndi
    June 20, 2017

    I love the pattern with the border fabric, what a great look!!

    Thank you for the give away.

  • Lorraine Alves
    June 20, 2017

    I have a stash of border print fabrics which are favorites of mine. Now I will be able to use the prints for bags rather than for only skirts and shifts.

  • Lou Wagner
    June 20, 2017

    I love the idea of making a bag with the border fabrics, I’m always on the lookout for a new idea~! and this does it! Love making all sorts of bags, from cross body bags to totes~ I especially like the ease you have of showing us how beautiful it can be, thank you Nancy!

  • Patricia M Radloff
    June 20, 2017

    To have this great opportunity to start making my own bags would be a wonderful new adventure in this great world of sewing.

  • Dawn
    June 20, 2017

    I have made my purses for some time because I like to customize the inside pockets. I have not thought of using a border print but I plan to try it. Great idea, thanks!

  • Polly Odom
    June 20, 2017

    Never thought of using a border print for a handbag. What a great idea!

  • Marti Morgan
    June 20, 2017

    I like a basic bag, one with one big inside, no dividers, but side pockets and zippers. I am not a BIG bag person and I like a bag that I can easily carry on my shoulder.

  • Linda
    June 20, 2017

    I love making purses. A border print is a good ideal.

  • Nancy Johnson
    June 20, 2017

    I would love to make a tote with long handles so I could carry it under my arm, using a border print.

  • Peggy Bibb
    June 20, 2017

    Love the border print! Never thought about using a border print when making a bag. I will in the future! Thanks for the great idea!
    I use Nancy’s designer embroidery designs allot when making bags. They are finished so nicely!

  • Gbrielle Gilbert
    June 20, 2017

    I would love the template looks so easy to make bags using it.

  • Doris Carrubba
    June 20, 2017

    Making a handbag is a must for me. The border print is a great ideadcarrub. I lik2 the handbag that you featured. I have the perfect recupient for a Christmas gift.

  • Clovis
    June 20, 2017

    The border print would make a good bag. You can make a lot of great bags with border prints. Thanks for the chance to enter.

  • Sandi S
    June 20, 2017

    I would love to make a tote but make the handles long, as I like to carry everything like a shoulder bag!! The border print idea would be fun to try, as I already have some seasonal border fabrics!

  • Starla
    June 20, 2017

    I LOVE that bag! And I love making bags — templates would be a big help!

  • Laura
    June 20, 2017

    I like to make medium sized purses with lots of pockets and at least one zippered pocket. For totes, I go for medium sized as well because the large ones get just too heavy. Thanks for showing the lovely border print option. Beautiful!

  • Jackie T
    June 20, 2017

    I like a medium sized bag with long handles, at least 3 inside pockets & 1 outside pocket & a zipper closure.

  • Marvel D.
    June 20, 2017

    I have seen my own purses for years and NEVER once considered using a border print. I love the design showcasing the flowers. I have a border print in my stash that has geometric shapes on a dark brown background. I’ve stored that fabric for years–and now have the perfect use. The fabric above the border is heathered and would be a fabulous lining.

  • Terry
    June 20, 2017

    I’ve never made a bag before except for tote bags with webbing for handles. I would like to try one that you carry on your shoulder but not with a large opening at the top for strange hands to find there way in or items to fall out accidentally.

  • Patty
    June 20, 2017

    I like all kinds of handbags/bags for different reasons. I love the idea of the border print for this bag! I would have never thought of doing that.

  • Carrie Wells
    June 20, 2017

    I love making purses and bags. Thank you for your tutorials! Nancy is always my first go to person for sewing advice.

  • Noreen
    June 20, 2017

    What a beautiful bag! I can’t carry a bag on either shoulder, or a heavy bag that would pull on my shoulders. I would like a purse/backpack with a secure zippered pocket against the back.

  • Gloria McCulley
    June 20, 2017

    I have never made a bag before, but I really favor the hobo tote. My first one to make will be the color block one. I think it’s beautiful!

  • Mary Bittel
    June 20, 2017

    I never thought about using border prints for purses. It would be fun to try.
    I would like to make a small/medium basic shoulder bag that has inside pockets, zippers and an outside pocket for a cell phone. I’m not a large purse or bag type person.

  • Janet
    June 20, 2017

    Border print on a bag is a great idea! I have your Florida bag template on my wish list.

  • Pat
    June 20, 2017

    The border print bag is beautiful. I would love to make one just like it. Thanks so much for all of your wonderful ideas.

  • Marcie
    June 20, 2017

    I would like to try my hand at this hobo bag. Love the idea of using the border print. It adds a special touch!

  • Patti Z
    June 20, 2017

    And just another reason I enjoy watching you Nancy! You have given us all a new perspective on how to use a border print, not just in fashion sewing, but with our accessories, like your beautiful purse. I do like a medium sized hobo style bag, so this will be added to my list to make. Thanks for opportunity to win!

  • Linda Pierson
    June 20, 2017

    I’m quite taken with the Sherpa style bag; its not a style I’m usually drawn to so it would be a fun change.

  • Cherie
    June 20, 2017

    I absolutely love a good border print. I’ve used one to make a purse with one of your other template sets. I’ve been drawn to the Hobo a Tote but haven’t purchased it yet. Free would be amazing.

  • Erma Desper
    June 20, 2017

    I have just recently started making handbags. I have purchased a couple of your books on designer handbags. I am addicted now. Love this hobo bag and cant wait to make one.

  • Joan Long
    June 20, 2017

    Since in California we have to pay for the bag with every purchase, I will need to make several of these Tote bags to use for every shopping trip.

  • Sherilyn Twork
    June 20, 2017

    Really enjoyed watching “Hobo Totes” and especially your tips on making a tote with quilted fabrics. I liked especially how you added that snap to the top of the bag! Thank you for all your inspiration!

  • Marsha Dimond
    June 20, 2017

    I have made several purses. They are time consuming but worth the effort. I like the hobo and I like medium sized crossbody bags.

  • Cheryl Chesnut
    June 20, 2017

    Love the details in your bags. So stylish,but so enjoyable to construct.

  • Mary Pirrung
    June 20, 2017

    I have never made a tote but I love the
    Border tote. Several of my friends have made bags and I would really like to try the Hobo tote with a border fabric.

  • beth
    June 20, 2017

    I would like to sew the hobo tote bag. I could use it for everyday use.

  • Nancy
    June 20, 2017

    I have found that I like the cross body bags for travelling, but the hobo bags for my daily use.

  • Katie
    June 20, 2017

    A beach tote!

  • Dianna Wassell
    June 20, 2017

    I love the trapezoid hobo bag! I have had some polished cotton with a tropical fish design in my stash for quite some time waiting for the perfect pattern to come along. This might just be the one!

  • Linda Kapuscinski
    June 20, 2017

    I really like the hobo bag. It usually is my go-to purse. The border print idea has me intrigued and I would love to try this!

  • Karen Dietert
    June 20, 2017

    I love the hobo bag. Great for gifts

  • Joanie Wallrich
    June 20, 2017

    I love the idea of using a border print. I will definitely have to give that a try! I made a beach bag out of a laminate fabric and it’s perfect. Thanks for all your great ideas. I love watching your shows and I’m glad I can watch them again on

  • Deej Bradley
    June 20, 2017

    I have three younger sisters who don’t sew, but have big hearts. I would love, love, love to make 1each of the handbag, tote and purse so each sister gets one and who knows? Maybe they will be inspired to sew too!

  • Linda Rupe
    June 20, 2017

    I am drawn to the border print as a great way to increase the appeal of a hobo/tote bag. That is pure genius!

  • Susan Spiers
    June 20, 2017

    The Hobo bag is one of my favorites-any type bag with soft handles, inside zipper pockets and soft handles long enough to throw over my shoulder! Thank you, Susan

  • Sheila
    June 20, 2017

    I loved your hints and tips in this segment. My favourite was the huge tote. I like the exposed lamb skin look.

  • Sheila Hansen
    June 20, 2017

    Now I’m eagerly looking through my stash for border prints. What a great way to upgrade a bag!

  • linn
    June 20, 2017

    I have so many border prints in my stash that I THOUGHT would be special for a granddaughter but NOW I have an excuse to enjoy part of the lovely prints as well. Thank you for the ideas and pattern. I can be a match to her (them) with a stylish bag and step out in style hand in hand, with MY knitting/smocking/etc safely tucked away and accessible.

  • Barb Cloyd
    June 20, 2017

    The Hobo bag is my favorite-a bag with soft handles, inside zipper pockets and soft handles long enough to carry on my shoulder!

  • Jill Dean
    June 20, 2017

    Love the Hobo bags for traveling. They easily fit my book, a blanket, my purse, etc. Using a border print is a great idea!

  • Anne Z.
    June 20, 2017

    I love the Hobo tote. It is so versatile. I also love the idea of using a border print fabric. Thanks for all the inspiration.

  • Joyce Nelson
    June 20, 2017

    I love using border prints and the color block ones are very attractive.

  • Nancy Karas
    June 20, 2017

    I like your choice of border fabric for the bag, also like that I can order all the materials from your website. Makes it easier for me. Thanks.

  • Ennis A
    June 20, 2017

    I love border prints for lots of projects and this looks so nice. Also would like to have a bag of the two fabrics!!

  • SaNdra Nettles
    June 20, 2017

    I plan to make a Designer Handbag called an Everday Bag utilizing a border print. Thank you for the idea,Nancy!

  • Debbie Yates
    June 20, 2017

    I love your example hobo tote. The fabric is just my style… great choice.

  • Kathy Gabel
    June 20, 2017

    Would love to make the one fabrics border print hobo tote. Great idea to use the border prints

  • Laura B.
    June 20, 2017

    I like hobo bags, just with long enough handles to carry them over your shoulder – which is a feature I like on all my handbags. Love the idea of the border print, I just got one not long ago and wondered what in the world I was going to do with it. 🙂

  • Bonnye
    June 20, 2017

    A friend gave me a border print fabric which would make a cute hobo purse.

  • Edna Marks
    June 20, 2017

    Really like the hobo with the 4 different fabrics, and i like roomy bags so would make that first.

  • Michelle Hall
    June 21, 2017

    I love the idea of utilizing a pretty border print fabric in this hobo style bag

  • Joyce Over
    June 21, 2017

    I use border fabrics but never thought to use them in a purse/tote. It really makes planning a design that much easier. Thanks for the great idea.

  • Joyce Bunt
    June 21, 2017

    I love to make my own handbags and this pattern would be a great new design for me. I have the perfect border print in mind. Love all your patterns!

  • Stella
    June 21, 2017

    I’d love to make the bag in this post. I’ve tried making bags before, but they were difficult as compared to the way you made this bag. I have given up on them. The template made it look so easy, and I would love to try this template. Thank you for the tutorial.

  • BevM
    June 21, 2017

    Because I am short, I prefer to make and purchase smaller to medium sized bags to create a more pleasing proportion.

  • Jan Taylor
    June 21, 2017

    I love working with border prints and the idea of making a hobo bag with one is great!

  • Shaela
    June 21, 2017

    I like to make bags with lots of pockets and zippers

  • Vicky Griffin
    June 21, 2017

    The Hobo Tote bags you presented are classy. Thank you for offering this template.

  • Carol Keeler
    June 21, 2017

    I love to make handbags of all sizes and shapes including totes and electronic carriers! I am always open for new ideas and patterns! I too love to work with border fabrics for clothing although I have not yet used it to make bags of any type! I would truly like to try your patterns!

  • Karen payton
    June 21, 2017

    I love tote type bags, so this hobo tote pattern would be a great bag for me. I really like the fussy cutting idea.

  • Beverley Hancox
    June 22, 2017

    I’ve had fun making bags lately and your use of border prints is certainly inspirational. Thanks for the ideas that spark my creativity.

  • Laura Melvin
    June 22, 2017

    After seeing your border print bag I would definitely like to try a border print bag!!

  • Elie
    June 23, 2017

    I love making handbags , how wonderful to use templates. It looks so much easier to make stylish bags.

  • Donna W
    June 24, 2017

    Love all types of bags. Different sizes for different purposes.

  • Karen Schmitt
    June 24, 2017

    I just place 2nd on a recycled Demin hobo bag guild given a challenge project through Curtiss Corner Quilt Club.

  • Julie L
    June 25, 2017

    I’m fairly new to bag making. I love how you used the border print, always looking for new techniques to learn.

  • Gail Beam
    June 27, 2017

    I love all types of bags and totes. I really love your Hobo tote and the fabric that you used to make it. It really gives it an elegant look.

  • Ellen M.
    July 1, 2017

    I like a cross-body bag. Works great since I have shoulder problems. Many thanks!

  • Emaily Johnson
    August 29, 2017

    Beautiful border print with fabric. Thanks for sharing useful tips. I love this pattern. Thanks for sharing.

  • Marsha Dimond
    June 28, 2018

    I love hobo bags & crossbody bags. I usually do some embroidery on the front of my bags but using a border print is an intriguing idea.

  • Sandra
    June 28, 2018

    What a clever and unique idea. Whip up to match an outfit or use some fabric from your stash. So many great ideas from this pattern.

  • Pamela Wynfield
    June 28, 2018

    Border prints seem tone so useful. I never would have thought of usyone for a handbag, so I am glad I saw this post. It makes the hobo bag design much more appealing to me. Thanks!

  • Pamela Wynfield
    June 28, 2018

    The border print idea for the hobo bag is definitely a winner and now I would love to make one using a brighter print. Thanks!

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