Purse Palooza 2015 – Hydrangea Hobo Bag

Hi everyone! So happy to be participating in Purse Palooza again this year! Big thank you to Sara for organizing everything! Of all the Paloozas out there, Purse Palooza is totally my favourite 😉


This year I chose to review the Hydrangea Hobo Bag by Blue Calla Patterns. The Hydrangea is a large size hobo bag with a large front exterior pocket that has an additional zippered pocket built into the flap closure. It has a large gusset to give it a lot of depth and on the inside there are 2 large slip pockets. Celine has also provided instructions on making an adjustable strap so the bag can be worn cross body or over one shoulder. The Hydrangea Hobo is 14 inches wide (at widest point) and 10 inches high at the centre and is 4 inches deep.

The pattern is rated for intermediate/advanced sewers. I’m guessing that rating is because of the zippers which some beginners may find intimidating, but I think a confident beginner with a couple of bags/zippers under their belt would easily be able to complete this bag.


First off, to make your own Hydrangea Hobo you’ll need the following supplies:
Exterior fabric:
1 yard exterior fabric of your choice: quilt weight, cotton, canvas, denim Note: this is the total amount required for body, front pocket and strap. More may be required if you are fussy cutting a pattern
Lining fabric:
3/4 yard quilt weight cotton for lining and front pocket lining
1/2 yard medium/heavyweight interfacing of your choice (sew-in or fusible)
1.5 yard lightweight fusible for pockets and strap
2 small scraps of fusible 2” x 2” for snap
2 small scraps of peltex or duck canvas 1.5” x 1.5” for snap
(1) 18mm magnetic snap
(1) 12” zipper (metal or nylon)
(1) 8” zipper (will be cut down)
(1) 1.25” rectangle slide
(2) 1.25” or 1.5” O-rings

One of the things I like the most about the Hydrangea Hobo is the versatility of the pattern. You can easily showcase a special fabric on the front pocket. Since it was just released and begging to be used, I chose Tula Pink’s Crouching Tigers in sapphire from her Eden collection. I used a solid home decor canvas for the rest of the exterior. On the second bag I did, I used vinyl for the front pocket and the gusset which was a little tricky, but with a heavy duty needle and a walking foot my machine didn’t complain too much 😉 I then used a woven Houndstooth print for the exterior (I’m not sure what it is exactly, I had originally planned on making a cape with it but I can’t seem to move beyond sewing bags-but that’s another blog post).

I really like the pockets on the front of the bag. The small zippered pocket on the flap is perfect for a cell phone or bank card, and the larger pocket is great for those small things that have a tendency to sink to the bottom of your bag. I like to keep my lip gloss, mints, and keys in there; it’s also easy to open with one hand if necessary.

I found the way the gusset is inserted rather clever, and dare I say simple? I also like that the gusset is nice and wide, I find it helps you to find things inside and when you set your bag down on the floor, it doesn’t completely collapse into a heap and the things inside don’t get all jumbled up.

When constructing the bag, I appreciated that in the instructions Celine advises which way the zipper should go if you’re left or right handed. I think I may have had a light bulb moment.. I don’t think that’s something I ever took into consideration when making bags. Now I’m curious, do you insert zippers according to your dexterity?

On both bags, I opted to do just a shoulder strap instead of an adjustable cross body strap. I don’t use cross body bags often so it wasn’t necessary. That said, I can tell with the shape of the bag that it would make a great cross body and would be comfortable to wear for a long period.


Another thing I really enjoyed about this pattern is, the simplicity of the interfacing. As bag makers we all know interfacing is an important component in making our bags; and while I love foam interfacing and how it’s completely changed the way structured bags can be made, I found the Hydrangea Hobo refreshing in that it wasn’t necessary at all. I used Pellon SF101 in both of my bags. I do realize it’s a hobo and not meant to be structured so the comparison of foam interfacing might not be fair, I just liked the break from the foam – and am no where ready to give it up 😛

All in all I found this pattern very easy to follow and most importantly comfortable to carry and roomy for those of us who tend to pack a little more than necessary 😉

So now as I close and bid you adieu, I suggest you dig through your stash and make one (or two) for you!



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