You don't need EXPENSIVE clips, rulers, or machines to sew, you DO need a little creativity & a willingness to try…..

1 Comment

Creating a Buckle Closure on Hollyhock’s Side Panel

The pattern links in this tutorial are Affiliate links, I receive a small commission if you purchase a pattern.  Thank you, as that helps me pay for this blog! (BTW, I only recommend patterns I really like!)


I have just finished testing Blue Calla’s newest pattern called the Hollyhock Hobo Bag. This amazing pattern comes in 2 sizes with loads of details that you can totally customize.  The “front” exterior has a vertical zippered pocket and the “back” has an awesome cargo styled flap pocket.  The bag gains lots of real estate inside because of the pleated main panels.  It comes with instructions for a shoulder strap as well as a Cross Body strap.  On the inside, there’s a slip pocket as well as a zippered pocket.  You’ll be happy to know that the method for installation of the zipper will make it easy to avoid the “WAVY” zips so commonly seen on Hobo bag curved zipper styles.

As soon as I saw the side panel strap embellishment, I knew I wanted to do one of my tester bags with a Pin Buckle embellishment.  That is not in the pattern so that’s why I have written this tutorial.  (I did it on my WIDE version of the bag, so please keep that in mind when cutting the strap lengths for the size you choose).  This tutorial will require you to purchase the Hollyhock pattern, and you will need to have a some sewing and hardware knowledge.  Please keep in mind, I do not profess to be an EXPERT, this is just the way I do it!

First of all you will need to gather some supplies.

You will need:

2 Pin Buckles, preferably 1″ but 3/4″ is what I could find.  I bought these from Emmaline Bags

Eyelets and a tool to install them

Fraycheck if you are using fabric that frays

If possible, 2 D rings that are the same width as your pin buckles.  (I used a 3/4″ pin buckle and a 1″ D ring because I had no 3/4″ ones…it’s not the end of the world but I would have preferred both to be 3/4″)



For the side straps on the WIDE version I cut as follows:

My Top strap piece I cut at 16″ long, you may need to go a bit longer for the TALL version.  It was 1.5″ wide (since my buckles were 3/4″….it’s just buckle width X 2 for that measurement).  So, if you have 1″ buckles, then cut 2″ wide strap pieces, or if your buckles are 1/2″ then cut 1″ wide strap pieces.

My Bottom strap piece, I cut at 10″ long x 1.5″ wide.  (again adjust the strap width for your buckle width, and if you are making the TALL version maybe add an inch to the length.)  There will be excess strap that will be trimmed when it’s done.


Follow step 51 in the pattern to fold and stitch your Bottom Strap piece.  (Make sure your stitching down the centre allows enough room for a hole to be cut in the very middle between the stitching lines). Add the Pin Buckle:IMG_0001EDIT

You may need to lengthen your pin hole a bit to ensure your pin can move around freely.


Fold under the end a bit.  I added a small dab of glue to hold it in the folded position.  Make sure your folded end goes beyond the end of the buckle so later when you stitch down the strap, it will be secured within the stitching.


Be sure you have also installed your buckle correctly, it should look something like this…with the pin coming to rest on that small divot in the metal.

Put that aside, and find your TOP strap piece.  Thread your D ring onto it.  DO NOT add any other hardware.


Make your Top Strap piece.



Next, punch your holes.  Be sure to use a punch hole size that corresponds to the size of eyelets you will be installing.


Install your eyelets.  (if you have grommets which are generally larger and 2 pieces…then refer to my Grommet Installation post here.)


It’s up to you which method you use to attach the straps to the side panel.  Just be sure to place the top D ring at the same height as the pattern states because you will need to be able to sew the top edge of the side panel in the final assemby to finish the bag.  To make sure my strap didn’t slip I added a small amount of glue to hold it in place as I sewed..Double sided tape works well too… Just make sure it’s only a small amount in the middle area of the strap.

I sewed on the bottom portion making sure to stitch over the folded end, and for the top I used only rivets as I like the top strap part to be loose.




Installing Grommets

I am often asked “how do you _____?”.  (Fill in the blank with whatever you want.)  So, every time I do something special on one of my bags I will do a photo tutorial for it. *KEEP IN MIND* that this is just MY way of doing it, I don’t claim to be a professional and I am just going to show you what works for ME!

Today I am going to show you how I install grommets, so you can do fun things like this:IMG_7668EDIT

Firstly, you need to buy grommets, punch, a setter and anvil. The setter and anvil often come as a set, and the punch is sold separately.  VERY IMPORTANT:  you must have a setter anvil and punch for each size of grommet you have (I only install 12mm because I am far too frugal to purchase other sizes of the tools!!).  It also helps to purchase your tools from the same place/brand that sells the grommets you will be installing.  They are not universal (I learned this the hard way). I got all mine on Etsy.  I believe Joann’s and Fabricland sell the Dritz brand ones though so if you are need of doing it TODAY, then try them.  Here’s the tools you will need:IMG_7632EDITfraycheck

Next,  mark the centres of where you would like to place your grommets.  Then you can use your punch to cut the hole out.  The side of the punch has an opening so you can see your marking on the fabric and get it centred.  You can hammer the top of the punch to cut out the hole. I find on the thinner bag sections sometimes the punch doesn’t go all the way though even after hammering REALLY hard, so I lean it slightly to the side in sections and it seems to cut better…but sometimes it STILL doesn’t cut through so in this case I use my teeny, tiny Tula Pink scissors to finish cutting the hole out.  Life is hard sometimes.

You can treat the raw cut edges of the hole with Fray Check. (this is optional, but I figure if I am going to the work of doing this, I certainly don’t want my holes to fray!).  Take a look at your grommets they have 2 halves to them.IMG_7611EDIT

After you have punched your holes, find your anvil and the bigger (post) side of your grommet.IMG_7613EDIT

Place your project “Good Side Down”.IMG_7614EDIT

Find your “ring side” of your grommet.IMG_7616EDIT

Get your setter tool.IMG_7618EDIT

and hammer gently.  Make sure to inspect the grommet after you remove the setter tool.  All the edges should be pressed down, if any edges are sticking up then it needs to be hammered a bit more, it shouldn’t be sharp at all.  If for some reason you need to remove a grommet, I do it by prying them apart with whatever tool I can under the edge, be patient…you can usually pry, tear, cut it out and start fresh with a new grommet.


I hope you will find this useful!  I would love to see what you have made!