Button Tree Bag

Ohmagoodness! I haven’t blogged for two months! EEK! Bad blogger. I suppose with the crazy autistic kiddos and the newborn with kidney problems it’s just been easier to share my brain spillage with you on Facebook and Instagram.

P.S. I’m addicted to Instagram, and if you’d like to see sneak peeks and progress pics of my projects, ridiculous hashtags, or if you are interested in observing what I eat, be sure to follow me.

Oh, and my kids are doing fine, in case I worried you. Here is a photo of Flora dancing to Salt N Pepa’s ‘Push It’ to prove it to you:


It feels good to be back on here, so I figured I’d come back with a bang:


Oh, yes I did!

I made a button tree purse! FINALLY, hey? I’ve been wanting to make one of these since I did my very first button painting, and I’ve gotten dozens of requsts, but something held me back…

I. Hate. Sewing. BUT I CAN SEW… It’s  a terrible position to be in. My mom taught all my sisters (and some of my brothers!) how to sew, and a few of them have perfected the skill- like my twin sister, Debbie, who designs, sews, and controls half of the universe Happy Yellow Dress. Here is a pic of us in one of her current designs. Warning- we don’t look like we are related, let-alone twins:


So my sister likes to sew, but hates crafting, and I love crafting, but hate sewing. We are such strange people. At least we’re pretty, right???

prettyug words

I don’t know what it is about sewing that I don’t like. I actually sold bags for 3 years, I think I must have overdosed on sewing… Sewing is a lot like heroin: Too much and … Okay.. I’m going to stop that analogy here.

SO HOW BOUT I STOP THIS NONSENSE AND ACTUALLY TEACH YOU SOMETHING instead of wasting your time? Sorry, It’s been a while, and the last 2 months of my writing stores are just pouring out my fingers, like food poisoning, if you know what I mean 😉

The original pattern for the main part of this bag is from Skip To My Lou, so check that out for perfecto instructions, and read on if you want to see what I did, including my added twist- the button branch!

Let’s start with the appliqué. This might not be the most detailed description- I forgot to take some pictures during the process. (DARN KIDS! Why do they need meals and attention?)


I used some Heat And Bond Lite- which is a sewable, Iron-on adhesive that you can get at any craft or fabric store, and attached it to my black branch fabric, and my polka dotted bird fabric (instructions here). I drew a branch and bird on the backing paper, making sure to keep it facing the opposite way that I wanted it to face on my purse. This kind of thing is always hard for me as I am severely directionally challenged. Really. It took me 45 minutes to find a bathroom in a mall once. I had been to the mall a dozen times before. Anyways, at least I can stick buttons on things.


I cut out my bonded fabric like soooo, and I kept the backing on until I was ready to iron it onto my purse fabric…






…which was a steal of a deal at only $3.29 for 4 meters! It’s real wool too! Smelled like an old lady, but for 3 bucks, I think I like that smell! Thrift stores can be such a good source for nice fabric!

IMG_1379 IMG_1380

Next I cut out the pattern (which, again, you can get here).

And then it was time to iron on my appliqués! Don’t forget to peel off the backing, which is super satisfying. Think of me while your doing it.


Oh! There I am. Is there spinach in my teeth?



So after I flossed my teeth had all my pieces cut and ironed, I was ready to sew. This pile contained two pieces each of the main bag pattern and the lining pattern, and one strap piece. (I didn’t use wadding like she did in the original tutorial because I was using a heavier fabric, but if you want to make a bag out of two lightweight fabrics, you can use wadding to bulk it up!)

You want to sew the appliqué on BEFORE you put the purse together (seems obvious, but I have totally forgotten more times than I can remember!)


I don’t even know if I do this the ‘right’ way- I just sew a really teensy and tight zig zag around the fabric like so. Practice a bit on some scraps, go slowly, and you will learn! If you want more details, click here. IMG_1388


Now, on to the sewing of the purse!

I used to avoid pinning fabric, because I was lazy. But in the end my mom was right, and it is totally worth it to not skip this step.


So who snuck in a blue pin???


Pin your two purse pieces like that, making sure the front sides are facing inwards. Well, that looks kind of cool! Maybe I should have just done an outline to begin with!


Sew around the sides and bottom of your purse, and go back and do a zig zag on the edge to prevent fraying. I used to have a serger to help with this step, but we didn’t get along, and now he is in a relationship with my good pal Annie over at Dick & Jane Cloth Diapers. I hope you and Sergio make beautiful baby’s (diapers) together. Oh, here’s one now!


(photo by Jody Wiger Photography)

Seriously best diapers ever.

Okay, so I totally should have done this next step BEFORE I sewed the main pouch of the bag (I told you I forget these things!) But thankfully I remembered before I sewed the lining in, so here is THE MOST IMPORTANT step of the whole bag…. The buttons!

Yay for another thrift store deal! I wanted to make some covered buttons to showcase a bit of the adorable lining fabric on the outside. You can cover buttons in your fave fabrics and turn em into hair ties like these too!

Aren’t they perfect?!?!? I could just stare at this photo all day. In fact, I did! I started writing this post 24 hours ago and finally snapped out of my button-staring-trance just now! Woah.


I used a nice assortment of coordinating buttons to embellish the branch and laid them out to find the perfect placement.


And then I sewed ’em firmly in place:

All the pretty buttons ❤

***Side note- my 5 yr old son just ran up to me, ripped off his shirt and said “Mom! Check out my pecs!” Haha…


When you sew the lining, make sure to leave a 3+ inch opening at the bottom. I always use to take short cuts with linings, and once I finalllllly, again, listened to my mom and figured out how to PROPERLY sew in a lining, it made such a difference in the finished look and quality! So it is worth figuring out- and in the end it is also quicker than just sewing the lining separately and  adding it at the end.


I’ll do my best at explaining how this works- First, take your sewn and right-side-out main pouch and shove it inside the sewn, in-side-out lining like this.


See what I did there? I hope all you like-minded visual learners are appreciating this mile-long tutorial!


Sew around the top of the bag like this- and don’t forget to use those pins!!!

And now- the magical part!


Pull the main part of the bag through that opening that you left in the bottom of the lining like that!

To close up that hole, just tuck in the scragilly ends (oh BACK OFF, spell check squiggles! “Scragilly” IS a word.), and then do a straight stitch to close it up.


Voila! Push the lining where it goes and now you have a fully-lined pouch!



If you don’t have arms, you can leave it like that, but if you do have arms, you can make a strap:


Again, I didn’t use wadding like the original pattern maker did, because I was using this thicker material. Check out her pattern for strap details!

To attach the strap, place it in the line of fire as you are topstitching around the top of the bag. I hope that makes sense.


And there you go! But I missed something! I told my hubby “Oh dang! I forgot a closure! How am I going to do this?!” and he pointed out how silly it is to have a purse covered in buttons, none of which are functional! HAHA.


So I added a useful button and some elastic.


Up close and personal. I was SO happy with how this bag turned out. I’ll tell you a secret. I originally was making this purse as a surprise for my daughters 9th Bday which is coming up. That’s where I got the motivation to finally make this thing. But as soon as it was done, I decided I needed to keep it!

SO I AM! Is that horrible of me??


At least I let her model it? Heh?

I know I’m rotten, but these aren’t even her fave colors, so I will make hers another time.


And here it is hanging from a tree.

Well, if you are still reading, I hope you enjoyed this tutorial with random inserts of brain spills. I sure have enjoyed writing it! Maybe I’ll try harder to get on here more!

Thanks for reading and PINNING! Yes- look into my eyyyyes

pinitAK! That makes my eyeballs shake! So on that note,

Happy Purse-making, and Eyeball-shaking!





About Busted Button

Where Creativity and A.D.D. meet…on a blind date…under a bridge…and make a baby.
This entry was posted in Button Art, Craft Tutorials, Showing Off!, Thrift Shop Thursdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Button Tree Bag

  1. Melissa says:

    I dot even know how to sew and this makes me wanna try!!!!!!!

  2. bethbutcher says:

    Loved reading this post and love the bag. Looks great!

  3. ruthclare says:

    Oh I just LOVE both the button tree purse and the beautiful dresses that you and your sister both model so well (and yes, you are both tres jolie!). V inspiring post, thank you so much!

  4. Mara says:

    I’m pinning it this is fantastic!

  5. Reblogged this on Busted Button and commented:

    Giveaway! I will be giving away a button tree bag over on my facebook page, so check it out: http://www.facebook.com/bustedbutton Good Luck!

  6. andrea power says:

    I LOVE THIS!!!

  7. Michelle Nederlof says:

    That purse is undeniably one of the cutest things I have ever seen with buttons on it!!! So great! Love love love…

  8. Vanessa Clark says:

    You, my friend, are a pleasure to follow and I just love all the beautiful and simple things in life you enjoy. Like your boy showing you his pecs lol that was cute. Many blessings and a fabulous New Year to you and your family.

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  11. Barbara Walston says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. You are seriously entertaining. I always transfer patterns to word and I usually can get it down to one or two pages. I got yours down from 40 to 5. It made me happy to read it. I wanted to maintain that feeling so I left almost everything in.
    Thank you,

  12. Irene says:

    Awesome bag! Love the tree design and use of buttons, and your blog style is great! Easy to read and understand. Thx!

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