Thursday, August 14, 2008

easy peasy crochet bag

Since I am trying to show you the basics here, I've chosen to work this bag in yarn rather than fabric. It is easier to identify the stitches in the photos. If you are particularly interested in rag bags... keep watching this blog. I will definitely post progress photos of a rag bag, including some tips which will help you. And I haven't forgotten the rag bowl! That's coming soon too...

edited to add - rag bag progress photos here

Here we go with the instructions for a simple crochet bag... and I do mean simple! I've tried to explain every step carefully, post a comment at the bottom if there is any confusion and I will do my best to clear it up for you.

Don't be frightened by the number of photos. This is not complicated! I just wanted the beginners to be able to follow every little step along the way. If you would like to enlarge any of the pictures, just click on them to go to my flickr account where you will be able to view them in a larger size.


Start by choosing your yarn... I'm going to work with three strands held together... the pink is a wool, the multi-coloured is an acrylic, and I have no idea what the blue one is! They are all an 8ply/DK weight.


Don't be frightened to mix yarn types... there are NO RULES here. Just select whatever you want.

Doesn't even need to be yarn... could be plarn or rags or jute or string... absolutely anything.


Give your yarns a little twist, just to get an idea of how they will look when worked together.

I'm happy with this blend!


Choose a hook. If in doubt about the size... always go a little smaller. A smaller hook will give you a firmer crochet fabric and a more sturdy finished product.

Here I'm choosing to use a 6.5mm hook

Now for that rectangle!


The base of the bag will be rectangular. Have a think about the size you would like your bag to be.

I've folded a pamphlet in half to use as a template. It will help you visualise what we are doing here.


Start by working a row of chain stitches the length of the short end of your rectangle. Here I have worked only 5ch.


ch 1, sc into 2nd ch from hook, sc to end... (I have worked 5sc)


ch 1, turn work, sc into top of each stitch (again I have worked 5sc)


Keep repeating this row, until you have completed your rectangle. I worked 20 rows in total.


This is the base of the bag completed. Now to start on the sides.


Do not turn your work. Make another sc in the same spot as your last one.


You are now working a row of sc down the length of your rectangle, do this by placing a sc in the end of each of the previous rows.

When you reach the end, work 2sc into the 'corner stitch'.

Work a row of sc into the other end of your rectangle.

Then 2sc into the next corner, and work along the final side of the rectangle.


You have just completed the first 'round' of the bag.

Don't worry about joining the rounds, just work in spirals.

Don't bother with marking the end of each round either.

Keep working in sc.

You are NO LONGER working 2sc into the corner stitches.

Just work one sc into each stitch.


After a few rounds you should see your bag beginning to take shape.


Continue until you are happy with the 'height' of the bag... I worked approximately 15 rounds. Work a slip stitch into the next stitch, cut yarn and fasten off. I try to finish off in a 'corner' rather than in the middle of the bag.


Lay the bag flat. Choose a yarn for the trim. If you want a subtle look, you could use one of the three yarns you used for the body of the bag. Or contrast with a completely new colour.


I have chosen some light pink beads and buttons to add to the bag, so I am going to use a light pink contrasting trim colour.


I'm going to work a small picot edge using a single strand of yarn and a 3.0mm hook. Starting at one end of the bag, work (sc, ch2, sc) into each stitch.


Continue this picot pattern for a full round. Join and fasten off. Weave in all ends.

I'm going to add two twisted cord handles... click here for my tutorial

A tiny bit of maths here...
  • work out the length you want each strap to be
  • add a little extra to attach to bag
  • multiply this by 2 because we are going to make a cord long enough for both straps
  • then multiply this by 3 because you will lose some length in the twisting and folding process
  • this is the length of each piece of yarn needed
  • I used 12 strands in total, four of each colour
Because we are working with such a long cord, I like to secure one end to a door handle while twisting.


Once your cord is complete, we need to cut it into two.


Fold in half and tie some yarn very firmly on each side of where you plan to cut. I am a bit obsessive about this. I wind and tie the yarn about ten times, just to be sure it is totally secure.


then snip


Repeat the process so you can remove the large knot at the end. It is too bulky for the inside of your bag.


Leave the folded end as is.


Position one handle.


Ensure it is centred properly. Then attach to the inside of your bag.


I prefer to use a needle and regular thread when attaching the handles. You can use wool if you like, but I find that the thread adds less bulk.


The best way of securing is to stitch up and down the handle (the section marked in the photo between my finger and thumb) Be sure and work right the way through the handle and the full thickness of the bag. Keep your stitches small on the outside of the bag, and they will disappear into your work.


You might need to click on this photo and enlarge it to get a better view here. You should be able to see some of my stitches in the dark pink thread, attaching the handle to the bag. I have worked my way up and down that section 3 or 4 times... although most of the stitches are not visible.


Repeat with the other handle. The inside doesn't need to look pretty, as the lining will hide a multitude of sins!


Add any embellishments you fancy. Then you are ready for the lining.

Click here to see my simple lining tutorial.


Anonymous said...

You are amazing, AMAZING !

I love how you start the bag with the base! Genius !

PS: Guess what . . . today I bought a SEWING MACHINE !! Yay !!

Now what to make . . . . . .

Thanks for an excellent post !

Anonymous said...

PS: you do GREAT tutes ! Love all the detailed pictures. Thanks heaps :-)

Anonymous said...

thanks soo much. What a great tutorial!!!!!!

Karen said...

Wonderful instructions, wonderful photos. A short bag with a wider base makes a delightful cat basket.

Cats-Rockin-Crochet said...

This is a fantastic tutorial. I even learned something new, who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

laughing purple goldfish said...

thanks for the beautiful feedback everyone... I will be returning with more photos, and hopefully some lining instructions tomorrow or the next day

Anonymous said...

Thank-you for the detailed post I look forward to the rest. Very clear instructions. As Stramenda said, "You are amazing!"

Anonymous said...

Exactly how did you attach the twisted handles to the bag?

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! Now, I know what I'm making my girls for Christmas and for my niece for her birthday! Can't wait to see how you do the lining. :)

laughing purple goldfish said...

don't be embarrassed... you are probably just asking out loud the question that everyone else was thinking!

I have added a few more photos and steps to the tutorial, to explain the handle attachment. Hope that helps...

If not... let me know :)

Dawn said...

Thanks for great tutorial!!!! Am starting my own right now. You have made me very brave lol.

laughing purple goldfish said...

you're welcome dawn... have fun with it... you know where I am if you need any help :)

Muttix said...

Great tutorial! I'm going to try this bag out, including the lining.

woof nanny said...

Wow, this is great. I added a link on my purse blog (the entire sidebar is tutorials)

laughing purple goldfish said...

thanks for linking to me woof nanny... took a quick peek at your blog, there's some fabulous ideas there... I'll have to head back when I have a little bit more time on my hands

Sherryknit said...

I love this bag. Your site has brought me inspiration. Thank You

laughing purple goldfish said...

sherryknit - inspiration is such a wonderful thing... glad to have been part of yours :)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Love the colors you selected, and the inspiration to not be afraid to combine different types of yarns! Great site! So glad I found you today!

laughing purple goldfish said...

lisa - thanks for stopping by... be brave and experiment with those colours... you never know what you might discover

Anonymous said...

I love you! Haha, seriously~ I've been looking for the perfect crochet bag/tote pattern and this is absolutely IT. Thank you so much for posting this~ (^_^)


laughing purple goldfish said...

chell - you are so very welcome... it's a very simple formula, enjoy!

Purple and Paisley said...

thank you so much for the tutorial...i am a newbie crocheter and have a question...*feel kinda dorky*...once the base is done, you do another sc in the same last stitch you did, go down the length of the rectangle, 2 sc in that 1st corner, do the width, 2 sc in the 2nd corner, go down the remaining length of the rectangle...and then do you do another 2 sc in that last corner? when i read the tute, i am only only grasping (3) places where you do 2 sc and not (4)...does this make sense? again, thank you...i can't believe how much i love crocheting and am so excited to try this...i already bought my yarn! =)

laughing purple goldfish said...

purple and paisley - don't worry about feeling dorky... I think it's wonderful you are trying something new... I'm excited for you!!!

YES... you are right... you should be working 2sc into each of the four corners of the bag...

have fun with the bag :)

happy crafting

Purple and Paisley said...

thought you might like to see the bag i made using your tute (not quite done yet but soon)...and a much smaller version i came up with for a cell phone my first post about the bag, i added a link to your site and gave you credit for the here (and thank you again for the pattern):

laughing purple goldfish said...

purple and paisley - you're welcome... I have been over and admired your work... and left a comment for you :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your easy to understand instructions! I just finished a small bag for my son's girlfriend. I loved making it! (well, except for the lining. Sewing is never fun for me) It is so cute, I hate to give it up! Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Awesome tutorial!
I'm just beginning to learn how to crochet and I came across this.
I had some yarn for 2 years (I hate the texture), but I wanted to use it in something that would make it practical (it turns out quite stiff when knitting). So, I looked for bags and voila! Here I am and have already begun.
Making this for my sister. Will probably crochet some red hearts and stitch them on once the bag is complete as well. :D
Thank you for this! So easy to follow.

Anonymous said...

How to ad strap to bag without sewing,just crochet?I am beaginer in crochet,cane You help?Thanks.

nbonanno said...

Adorable and so do-able. I'm making a mini-version of this for my daughter's 'American Girl' doll.

laughing purple goldfish said...

peggy - not wanting to part with it is a fabulous indication that you have made something super special... glad you enjoyed the tutorial

meiko - one of my goals in life is to find a use for the unloved yarns of this world... glad to help :)

princepita - you can just crochet the straps if you like, or make button hole style handles... anything you fancy!

nancy - sounds gorgeous :)

Gabby said...

Do you know how I could add a pocket? I really love this bag, but I want to add a pocket. Your stuff is great, and I really like your blog. I actually was inspired to keep all of my yarn scraps by you so I can't wait to see what I can make from them!!

Anonymous said...

GREAT BAG! Nice and strong...just what I needed!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Your work is lovely! Great bag!

Cindy (Cshell)

A Knitter in Hull/Hulluva' Knitter, on

Anonymous said...

I just started making this but now that I have completed 2 rows around my rectangle-the base is curling up. Should I take off my 2 rows and start fresh with more sc around the base? Or should I keep going and the curling will fix itself? I'm new at this;)

laughing purple goldfish said...

gabby - an inside pocket or an outside one? either way, I would keep it easy and just make a patch pocket (a simple square or rectangle sewn on like a patch, but only stitched around three sides) if it's for the inside... just attach it to the lining BEFORE you sew the sides together... if it's on the outside, just crochet an extra rectangle and stitch it on wherever you fancy

cindy - you're very welcome

abby - try working a few more rounds and see how it goes... the base doesn't end up sitting completely flat, it kind of curve up to meet the sides... if it looks like a BAG, stick with it... if not, try again :) don't be too hard on yourself!

Anonymous said...

I finally made a bag using this tutorial and I love it! It was so easy to make and all of your pictures helped a lot. I added a lining (according to your bag lining tutorial) with a pocket and a zipper. I can't gush about this pattern/tutorial enough! Thank you so, so much for posting this!

Dawn said...

Wow. I wish I had come across your site a LONG time ago. I made a bag today and lined it, all in a matter of about 5-6 hours. Your instructions for the lining were so incredibly easy to follow, even I got it, and that's saying something!! I've bookmarked your page(s) and will definitely be using them again! Thanks so much!1

Jennifer said...

Hi there I found your website last night and am very inspired. Did not sleep much as I kept coming up with lots of ideas. Today I have cut strips of old fabric and am having a go at making a rag bag using your easy peasy pattern. It seems to be working out great and it is so simple. I taught myself to crochet a few months ago and this is just great. Can I just ask what SC means. I have only heard od DC (double crochet and treble crochet so far. MAny thanks for such an inspiring site.

Isadora said...

Hi, I made myself an "easy peasy corchet BASKET" from this tutorial, the photos are in my blog

There's a link to your tutorial in the word "aqui" (the post is in Portuguese).
Thanks for sharing, it's easy, practical and cute!

Anonymous said...

hello I loved the details and pictures i wanted to know can I use double crochet and alsoiam trying to make a tote in the same way will it come out okay

Shellywelly1986 said...

thanks for your pattern i was looking for an easy pattern to try out crocheting with PLARN (plastic yarn eg carrier bags) and its working great so far ive done the base i just working my way to the sides this pattern is fab thank you very much :)

Unknown said...

Great tutorial.
I'm making this bag with plastic bags (recycling-recycling)
Thank you so much/

Jessica said...

Brilliant! This was the first thing I've made from a pattern, and I'm so chuffed with how it's turned out that I'm giving it to my mum as a Christmas present. I made mine a bit bigger and narrowed it towards the top, but it looks excellent.
Thank you so much for such an easy peasy lemon squeezy design. Suddenly I feel like I am a crocheter, rather than someone who can only make scarves!

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing the pattern. I made two for my little ones and they love them. You are right about the lining; it gives them such a nice look! Thanks again.

خياطة وتفصيل said...

Crochet a beautiful and easy to love this pattern Thanks effort

Anonymous said...

Thnx for ur pattern, it was so easy. I finished mine yesterday n added the lining. My daughter is in love w her new bag. Thnx again, u made my day. Blessings to u n family

Anonymous said...

Hello, I have searched every where for a pretty bag pattern with no luck until I saw your bag. Love everything about it. Thank you so much.

Amanda said...

Will this work with nylon?

laughing purple goldfish said...

Amanda... Yes it WILL work for nylon. I've used this pattern when working with t-shirt yarn, rags, and plastic strips... successful every time!

Anonymous said...

I was wondering instead of doing the step where you create the base by chaining like you did on the piece of paper, if we chained the base as long as we wanted it. Would that work too? And how many rows did you do before it started to shape up? :)

laughing purple goldfish said...

Yes. It would work just the same if you chained the length of the base instead. I guess it takes about three rounds before you see the sides of the bag really starting to rise and take shape... Hope that helps.

Anonymous said...


laughing purple goldfish said...


Yes. You can make this bag with a smaller hook and a single strand of yarn. Just follow the same instructions. Plarn is Plastic Yarn made by cutting grocery bags into strips, which you then crochet with.

Candy said...

OK, I feel really dumb for asking this question. It isn't even a crochet question.How do I twist the yarn? I am using acrylic yarn (only 2).
Thank you,

laughing purple goldfish said...

Hey Candy... Which twisting are you talking about?

At the beginning, I just twist the yarns between my fingers to see how they will look together.

When actually working the bag, the yarns are not twisted - just held together.

And there is a link in the post above for the instructions for the twisted cord handles.

Hope that helps.


Anonymous said...

Do you have to twist yarn together? Or can you just use one ball of yarn?

laughing purple goldfish said...

I used a few strands held together to make a really thick yarn. It also gave some interesting colour to the bag.

Yes. You can use a single strand of thick yarn if you prefer.

Elodie said...

Loved it . But,I accidentally washed it and it became felty.
What happened?

wab said...

This is an amazing tutorial!! I'm having a problem though... I have a fairly large base and as I'm doing the sides, only the last couple of rows curl up but the "older" side rows are just flattening out like the base. If I keep going will it fix itself, or will it continue to stay pretty flat? I'm thinking of maybe skipping some of the scs in the corners to "right" it, but I'm not sure how that would look.

Unknown said...

Love the purse; And thank you for the tutorial on the corded handle. This is different & will try on my next purse. Also I like your technique for making the bottom to your own dimensions. You are fantastic. I have learned so much.

Yvonne Randall said...

Wondefully explained tutorial. Love the black and grey bag that you had linked to this too.

WinterRose said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful pattern and tutorial. I've made 2 bags from this pattern.
The pictures were a huge help. :D This is the one I made for my Mom:

Petunia said...

I am truly loving this bag. Ian using two colors sky blue and black with silver flecks. I want to add handles but I am not sure if I should use something different from twisted yarn...any ideas? I love love your tutorial.. It is so very helpful..

Anonymous said...

I love this bag. I have spools of straw ribbon (more like plastic) and would like to use that to make the bag. I want the bag to be about 12" long by 3" deep. What size hook should I use and are there changes to the pattern? I believe you made a black one out of plastic bags. Thank you.

Zoe said...

thanks soo much. What a great tutorial!!!!!!

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