ETA: Want a PDF of the directions? (Sorry, it doesn’t have pics, just the directions.) You can get it here.
Well, since Sprout wanted to make one, I suppose I’ll have to put the pattern here.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Granny Squares: Now, here’s where size and color come in. For the bag in the previous post, I used 10 6-inch squares, and that’s the pattern that I’ll spell out here. The other way that I’ve done it was with 2 12-inch squares where I continued the Granny stitch on the top of one of the squares for the equivalent of 2 6-inch squares. Or, alternately, you could use 2 6-inch squares. It doesn’t really matter what type of yarn you use, just as long as you use the same type of yarn for all your squares and the yarn that you sew it all together with (i.e.: all acrylic, or all wool, or all cotton) so that if you need to wash the bag, it won’t do weird things.
- If you don’t know how to make a Granny Square, this YouTube video will tell you how to make a basic one. If you already know, feel free to use whatever Granny Square pattern strikes your fancy. I didn’t want to line my bag, so I used the basic pattern because it was more “solid” in that way. If you want something that looks more mesh, go for a more mesh looking pattern.
- A 4 oz ball of yarn for sewing with: I used black as a contrasting color to the squares because it looked good. You could use whatever color you like I also used the same yarn to make the handle. Again, make sure to use the same type of yarn as the squares.
- A spool knitter: This is a cool little tool that makes nice, comfortable straps and handles. I have a double ended spool knitter with one side that has 5 prongs and the other end has 8. I used the 8 sided one for the handle of this bag, as it makes a wider strap for more room in the bag. You could use a thinner strap for a skinnier bag, or you can crochet a flat strap in any size you want. Basically, the wider the strap the more room in the bag.
- If you don’t know what a spool knitter is, check out this YouTube video.
- Hook: I used a J-hook for all the Granny Squares and for sewing. I used an H-hook for weaving in ends. Now, here’s where your choice of yarn comes in. If you used a bigger hook to make your squares, or your squares are bulkier than the yarn you’re using to sew things up with, you’ll need to decide which hook will work. Same is true if you’re using thinner, lighter yarns.
- Button: Any button that strikes your fancy will do. I used a big one that I originally had on another, smaller purse. If you want to go totally retro, go to a thrift shop and find a cool antique button!
- Plastic closable stitch markers: You don’t really use them for marking stitches, but they help hold the cord in place while you’re sewing it on to the first set of squares.
- Someone to talk to for a few hours, or some DVDs, or stupid YouTube videos while you’re sewing, cuz it does take some time. :)
Note: I sewed all the pieces together by single crochet. This leaves a row of single crochet on one side and a closed seam on the other. This makes for a stronger bag, in my opinion. If you wish to just sew them together with a yarn needle, you’ll have to keep track of what is your right and wrong sides. Onward!
- Front and back panels:
- Select 4 squares for the front panel.
- Sew 2 squares together. Sew the other two squares together in the same way.
- Now, flatten out the two pieces. You’ll now have one side with the seam, and one side that’s flat. put the flat sides (aka right sides) together and sew the two pieces together across the long length. You want all the single crochet seams on one side of the panel. All 4 squares should be together in a block now.
- Starting in the corner, single crochet with your sewing yarn around the big square to make a nice edge. In the corner space, (sc, ch1, sc) to make the corner nice. This will also be the edge you sew the handle to.
- Weave in and trim all your ends.
- Same as above, except you only use 2 squares. You’ll be sewing this onto the back panel in a bit.
- Weave in and trim all your ends.
- Sew the flap to the top of the back panel, with all the seams on the same side. Weave in and trim all the ends.
- Decision time: What look do you want? I decided to go with the seams on the inside because I liked that look better. For more of a “stained glass” kind of look, you can have the seams facing out. Just make sure you keep track of what your “right” and “wrong” sides are. You could mix it up if you want, since, well, it’s your purse. Me, I’m kinda anal retentive about certain things, and so…moving on…
- The strap:
- Here again is another decision time thing. The spool knitter will make you a nice stretchy strap in a very short period of time. Remember that the strap not only needs to be the length you want it to be, but long enough to be sewn around 3 sides of the square! You’ll need to make it longer than you think, even with stretching it out. I ended up having to crochet some extra length on mine to make it fit across my body.
- Alternately, you can crochet the strap anywhere from 4 stitches across and up (which takes longer, I think), depending how wide you want it. This strap, depending on your yarn, will still be stretchy (especially if you use a double crochet), but a bit stiffer. Again, you’ll need to make it longer than you think you need it!
- Sewing the strap:
- Using the stitch markers on each corner, attach the edges of the strap to the edges of three sides of your front panel.
- Sew the handle to the front panel, starting from one of the top corners. I’d highly recommend that you use single crochet to attach the handle because it’s much stronger than just sewing it together. I also stretch it a little while I’m sewing, especially if it’s the spool knitted cord. You can remove the stitch markers as you get to them. I decided to keep these seams on the outside, but it’s up to you how you want it to look.
- After you finish the front, sew the back panel to the strap. My back panel was slightly taller than the front because of sewing the flap on the top. This is ok!
- When you’re finished, make sure to make good strong knots in the top comers and weave in all your ends.
- Sew together the ends of the strap, again, making sure to make it strong. I recommend knotting and trimming the ends here, since the strap gets the most abuse.
- The Button:
- Check where your flap comes down. It theoretically should come down in the middle of the front panel. Sew your button slightly lower than where your flap stops (this will account for some stretch). Give it a good tight knot in the back!
- Make a button loop on the bottom of the flap. Basically, I crocheted a short foundation chain to the flap in the middle to align with the button. You want to make this shorter than you think you need it, otherwise it will not button securely and all your stuff will fall out (ok, maybe not, but…well, you know what I mean…)
- Weave in and trim ends.
And…you’re done! Now, if you want to go nuts, and know how, you can create a fabric liner for the bag, especially if you have a Granny Square pattern that’s much more open. Since mine wasn’t, I left it as is. You will need to use a pencil/pen case, though. :)Let me know if there’s anything that seems wrong or is unclear!
ETA: Here is some detail of the inside of the bag. In this pic you can see the seams on the inside, the flap, and the button loop: