Last spring I crocheted a crossbody bag for my daughter Molly. I followed the Mooglyblog pattern, The Everyday Crossbody Bag and was pretty happy with how it turned out. All except for the zipper. It wasn’t the pattern’s fault. I just didn’t feel I did a very good job with it, especially since I didn’t use the specific kind of zipper that the pattern called for. It was the first time I had attempted inserting a zipper into a crocheted bag and it turned out to be a bit more fiddly than I had anticipated. I had hoped to find the zipper at Joann’s, but unfortunately Amazon was the only source and I didn’t want to wait. So instead I used a zipper I found in my sewing stash. It turned out OK, and Molly liked her bag, thankfully, but to me it wasn’t quite up to my perfectionistic standards!
So, when I decided to make a crossbody bag for myself I opted for a flap with a button closure instead of a zipper, and I am very pleased with how it turned out.
I followed the pattern more for technique rather than following it exactly. I used acrylic worsted weight yarn (various brands from my stash, many with the identifying labels long gone!) working half double crochets with a size 5.0 mm hook. And I held two strands of yarn together throughout. I wanted the fabric to be thick, without holes. The plan was to change colors every row but I only changed one of the two strands every row, keeping the light creamy yellow strand throughout the entire bag. It gives the bag a sort of tweedy look!
I began with a chain of 31 which gave me 30 hdc’s when working back across into the chain and since the first row is crocheted into the front loop and then turned and worked into the other side of the original chain I ended up with 60 hdc’s for the first row/round. Tamara’s pattern explains this beautifully. I love how her bag begins and how it’s worked up, not in continuous rounds, but with every row/round turned which means either side is the “right” side! Very simple and very nicely explained!
When the bag was as tall as I wanted it I made the flap. I simply continued my rows beginning at the side and went back and forth from side to side continuing to crochet it as long as I wanted. After about six rows I began to decrease the flap by a stitch on each end. I would decrease a row, then crochet the next which I repeated three times. From there I crocheted several rows before working the button closure.
I wasn’t sure exactly what to do about the button closure itself … a loop or buttonhole? I experimented with both and liked the buttonhole the best.
I crocheted the buttonhole row as every other row, until the 4 middle stitches. I then chained 3, skipped those 4 middle stitches and continued to the end. I hope that makes sense. The following row I crocheted into each stitch and each chain (making the completed buttonhole) and then crocheted one more hdc row after it. The very last row I worked in sc but I didn’t change colors for the final row. Originally I thought that would be the final row, but decided later to go back and work a sc around the entire flap with just one strand. This is the only time I didn’t used 2 stands held together.
I used a 1 1/2 inch button and attached it using yarn and a yarn needle. After sewing it to the bag with 3-4 stitches I wrapped the yarn around those stitches between the button and the body of the bag maybe 5-6 times. This reinforces the button and it also keeps the button somewhat raised from the body of the bag making it quite easy to button and unbutton. It can easily be unbuttoned with one hand which is very convenient. Scroll down to the next picture and you can see how the button is slightly raised from the body of the bag.
To make the strap I first crocheted tabs of 3 hdc’s for 7 rows that were centered at each side. I then inserted a one inch square ring that I picked up at Joann’s and using the yarn tails sewed the tab down.
My original plan was to search out a purse or bag at a thrift shop and recycle the handle that I would attach to the square rings but decided instead to crochet the handle. Holding 2 strands together using the creamy yellow that I used throughout and the dark teal that I used to trim the flap I crocheted the handle the same width as the tab. I kept checking as I crocheted until I was satisfied that I had the right length.
I could have gotten away without lining the bag as the fabric ended up very dense and tight. I don’t think anything could have fallen through it but having a lining inside would mean that things would slide easily in and out of it and not potentially get caught up on the stitches. I used two pieces of fabric sewed right sides together on three sides and simply folded down the top and hand sewed it to the purse. Easy peasy!
I crocheted a pocket for the back, again using 2 strands of yarn and sewed it on with the yarn tails. It holds my phone (or several teabags) nicely.
This bag is the smallest bag I’ve ever used which was my intent. It contains only the most basic essentials. I have a flashlight and panic alarm that was attached to my key ring, but with the smaller purse there wasn’t room for it. So now it’s attached to the square ring at the handle and is just as handy, if not more so, than it was before.
The finished measurements of the bag are approximately 9 1/2″ wide by 8″ high. The flap is about 7 1/2″ long. The strap is approximately 47″ long which includes the 1 1/2″ on each side where it’s folded and attached to the ring.
This bag is just the right size and I think it will be used and enjoyed for some time.
This was a great project for using up stash! And who doesn’t have lots of stash? It is always so gratifying to make a useful item out of leftover yarn! The only thing I had to buy were the rings and the button and I had 50% off coupons for both! So this project was a frugal one, to say the least!