I struggle a lot finding bags I like the look of that are also practical and functional. I like square bags, but they are often too large or don’t hold their shape. I also like organic and simple materials, but brands that use these can be very pricey. I often resort to your run-of-the-mill tote bag, but these aren’t always the most stylish options and are often larger than what I really need.
My most recent bag crapped out on me about a month ago, and while I usually would shop around to try to find a new option, my Nothing New Challenge inspired me to try to make my own custom bag that served all my needs. I turned to simple unbleached cotton twine as my material, which is inexpensive and easily found at any hardware store. I used Librett brand, but any similar thick twine would work fine. I’d say it’s about worsted weight.
The pattern I drafted creates a squarish bag that still has a nice softness to it, and the texture of the twine combined with a couple easy crochet stitches creates a unique pattern. I finished the bag with some woven handles I found at Mood fabrics, but you could easily substitute leather handles, ribbon, or crochet handles. I do recommend the wrapped-under style as it helps the bag keep its shape. Finally, if you really want to class it up you could line the bag, maybe using some salvaged or thrifted cotton. I’m planning on trying this again as there were some functional things with this bag I’d like to change so I didn’t go through that effort, but it’s still a really lovely and practical design.
I’ll also mention that this is the first time I’ve tried writing down how I do things in crochet or knitting for other people, so if there are any issues with the pattern please let me know! I’m my only tester here, and my faults are often plenty.
Click past the cut for the pattern and some more photos.
Cotton Twine Crochet Tote
- Earth Safe Cotton Butcher Twine, ~ 740 ft (two large balls)
- Size J10 or 6mm Crochet Hook or size to achieve gauge
- 7 yards heavyweight twill tape, cotton webbing, or any dense cotton trim.
Gauge: 3 sc across to 1inch
Chain 31 St
sc in 2nd chain from hook, sc in each chain across.
*Ch 1, sc across, flip work* Repeat between ** 6 times. This is the base of your bag.
Ch 1, sc 30, turn work 90 degrees, sc 6 into edge, turn work 90 degrees, sec 30 into bottom chain, turn 90 degrees, sc 6 across edge, join with turning chain. This is the first row of the sides of your bag.
*Ch1, sc 72 around, join with turning chain* Repeat between ** 10 times. This is the bottom part of the bag.
Ch1, bsc 72 around, join with turning chain.
Ch1, sc 72 around, join with turning chain.
Repeat last two rows x10 (20 rows total) to build body pattern of bag.
Sl st around top edge of bag, cut thread and pull through final stitch.
Block and weave in ends. Sew together ends of your cotton weave leaving about a half inch allowance, right sides together if applies. Trim excess allowance.
Wrap strap around bag as shown in illustration A and photos and sew where marked. If you have a machine that can do interior sewing like this that’s great, otherwise use a long needle and carefully back stitch the straps in place.
Optional: Cut a piece of cotton fabric the size of the illustration B below and sew along the sides, right sides together. Fold the top edge over and carefully sew along the edge of the bag to catch the liner and finish the top edge simultaneously. Check my doodle C if this is confusing.