My Crochet Go-To Purse

This crocheted purse did not start out as a purse or a crochet project.  I was learning how to knit and really wanted to make the Aspen Mountain Knit Bag by Mama In A Stitch found HERE.  I just loved the bag!  I thought it was simple enough with just knit and purl stitches, but it turns out I didn’t know how to purl yet!  I started the project and gave up right away.  Ha!  I read the comments on the blog and there were several people who wanted to crochet the bag, which I thought was a great idea.  Crocheting I can do!

One of the commenters recommended the grit stitch because it was a tight stitch.  Since I’ve never done the grit stitch, I headed on over to the Moogly blog to figure out how to do it.  You can find the single crochet grit stitch tutorial HERE.  After trying it, I knew it would be the perfect stitch for my bag.

I chose Lion Brand’s Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Oatmeal for the yarn.  I love the neutral tone with specks of black and brown.  Perfect for me as I love neutral tones!  I used an N (10mm) hook.

When I started this project I was actually visiting my in-laws so I didn’t take any photos of it.  At the time, I was going to make a long bag to tote my yarn around.  But, as I was making it I realized that I’m not really a “tote bag” kind of girl.  When I got home, I frogged the whole thing and decided to make a purse instead.  Once again, I didn’t take any photos (or any notes) except for a couple.  You can see in the photo below that the grit stitch makes really clean, tight edges, which are perfect for sewing together.  I love the pattern it makes too.

This purse is really simple in that it’s just a rectangle folded in half!  I decided I wanted my final dimensions to be 14″ wide x 10 1/2″ tall.  Since I didn’t take any notes, my guess is that I maybe chained 31 for 30 stitches, but it’s easy enough to do a swatch to figure out your stitches per inch to get 14″.  I also crocheted into the back loop on my initial chain.  That will be the top edge of your bag and you want it to look neat and match the other end of the bag.  I would suggest crocheting an even number of rows to make the bag symmetrical on each side.  I had 45 rows, but would’ve gone either 44 or 46.  When I was done I folded the bag in half, right sides facing, and slip stitched the edges closed.

I loved the handles on the Aspen Mountain Knit Bag so I went to Joann Fabrics and bought the same ones.  They are the perfect length for an over the shoulder bag.  I can’t find them online, but you can see them in my photos.  To attach, you just sew them on with your yarn.  Honestly, easier said than done.  It was a total pain to do.  The round attachment kept shifting when I was trying to sew it on, thus moving it.  I finally sewed one half of the ring at a time, fastening off after each half.  I actually did this over a period of two days because it was so frustrating.  The inside of the bag was a mess, but I didn’t care because I was going to line the bag and cover it up.  I put the handles about 3″ in from the edge (to the outside ring) and about 2″ to 2 1/2″ from the top to the bottom of the ring.  It was really hard to measure so I did my best to make it even.  Matching it up to a row helped a lot.

Here’s what it looks like sewn together!  I couldn’t believe it actually turned out and fit me perfectly.  Even though the grit stitch is a tight stitch, the bag will start to sag and you’ll lose that rectangular look.  I didn’t line mine right away and the sagging started to happen.

I didn’t take any notes while lining my bag, but hopefully I can explain it enough so that you can do it too.

I went to Hobby Lobby to buy the liner material because they have really nice duck cloth there and I wanted something stiffer.  I bought a 1/2″ yard and also had a yard of Pellon #808 fusible interfacing at home to stiffen it up even more.

I dug out my rotary cutter and mat to help with cutting rectangles so that I didn’t have to make a pattern.

I measured the inside of my bag, 12″ x 10″, to get a rough idea of the size of my liner.  I added half inch inseams and cut my pieces to 13″ x 11″.  I cut rectangles instead of folding the fabric in half because I wanted the text of my fabric to be facing up on both sides.  I ironed the fusible interfacing onto the fabric and sewed the sides and bottom together with half inch inseams.  The sides were too wide so I sewed the bag smaller.

I then realized that the liner wouldn’t fit unless I had no extra fabric so I cut as close to the edges as I dared.  I figured with the interfacing there it would hold.  I wouldn’t normally do this if I was sewing.

I fit the liner in my purse and then folded the top down until it was even to just slightly below the top edge.

I sewed it about 1/4″ from the top.

Then I whip stitched it to the purse along the top edge.  It worked perfectly.  It was a lot of trial and error, but totally worth it in the end because it added a lot of stability to my purse and I didn’t have to worry about sagging or losing anything.

I hope this inspires your to make your own!  The design possibilities are endless!