by Chloe Nightingale
Every year since I learned to crochet, I've made at least one of these bags, and although I'm always promising myself it will be the last one I make, I end up giving it to one of my friends (usually my sister, who must have a huge collection by now) and crocheting another one the next time I'm about to go traveling.
There are two bags in this pattern, the shoulder sling and the passport bag. The shoulder sling is one of those toss-everything-in-and-rummage-for-it-later bags, while the passport bag is designed to hold, well, a passport, travel documents, postcards, writing utensils, and maybe something small, like a tube of lipstick or your keys.
For Shoulder Bag
- 420 m/460 yds of Patons 100% Cotton DK, or a similar yarn, such as Tivoli Cruise DK
- 3.75mm (US size F/5) hook
- 3.25mm (US D/3) hook for edging
- 12" x 24" material (to line the shoulder bag)
- Sewing needle
- Sewing thread
For Passport Bag
- DMC Cebelia Crochet Cotton, size 20 (370 m/405 yds per 50 g), 1 skein, black. I know black isn't very summery, but I wanted to make a bag that would match my traveling clothes and since my traveling clothes consist of whatever I shoved into my bag at the last minute, black is a safe bet for me. Feel free to use whatever colour is the safest bet for you. Any size 20 thread can be substituted.
- 1.50 mm (US size 8) steel hook or size needed to obtain gauge
- 280 – 450 seed beads (see Passport Bag instructions, below, for options)
- 5" x 14" material (to line the bag)
- cord for strap (optional)
- Sewing needle
- Sewing thread
Passport bag is 5" x 6.5"; shoulder bag is approximately 11" x 11" (will stretch if unlined). Strap length can be easily adjusted.
Shoulder Bag: 18 sts x 19 rows of sc = 4" x 4" (10cm x 10cm)
Passport Bag: 46 sts x 25 rows of dc = 4" x 4" (10cm x 10cm)
This is a really simple pattern and can easily be adjusted to a different size, a different yarn, even a different stitch pattern. As long as you get the gist of how the bag works up, you should have no trouble making adjustments. For example, I made the bag in Debbie Bliss Cotton Denim Aran yarn and ended up with a 12" x 14" bag. The only bit of the pattern I had to adjust was the bottom - I decreased [sc2tog, sc 1] by 3 on each side instead of 5. I suggested cotton yarn for this bag because it does not stretch (the stitches themselves will give the bag a bit of stretch, however). If you do not want to make this bag using cotton, I would suggest lining the bag in a sturdy material and crocheting the finishing section in a cotton yarn. (I learned this the hard way a few years ago - the first shoulder bag I made was in a cotton/acrylic blend. It stretched down to my knees and I was stuck carrying it around Seattle all afternoon!)
Foundation Row: Ch 100. Taking care not to twist chain, sl st in first ch to form ring.
Sc in the round, in a spiral, for a total of 50 rows or until work measures about 10".
[Instead of folding it in half and seaming it like a tote (and like the passport bag), this gives the bag a rounded oval-shaped bottom.]
Round 1. *Sc2tog over next 2 sts, sc in next st,* rep from * to * 2 more times, sc in each of next 35 sts, rep from * to * 5 times, sc in each of next 35 sts, rep from * to * 2 times. (90 sts)
Round 2. *Sc2tog over next 2 sts, sc in next st,* rep from * to * 2 more times, sc in each of next 30 sts, rep from * to * 5 times, sc in each of next 30 sts, rep from * to * 2 times. (80 sts)
Round 3. *Sc2tog over next 2 sts, sc in next st,* rep from * to * 2 more times, sc in each of next 25 sts, rep from * to * 5 times, sc in each of next 25 sts, rep from * to * 2 times. (70 sts)
Round 4. *Sc2tog over next 2 sts, sc in next st,* rep from * to * 2 more times, sc in each of next 20 sts, rep from * to * 5 times, sc in each of next 20 sts, rep from * to * 2 times. (60 sts)
Round 5. *Sc2tog over next 2 sts, sc in next st,* rep from * to * 2 more times, sc in each of next 15 sts, rep from * to * 5 times, sc in each of next 15 sts, rep from * to * 2 times. (50 sts)
Seam: Turn inside out, seam bottom edges tog with sl st. I like the look of the blo sl st (where you sl st the inner loops tog), but use whatever you please. Fasten off, weave in ends. Turn right side out.
The strap is worked on the top of the bag, using the other side of the foundation chain.
Row 1. Lay bag flat to roughly gauge the “side edge”. Count 7 sts back from the left edge, attach yarn, ch 1, sc in same st as join and in each of the next 14 sts, ch 1, turn. (15 sts)
Row 2. Sc in each st across to last two sts, sc2tog over last 2 sts, ch 1, turn. (14 sts)
Rows 3-10: Repeat Row 2, ending Row 10 with 6 sts.
Row 11. Sc in each st across, ch 1, turn. (6 sts)
Repeat Row 11 112 more times (or more, if you prefer a longer strap). (Note: this strap will stretch a bit -- my finished strap measured 33" after wearing the bag around a few times.)
Row 12. Sc in each st across to last st, 2 sc in last stitch, ch 1, turn. (7 sts)
Rows 13-20. Repeat Row 12, ending Row 20 with 15 sts.
On opposite side of where the strap began, sl st edge to foundation chain leaving 35 foundation ch spaces between straps on both sides.
Note: there is no need to fasten off; begin finishing at this point.
Sc into each of the 35 foundation ch sts between the strap ends. Using a smaller hook (this helps counter strap stretching), sc along edge of strap (working one sc for each row), sl st in 1st sc, fasten off, weave in ends. Repeat for other side.
This bag kills two birds with one stone as it's a good introduction to both thread crochet and crocheting with beads. If you've never done it before, crocheting with thread takes a little getting used to. My first attempts were a little wonky, but I got used to it with a little practice. This bag is done entirely in dc and believe me, after crocheting all 96 rows, you will have your tension and gauge down!
Bead crochet is easy -- to work the dcb stitch, start as you would a regular dc: yo, insert hook into stitch, yo, pull through, as you do the next yo, slip a bead onto the bit of thread that you're yarning-over (see Figure 1), and finish the stitch as you normally would (pull through 2 loops, yo, pull through 2 loops).
There are two ways to do make this bag, the hardcore bead way, where the entire bag is beaded, and the easy bead way, where only the front of the bag is beaded.
Preparation: String 450 seed beads onto the thread for hardcore way or 280 beads for the easy way.
Foundation: Ch 61, turn.
Row 1. Dc in fourth ch from hook, dc in each st across, turn. (59 sts)
Row 2. Ch 3 (counts as 1st dc), dc in each of next 4 sts, *dcb in next st, dc in each of next 5 sts,* repeat from * to * 8 more times, turn.
Row 3. Ch 3 (counts as 1st dc), dc in each st across, turn.
Row 4. Ch 3 (counts as 1st dc), dc in next st, *dcb in next st, dc in each of next 5 sts,* repeat from * to * 8 more times, dcb, dc in each of next 2 sts, turn.
Row 5. Repeat Row 3.
For hardcore: Repeat rows (2-5) 24 times (for a total of 96 rows).
For easy: Repeat rows (2-5) 10 times, ending last repeat on Row 4 (for a total of 40 rows), repeat Row 3 for 45 rows, and repeat Rows (2-5) 3 times, ending last repeat on Row 4 (for a total of 12 rows).
Fold at 42nd row from foundation chain, sc sides together, working 2 sc in each dc row, for 42 rows. The remaining material is the front flap. To finish the flap, sc along the sides, working 2 sc in each dc row. Fasten off. Weave in ends.
The easiest way to put a strap on the bag is to sew a cord to the top corners of the bag. A more time-consuming way, however, is to crochet the strap:
Ch 5, turn.
Row 1. Sk 3 ch (counts as 1st dc), dc in each of next 2 sts, turn. (3 dc).
Row 2. Ch 3 (counts as 1st dc), dc in each of next 2 sts, turn.
Repeat Row 2 until strap is desired length. Note: unlike the shoulder bag, this strap should not stretch too much, as this is a much smaller bag and will not be carrying as heavy a load.)
Attach straps to top corners of the bag (wherever you like, I prefer to attach them on the foundation chain) with sc. Weave in ends.
Lining the bags
Lining the bags is easy if you know how to sew and easier still if you are armed with a sewing machine and know how to use it. Simply fold the lining material in half, sew up the sides, slip the lining into your bag, and sew the top of the lining to the top of the bag!