When I started working on my Aztec Throw Pillow, lots of you suggested that it would make a great bag. I totally agreed but felt like it was just a little too wide, so I went ahead with my original plan and made it into a pillow and then very quickly moved on to a new project with the intent of making a fold-over clutch bag.
If you follow me on social media, you may have seen some progress shots of the process. I went with a funky and bright geometric design for the front and a solid grey for the back. My inspiration for the design came from an art print by Louise Machado called “Geometric Pastel”. I loved the mixture of the polka dots, stripes and solids all coming together, as well as the bright contrasting colours.
I also visited my local fabric store to pick up some fabric for the lining. I was over the moon when I saw this shade! It perfectly matches the green I used in the front panel. Love it when that happens!
Maybe you just read the word “fabric” and started to panic? Don’t worry, friends! This project is sewing-free! Yes, even though I included a lining, this entire bag is still a NO-SEW project. Yay!
I do like to sew, but for this bag, I wanted to experiment a little with making the bag no-sew, so that it would be accessible to a wider-range of crocheters. To do that, I used a wide skipping rotary blade along the edges of the fabric to make small holes into which I could crochet. There are more details of this process in the assembly section below! And you can check out the exact rotary cutter I used in the link below in the materials section.
Even if you don’t have a skip rotary cutter, you can still put a lining in your bag. You can use a regular hole punch and simply make evenly spaced holes along your fabric, or even use a pair scissors and do it by hand.
Full disclosure: I bought a woven fabric, which has edges that tend to fray. I did not finish the edges and I did notice that, as I was crocheting the lining in place, some of the frayed edges showed a little, so it’s not the cleanest finish. You may want to finish the edges of your fabric first before cutting the crochet holes in it, or, you may want to use a knit fabric that does not fray.
Of course, if you like to sew, you are more than welcome to sew in the lining in the traditional way. Also, feel free to omit the lining entirely! You don’t really need a lining, but if you want to use the finished object as a bag, you will have to weave in your ends so they don’t get caught on things on the inside of the bag.
I created this bag with the intention of using it as a clutch, but you could easily add loops into the seams at the top or at the fold and then add a strap to turn it into a shoulder or cross-body bag.
All that being said, you don’t even have to use the panels as a bag; the front panel would also make a fun and trendy wall-hanging, or a fun accent pillow. There are many possibilities, friends!
I have included a PDF download of the colour chart below. Following the chart is the easiest way to make this pattern. However, if you are not comfortable with charts or you simply prefer written patterns, I have included row-by-row instructions in the PDF version of the pattern in my Etsy shop HERE. Also, if you want a downloadable or printable version of the entire pattern (i.e. with the “Reading this Pattern” and assembly instructions included; not just the chart), you can get all of that in the PDF in my Etsy shop as well.
Let’s get started! (Or Pin for later!)
This pattern is made in two separate panels worked in flat rows and then joined together.
The finished measurements of the bag are approximately 33cm/13″ high x 29cm/11″ wide when flat, or 18cm/7″ high x 29cm/11″ wide when folded over.
**As noted, if you’d prefer a downloadable or printable version of this pattern (or row-by-row written instructions), an inexpensive, formatted, and ad-free PDF can be HERE.**
- 3.5mm hook (I use THESE hooks!);
- Bernat Super Value in Bright Teal (less than 50g);
- Red Heart Super Saver in Gray Heather (100g);
- Red Heart Super Saver in Light Grey (less than 50g);
- Loops & Threads Impeccable in Grass (less than 50g)
- Needle Crafters Yarn in Bright Salmon (less than 50g) (I got this yarn at a local craft store; I don’t think it’s available in the big box stores but there are lots of other great substitutes available, such as Loops & Threads Impeccable in Arbour Rose, or Caron Simply Soft in neon pink or orange.)
- Less than half a meter of fabric for lining;
- Fiskars Rotary Cutter, 45mm
- 45mm Crochet Edge Skip Blades
- Tapestry needle
Stitches and Special Terms:
Ch – Chain
Sc – Single crochet
Reading this Pattern:
The link below will bring you to a PDF download of the colour chart for the pillow.
As you will see on the chart, the row numbers are listed on each side. These will help you keep track of which row you’re on and also which side you’re working on. Odd-numbered rows will always be worked with the right side of the panel facing you, and even-numbered rows will always be worked with the wrong side facing you (i.e. the side with all the ends and/or yarn carries).
Some of the yarn can be carried because there will only be one or two stitches between the colours (for example, in the blocks with polka dots). However, there will also be areas where you will want to divide the big skeins of each colour into smaller balls or bobbins and have several balls of each colour attached at once. I recommend joining a separate ball for each of the blocks of colour. That way, you can simply drop the working yarn and pick it back up again on your way back in the next row.
When switching to a new colour, insert your hook into the stitch for the last stitch of Colour A and pull up a loop, then, with Colour B, yarn over and complete the stitch by pulling through both loops with Colour B. Drop your working yarn in Colour A and continue with Colour B. You will pick your Colour A working yarn back up again when you need it.
If I am carrying yarn, I always carry it on the wrong side (instead of carrying it inside the stitch as you go). This ensures the front of the panel has clear lines and colours without any of the yarn carries showing through.
Front Panel (make 1 panel) with 3.5mm hook:
Start in Grey Heather.
Row 1: Ch 51, following row 1 of the chart, sc in each stitch across (50 sts).
Then, move on to Row 2 of the chart and continue working up the chart from bottom to top.
Back Panel (make 1 panel) with 3.5mm hook:
The back panel is completed entirely in Grey Heather.
Row 1: Ch 51, sc in each st across (50 sts)
Rows 2-60: Sc across (50 sts).
Tie off. Move on to assembly below!
Step 1: Cutting the Lining
Lay your lining fabric flat and place one of your panels on top. Feel free to use pattern weights or pins to keep the panel in place, or use chalk or a pencil to mark around the panel. Cut out two lining panels.
With a piece of cardboard underneath (or a cutting mat), use your skip rotary cutter to cut holes along the edges of the fabric, about 2cm/1/2″ from the edges.
Step 2: Joining the Panels
Place the two lining panels in between the two crochet panels, matching up all sides (i.e. make sure the starting yarn tails are both in the same corner and all yarn ends are facing inside). The tension of the back panel may be tighter than your front panel. This is normal. I repeat: This. is. normal. Do not freak out that your panels are different sizes! Simply stretch the back panel a little so that it lines up with the front. It will naturally stretch into place as you crochet around anyway.
**Make sure the front of your bag is facing you as you crochet around the outside.**
Starting on the left side at the top, begin attaching the panels together by chaining one and single crocheting through all four panels in Grey Heather. The holes in the lining may not match up exactly with the edges of the crochet panels, so may need to do what I did: I ended up crocheting through the lining on every second stitch, and through the crochet panels only for the others.
(Sc, ch 2, sc) in each corner.
Continue crocheting all the way around until you have three sides completed and just the top is open.
When you reach the top, you will crochet along the front panel, attaching just one panel of lining first, and then along the back panel, as shown in the picture below.
Again, the holes in the lining did not line up exactly with the crochet stitches, so I skipped every third stitch along the top (meaning I crocheted through the panel and the lining for the first 2 stitches, then crocheted just through the crochet panel for the third stitch and repeated all the way across; you can see this pattern in the pictures below.).
After you have worked all the way around the front and back of the top of the bag, add 3 more rows of single crochet stitches, first along the front panel, then tie off and rejoin your yarn and work 3 more rows along the top of the back panel. This will ensure the lining is hidden when you fold it over.
Tie off and weave in yarn tails
You’re done! Enjoy!
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