This is a detailed tutorial showing how I made by crochet envelope bag inspired by the one made by Janette of the lovely blog The Green Dragonfly back in 2011… I shared Janette’s bag on the Bagalong Facebook group and there was quite a demand for a more detailed how to… so here it is.
The bag is quite a tiny one and could be made in any DK yarn in any colour – I used Deramores’ own brand gorgeous acrylic – Deramores Studio DK – which comes in these mouthwatering summery colours.
As a special treat until the end of July, I’ve got a discount code for this yarn and the Studio Chunky I used in the Festival bag to give you 20% off – go to Deramores and add the code TREATS at check out!! [Cant be used with others offers and T&Cs apply.] Find out more about me and Deramores.
What you need
- Yarn in various colours – see below for the Deramores Studio DK colours I used.
- A Frixion pen – a pen with ink that disappears on heating, so vanishes when you iron the fabric
- Crochet hook – I used a Clover 3.5mm (size E)
- Lining fabric – I used half a fat quarter of cotton in a polka dot design I bought for £1.99 from Etsy
- Iron and ironing board
- Sewing machine
- Matching thread for sewing
- Needle for darning in the ends
Step 1: making the granny square
I used the retro granny square pattern that forms the basis of the retro granny stash bag and the small project bag, but with some tiny differences.
Working with a 3.5mm hook (Size E), I started exactly the same to round 3. In round 4 and all the rounds that followed, I made the corners with [3 trebles] chain [3 trebles] (UK terms); 3dc, ch,3dc (USA terms).
The square has 12 rounds in total and the Deramores Studio DK colours I used are (from the centre out): citrine, rose, raspberry, peridot, citrine, fuchsia, fir, mustard, raspberry, rose, fuchsia, citrine. Its finished size was 22.5 cm (9 inches) across. This is a tiny bag compared to the giant seaside stash bag I made earlier this month!
Step 2: Lining the granny square
Oh no, I can hear the tears starting because there is more sewing involved… but this is very easy and this step-by-step will take you through it all.
Start by choosing some fabric – I only used a fat quarter (quarter of a yard) and doubled the fabric up to make the sewing easier. Make sure the doubled over piece of fabric is bigger than your square all round so that you can produce a lining that is exactly the same size after hemming.
Turn the fabric inside out. Use the fold as one closed edge and then mark lines with a Frixion pen so that your finished square will measure exactly the size of your granny square. These pens are fantastic – they produce a very obvious, easy-to-see mark but then they completely disappear with heat – so when you iron, no more lines.
Sew around two complete sides and then half a side, following your guidelines. Remember to leave a gap to be able to turn the lining inside out. Make sure to trim the seams by the corners to get neater corners (a trick I learned this week :))
Once that’s done, turn the fabric back to the right side out and poke the corners gently with a blunt knitting needle or a chopstick. Fold in the edges along the small section that isn’t sewn. Then sew along the edges all around the square, keeping about 0.5mm (quarter of an inch) from the edge. Your finished square should be exactly the same size as your crochet square.
The next step is to pin it to your square and poke a fifth pin through from the centre point of the granny so that you can see where the centre of your lining is. You can mark this with your Frixion pen if you like. You will make the shape of the bag by folding up three of the corners to this central point.
If you want a plain lining you can skip ahead to Step 4 now – and start joining the bag. But I am practicing my sewing so decided to put in two pockets. My daughter spied the bag and said she would like to take it on a weekend away to Berlin – this weekend! Just to carry around her mobile and credit cards and keys.
So I thought it would be good to add a pocket for the mobile phone and a little one for a credit card…
I started by using the bag in the folded and pinned position above the roughly mark where the back of the bag would be on the lining. I used the Frixion pen again as the marks disappear when you iron.
Step 3: making the pockets
I measured my daughter’s phone and cut out doubled up fabric to the right size, cutting a smaller piece to fit a standard credit card. Starting with the smaller piece, I turned it inside out, sewed around the 3.5 edges, turned back to the right side and then oversewed it into place on ONE SIDE of the piece of fabric for the mobile pocket. I then turned the mobile pocket piece inside out and sewed around 3.5 edges, then turned it back the right way.
Then I oversewed the larger pocket, placing it in the centre of the main bag lining in the middle of the area I’d marked that corresponded to the back of the bag.
The final step was to attach the lining, which I did by handstitching all around, making sure to leave the top two loops of the crochet stitches completely free. I also marked the central point of the lining again, by sticking a pin through from the other side from the centre of the granny square. My original mark from the Frixion pen had disappeared with all the others after I ironed the finished lining.
Step 4 – Joining up the crochet envelope bag
I decided to slip stitch the edges of the bag together, and around the top flap, using citrine, the same yellow as the last round of my granny square. The photo below shows the bag how it will look when finished. Start at the bottom corner and slip stitch up what I have called side A, making the slip stitch through both loops of both sides of the granny square.
You will find when you start working that this happens:
When you get to the corner, continue slip stitching along the top of the inside back of the square only – do not join!
When you get to the next corner, continue slip stitching along the inside of the next long side, again without joining.
When you get to the next corner, bring the next corner in and start joining at the centre and work to the edge of the bag, closing up side B.
Weave in your ends – you now have a clutch!
Step 5 – the handles
You can use it like this, without making handles, or you can make simple handles. I made a long chain of 140 chains then 5 rows of double crochet stitches (UK terms); single crochet stitches (USA terms) and then sewed them to the back of the bag. My daughter wanted to wear it as a cross body bag.
Step 6 – closure
To keep the bag closed, added a large press stud (snap fastener) and then a button on the front for decoration. You could put the button on the lower part of the bag and remember to make a small chain in the centre of the flap as your are slipstitching around that corner if you prefer.
And TaDah! it was finished (more taDah! pics here):
20% discount for the Deramores yarn used here
As a special treat until the end of July, I’ve got a discount code for this Studio DK and the Studio Chunky I used in the Festival bag to give you 20% off – go to Deramores and add the code TREATS at check out!! [Cant be used with others offers and T&Cs apply.] I also get a small commission to help me to more free tutorials – at no cost to you!
And if you’ve found this tutorial useful, adding a small donation to my Just Giving page to support Marie Curie nurses would be great and much appreciated by them and me xxx