This is the final tutorial for the retro granny stash bag. It describes how to make the top edge of the bag and how to incorporate a pair of strong and sturdy handles.
You can follow these links for more detail. This tutorial takes you through the final steps in making the bag and adding the handles.
Items to collect together before you start
- Chunky yarn and DK yarn in the same colour – I chose Stylecraft plum
- Chunky yarn in a contrasting colour – I chose Stylecraft camel
- Size 3.5 mm crochet hook
- Size 6 mm crochet hook
- Material for lining your bag, with iron on interfacing to strengthen
- Embroidery thread
- An awl
- A cross stitch needle or sharp needle with an eye big enough for embroidery thread
- Frixxon pen or other marker that fades or brushes off
- Piping cord 0.4 mm in diameter – 1 metre
The bag lining
To make the lining of the bag you need to sew (sorry!). I am not very good at sewing but the basic idea is to make a double fabric box. A useful YouTube tutorial to show how to do this is available here:
I didn’t do it quite this well and mine ended up looking like this. but it certainly did the job…
Once your lining is ready and neatly hemmed at the top edge, you need to do a little bit of blanket stitching and then we can get back to crochet. To make this easier, I used an awl to make guideholes at even intervals around the top of the lining.
For this part of the project you will need a Frixxon pen, which has ink that disappears when heated with a cool iron or a hair drier and an awl (a bookmaker’s tool). You will also need some embroidery thread – any colour you like. I chose a plum colour to match the plum of the bag edge.
You need to make sure your guide holes are evenly spaced, so mark them out with a ruler using the Frixxon pen. You can make the marks as strong as you like, you just heat the lining with a hairdryer later and they disappear by magic. I used a quilter’s ruler, but you can use any ruler.
Make the marks just above your line of stitching at the top of the lining and draw a straight line all around the edge to give you a guide for stitching.
You now start doing blanket stitch all the way around. Because the guide holes are even, your stitching should be even. I found it easier to draw a straight line about 5mm from the edge of the hem to use in addition to the interval marks to get the neatest result.
Adding a crochet edging to the lining
The blanket stitch then gives you a basis to make a crochet edge and then to use this to integrate the lining into your crocheted bag…
The first step is to crochet a single layer of dc stitches using the blanket stitch and then use this to crochet into the bag edging.
At this point your bag will be looking very well finished and you can choose to leave it like this without handles if you would like.
Adding handles to your bag
If you want to add handles, you need to add another round of dc stitches around the top of the bag. On opposite sides add two equal lengths of chain stitch that form the base of each handle.
The handles need to be strengthened to stop them stretching. Adding a length of 0.4 mm piping cord does the trick nicely. The basic idea is to lay the piping cord along the edge of your crochet and crochet your stitches over it, so that it becomes part of the bag.
At the end of the round, cut the piping cord so that it meets exactly and stitch together using a sharp sewing needle and white cotton to hold it in place before you crochet over it and join the round with a slip stitch,
Carry on with a second edge, the final edging. This is a simple stitch of one dc into each dc below, adding a chain in between each stitch. Carry on all the way around including over the handles.
The final step is to use the same colour yarn and crochet a round of dc stitches along the edge of the bag inside the handle, continuing this along the underside of each handle.