This is my crocheted clutch bag.
I'm really happy with how it came out. I love the starkness of the monochrome stripes and the simplicity of the chevron pattern. I like how it goes with lots of things in my wardrobe.
I took care with this, thinking about the construction, adding a zip and even lining it and I'm so glad I made the effort.
You could just hold it in your hand or under your arm, or use the handle to wrap it around your wrist where is can be clutched in your fingers...
...or hang from your elbow.
Thank you to my sister Katy for modelling it in the above two photos, and also for doing my pretty blue nails and lending me curling tongs, heels and half her wardrobe.
(We went Out-Out, my bag and I, a couple of weeks ago with a group of friends from school and we had a lot of fun. I think that mums with young children, when they get a chance to get dressed up and go out and go dancing...well, it's like we've all been let off the leash a bit. Or maybe that's just me.)
Anyway, below I have put together a tutorial explaining how I made it.
Make your length of crocheted fabric. You could create any pattern but I chose a zigzag/chevron design with stripes of equal thickness, using this tutorial. I chose cotton DK yarn as it's strong, durable, washable and has great depth of colour. I also used a 3 mm hook rather than the 4 mm suggested, to create a very tight pattern. It was quite hard work to crochet but makes for a more substantial-feeling end product.
My piece of crochet was around 50 cm long by 30 cm wide. Darn in the ends.
Fold over and stitch down the zigzag points on the two shorter ends, so that you have flat edges on all four sides.
With right sides together, fold the fabric in half and stitch the sides together, using white cotton yarn for the white stripes and black for the black stripes.
Try to match the stripes as closely as possible while sewing together. Any threads carried up or down along the inside of the work can be hidden inside the bag.
It should look something like this, a bit sack-like but definitely starting to resemble a bag.
Pin the zip in place just under the opening at the top of your bag. I chose pink for the contrast, but you could use black or white. Securely hand stitch the zip into place with strong cotton thread, taking care to really stitch into place the top and bottom of the zip, so that when you pull it open and closed you don't see threads pulling underneath.
I wanted to be able to fold down the top half of my bag and so I needed a magnetic bag fastener. Decide where you want to place this and then insert it into the fabric.
Next, add the handle. I bought a cheap fake leather thin belt for £2.99 and cut it up with a pair of scissors, using a hammer and nail to add holes to stitch it to the bag. Where on the bag you position your handle is up to you, but I chose the point at which the bag would fold downwards when closed.
Using cotton yarn and a tapestry needle, firmly stitch the handle into place.
Now for the lining. Take a piece of lightweight fabric a little larger than the total area of your bag. (I chose plain black cotton.)
Hem the two short ends, then fold it in half right sides together and sew together along the sides. Turn it the right way out and insert it into your bag. Hand stitch it into place along the bottom of the zip.
This sounds a lot more fiddly than it actually is, trust me. You don't have to line the bag but I think it makes a massive difference to the overall look and finish. The finished bag is around 17 cm tall by 30 cm wide when folded and fastened.
And there you have it, one handmade clutch bag.