Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Crochet Plarn Handbag - FREE Pattern

For anyone looking to make a cute, new handbag and to use of some of the millions of plastic shopping bags you have around your house, here is a free pattern for you!

This handbag looks great at the end of each stage - you could leave it without the buttons, and/or you could leave it without the wrist strap. You're the artist - it's up to you!

     - *N15/10mm Crochet Hook - I used Boye brand
     - Less than 25 plastic shopping bags (Less than 4 Gray bags)
     - Tapestry Needle for Weaving in Ends - I used a #18
     - Stitch Marker, Optional
     - **1 Button - I used a 7/8" (22m) Black Colored Button from Crafting with Buttons [found at JoAnn's, but not available for purchase online from JoAnn's.]

Pattern Notes:
I do have a DIY Plarn tutorial should you be interested in making your own plarn, or if you just need a refresher!

*I would recommend using a hook that is more open. I tried a K10.5/6.5mm, a L11/8mm and the N15/10mm. The 6.5mm and the 10mm were of the same brand - Boye - with a more open mouth so they worked better than the 8mm - Susan Bates.

**Usually I go to Hobby Lobby for my buttons - the Sewology brand. They are available in multiple sizes and shapes in each color, available in any color, great price and sturdier. When I went to buy buttons for this project (and a few others waiting on buttons), I happened to be going to a restaurant that was in the same plaza as JoAnn's and I ran in five minutes before closing. I quickly grabbed three packages of different colors and raced to the register.

When I got them home, I was disappointed. These buttons are halves. They have a regular smooth top side, and a flat bottom side, which made me feel like these weren't as sturdy. I ended up having to use two of them held together to complete one full button.
I'm sure for many other projects in which you need a flat back button with holes (ie sewing a monogram or picture on a pillow or hoop art), these buttons would be great but I wouldn't buy them again to use for closures.

Time Spent:
     It took me about an hour and 15 minutes to work up this bag from start to finish, not including making the plarn. 
It took me about an hour to make the plarn used for this bag.

     This handbag measures 9" wide by 6" in length with no stretch, and the optional wrist strap measures 10" around.

   SC - Single Crochet
   CH - Chain
   ea - each
   st/ST - stitch
   BLO - Back Loop Only
   sl st - Slip Stitch
   sc2tog - Single Crochet Two Stitches Together/Decrease

Pattern Notes:

     Join to 1st ST, not beginning chain.

     Beginning in Round 4, you will work your rounds in a continuous manner.  

     *If you run out of yarn while working this handbag, don't fear! I did. Simply, attach another strip (or two, or three) to the remaining loop of plarn you have left. If you do not have a loop remaining, pull out some of your work, cut the last strip remaining so you can get to the loop of the strip right before it. Sorry, no photo!

CH 19. SC in the 2nd CH from the hook and in ea CH across. Add 2 more SCs in the last st, then begin to SC on the opposite side of the foundation chain. Add 1 more SC in the last st (to make 3). Join to the 1st SC. (38 SC)

R2: CH 1. SC in ea SC around. Join.

R3: BLO, SC in ea SC around. Join.

R4 - 13: In both loops, SC in ea SC around. DO NOT JOIN.

R14: SC in ea SC around. Sl st in next ST.

     Change color.

R15: CH 1, SC in ea SC around. Join.

R16: sl st into next ST. sc2tog, SC in the next 14 STs, sc2tog. (16 SC)

R17 - R19: CH 1, SC in ea ST across. 

R20: CH 1, sc2tog, SC in the next 12 STs, sc2tog. (14 SC)

R21: CH 1, SC in ea ST across.

R22: CH 1, sc2tog, SC in the next 10 STs, sc2tog. (12 SC)

R23: CH 1, SC in ea ST across - Continue on to the border.

Border: Add 1 SC in the last ST to form a rounded corner. Evenly SC down the side (I made 7), then sl st to into the the next ST - skipping the ST where the flap and bag meet. Sl st in the next 17 STs, skip the ST where the flap and bag meet on the other side, evenly SC up the side and join to the 1st SC.

Fasten Off and Weave in Your Ends. 
*Use caution when weaving in your ends to ensure that your needle makes it all the way through the section you're weaving through and does not get caught in the plastic.

   Button Closure:

I added a button to mine. I was afraid that the use of the button would stretch out the plastic and it wouldn't go back to size, but it all has held up really well. 
Alternatively, you could sew on a snap button with a bigger button on the outside as decoration, you could add a button hole/tie to go around the button, or you could add a magnetic closure.

   Optional Wrist Strap - 10" around:

Lay bag flat so you can find the edge part of the bag on your side of choosing. I put mine on the right side.
Insert your hook to join the plarn. 
Chain desired length - I chained 20. Then slip stitch into the same stitch that the chain is coming out of, chain 1, turn and single crochet back across. This will give you a nice, sturdier strap.
Fasten Off and Weave in Your Ends.

This bag is the perfect size for travel sized containers.
And it's waterproof so no big deal if something spills inside!
Here, I have a bottle of lotion, shampoo, and conditioner, tube of toothpaste, toothbrush and a container of Aspirin.

You could also use it as an every day purse, but I would recommend sticking in a smaller bag for things like pens/pencils, change, keys, make up brushes, etc. These items may slip or poke out of the holes.
Here, I have a container of Aspirin, bottle of lotion, smaller bag containing my ID, bank card, keys, and pen.
Please feel free to make and sell your own Plarn Handbags, but please DO NOT claim this pattern as your own nor should you sell my pattern, and DO NOT re-publish my photos as your own. DO NOT copy and paste my pattern anywhere, link to it instead.

Don't Crochet but Interested in Purchasing Your Own Plarn Handbag?
     I have TONS of grocery store plastic bags around the house that I would be happy to work into a plarn handbag for you. I will be adding a few to my Etsy store as I complete them for pattern designing, but it is a very tedious process in making the plarn itself that I probably will not be regularly adding plarn items. Feel free to send in your custom requests though, and if you have bags you'd like me to use just let me know.

Linked Up To...
Lou Lou Girls Fabulous Party #33 - Lou Lou Girls
243rd Inspire Me Tuesday - A Stroll Thru Life
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Link Party Palooza - Tatertots and Jello / I Heart Naptime
November 2014 Sharing Time Week 3 - Raising Memories
Hookin' on Hump Day #83 - Moogly Blog / Petals to Picots
Make it Monday - Etcetorize
Craft Schooling Sunday - Creative Jewish Mom
Think Pink Sunday No. 192 - Flamingo Toes
12 Delicious Holiday Cookie Recipes  + Monday Funday Link Party - Club Chica Circle
Hit Me With Your Best Shot #46 - One Krieger Chick
Your Whims Wednesday #190 - My Girlish Whims
Inspire Me Wednesday #48 - Seven Thirty Three
Totally Terrific Tuesday Link Party #9 - Live Randomly Simple
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The Creative Exchange Link Party #29 - The Happy Scraps
Share Your Inspiring Creations FDTR #145 - The DIY Dreamer
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Link Party 69 - Link and Share Wednesdays - Oombawka Crochet Design
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*Same Party, Two Different Names


  1. Great pattern!

    Jenny at

  2. I think this is one of the cutest things made out of plastic bags that I've seen! I've come across other crochet patterns, but they looked, well, not so nice. This is super cute!

  3. Hello gorgeous! So cute! Pinned and tweeted. I hope to see on Monday at 7 pm. We love to party with you! Happy Monday~Lou Lou Girls

  4. Fabulous, thanks so much for sharing on craft schooling Sunday!

  5. This is one of the neatest upcycle tutorials I've seen yet! Thank you for linking up on Just Only Home!

    1. Thanks Anne! I was going for something different.

  6. I love this idea for travel. This little bag will fit perfectly in my backpack on my next big trip :) Thanks so much for sharing at the Make it Monday Party! Hope to see you again next week.

    1. I'd be glad to make you one ;) I've got plenty of bag colors to choose from. hehe Can't wait for the next party!

  7. This is adorable! Love the color & it is the perfect size.

    1. Thanks Jane! It really is the perfect size - a happy accident, hehe.

  8. Just found your pattern.. I'm really confused about pattern after round 15. Do you repeat? How do you go from 38 to 16 St? Thank you

    1. Row 16 begins the flap, that's why it's only a partial row.

    2. Row 16 begins the flap, that's why it's only a partial row.

    3. Thanks for your quick response. So 1-15 are rounds, then #16 on are rows? So I would turn before each row.. Right?

    4. That's correct! Thanks for pointing it out. I have been meaning to update this pattern.