01 February 2014

The Summer Bag Series

A little while ago, when I started to become seriously addicted to crochet, I decided I wanted a summer tote I would have made myself. There was a pattern in one of my magazines I had set my heart on:

Only there was no way I would make it white and end up with a dubious greyish item within a few weeks of using it. As I often do, I didn't go and buy the yarn especially for the project but looked through my then tiny stash (so tiny it couldn't possibly be Capitalised) and set my heart on the deliciously named Melon shade of Wendy Supreme Luxury Cotton 4 ply. Here's the little darling, left in the picture below:

A gorgeous colour, reminiscent of lazy summer afternoons spent savouring mouth-watering sorbets at café terraces.

Now, the only problem was that the yarn used in the magazine pattern was quite a lot thicker than the one I'd decided on. I soon realised that I would have to increase the number of stitches and rows given in the pattern. I decided to go for three "patterned" sections and four plain ones, instead of two and three. And bingo, soon enough, the bag was done. It was one of the first crochet projects I'd ever completed then. Scroll back up for the pic! :)

Around the same time, I was also trying my hand at making crochet flowers in various sizes and shapes: 

The one at the bottom is actually made of two flowers, a big one in white acrylic and a smaller one in the same Melon yarn as the bag. I'm sure you can see where this is going... At some point, I tentatively placed the double flower against the bag, at the base of the strap and... it worked incredibly well! It looked as if it had been made for it. Next thing I knew, I was sewing it on.

Then came the tricky bit. This bag had, well, holes in it. So if I wanted it to be practical, I would have to make... a Lining. Oh yes, Capitlalisation absolutely justified here, for I am hopeless when it comes to holding a needle and thread. Fortunately, the Internet is full of people willing to help the hopeless. Like Futuregirl and her amazing tutorial on how to sew a lining into a crocheted bag. A real godsend.

Having chosen a fabric I liked, I set myself to the task:

After much measuring, cutting, pinning, sweating and swearing (a lot thereof), and awkward hand-sewing, I was the proud owner - and, best of all, maker - of a fully lined, fully functional, fully finished summer tote bag! 

Like a 5-year-old trying on her mum's clothes and accessories, I couldn't stop admiring it in the mirror... 

I walked around everywhere with it, you'd have thought this was my first bag EVER. You get the picture. I was not a little thrilled. I got many compliments about it, which thrilled me even more, of course.
But it didn't stop there.

After the compliments... came the orders! Granted, they all came from friends, but hey, it's not so bad for a start, is it? Two of my friends expressed an interest in owning a similar bag, and about six months later, at the heart of winter, they finally got their, ahem, summer bags. Not the speediest service, I agree, but I'm working on it :)

So, here's the second bag I made:

The stripes were a bit of a challenge and required some virtual and actual drawing for me to get a clearer picture of how they would work together. The flower is the same, except that the core is crocheted with both the red and the yellow yarn held together. The lining was different, chosen by my friend, and a joy to work with due to its very symmetrical pattern:

For this bag, I challenged myself to add an inner pocket and a snap button, again thanks to brilliant online tutorials: this one by Dana on her sewing blog Made, and this quirky, silent video by Usako.

My other friend required something a little different: stars instead of a flower. Quite fittingly, I worked on them over the Christmas period. The pattern came from one of the recent issues of Simply Crochet magazine.

And the finished bag:

The lining for this one was machine-sewn with the help of my lovely mum, who has much more experience in those things than I do, and I am ever so grateful that she was able to assist me :)

And so there you have it, my trio of summer tote bags! I loved working on them, especially choosing the colours and the fabrics for the linings. I am quite certain these will not be the last I shall make, as I have a ridiculous obsession with crochet bags at the moment. However, I can already tell you the design will be quite different:

Watch this space :)

1 comment:

  1. This is a beautiful summer bag! I love all the nice color combinations you have worked up.
    I hope you will be stopping by to share this with us at our Yarn Fanatic Link Party - http://eyeloveknots.blogspot.com/2015/03/yarn-fanatic-linky-party-26.html.