First Things First… What’s A CAL?
A CAL (Crochet-Along) is an online event where a pattern is released in segments over the course of a number of weeks, and a community of crocheters works on it together. The Malia Shoulder Bag CAL will begin on March 13 and last for 3 weeks. For this CAL, I’ll be keeping everything on this page; I’ll just update the page each time a new part of the pattern is released. The schedule is as follows:
Week 1: Base of bag (available below)
Week 2: Body of bag (available below)
Week 3: Seaming, shaping & handles (available now)
Join my Crochet-Along Facebook Group
Life is better together, right? That’s the heart behind a crochet-along, too! If you’re on Facebook and want to join our private group to ask questions, post progress pics, or just meet new friends while you work through the CAL, request your invite by clicking here.
Prefer a PDF?
This pattern can be completed using the 100% free version right here on this page. However, many people prefer the convenience of a printable, ad-free PDF. Below are three options: my popular All Access Pass, the individual PDF pattern, and a Bag Bonus Bundle (if you love bags, it’s a great deal!). Click the image to learn more about each option.
Choosing Your Yarn
For the Malia Shoulder Bag, you’ll want to look for a sturdy, worsted weight cotton yarn. I used and highly recommend Lion Brand’s 24/7 Cotton (get it on Craftsy or Amazon); it’s durable, washes beautifully, and is very easy to work with. It is mercerized and comes in 24 bright shades, and whatever color(s) you choose, you can be sure it will deliver amazing stitch definition and just the right amount of sheen. (I also used 24/7 Cotton for my Classic Beach Bag, which I’ve been carrying around as a purse every day since August. I’ve spilled orange pop and coffee on it, stuffed it way too full, and let my son teethe on it, and it looks as nice as it did the day I made it.)
While I can’t say I’ve ever come across a perfect substitute for 24/7 Cotton, Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Cotton and Knitpicks’ Dishie might be suitable alternatives. If you know of another sturdy worsted cotton, mention it in the comments below!
Choosing Your Colors
I chose a silvery gray for the body of the bag and a bright white for a nice contrast at the top. When choosing your colors, keep in mind that a solid color will show off the texture more so than a multi-colored yarn. For a modern look, limit yourself to two colors and keep at least one of them neutral (gray, taupe, white, etc). Or, keep it simple and timeless with a single-colored bag!
If you’re looking for inspiration, scroll down below the pattern to see a gallery of finished bags created by the CAL participants.
Everything You Need to Know About Those Rope Handles
The rope handles are my favorite feature of this bag! You can find rope at pretty much any craft store, sold in packages or by-the-yard; just look for the 3/8″ size. The rope I used was found at Joann Fabrics in the trim section and is technically called “twisted cord”. It’s a cotton/polyester blend and has a casing on it that gives it this really pretty sheen that looks sooooo good with the 24/7 Cotton yarn. The really cool thing about it is that (at least at Joann Fabrics) it was available in several colors! I already had white in mind when I designed the bag, but I can absolutely see myself making other bags and incorporating colored handles. So fun!
If you’re wondering what those metallic circles are where the rope attaches to my bag – they’re eyelets. I highly recommend them, but I’ve outlined 3 different options below, and I urge you to read through them to decide which option is best for you:
Option 1: Eyelet (Or Grommet) Kit
I used an eyelet kit for my bag, and I know that “I used an eyelet kit” might be a foreign enough phrase to turn many of you off to the idea, but WAIT! It is NOT hard, and it doesn’t take any expensive equipment. But it will give your bag a durability that is unmatched. Combined with the rope (i.e. not crocheted) handles, your bag will be strong and very stretch-resistant. For our purposes, the only difference between eyelets and grommets is how heavy-duty they are; grommets being the tougher of the two. But, for this project I used eyelets, and they worked just fine. It really just comes down to what you can find.
If you have a Hobby Lobby, you’ll find an eyelet kit in the sewing notions section. You can buy the two-piece setting tool separate for $7.99 and then choose your eyelet color for $2.99 (I picked silver), or you can buy them in a package together but your color options are limited. You’re looking for 15/32″ (12mm) eyelets. Watch for the sale, and you’ll score it all for 50% off. If you go with grommets, I recommend this 1/2″ grommet kit from Amazon, which I used for my Classic Beach Bag.
Option 2: Washer
If you don’t want to mess with an eyelet kit, you can also simply thread the rope through a single washer so that it rests between the knot and the bag, which will give the handles something strong to pull on (taking the pressure off of the crocheted part of the bag). It will work basically the same way as an eyelet, it just won’t look as finished and may move around a bit when gravity is not pulling the bag down.
Option 3: Nothing
Of course, you can simply stick your rope handles through the hole that we create, tie your knots big enough that they won’t come back through the hole, and call it good. Your bag will stretch more, though.
The cute little metal piece on the top of the bag, which on any other bag might show off the purse company’s logo, is actually from the scrapbooking section at Hobby Lobby! (I saw the same ones at Joann Fabrics.) It came in a package of 12, each with a different cutesy phrase. I chose “Live In the Moment” for my bag.
Malia Shoulder Bag
Finished Size: 15.5″ width x 12″ height x 6″ depth
Hook: E – 3.5mm (I absolutely love my Clover Amour 3.5mm Hook)
Yarn: Lion Brand 24/7 Cotton in 2 colors. 24/7 Cotton is a worsted-weight, mercerized yarn. You will need 675 yards / 4 skeins of COLOR A (I used “Silver”) and 100 yards / 1 skein of COLOR B (I used “White”). If using one color, you’ll need 775 yards total.
Gauge: 10 rows of 10 SC = 2″ square
You’ll also need:
- Yarn needle
- Two 36″ lengths of 3/8″ twisted rope for handles (I found mine at Joann Fabrics)
- Optional but recommended: Either a size 4 (1/2″ diameter) grommet kit (like this one) or a size 15/32″ (12mm) eyelet kit. I thoroughly explain what to look for, how they’re used, and what the difference is between grommets and eyelets in the tutorial video and in the blog post above. You don’t have to add these but they will make your bag much more durable and stretch-resistant.
SL ST (slip stitch)
SC (single crochet)
HDC (half double crochet)
LBS (large bean stitch – see “Special Stitches”)
BLO (back loop only)
3rd LOOP (work stitch into 3rd loop only – see “Special Stitches”)
Large Bean Stitch (LBS)
Insert hook into stitch, yarn over and pull through (2 loops on hook). Yarn over, insert hook into same stitch, yarn over and pull through (4 loops on hook). Yarn over, insert hook into same stitch, yarn over and pull through (6 loops on hook). Yarn over, insert hook into same stitch, yarn over and pull through (8 loops on hook). Yarn over and pull through all 8 loops. Chain 1 to close the stitch. (Because this stitch creates two sets of loops – one when creating the bean, and one when closing the stitch – each completed Large Bean Stitch will count for two stitches in the row or round’s final stitch count.)
3rd Loop Only
Half double crochet stitches have a 3rd loop that we utilize in this pattern. When working in turned rows, as in this pattern, the 3rd loop can be found just below the front loop on the side of the work that is facing you. When instructed to work in “3rd loop only”, insert your hook into this special loop. This creates a delicate braided look on the opposite side of the pattern.
(1) This pattern is written in American Standard Terms.
(2) CH1 at the beginning of rounds does not count as a stitch.
(3) Tutorial videos will be embedded at the bottom of the pattern. (Click here for a direct link to Part 1, click here for Part 2, and click here for Part 3.) The video tutorials are very helpful – especially the video for Part 2!
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To begin: With COLOR A, CH157.
Round 1: SC in 2nd CH from hook and in each remaining CH. Place a stitch marker in the final stitch, then join with a SL ST to the top of the first SC, being careful not to twist the round. (156)
Round 2: CH1. SC in first ST. Place a stitch marker in that stitch. SC in each remaining ST around. Do not join. (156)
Note: We are now transitioning to a seamless round. Once you SC in the final stitch for Round 2, which we marked with a stitch marker, you can remove the stitch marker – you don’t need it for now. When you move on to Round 3, instead of chaining up, simply put your first SC right into the first stitch of the previous round (also marked with a stitch marker). Continue on seamlessly, moving that stitch marker up with each round to keep track of the first stitch of the round so that you don’t lose your place.
Rounds 3-24: SC in each ST around. (156)
At the completion of Round 24, join to the first ST of the round with a SL ST.
[Beginning of Part 2]
Round 25: CH1. HDC in each ST around. Join to the first ST of the round with a SL ST. (156)
Round 26: CH1, turn. SC in 3rd loops of each ST around. Join to the first ST of the round with a SL ST. (156)
Round 27: CH1, turn. SC in each ST across. Join to the first ST of the round with a SL ST. (156)
Round 28: CH1, turn. SK first ST, LBS in next ST. (SK next ST, LBS in next ST) across. Join to the first ST of the round with a SL ST. (156)
Round 29: CH1, turn. HDC in each ST around. Join to the first ST of the round with a SL ST. (156)
Round 30: CH1, turn. SC in 3rd loops of each ST around. Join to the first ST of the round with a SL ST. (156)
Rounds 31-62, or until bag measures between 12-13″ high: Repeat Rounds 27-30. (156)
[Beginning of Part 3]
Round 63: CH1, turn. SC in each ST around. Join to the first ST of the round with a SL ST. (156)
Switch to COLOR B. Fasten off COLOR A.
We are now switching back to a seamless round. Do not join, chain or turn unless instructed.
Rounds 64-68: Do not chain up or turn. SC in first ST and in each ST around. Do not join. (156)
Round 69: SC in each of the first 24 STS. CH2; SK 3 STS. SC in each of the next 24 STS. CH2; SK 3 STS. SC in each of the next 48 STS. CH2; SK 3 STS. SC in each of the next 24 STS. CH2; SK 3 STS. SC in each of the next 24 STS. (144 SC + 4 CH2 holes)
Round 70: SC in each ST around, putting 3SC in each CH2 space from previous round. (156)
Rounds 71-72: SC in each ST around. (156)
Round 73: SC in each ST around. Join with a SL ST to the first SC of the round. (156)
Round 74: CH1, turn. SC in each ST around. Join with a SL ST to the first SC of the round. (156)
Fasten off. Use your starting tail to sew the gap between the first and last stitches of Round 1 closed, then weave it, and all of your other ends, in.
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ATTACH EYELETS OR GROMMETS
Open your eyelet or grommet kit and retrieve the following items:
Turn your bag inside out, and follow the instructions on your eyelet/grommet kit to add eyelets/grommets to each of the four holes at the top of the bag. (Please note that if your instructions include anything about punching a hole in the fabric, you do not need to do this step because we crocheted holes right into our fabric.) Watch my tutorial video for a step-by-step on how to set grommets or eyelets with a hammer.
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SEWING THE BOTTOM
Keeping the bag inside out, lay it flat, lining up the grommets. Use COLOR A (a length about 5x the width of the bag) to sew the bottom of the bag closed, stitch by stitch. Fasten off and weave in ends.
With the bag still inside out, turn it upside down and position the bottom so that one end lays out in a triangular shape, with the seam centered. Use a ruler and a piece of tape to measure and mark a 5″ line across the corner of the base. Sew a seam across the line (through both layers) with COLOR A. Repeat on the opposite side. This will make the inside of the bag roomy.
Turn bag right-side out. Here’s what it should look like on the inside:
And here’s what it should look like on the bottom:
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ADDING ROPE HANDLES
Take your first rope handle and insert it through one of the eyelets, going from the inside of the bag to the outside. Tie a knot near the bottom of the rope on the outside of the bag and pull it tight (you can use your eyelet to help by gently but firmly pulling the rope from the inside of the bag, which will pull the knot against the eyelet and tighten it up). Then, use good scissors to cut the excess rope about 1/2″ below the knot.
If your rope looks like mine, it will have a couple strands of thread (“casing”) wrapped tightly around each twist. These are pretty easy to locate by gently pulling on the tips of the yarn. When you find them, pull them away from the yarn right up to the knot. Then use scissors to cut them off at that point. Give the exposed thread a little ruffle with your fingers; this will give your handles that classic weathered tassel look.
Repeat these instructions with the other end of the same rope (attaching it through the other eyelet on the same side of the bag) to complete your first handle. Then, do everything again for the 2nd handle on the other side. Note that you’ll want both handles to be the same length, so be sure to compare them when you’re about to tie your final knot to ensure that the handle sizes match.
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That’s it – you’re done! If you’re showing off your work, be sure to hashtag #maliashoulderbag!
Video Tutorials: Parts 1+2
The beautiful bags created by the crochet-along participants are just… well… beautiful! Everyone made their bag their own by choosing different color combinations, embellishments, and even handle styles. If you’re looking for inspiration for your own bag, look no further! (All photos are used with permission and remain the property of their original owners.)