It’s week three of the designing challenge, and you should have your supplies ready to begin working on your bag! Last week, I challenged you to figure out your stitch pattern and work up a gauge swatch. Did you get all your math worked out? I hope so because we’re putting yarn to hook this week and working up your pattern!
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This week is all about laying the perfect foundation for your crochet bag. Using a base as the foundation for your bag is great for stability and adds a level of dimension. There are so many different shapes you can choose from when creating your bag’s base. Today, I will discuss just a few common shapes when it comes to crochet bags. I will also share how to create these shapes and give you the base pattern to get you started!
Creating a round base for your bag is a great option that offers several advantages. Round bases provide stability and help to maintain the shape of your bag. Using a round base can prevent sagging when you place items inside your bag. Crochet stitches naturally have some stretch, and a round base can help distribute the weight evenly around the bottom of your bag. Not only is using a round base great for stability, but it also helps to create a visual appeal other shapes don’t offer.
One problem some designers encounter when using a round base for their bags is getting them to lay flat. There are a few tricks that will help solve that problem.
First, you need to know how many starting stitches will work depending on which stitch you’ll work with.
- Single Crochet: 6-8
- Half Double Crochet: 8-10
- Double Crochet: 10-12
If you’re working with a stitch pattern, like (hdc, dc), I recommend using the starting stitches for the larger stitch. One factor some designers don’t consider when working starting stitches is their tension. If they crochet tight, as I do, you’ll need to add more stitches for your piece to lay flat.
The math formula for making your base bigger and bigger each round is to increase each round by the number of starting stitches you used. If you used 8 single crochets, every subsequent increase round would have 8 more stitches. Let me show you an example:
sc: single crochet
sl st: slip stitch
Start with 8 sc in a magic ring OR ch 4, join with sl st to 1st ch and ch 1.
R1: Place 8 sc into the magic ring. (8 sc)
R2: sc 2 (also known as increase-inc) in each stitch around (16 sc) By adding the 2 stitches every other stitch, you were able to make your circle bigger and increase by 8 stitches.
R3: sc 1 in the next st, inc in the next st. Repeat (sc 1, inc) all the way around. (24 sc) We added another 8 stitches, and our base just got bigger!
R4: sc 2 in the next st, inc in the next st. Repeat (sc 2, inc) all the way around. (32 sc). Do you notice another pattern happening? We add 8 stitches each round to make our base bigger, and the number of single crochets in between the increase stitches increases by 1. It will continue in this pattern until you get the number of stitches you need for the size bag you want.
sc 3, inc (40 sc)
sc 4, inc (48 sc)
sc 5, inc (56 sc)
One way to check your math as you write out your pattern is that every single crochet and increase added together and multiplied by the number of increases each round should be your stitch count for that row. For example: (sc 3, inc) around = 40 sc. 3 sc + inc (2 sc) = 5 sc. We’re increasing 8 sc each round. 5 * 8 = 40.
A square base can be a fun option when working the bottom of your bag. The straight edges of the square can prevent your bag from tipping over when it’s put down or filled with items. A square base also maximizes the use of space in your bag. You can utilize every corner, making organizing and fitting items in your bag easier.
Using a square base for your bag is super helpful when wanting to carry things like books, laptops, or anything with straight edges. Using a square base can also allow you to add compartments within the bag! You can use a couple of options when creating a square base.
- A row-by-row square. When creating your square bag, working your stitch multiples back and forth in rows is an easy option. Make sure you know how many starting stitches you’ll need to get the right width for your bag.
- A granny square. Starting your base with a granny square is a fun way to begin your bag. There are a plethora of different granny styles you could work to create a visually appealing base.
Whether you’re working a row-by-row square or a granny square, I would make sure there aren’t a lot of large gaps or spaces in your base to prevent items from falling through. If you plan on adding a lining to your bag, you don’t have to worry about the gaps as much.
dc: double crochet
sl st: slip stitch
tr: treble crochet
Here’s a granny square pattern to use if you don’t want to have any gaps in your base.
Either ch 4, sl st to 1st ch to create a loop or use a magic circle.
R1: ch 2 (does not count as st), [tr in next st, dc in next 3 sts] rep 3 more times, join with a sl st to first st. (4 tr, 12 dc)
R2: ch 2, [(2 dc, 1 tr, 2 dc) in tr (corner created), dc in the next 3 sts] rep 3 more times, join with a sl st to first st. (28 dc, 4 tr)
R3: ch 2, dc in the next 2 sts, [(2 dc, 1 tr, 2 dc) in tr, dc in the next 7 sts] rep 2 more times, (2 dc, 1 tr, 2 dc) in tr, dc in the next 5 sts, join with a sl st to first st. (44 dc, 4 tr)
R4: ch 2, dc in the next 4 sts, [(2 dc, 1 tr, 2 dc) in tr, dc in the next 11 sts] rep 2 more times, (2 dc, 1 tr, 2 dc) in tr, dc in the next 7 sts, join with a sl st to first st. (60 dc, 4 tr)
Continue in this manner, placing a dc in each dc and (2 dc, 1 tr, 2 dc) in each tr until your base is the desired size. Once your base in the size you want it then you can start working your sides!
The elongated shape of an oval base is great for zipper pouches, shoulder bags, or crossbody bags. The curved sides of the bag will fit the natural shape of your body better than a square or round bag. Using an oval base can give your bag a more organic flowing appearance. It will look like your bag curves against your body, which is why it’s so comfortable when you wear it! In my opinion, creating an oval base is easier than creating a flat round base.
If this is your first crochet bag, I would consider using an oval-shaped base. The only thing about an oval base is I can’t give you exact instructions to fit the shape of the oval you want. There are various shapes of ovals you could use. The picture above is the base for my BIRDS OF A FEATHER tapestry bag. My bag was about 10 inches wide. Here’s how I worked the base for that bag.
blo: back loop only
sc: single crochet
Round 1: 2 SC in 2nd ch from hook (place stitch marker in 1st sc), 1 sc in the next 42 chs, 4 sc in last ch (place stitch marker in 3rd sc [see pic]. This will indicate the 1st stitch of the 2nd side of base), 1 sc in the next 42 chs, 2 sc in last ch. (92 sc)
As each round is completed, move your stitch markers up to indicate the 1st sc of each side of the bag. You will work the rest of the pattern in BLO.
Round 2: blo 2 sc in 1st st, 2 sc in the next st, 1 sc in the next 42 sts, 2 sc in the next 4 sts, 1 sc in the next 42 sts, 2 sc in the last 2 sts. (100 sc)
The base was simply 2 increased rounds. Creating an oval base is simply working a number of stitches across and increasing around each end. Here are a few tips to help you create your oval base:
- The longer your beginning chain is, the longer your oval will be.
- The shorter your beginning chain is, the rounder your oval will be.
- Best to start with an even amount of chain stitches to evenly increase around.
- All increases will happen at the ends of your foundation chain.
Other Geometric Shapes
Using various geometric shapes can make such fun bases for your bag! You can literally use any shape you want to create your next design! Geometric shapes lean toward a more modern and contemporary bag or tote. A triangle bag? Design a 3-sided base. Want more of an octagon shape bag? Design a tote with 8 sides! What I love about creating a base using a geometric shape is it’s very customizable. You can make your bag as large or small as you want by designing a bigger or smaller base! Here’s how to get started on a hexagon (six-sided) base:
dc: double crochet
sl st: slip stitch