Creating Macrame Bags


     First of all, if you’re going to tote around your Macramé project to a friend’s house or to the park, do it with pizzazz! Make your toting vessel a work of art, just like the project it’s carrying.

    A macramé bag, or for that matter any other type of “bag”, can be a tote, a handbag, a purse, or a clutch. The names are different to better define the style, use and size of the bag. When you hear the word clutch (when referring to a “bag”), you think of something without a handle and relatively small, in fact, you probably think “evening” or “dressy”.

    If you’re not sure of the recommended sizes for “bags”, here is a general guideline of the differences by name and size:

Small Tote – 10” X 10” plus fringe          Large Tote – 14” X 14” plus fringe

Evening bag – 4.5” X 7.5”                     Handbag – 8” X 10”

     Bags offer much room for creativity. As with most things, there is a great variety in color, size, shape, and style (casual, dressy, a more practical bag, or evening wear). 
     If you decide to make one of the pieces from the guidelines mentioned, first you must decide on the style, the size and the colors you will use. If you want to combine the macramé with beads, sea shells, coins, sequins, or buttons, you have to consider texture, color, material, the kind of use it will get, and how to wash it.

     If you buy, copy or borrow a pattern, follow the steps carefully along the way. If you decide to make your own design, make a paper pattern first. Paper is best (it’s cheaper and very flexible) to make sure everything will work out well. On paper you can create the folds you’ll need, you can decide how much space you want inside, and you can pencil in where you want the handles to be attached, and where it is best to place a clasp, a button, or a snap.

     It is preferable when you design a “bag” pattern with paper, to use the same size or measurements as those of the bag you are making, in other words, of the real thing.

    An exact size will allow you to create freely, and help you avoid having to do a lot of math and converting of numbers to actual size when you’re ready to start your macramé project.

   It’s best if you’re just starting, to use a simple shape like a square or a rectangle, and not a circle or oval which will make the actual macramé work and piecing together much more difficult.  

    For more ideas for macrame patterns go here.

   Keep the pattern simple, and keep it easy. You can create folds, sides, and figure out the kind of handles you’ll add or what type of clasp you’ll use to close it later. You can do some marking and making notes as you go on the paper pattern to best remember.

   An important note is, if you’re making a tote, you will need more of a box shape with sides added to create that extra space and ampleness needed for a larger bag. 


handle handle


     Think of a belt around the sides of your box shaped tote that can extend to also become the handles.  Basically, in the “box” diagram, the gray area would be replaced by                                  the long strip you’ll be making in a “belt” shape.

     Okay, so you’re making a tote and you want it big to take to the beach. Of course you have to fit your book, your sun tanning lotion, your glasses, and your water bottle – oops, don’t forget your towel!

    Did you consider the material you’re going to use to make it “beach friendly”? How about raffia?
     Jute is a great outdoor material, but it doesn’t smell very good when it gets wet. Cotton or linen are lovely summer materials, but will probably shrink when exposed to dampness. Yarn is a really bad choice when you think of the sand that will most certainly get stuck between the fibers and no matter how much shaking you’ll do, it is sure to get your car really messy on the way home.

     Obviously, these are some of the many things you’ll have to consider because of the type of use and wear you’ll give to your beach tote.  If you’re thinking instead of an evening bag you know will have very little use and will not be exposed to weather and such, material should be considered mainly for the look you want it to have. And even if your evening bag is toppled over by a glass of your favorite merlot, you have the option of sending it to the dry cleaner the day after the party.

     Once you’ve made a pattern (after figuring out the shape and size), it’s time to really get creative.  Use a combination of knots, color, or other materials and add them to your piece, but the pattern you created should be kept simple.

     For the handles, you have the option of making that long belt shaped piece that serves as sides, bottom, and handles, but you have so many other options that are all readily available at craft stores, and even in your home, with a little imagination.  

     Bag handles can be purchased at a craft store and come in all shapes, colors, material, and sizes.



handles handles Bag handles

    When you reach the “after the planning” stage, you’ll want to get started on your project as soon as possible. Why? Because it’s fun!

     You’ll have to choose a mounting board to anchor your cords, and depending on the ampleness you’re going for, you can choose a box or brick shaped mounting surface.

     The shape of your mounting board will actually help shape your bag. A great mounting surface is one of those foam green bases used for artificial plants. The foam allows you to pin the cords, and the shape adds depth. These are very versatile and come in “brick”, round, rectangular, square, and oval shapes.

     Once you’re done with the macramé and added embellishments, attach a clasp and it’s a snap! You’re done.

For more incredible patterns visit The One Stop Macrame Shop

If you want to try your hand at more than one art form, why not Macrochet?
How about a macramé bag with crochet embellishments?

Macramé + Crochet = Macrochet!

You’ll have to do it in 2 parts – 1st the Macramé portion, and then the crochet – you’ll have to do a little sewing too  .

macrochet bag


•    -  30” long cord in color of choice  
•    47 -  5 yard lengths of same color above                       
•    -  10 yard length of same color
•    White glue
•    Mounting surface
•    Pins
•    Color of choice yarn for crochet flowers
•    Crochet hook


Macramé Handbag: This simple pattern can be used as a base for many items (handbag, placemat, hat, and more)

  1. Fold the 30” cord in half to make 15” (doubled) – HC (height)
  2. Pin onto mounting surface
  3. Mark thirteen 1” separate sections with pins leaving 1” free on either side (fig.1)
  4. From Left to Right mount each 5 yard length at its midpoint to HC
  5. When all 5 yard lengths are mounted, fold the 10 length in two sections of 7 & 3 yards
  6. Mount this cord at its fold to the HC following the last mark at the Right – the long cord   should be placed to fall at the outside Right edge
  7. Space the mark as evenly as possible along the HC
  8. Using the long cord at the Right edge of HC, knot a horizontal row of DHH (double half hitch) knots from R to L
  9. Tie 4 rows of VDHH (vertical DHH) with the long cord as WC (width) and the remaining as HC
  10. Knot 1 row of DHH with the long cord as HC
  11. Tie 35 rows of alternating 1 ½ Square knots (fig. 2) – this section should measure about 13.5 to 14” long
  12. Using the long cord on the L edge, knot a row of DHH from L to R
  13. Repeat step “9”
  14. Repeat “10”, but knot single HH instead of double (DHH). Except for the 1st and last edge knots, these should be DHH
  15. Trim off all ends 1” from the final row of knots
  16. Glue all ends on the wrong side – let dry over night
     Once you’re done, you will fold your piece in half and sew the sides together. If you want a flap over the top, fold it in half leaving 1/5 free at the top to serve as a flap – this portion you will not sew.

Now for embellishments…

The handles can be purchased at a craft store and attached or you can use an old necklace or long macramé strap. If you run some of the yarn in long stitches through the top, you can make a drawstring bag.
   For More Macrame Patterns Click Here

bag1Store bought handles

Single Daisy daisies

Crochet Daisy Design:
  • Make 6chains (CH). Join w/a slip (SL)  stitch (ST) into first CH. 1st round - 1 CH to count as first Single crochet (SC), 17 SC into ring.
  • 2nd round -5 CH, skip next 2 SC, *  1 SC into next SC, CH 4, skip next 2 SC            Repeat from   *   to end.
  • Join w/ single SL ST into 2nd of first 5 CH 6CH loops.
  • 3rd round - *  Into next 4 CH loop work 1SC, 1  H Double crochet (DC), 5 DC, 1 HDC, and 1 SC       Repeat from   *   to end.
  • Join w/a SL ST into first SC
  • 4th round - *5  CH, pass this CH length behind next group of ST’s and work 1 SC in next SC of 2nd round, inserting the hook from behind
  • Repeat from *  to end.
  • 5th round- *  Into next 5 CH loop work 1 SC, 1HDC, 10DC, 1 HDC, and 1SC Repeat  from *  to end.

     If you’re still wanting more, here are some basic instructions to make the gorgeous necklace below:

bag bag bag bag

     Use your imagination and sew on the flowers to fit your style. Use it as a button or clasp, or a feminine touch. Make it soft, or make it bold. Have fun!

    Now go ahead, style your hair and take your bag out for a walk.             

For More Patterns Like This Visit

The One Stop Macrame Shop