Pattern of
the Month

On the Needles
(...and Off the Needles)



Vintage Patterns

About the
Idle Hands

Archive entry for July 2021

« June 2021 | Main | August 2021 »

July 2021

Travelling Light I


Soft-sided bags pack well into a car for touring or camping - or simply excursions to the beach. So these can make a good alternative as light weight overnight bags, or to contain all those little essentials for trips to the washrooms.


Size could be modified by adding stitches or rows, or using a thicker yarn to change the tension - see "a Word on the Wool".

Main section

Using tan beige colour (G) make 80 chain, plus one chain to turn.

Work in dc inserting hook into the back of the loop only.
(This gives a ridged effect to the work).

Work in stripes as follows;

6 rows in B (tan)
4 rows in C (red)
4 rows in B (tan)
1 row in C (red)
3 rows in A (pink)
1 row in D (purple)
1 row in C (red)
1 row in B (tan) - centre of stripe sequence.

Now reverse the sequence:

1 row in C (red)
1 row in D (purple)
3 rows in A (pink)
1 row in C (red)
4 rows in B (tan)
4 rows in C (red)
6 rows in B (tan)

Fasten off

Side Gussets

Using dark blue or purple colour (D) make 30 chain, plus one chain to turn. Work 8 rows in dc, inserting hook into the back loop only.
Fasten off.

Work a second gusset in the same way.


Using tan beige colour (B) make 200 chain, plus one chain to turn. Work 4 rows in dc, inserting hook into the back loop only.
Fasten off.

To Make Up

Fold under a hem of 5 dc at each end of the bag.
Working from the centre (see diagram), stitch the handles onto the bag positioned over the 4 rows in colour B, and looping round to form two handles..
Sew in the gussets, by sewing the longer edge of the bag evenly around three sides of each gusset, noting that the bag is a little longer than the gussets.
Work a border of dc at each end of the bag, around the gussets, using pink colour (A).

A Word on the Wool

The original yarn was a dense 100% acrylic carpet wool, with only 25m to a 50g ball. It appears to be a chunky yarn designed for use with a 6mm hook - so this bag, using a 4mm hook, is designed to be made very tight and firm to keep the shape of the bag. (Possibly hard work on the fingers).
When substituting, use the yardage to calculate quantities.

I have seen Herdwick used to good effect for this type of bag. You may have to buy it as an aran weight and use it double for this pattern; of course you would be fairly limited in colour scheme.
Also it could be a good use of handspun - spin to a suitable thickness using a high(ish) twist to make it coarser, and experiment to get the tension and firmness that you need.

Finally, this could be a good way to use up remnants - always provided you can achieve the required tension, or make your own calculations to compensate. The bag is simply a mirror image of one set of stripes, so divide your remnants into 2 equal parts, either by weight or length before you begin - or alternatively - go wild and make an asymmetric pattern!


The yarn is a chunky carpet wool:
2 balls in fuchsia pink (A), 9 in tan (B), 2 in red (C), 3 in dark blue or purple (D).

One No 8 (4mm) crochet hook.


8¼ sts and 9½ rows to 4 inches in dc.

Size matters

The body of the bag as designed is about 17 inches wide, 15 inches high, and 4 inches deep.

Crochet abbreviations:

ch: chain
dc: double crochet

Remember these are English crochet instructions where dc is equivalent to US single crochet - see "Terminology" in the side bar.


In transposing any pattern it is always a risk that errors will be introduced, in spite of dedicated proof reading.
If you have any problems with this pattern, please and I will try and assist.


© Christina Coutts 2007

Helpful Stuff

Pattern Archive


Yarn Links

Fabric etc

Stuff to do

  • Little rabbits
  • V&A 1940s Patterns
  • Monkey Socks
  • Necktie Bag
  • Posh Gloves
  • Criss-cross coasters