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Rainbow Crochet Tote Bag

My free crochet pattern for a tote bag uses basic crochet stitches making this project suitable for beginners. 

montage of three photos showing 1) rainbow stripes crochet tote bag 2) close up of the pattern 3) the bag being crocheted

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Do you have leftover yarn from previous projects? 

This easy crochet tote bag is a fabulous project for keeping your costs low by making use of the yarn you have in your stash.

Crochet Tote Bag in rainbow colours hanging from a trellis

Design Inspiration

Have you noticed the crochet bags in high street shops?  I was out with my mother-in-law recently and saw loads!

I felt a mix of emotions too … one question in the forefront for me, how much was the maker paid for their time and their skill?

I’m not going to get political – I’d rather DO something that would help.

And what I can do is create a pattern that is inspired by one of these High Street makes and share them so that you can make your own crochet bag (at a fraction of the cost).

This tote bag was inspired by an unlined, rainbow crochet shopper bag.

High Street Crocheted Bag on display
High Street Rainbow Crochet Shopper Bag

I’ve made some changes to the high street design. 

The granny cluster isn’t very practical being so close to the bottom of the unlined bag so I’ve crocheted a wider base and added more rounds of half treble crochet before the cluster begins.

I’ve also used DK yarn and not raffia.

Although raffia is ideal for this project, personally I need to be able to wash my things.  You can clean raffia with a cloth, but it won’t be as clean as washing. 

I also think using a premium yarn will extend the life of the crochet tote, and therefore be better for sustainability.

The DK yarn obviously stretches more than raffia so I’ve changed the handles from treble crochet to double crochet.

How the pattern is worked

This pattern is written in UK and US Crochet Terms.

The pattern is worked in multiples of 3.

The base of the crochet tote bag is worked first.

Starting with a row of double crochet (US single crochet), you’ll turn to continue crocheting on the opposite side of the foundation row, increasing a stitch each side for two rounds.

The base of a crochet tote bag beginning with a foundation chain and working on the opposite side
Working on the opposite side of the foundation row

The increases are made by working 2 double crochets in the same space.

3 rounds of half treble crochet (US half double crochet) are worked in one colour, followed by 5 rounds of 3 granny clusters in the main colour.

crocheted fabric pattern of 3 rounds of half treble crochet and 5 rounds of treble 3 clusters
3 rounds of half treble crochet, 5 rounds of 3 granny clusters

These two crochet stitches and colour changes form the pattern and the rainbow.

Colours are changed for every block of half treble crochet rounds. 

The granny clusters are always worked in the main colour.

The bag handles are crocheted in the main colour using double crochet and are joined to the final round of the body.

The handles are worked in rows.

handles worked in rows for a crochet bag
Handles worked in rows

You can easily adapt the size of this pattern. 

If it’s too large for you, you can make a smaller tote bag by decreasing the number of starting chains.  You will need multiples of 3.  Using less colours and less cluster rounds will reduce the height.

Related Crochet Bag Patterns

If you enjoy working with more than one colour you might like to check out the Bramble drawstring bagHearts and Stripes tote bag, the Mosaic Bricks tote and the Checkered Knot bag free patterns.

Granny square bag patterns include the Josephine tote, the easy granny square bag or the Canterbury Edition tote.

If you’re not sure which designs suit your skills, have a browse of this collection of crochet tote bag patterns or these easy granny square bags.

Yarn

I have used DK yarn from my stash including:

Any DK yarn will work for this project.

Colours you will need:

  • Oatmeal
  • Apple green
  • Blue
  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Mid pink

Pattern Notes

  • Chain 1 does not count as a stitch
  • Chain 2 does count as a stitch
  • Chain 3 does count as a stitch
  • Colour changes are made on the last pull through of the stitch immediately before you need to work with the new colour
  • At the end of each block of half treble crochets, fasten off and weave in ends
  • Carry Yarn A so that you can pick it up to work with on the granny cluster rounds
  • The handles are worked by joining Yarn A to the final half treble round and working 8 stitches of double crochet and 75 rows.  The other end of the bag handle is crocheted/sewn on to the same side
  • Make sure you don’t twist the handles.  Pinning the handles before sewing will help
  • Tension/gauge is not important for this project

Colour palette and rounds:

  • Yarn A Oatmeal for the base
  • Yarn B 3 rounds of htr in green
  • Yarn A 5 rounds of granny clusters in oatmeal
  • Yarn C 3 rounds of htr in light blue
  • Yarn A 5 rounds of granny clusters in oatmeal
  • Yarn D 3 rounds of htr in yellow
  • Yarn A 5 rounds of granny clusters in oatmeal
  • Yarn E 3 rounds of htr in orange
  • Yarn A 5 rounds of granny clusters in oatmeal
  • Yarn B 3 rounds of htr in green
  • Yarn A 5 rounds of granny clusters in oatmeal
  • Yarn F 3 rounds of htr in pink

Level

Easy

Materials

  • Yarn A – 150g DK
  • Yarn B – 25g DK
  • Yarn C – 25g DK
  • Yarn D – 25g DK
  • Yarn E – 25g DK
  • Yarn F – 25g DK
  • 4mm crochet hook
  • Scissors
  • Yarn Needle

Stitches and Abbreviations

Double crochet (dc)   /   US single crochet (sc)

Half Treble Crochet (htr)   /  US Half Double Crochet (hdc)

Treble Crochet (tr)   /   US Double crochet (dc)

Granny Cluster (cl) : round 1: skip 2 stitches, 3 treble in next stitch, repeated around / round 2: 3 trebles in spaces between clusters

  • Ch = chain
  • Opp = opposite
  • St = stitch
  • Sl st = slip stitch
  • Sk = skip
  • Rep = repeat
  • Beg = beginning
  • Cl/s = cluster/s
  • Sp/s = space/s
  • Prev = previous
  • RS = right side
  • LH = left hand
  • RH = right hand

Measurements

Body of shopper bag

47cm / 18.5” W   X  43cm/ 17” H

Handles

24cm  /  9.5”

Crochet Shopper Bag laid out flat with measurements of width, height and handles

Rainbow Crochet Tote Bag Instructions UK Terms

Crochet shopper bag hanging by one strap on a chair

Body of bag

With Yarn A (oatmeal)

Ch 70 + 1

Round 1: dc in 2nd ch from hook, 2dc in last ch, turn to work on opp side of foundation ch, dc to last st, 2dc in last st, join with sl st to 1st dc (142 x dc )

Round 2: ch1, dc x 71, 2dc in next st, dc x 71, join with sl st to ch1 (144 x dc)

Round 3: ch1, dc in each st, join with sl st to ch1

Round 4:  ch2, htr in each st, join with sl st to top of ch2

Round 5 – 7: rep round 4

Change to Yarn B

Round 8  –  10: rep round 4

Change to Yarn A

Round 11:  ch3, 2 tr in same st *sk 2 sts, 3tr in next st, * rep around to beg, sl st to top of ch3

Round 12: ch3, 2tr in same sp, *3tr cl between the space of the cl from the prev round, *rep to beg of round, sl st to top of ch3

Round 14 – 15:  rep row 12

Round 8 – 15 form pattern

Rep rounds 8 to 15 for a total of 6 x 3 rounds of htr, 5 x 5 rounds of tr cl, ending with htr rounds  

Fasten off and sew in ends. 

Handles

With RS facing outwards, find the centre st of the bag, count 20 sts from the centre st and insert your st marker.  Do this for left of the centre st and right.

*Counting towards the RH edge of the bag, count 8 sts from the RH st marker and join Yarn A.  You will be working towards the st marker with your final st worked in the same st as the st marker.

showing the centre stitch and where to start working the handles
Yellow square is the 20th stitch from the centre

Row 1 – 75: ch1, dc in same st, dc x 7, turn (8 dc)

Fasten off leaving a tail for sewing the handle to the bag.

This end of the bag handle can be either crocheted or sewn on.

Starting with the st marker on the LH side of the bag, sew or crochet towards the edge of the bag.

Fasten off and weave in ends.

*Rep on the other side of the bag

Rainbow Crochet Tote Bag Instructions US Terms

Body of bag

With Yarn A (oatmeal)

Ch 70 + 1

Round 1: sc in 2nd ch from hook, 2sc in last ch, turn to work on opp side of foundation ch, sc to last st, 2sc in last st, join with sl st to 1st sc (142 sc )

Round 2: ch1, sc x 71, 2sc in next st, sc x 71, join with sl st to ch1 (144 sc)

Round 3: ch1, sc in each st, join with sl st to ch1

Round 4:  ch2, hdc in each st, join with sl st to top of ch2

Round 5 – 7: rep round 4

Change to Yarn B

Round 8  –  10: rep round 4

Change to Yarn A

Round 11:  ch3, 2 dc in same st *sk 2 sts, 3dc in next st, * rep around to beg, sl st to top of ch3

Round 12: ch3, 2dc in same sp, *3dc cl between the space of the cl from the prev round, *rep to beg of round, sl st to top of ch3

Round 14 – 15:  rep row 12

Round 8 – 15 form pattern

Rep rounds 8 to 15 for a total of 6 x 3 rounds of hdc, 5 x 5 rounds of cl, ending with hdc rounds  

Fasten off and sew in ends. 

Handles

With RS facing outwards, find the centre st of the bag, count 20 sts from the centre st and insert your st marker.  Do this for left of the centre st and right.

*Counting towards the RH edge of the bag, count 8 sts from the RH st marker and join Yarn A.  You will be working towards the st marker with your final st worked in the same st as the st marker.

showing the centre stitch and where to start working the handles
Yellow square is the 20th stitch from the centre

Row 1 – 75: ch1, sc in same st, sc x 7, turn (8 sc)

Fasten off leaving a tail for sewing the handle to the bag.

This end of the bag handle can be either crocheted or sewn on.

Starting with the st marker on the LH side of the bag, sew or crochet towards the edge of the bag.

Fasten off and weave in ends.

*Rep handles on the other side of the bag

Happy crocheting!

Copyright Notice

The pattern and photographs of this design are the property of Sharon Goodwin at Jera’s Jamboree.  This pattern and design are subject to copyright and are for personal, non-commercial use only.  You may not share, resell, alter or redistribute this pattern in part or in whole. You may, however, sell any finished items you make.  If you would like to include this pattern in a roundup, you may take one photo and link back to this pattern.

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