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I decided to begin this new chapter of the blog with a celebratory project to share :D The idea of a plush clutch came from a comment that a visitor, Jenna, made on the comical neckwarmer pattern, which involves a 16mm hook and crocheting with multiple strands of yarn held together. She suggested that the same hook/yarn combination would look cute for a purse too! I thought it was a brilliant idea – I could totally picture a fun, plushy purse bursting with colours. So I did some testing, and the plush clutch was born! Thank you, Jenna! :D
It isn’t technically a clutch, because it has a strap. Clutches are for clutching and therefore don’t have shoulder straps. But I’m calling it such because it kind of rhymes… or at least it kind of has a ring to it… Um. Anyway. It’s real plushy though!
The construction is pretty simple, just one rectangle and one really long rectangle (aka a strap) put together.
It measures 9″ wide, 5″ tall, and 3″ deep, with a 47″ strap.
So, without further ado, here’s how it’s made.
Yarn: I used 6 strands of worsted weight yarn held together. If you’d like to substitute yarn of other weights, I’d suggest doing a swatch with sc rows to see if the stitches are too loose, and add strands if they are. Because it’s a purse the fabric needs to be on the stiff side to hold its shape.
Other stuff: fabric for lining, sewing needle, two 1″ – 1.5″ buttons.
Note: To avoid extra, unneeded bulk I did not do a turning ch in the beginning of each row. Instead I just pull the loop on the hook slightly higher and sc directly into the first stitch of each row.
Row 1: ch 11, sc in second ch from hook, sc in each ch across. (10 sc)
Row 2: turn, pull loop on hook slightly higher, sc in first sc, sc in each sc across. (10 sc)
Row 3 – 24: repeat row 2.
Fasten off. When fastening off, I found that it’s helpful to leave a 4-5″ tail for weaving in. If tail is too short it can easily come out, because the stitches are so large.
I measured the strap of another purse (47″, that’s the length of the strap plus the sides of the bag – see diagram below) and made the beginning ch 4″ shorter (43″), because the stitches will stretch quite a bit after the sc row. You can adjust the length of the strap and the number of stitches in the beginning ch accordingly.
Row 1: ch 72, sc in second ch from hook, sc in each ch across.
Row 2: turn, pull loop on hook slightly higher, sc in each of next 6 sc, sl st in next sc, fasten off, weave in ends.
Join yarn at the top of first sc of row 1, ch 1, sc in first sc, sc in each of next 5 sc, sl st. in next sc, fasten off, weave in ends.
Putting it all together…
This diagram shows how the strap and bag piece are attached and the row counts of the front, the bottom, the back, and the flap.
Row 2 of the strap is attached to the front of the bag on each side. Seam with wrong sides facing out, and turn the bag inside out when finished.
I crocheted the seams together using sc’s with 1 strand of yarn and a 5mm hook, and I decided to do 2 rows of sc on the back of the strap to minimize stretching.
I did the seaming and the crocheting on the strap in one continuous round: starting from the top corner of right front, around to the bottom right, up 7 rows of the back, then crocheted across the strap until I got to the back of the other side of the back, 7 rows away from the bottom. Then I started seaming again, down the back, around the bottom, up the left front, then at the top edge of left front I crocheted across the strap the other way until I reached the top of right front, where I started.
Here’s how I crocheted the 2 rows of sc across the strap.
On the back of the strap there are “ridges” near one edge and upside-down-V shapes across. I did 3 sc’s in each “ridge” down one way, and then when I came around the strap the second time I did 1 sc around one leg of the upside-down-V, 1 sc around the strands of yarn between the legs of the upside-down-V, and 1 sc around the other leg of the upside-down-V.
So, after it’s all said and done the back of the strap looked like this:
OK, I understand that all these can be a bit confusing… I wish I could demonstrate this to you in person, but I can’t. And I know that I’m not terribly good at explaining things sometimes. So while I want to let you know what I did, I’d encourage you to put the pieces together in ways that work best for you. Here are some suggestions:
- sc along the strap before attaching to bag, then sew strap to bag with yarn and needle.
- Line the strap with fabric, then sew strap to bag with yarn and needle.
Either way, I would highly recommend doing something to stabilize the stitches of the strap. I once crocheted a purse and didn’t line the strap and it got stretched to nearly twice the length after being used for just a month :S
Alright! Now that it’s all put together, it’s time to line the bag itself. Here are some awesome tutorials on how to make a bag lining, and to sew lining to bag on Futuregirl’s Blog. I made the lining from a pant leg of some old khakis.
Then I sewed on some buttons. No need for button holes, the gaps between stitches would do. Note that I attached the yarn on the front of the bag, so that I don’t have to sew through the lining, and if the buttons ever fall off and I have to do some repairing I can easily untie the yarn. I hid the tails by hooking it behind the stitches.
To accommodate the thickness of the fabric I used the method that I mentioned in the wrist cuff / cup sleeve pattern to sew on the buttons.
AAAAND we’re done! :D
I love the soft spring colours in it :D But I imagine it would create a nice tweed look with some brown and gray yarn. Or similar shades of one colour would be lovely too! Might also be great with t-shirt yarn, or plarn! I hope you enjoy the pattern; if you have any question or comment please feel free to drop me a note! :)
Thank you for visiting me at my new place! I will be back with another celebratory plush pattern later this week! Until then, take care and happy crafting! :D