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The Look for Less: Make vs. Buy this Crocheted Granny Square Bag

This blog series plucks a knit or crochet fashion item from the headlines and suggests patterns to make something similar.

Have you noticed that the humble granny square has been positively crushing it out there in fashion-land lately? While it is showing up in all sorts of outfits (pullover sweaters, cardigans, halters, bikini tops, etc.) today I am going to focus on bags. The BAGS! There is a seemingly endless variety of them right now.

In fact, according to Her Style Code -- famous fashion houses like Christian Dior, Oscar de la Renta, and Alexander McQueen have all added crocheted bags to their the spring and summer runways. They even suggest that crocheted bag additions "make your outfit trendy and modern." While it seems ironic that the granny square (born in 1891) is being hailed as the way to modernize, here we are. And isn't it nice that you can make this particular trendy accessory from your very own free yarn stash? 

Trendy Bag Examples

crochet bags in the shops now

From top left: The Karin from Nannacay ($510), Lara Mini Crochet Shoulder Bag from Urban Outfitters ($35), Cantinella Knit from Patricia Nash ($229)

The Inspiration Bag

Catch Me Crochet Hobo bag from Free People -- inspiration for patterns

While the choices out there are almost paralyzing, I've picked the Catch Me Crochet Hobo Bag at Free People to focus on. This $98 dollar hobo bag is made with fancy granny squares in a basic rectangle shape -- a wonderfully straightforward project to make even for beginners. Sometimes, the easier path is the perfect thing. 

As usual, I don't have an exact pattern for this bag, but I've gathered a few that I think have a like vibe and that feel attainable. 

Similar Patterns for Making Your Own Version

catch me crochet bag vibe

1) The Magnolia Tote Bag by Jessica Reeves Potasz of Mama in a Stitch has a slightly different shape, but like the inspiration bag it is comprised entirely of granny squares and has a crocheted handle that comes off the outermost corners. It also has the squares tilted into diamond shapes, which channels the Catch Me Crochet bag, too. I love the boho feel of the patterning, colors, and tassle.

Tip: This pattern calls for worsted weight yarn, which you can create with sock yarn by holding two strands together -- great for when you have the perfect color in the wrong weight.

2) The Not the High Street Tote Bag by Bella Coco Crochet also has the more diagonal shape, which I think is nice, and it too has some interesting granny square designs and colors. The pattern is not free like #1, but it is very affordable, AND there is a great YouTube video tutorial on making the bag. I call that a win. 

Tip: Bella Coco's YouTube channel has a number of tutorials for various granny square designs, so you could choose a different patterning for the same bag if you wanted to mix it up. 

3) The Boho Granny Square Bag 001 by Bori Varga has strong colors like the inspiration bag, though in different shades. I love the look and appreciate the way the handle is constructed, too. 

If you want to go with fancier granny squares than these patterns provide, you can change them up as you wish by inserting a different square design (for example, check out the Lady of the Lake pattern by This Little Hook of Mine for a real challenge). 

Helpful extras

  • video by Patricia Fentie that overviews lining any crochet bag -- something that's a good idea so that it will hold up to carrying all of your things. 
  • This Ophelia Talks Crochet video shows you how to crochet and then line a strap using cotton webbing or fabric, but you could easily use a soft, buttery, sewable leather (like lambskin) or Kraft-Tex leather-look paper fabric instead.  
  • A Craftsy blog round-up of 11 granny square patterns from Craftsy.

Want more crochet project inspiration? See our other "Look for Less" posts. 

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