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Rag Bag Tote

Posted on January 12, 2008

Rag bags are a fun and fugal crafting idea. You use old material to create strips and then you crochet them into a cool rag bag tote such as the one shown here. I used an old queen-sized bed sheet and some other recycled curtain panels to create this handy tote bag.

Here is a close-up photo of the strips I cut. As you can see the solid-colored sheet material was just cut into strips about 1 inch wide. I tried to do the longest strips I could by going around and around the sheet so I did not have too many splices. It’s like peeling an orange in one long continuous strip. The printed material I cut wider and folded it over so the right sides were facing out as shown. I pressed it with a hot iron to keep the strips flat so the printed side was out as I crocheted it.

FabricStrips Click to view full-sized photos


This sturdy and reusable tote can be used as a purse, tote bag, or even as a market bag. It’s very strong with comfortable handles and a fashionable design. So got an old sheet — well get green and craft yourself this eco-friendly rag bag!


Free Crocheted Recycled Rag Bag Tote Pattern

Bag measures 14 inches wide, 12 inches tall, and 9″ handles

One Queen sized sheet cut into 1 inch strips

and other fabric cut into strips for stripes on bag

Hook: Metal N (9 mm) crochet hook

Chain 22 with main sheet strips

Rnd 1
Hdc in 2nd ch from hook in each chain stitch to end, work 2 Hdc in the corner end st. Work Hdc in each st down the back side of chain, ending with 2 Hdc at end of round. Do not join rnds and continue to work in rounds to create a seamless bag.

Rnd 2
Hdc in each st around and do not join rnds, just continue working Hdc in each stitch in rounds. Hdc down to first end, work 2 Hdc in ea of the two end sts. Hdc in ea st down to other end, work 2 Hdc in ea of the two end sts of rnd.

Rnd 3
Hdc in ea st down to 1st end. Work 2 Hdc in the ea of the three end sts, then Hdc in ea st down to the other end. Work 2 Hdc in ea of the three end sts.

Rnd 4 (Correction to this rnd 2/19/08)
Working in the front loops only, Hdc in ea st down to the first end. Work 2 Hdc in the end st, then Hdc in ea st down to other end. Work 2 Hdc in the end st. (Working in front loops only allows the base of bag to sit down creating an expandable bottom to the bag. Work in front loops this round only.)

Rnd 5 – 9
Working again in both loops, Hdc in ea st down to end, work 2 Hdc in the end st. Work 1 Hdc in ea st down to other end. Work 2 Hdc in other end st.

Rnd 10 – 11
Switch to other fabric (I used strips cut from old curtain panels approx. 1-1/2 inches wide which I folded and press over with right sides facing out as my fabric was not double printed on both sides.)

(Hint: When switching materials, either overlapped strips or tie a small knot and hide it on inside of bag.)

Work Hdc in ea st around for 2 rounds. Ending at side of bag and making sure your bag edges are even.

Rnd 12 -15
Switching back to sheet material, Hdc in each st around for 4 rounds and ending at side of bag.

Rnd 16
Switch to other fabric material (curtain strips) and Hdc in ea st for one round.

Rnd 17
Switch back to sheet material and Hdc in in ea of round.

Rnd 18
Starting at side of bag, Hdc in ea of the next 7 sts, ch 20 for handle.
Join with a Sc into the bag (leaving approx. 14 sts unworked in the center of bag for handle.)
Work Hdc in the last 6 sts of front of bag. Check your work to make sure ea side of front of the bag is even and matching.

Hdc around other side in the next 7 sts, ch 20, and join with SC into bag leaving the 14 sts unworked like the front of bag. Hdc in ea of the remaining 6 sts of other side of bag. Make sure the front and back of bag match up for sides and handle opening and adjust your sts as needed.

Rnd 19
Hdc in ea st of bag around to handle. Work approx. 20 Sc sts around handle chain. Hdc in ea remaining sts in bag around to other side’s handle, work 20 Sc sts around other handle chain. Hdc in the remaining sts of rnd. Then Sc, Sl St in the next sts of same rnd. This should blend the edge so round ends with edge being even with last round.

Fasten off and weave ends under on inside of the bag.

If you have any questions or find discrepancies in this pattern, please email me using contact tab above.


Ch – Chain
Ea – Each
Hdc – Half Double Crochet
Rnd – Round
Sc – Single Crochet
Sl St – Slip Stitch
Sk – Skip
St – Stitch
Rnd – Round

This pattern is copyrighted by Cindy at My Recycled Bags {dot com} and may only be used for private individual use. No commercial sales or use is permitted. Links to this pattern are acceptable. ©2008

****Please do not copy my patterns on your blog site or post my patterns on Internet sites. I do not allow my patterns to be republished without expressed written permission. Posting of my patterns, without written permission is in violation of my copyrights and is content theft.

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21 Responses to “Rag Bag Tote”

  1. Susanno
    Jan 13, 2008

    What a cute bag Cindy.. Wish to see my girl use this one 🙂

  2. joanie
    Jan 15, 2008

    Love it! How long would it take to make for a non-crocheting novice like myself?

  3. Cindy
    Jan 15, 2008

    It takes awhile to make this due to the cutting of the strips and then the crocheting. You have to take breaks as its hard on the hands and joints if you crochet too long with these strips. It took me over a week but actual crochet time wasn’t that long.

  4. Becca Ribbing
    Jan 15, 2008

    I love it! You’re right, that should be easy to make after all that work on the rag rug. I think that I will try it out as I’ve been looking for a purse.

  5. Steph
    Jan 15, 2008

    What a great idea. And that bag does look very sturdy. I like the overall shape as well. It’s similar to a design I’ve been eyeing for awhile. Though my crochet skills are very limited at best. =)

  6. Greenearth
    Jan 16, 2008

    What wonderful bags you have on your site.

  7. HowToMe
    Jan 17, 2008

    Magnificent, like always! You’re a pro!

  8. Lesalicious
    Jan 18, 2008

    Ooo love your latest bag oh so cute very nice:)

  9. Vickie
    Jan 23, 2008

    I love this bag! I haven’t been crocheting long but I am going to try to make this. Thank You for putting up the instructions! 🙂

  10. Jeannie
    Feb 19, 2008

    Cindy…I have a question re: the instructions for Rnd.4. In Rnd.3 it says to do 2 hdc in ea. of the 3 end sts. In Rnd. 4 it says to do “2 hdc in each end sts”. My question is…do we do 2 hdc in each of the 6 hdc made in rnd 3? Or in each of the 3 end sts as in rnd 3 or the 2 end hdc as in rnd 2?

  11. Cindy
    Feb 19, 2008

    @ Jeannie:
    It’s in just one end st that you work 2 Hdc on rnd 4. I corrected my wording to read–
    Working in the front loops only, Hdc in ea st down to the first end. Work 2 Hdc in the end st, then Hdc in ea st down to other end. Work 2 Hdc in the end st.

    Sorry for the confusion and for catching my goof. What I was trying to do is make the bag a bit narrower at rnd 4 so it has a flat bottom. So that’s why you only want to do one increase (2 Hdc in the ONE end st.) Thanks for the heads up and hope that your bag turns out nice for you.

  12. I miss being on Crochetville, but summer ended and it’s been work ever since! I keep crocheting with plarn and have turned on a couple of other people onto the idea. Thanks for being such an inspiration!

  13. Alison from the UK
    Feb 25, 2008

    I like your idea of recycling.

    I recently wanted a new bathmat, and realised I had quite a few old towels that were still thick ‘n thirsty, but had been dyed weird colours by my elderly and slightly dotty mother, who thinks sorting washing into colours, whites, darks etc is new-fangled nonsense. (But that’s another story.)

    I bought some cotton/acrylic mix yarn in the colours from my bathroom, and knit a large rectagle-almost-square, with a crocheted border. I then used one of the old bath towels, doubled, as a backing.

    The result is a unique, rather gorgeous bathmat that is warm and extra large, (because we have 2 kids who think a bathmat is something you stand next to when you are dripping wet; they can hardly avoid this one!).

    I also feel virtuous because I re-used something that would otherwise have been thrown out.

    Now I am looking for uses for other oddly-coloured garment -victims of my mother’s poor washday habits.

    I like the idea of rag rugs. When making the strips, should they be hemmed? Wouldn’t this make them very thick to knit/crochet?

    I have also been thinking of making an apron, perhaps with a mix pf plastic bags and other strips – this way it would be waterproof. I am messy in the kitchen, and my clothes get wet through normal aprons.

    If I do get around to it, I’ll let you know.

    Keep recylcing………….

  14. Cindy
    Feb 25, 2008

    @Alison – You don’t have to hem your rag strips. I didn’t do mine but did fold over the printed fabric I used for the stripe. If your strips seem too wide, just cut your strips a bit narrower. Best wishes and happy green crafting to you!

  15. Pat
    Mar 26, 2008

    How wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing!

  16. Lori Sciannella
    Jul 23, 2008

    My new dog had torn a huge hole in the fitted sheet of my queen size bed sheet about 3 weeks ago. I couldn’t bear to throw it out and waste all the great material, then I discovered this pattern while googling crochet patterns! I was beyond excited and made my husband start cutting. The project is now finished – I used some leftover material from another project as accent color. This was so cool, everyone I’ve showed it to thinks it’s adorable! Thank you so much for all the great ideas you’ve got rolling through my mind!

  17. monica
    Oct 09, 2008

    Try ripping the fabric: It goes much faster and is lots of fun esp. if you have kids to help. A little snip at the edge of the sheet and tear away.

  18. Terri
    Dec 12, 2008

    What a clever idea! It is amazing what you can think up when you have an imagination. What appeals to me is that it is washable, and good for the environment too! Thank you so much for sharing!

  19. Jen
    Jul 16, 2009

    Great bag….love it!

  20. atmarie
    Nov 13, 2010

    I just wanted to say thank you for posting all these great patterns! I visit your page regularly and you have given me a lot of inspiration to make all sorts of crochet bags from different materials. The possibilities are endless!

  21. […] •    Rugs.  Old bedsheets or curtains can be easily repurposed into rag rugs or even heavy duty shopping bags. •    Jewelry.  Would you believe that your fabric scraps can be converted into jewelry?  […]


  1. […] •    Rugs.  Old bedsheets or curtains can be easily repurposed into rag rugs or even heavy duty shopping bags. •    Jewelry.  Would you believe that your fabric scraps can be converted into jewelry?  […]

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About Me

Hello, I’m Cindy or aka RecycleCindy. Welcome to my blog site that is dedicated to recycling and crafting. I love to crochet and create crafts and other useful things from recycled materials. I share many free tutorials and patterns for creating recycled projects as well as other handmade items.

Here is a direct link to all my free patterns available here on My Recycled Bags.

Thank you for stopping by to visit and for your interest in My Recycled Bags!