Friday, December 2, 2011

African Flower bag pattern

I have been meaning to do this for so long. I got started on it over two weeks ago, and had done half of it. Saved it (so I thought) to finish it the next day. And realized that only two pictures were saved, everything I had written was gone! Got a little upset and have feared to make another try... I have to warn you though, I'm not a very talented pattern writer, just an amateur who wants to share the how-to... But here we go

OBS! Vill du ha mönstret på svenska, så finns det här! (Link to Swedish pattern.)

Achtung!Jetzt gibt es auch ein Anleitung auf Deutsch! (Link to German pattern.)

 This bag is known on Flickr and Ravelry as my Pink and Purple African Flower Bag. It's been quite popular, so I thought someone might be interested in the pattern. I made a new one in purple and gray a while ago, and took some pictures of the process. Wish I had taken more, but I hope this will be enough.

I use a chunky cotton yarn for this bag. With a 4,5 mm hook, the hexagons measure approximately 12 cm (4,5 inches) across. If you need the pattern for the African Flower hexagon, you can find it here
I start by picking out one base color for the bag, and three or four flower colors. One of the flower colors are chosen to be more dominant than the others. Then I make 12 hexagons. I chose to make them in only three different variants and so I get four flowers of each.

When I have all the hexagons I need, I sew them together. Two of each color variant in each row. I like to make a symmetric pattern and put them in the same place in the rows. Like A, B, C, A, B, C, and then sew the last C and the first A together to form a circle of hexagons. I do not use the base color for the seams, I like to make them visible and use one of the flower colors for each row.

When I put the two rows together, I make sure that flower C comes directly underneath flowers A and B, so that flowers with the same colors are separated from each other. I use a third flower color for the seam between the rows.

When all the hexagons are attached into one cylinder, I start with the lower part of the bag:

Round 1: Use the dominant flower color.1 sc in every st, and 1 sc in the seam between the flowers.
Round 2: In the base color. 1 sc in each st.
Round 3: Now I start to make an even edge. In the dominant flower color, start on top of one of the hexagons and crochet [4 sc, 3 hdc, 2 dc, 3 dc tog, 2 dc, 3 hdc, 4 sc] and repeat this with every flower. (Depending on how you've sewn the hexagons together, you might have a different number of stitches than this, but don't worry! Just adjust the number of sc or any other stitch you'd prefer to change.) The middle dc in the group of 3 should be in the lowest stitch between the flowers.
Round 4: This round will probably start elsewhere, but it is so much easier for me to describe how you crochet from the top of the hexagon, just like the last round: [5 sc, 3 hdc, 3 dc, 3hdc, 5 sc] Repeat for every flower. Now the edge should be rather straight.
Round 5: 1 dc in each st
Round 6: In base color. 1 sc in each st.
Round 7: In dominant flower color. 1 sc in each st.
Round 8: In base color. 1 sc in each st. Cut the yarn and weave in the end.

Now we are ready to start with the upper part of the bag. This part is done exactly like the lower part to start with. I just use a different color scheme: 

Round 1: Dominant flower color.
Round 2-5: Base color.
Round 6: Dominant flower color.
Round 7: Base color.

So far we just repeated the bottom part pattern. But now we will start to make the part where we can weave in a string to close the bag with. Choose one of your flower colors, other than the dominant one.

Round 8: Flower color of choice. 1 sc in each st.
Round 9: [2 dc, ch 2, skip 2 st] repeat the entire round.
Round 10: [1 sc in each dc, 2 sc around chains.] Repeat.
Round 11: Base color. 1 sc in each st.
Round 12: Dominant flower color. 1 sc in each st.
Round 13: Base color. 1 sc in each st. Cut yarn and weave in.

Now we have made most of the bag. I like to get done with the big parts first, so let's make the bottom:

 Use the base color. Start with chaining 4, and join them to a circle.
Round 1: 9 hdc around the circle.
Round 2: 2 dc in each st.
Round 3: 2 dc in the same st, 1 dc. Repeat.
Round 4: 2 dc in the same st, 2 dc. Repeat.
Round 5: 2 dc in the same st, 3 dc. Repeat.
Keep increasing every round with 1 more dc between the increases every row, until you make the last row: 
Round 11: 2 dc in the same st, 9 dc. Repeat. Cut yarn and weave in.

On the first bag I made, the bottom was all in the base color. On this one I was running out of yarn and made one row in the dominant flower color.

Attach the bottom to the lower part of the bag with one of the flower colors. I didn't get exactly the same number of stitches on the bottom and the lower part, but if you count them you can figure out where to skip a stitch in the seam to attach the bottom evenly to the bag.

Now, we do need a string to close the bag with. This is absolutely the easiest part of the bag. Pick a flower color and make a long chain. It should be at least twice the width of the bag to be long enough, but I make mine three times the width. It will "shrink" some before it's done, and you want some length on it. Then I simply make sl st all the way back. Weave in both ends and weave the string back and forth between the groups of dc's on the bag. Make a knot in each end to prevent it from slipping through.

And finally the handle. It is a matter of taste, I guess, how long you want it to be. I made mine roughly twice as long as the bag is long from bottom to top. Maybe 90 cm (35 inches) or so. Hang it over your shoulder as you make it, and try to feel how long you want it.

Start by making a chain, as long as you like the handle to be. Use the base color. Make a sc in the third ch from the needle and start making sc all the way back. 
Round 1: Make 1 sc in each ch on each side, but make 4 sc in the first and the last ch, to make a rounded increase.
Round 2: 1 sc in each st on each side, but increase in each end like this: 2 sc in the same st, 1 sc, 2 sc in the same st, 2 sc in the same st, 1 sc, 2 sc in the same st.
Round 3: 1 sc in each st on each side, increase like this in each end: 2 sc in the same st four times.

To make a more comfortable handle, I sew it together on the sides to form a rounded handle. I start a bit up the handle, and save approx. 4-5 cm (1,5-2 inches) on each side. Make the seam with one of the flower colors. If you want to, you can put a piece of fabric, a rope or something else to add sturdiness and volume to the handle. I cut out a piece of fabric the same length as the handle. I then folded in the edges and made a so called "straight" seam (as you can see it's not very straight, but no-one will know!) all the way along the fold. I put it on the wrong side of the crocheted handle and started sewing it together around the fabric. 

Now, attach the handle to the sides of the bag. I turn the seam down, and sew around the rounded edges with the dominant flower color. I also sew with the base color to make sure it is firmly attached to the bag. I actually let the seams go through the fabric between the handle and the bag. This way the handle won't stretch as you fill your bag up, like crochet might do. If you make the flower color seam go through only the handle itself and the bag, you hide the fabric efficiently.

Now the bag is done! If you want to, you can make a lining for it. My friend who I made this bag for specifically asked for me to line it, so I did. I'm not the best of friends with my sewing machine, but I think we made a decent job with it. I placed the bag on the selected fabric and draw out the size. Make sure the fabric is folded double in one side where you place the bag. Then draw a piece with the same height as the bag, but a little bit wider (for the seam). BUT exclude the rounded bottom from this piece! Draw accordingly to the edge at the bottom part. Sew the sides together, right side to right side.

Then draw a circle on the fabric for the bottom, a little bit wider all around. Sew in on to the first part, right side to right side.

You now have a fabric bag. Keep it with the wrong side out. Fold down the raw upper edge as much as needed to make the fabric bag fit into the crocheted bag, from the bottom up to the sc rounds just beneath the string. Make a straight seam.

Since this is a pretty big bag, I thought it would be nice to make a pocket for the mobile phone, or whatever you want to put there, and also a snap hook to hang your keys in. The pocket is just a rectangle with a seam on top, and raw edges folded in before I attached it to the bag. The piece of fabric used to attach the hook is a strip where I folded in all raw ends and sew them down from the right side, folded it double around the hook and attached it. As simple as possible!

The final step now, pin the fabric to the bag, and attach it. You can sew by hand if you want to. I prefer that, but in this case I didn't manage to make a straight seam, got tired of it and used the machine... Tadah, the bag is all done!

Anything I want to add? Well, I think this is a very easy bag to make. Using a chunky yarn also makes it very quick to work up. I've made similar bags with thinner yarn which meant more hexagons, and they take forever. Yes, I know I'm lazy...

If you want to make a big bag with thinner yarn, you could still use this pattern. Just increase the number of flowers, make some more rounds on the bottom and maybe also on the handle. 

And of course, if you find any mistakes or have any questions, please let me know! And it would be amazing to see your bag, if you make one!

Good luck!


Zzz said...

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ :)

Luciana DeVito said...

I LOVE it! Perfect for an African Flower swap (which we had on Ravelry's African Flower group earlier this year) I know what to do with my flowers. Thank you!!!!!!!!

Gina said...

This is absolutely glorious! I'm playing with Japanese Flowers this week... but now I'm hankering for a trip through African Flowers so that I can make a version of your all-kinds-of-cute bag. Thanks for the instructions!

Maaike said...

This is a lovely bag, I love it and it's for certain one of my first projects in the new year, thanks!!

allerlieblichst said...

you have made a gorgeous bag! Absolut adorable, thank you for the instruction ! Greetings to sweden, Christiane

Cattinka said...

It is simply beautiful. thanks for sharing.

matte said...

jättesöt! vilket smart sätt att göra handtagen på, jag tycker annars att de blir för slinkiga men med din metod blir de ju inte det. Den varianten ska jag lägga på minnet :)

San @ Made in Hem said...

Oh, this would make The Perfect Gym-bag for my girls! I have to dig in my stash if I can find some cotton... It will be the first thing on my list when I need a new crochet project! ♥

Anonymous said...

Hade varit kul med en svensk beskrivning på denna fantastiska väska

Anonymous said...

Jag håller med. Hade varit kul med en svenska mönster på denna fina väska. /Josefine

Kashi said...

We have chosen your beautiful bag to be our next project for our CAL group, Everything CAL on Ravelry. It is a lovely pattern.

Nilla K said...

African Flower bag-mönstret finns nu översatt till svenska.

Nilla K said...

Mönstret på African Flower bag finns nu också på svenska.

Anonymous said...

wow this is nice would makeing it in all one color work well thats what im going to do thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

You did such a fantastic job with this.Love the way you've lined the inside of the handle as well as the inside of the bag. You've created a high quality bag.

susamaria said...

I made this lovely african flower bag and my little daughter loves it! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Lovely bag.

In this bag, I assume the grey is the dominant color? How many skeins of each color did you need??

mimi said...

is alright to print the instruction?

Nilla K said...

Thank you, Anonymous. I think I used 4 or 5 skeins of gray, and less than one of the others. I'm not sure, since I used what I had at hand. That's how I came up with this color scheme...

Mimi, of course you can print it! :)

Claudia said...

Hallo NillaK,
I just found your nice instruction for the Flower bag - I'm loving it!
Is it o. k. to pin it at Pinterest?

Anonymous said...

Just Gorgeous, thank you for sharing. I am only just starting to crochet but want to give this a go when I have completed a few more beginner projects

joli brouillon said...

I love this bag!! Thank you so much for the tutorial, I will follow it as soon as my flowers are done!! May I ask you the size of the bag (in cm) once finished?
(unless you've mentioned it somewhere and I didn't see it!)
Thank you so much, have a nice day!!

joli brouillon said...

Thank you so much for your reply! I've made my african flower with a crochet 3 so they measure a little 9 cm... (I started them before I found your beautiful pouch bag). So I will need to do an extra border if I don't want my bag to be too small... I will keep you posted ;-)

joli brouillon said...

Hello, my question now is what is a dc tog (in round 3) I've checked on internet but seem to find the answer ;-)

joli brouillon said...

double crochet decrease... found it!! thank you!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this beautiful bag pattern.

Sara said...

It's perfect! Linking up at Tangled happy tomorrow. Thanks so much for sharing this. Wishing you a very happy weekend. :)

Unknown said...

Beautiful bag!! You did a great liner. I love that it has a pocket and little key hook. Thanks for sharing!!

Mrs. C said...

Love your bag! I am just finishing up a version of an African Flower bag! Found a picture of one on Pinterest a while back. I made three rows of 7 flower blocks for mine. Just finishing up the strap and need to sew up a quick lining. Your lining looked great! Love how you made the top a draw string. :)

Sangeetha said...

Absolutely brilliant tutorial! I have been wanting to make this bag for such a long time. I just love the lining you have made. The keychain idea is too good. I am going to try this bag and I will keep you posted. Wish me luck.

angeliki said...

That's a very beautiful bag! Found you via tangled happy and now I'm following! I love crocheting too!

Jenna said...

This bag is absolutely gorgeous. Off to get my yarn to start one now! Thank you for being so generous and sharing this for free! Cannot wait until it is done!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this awesome pattern! :D

Kim said...

Love it! Thank you!! Going to get yarn tomorrow. Yay!!!

Karapooz Crochet said...

Soo cute! Thank you for sharing! Please stop by at

Laetitia said...

Hello, it is me again! i hope you are well! I've been wearing my bag all summer and I am so so happy with it! Thank you again.
I wanted to ask you what yarn you used for yours because I had a crochet 3, using catania! I would love to try thicker (cos of laziness) but I don't seem to find cotton I could use with a crochet 5!
Thank you,

Tamara said...

This is so beautiful! I have linked to this page on my blog this morning, as everyone should see this pattern! Thanks so much for sharing!

The post is at if you wish to see it. :)

Maria said...

Thanks so much for sharing this pattern! I made my own bag too. :)

Jenna said...

This is so beautiful . . . I have commented here before but now I have made the bag (actually, I'm on my third!) and it is such a great pattern, very easy to follow. Two of my friends have requested bags of their own. Mine is so popular, I get comments on it all the time! So thank you for sharing your beautiful design.

Amanda Gibson said...

I wanted to know what type of yarn did you use? I am wanting to try to make this bag and I was going to try to use regular red heart yarn but I wasnt sure... Please let me know! thanks so much!

Nilla K said...

The yarn I used is Swedish and is called "soft cotton" from Järbo yarns. It is a plied cotton yarn, aran 10 wpi. 87 yards/50 g. I haven't worked with red heart, so I cannot help you there... My best tip is to look on other projects with this pattern on Ravelry and see what they used. Here is the link:

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful bag. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

do you can send me a link for this bag in german?
sorry for my terribe english.


LadyRocketfrog said...

Hello! What are the dimensions of the finished bag? How big does it end up being?

Nati v G said...

Just finished the bag today
Love the tutorial..
I think i did a good job


boots said...

Thank you so much for this pattern.

I made the bag in cheap neon acrylic yarn - and I think it turned pretty good out. ;) (It will be better next time I try it).

Your instructions are great and easy to follow. Thanks again.

boots said...

Thank you so much for this pattern.

I made the bag in cheap neon acrylic yarn - and I think it turned pretty good out. ;) (It will be better next time I try it).

Your instructions are great and easy to follow. Thanks again.

Forgot the link to the picture:

Unknown said...

hola! Me ha encantado esta bolsa, pero tengo una duda: Como empiezo la parte inferior de la bolsa?

Adriana Botha said...

Thank you very much for sharing this creative African Bag. Kersfeesgeskenkie vir my dogter hierdie jaar.

Roselyne said...

Very nice idea thank you very much

Anonymous said...

Hej! Vilken fin väska!! Jag håller precis på att göra en till min höggravida svägerska, hon kan behöva lite uppmuntran. =)
Jag undrar dock lite över mönstret, det står lite olika på svenska och engelska.

I bottenmönstret står det halvstolpar på svenska men stolpar på engelska. Också nedre delen av väskan, varv fem, står stolpar på engelska men fasta maskor på svenska.

Tack för ett superfint mönster!!

Unknown said...

I absolutely love this bag! I was looking for inspiration and I am pretty sure that I found it :-)

Fanni said...

Hi, I love your pattern, I already started making a bag in blue. Unfortunately I got a bit thinner yarn and my flowers are only 10 cm or so. Dou you think it would look good if I added a third row of flowers? I'm a beginner and I don't have the eye (yet) for these things.

Unknown said...

Wonderful bag and pattern style. thanks a lot for share this idea.

african fabric wholesale,African Wax Print

noelani said...

I don't follow patterns very well, but this is so adorable, I'm going to try it! I'm wondering if you've ever made it up in 100% cotton yard, since I have a lot more cotton than acrylic.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

someone shared this on Facebook.

Nici said...

I'm sorry the link to the German pattern doesn't work

sachewa said...

I love this bag! I am in the process of making the African Flowers as we speak. I am incorporating alot of different colors to make it my personal bag! I will share my pic when I finish my bag. Thank you for sharing your African Flower bag pattern. Just love this bag!

Nilla K said...

I'm sorry for my late answer, I was never notified about your comment. Yes, the link was not working but I have fixed it now. Thank you for letting me know!

Dar said...

But I don't have the pattern for the African Flower Hexagons. I have tried to find it and I can not. Oh well.. Nice work.

Dar said...

Oh I found the hexagon pattern in the Archive List. In December. Thank You

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