When I first learned how to crochet as a young girl, I loved making everything from stuffed animals to purses for myself! I remember making a beautiful purse with crocheted handles but much to my dismay, the handles stretched quite a bit over time and soon they were too long for my liking. Crochet handles have the potential to stretch and lose its shape over time depending on the type of stitch used and if they are worked row by row lengthwise. In this tutorial, I will show you how to crochet stylish handles for your crochet purses and how to minimize the amount of stretching!
Start off by working a series of chain stitches. This length will be the length of your purse handles. Here I chained 126 with a 3.5 mm hook and worked 8 rows (the number of rows determines the width of your handle). Generally a thinner and more lightweight yarn will stretch less than bulkier yarns since the stitches are tighter and smaller. If your bag is a neutral colour, you can try a fun pop of colour for the handles!
After I reached my desired width, I slip stitched across both edges to smooth them out (these edges will be displayed and sewed onto the purse later on). The dimensions of my straps at this point were 25″/63.5 cm long, 1.6″/4 cm wide.
I placed stitch markers approximately 2″/5 cm from each edge. The area between the stitch marker and the edge will not be whip stitched together and will remain flat so that we can sew them onto the purse.
I pinched the sides of the handle together to get ready to whip stitch the edges shut. Essentially, we will be forming a tube. To minimize the amount of stretching, you can place a piece of cord, macrame rope or ribbon onto the handle and whip stitch around the cording itself. Since the rope/cording/ribbon does not stretch, it will help the handle keep its shape. At the end when your tube has been formed with the rope inside of it, be sure to sew down the rope onto the purse itself so that the rope can not move within the tube.
Since this handle is for a demonstration and not the final handles of my Star Stitch Purse, I did not actually sew around the rope as shown in the pictures below. I used a yarn needle and whip stitched the ends together, leaving the area between the stitch markers and the edges untouched. I was delighted with the final handles!
I placed my crocheted handles onto my purse and determined where I wanted them to be positioned. They are approximately 4.75″/12 cm from the top (from bottom of handle to top of purse) and 2.75″/7 cm from the sides.
Carefully sew the handle onto the purse by sewing around the edges of the square.
The finished straps add such an elegant look to the purse! With a rope inside the handle, it minimizes stretching so that it will keep its shape!
The formal written-out pattern for these exact handles that I crocheted can be found below:
***You can purchase an INEXPENSIVE AD-FREE PDF of the Star Stitch Purse pattern on Etsy HERE and on Craftsy HERE! This beautifully formatted PDF includes the step-by-step pictures, the full star stitch tutorial, the full pattern, and the crochet & leather handle tutorials! It is a total of 13 pages including the cover page! You can also purchase a kit with all the yarn to make this purse (with the crochet handles) on the Lion Brand site HERE!
- Lightweight or medium yarn, level 3 or 4 (I used Lion Brand Yarn’s 24/7 Cotton in “Tangerine” – found on the Lion Brand website HERE): 1 skein or ~ 66 grams for two crocheted handles; generally a thinner, more lightweight yarn will stretch less than a bulkier yarn
- 3.5 mm Clover Amour hook
- Yarn needle (bent tip helpful)
- Stitch Markers
- Macrame cording/rope/ribbon
Dimensions: 25″/63.5 cm long, 1.6″/4 cm wide when flat, 0.8″/2 cm wide when tube is formed
Gauge: 10 sts = 2″/5 cm in length in case you want to modify the length of your straps
Using 3.5 mm hook,
R1: Starting from second chain from hook, Sc 125 (125 sts).
R2: Chain 1, turn. Starting from second chain from hook, Sc 125 (125 sts).
R3-8: Repeat Row 2.
Slip stitch across short edges to smooth them out. Measure 2″/5 cm on each side and add a stitch marker. Place macrame cording or some type of rope/ribbon onto the crocheted piece – this will help prevent the strap from stretching too much. Fold the crochet piece over the rope and whip stitch the sides closed from one stitch marker to the other stitch marker. Attach the ends of the strap about 4.75″/12 cm down from the top (approximately 10 star stitch rounds from the top) and 2.75″/7 cm from the sides of the bag. First sew the rope/cord into place and then sew the squares/rectangles onto the purse.
The shape of the handles are so chic and can be sewed onto any crochet purse!
You can pin the below image to your Pinterest boards to help remind you of this tutorial for your future crochet purses and bags!
Note: Thank you to Lion Brand Yarn for providing the yarn for this project!