How to Crochet Mama Bear's Boho Bag

Are you looking for a new project and tired of crocheting pocket shawls ha ha! Then I think you will enjoy this new pattern! There is a little backstory to this purse that I have to share with you before we get started!

In September 2020 the Orchid and Bee's testing team decided to do a Secret Santa Exchange. Unfortunately one of our members passed away before December and to honor her several of us stepped in to help finish the gifts she was making for the person she drew the name of. One of those members was Mrs. Darlene.


Originally Mrs. Darlene was in the midst of moving and was not participating in the exchange so I told her she would now be receiving a gift as well! I set out to make her a secret gift!


I found out her nickname in her family was "Mama Bear," that she loved all things Boho and gypsy and that she was in need of a new purse. I began challenging myself to design something I had never designed before and this was the result!


Sadly with the postal mail delays around Christmas time she did not receive it in time for Christmas but even with it arriving a few days later she said she absolutely loved it! I dedicated this pattern to her and sent her the first ever copy of the pattern to add to her special gift!


It made my heart so happy to give her something special and unique that was just for her and now she is happy and excited to see others make this too!


This purse has a lot of unique features! The purse strap is removable so that you can change it out any time you want! It has a lining and there is a plexiglass insert to keep the bottom of the purse flat and sturdy too!


The pattern uses the crocodile stitch! If you've never done this stitch don't worry, I think you'll find it easier to do than you think!


All my crocodile stitch newbies on my testing team said they found it easy to do with all the photos and simplified step-by-step instructions that I incorporated. They said it worked up surprisingly quick too! It grows fast!


It is approximately 12 x 12 x 4 inches and did I mention the inside has a pocket! Cool huh! Don't worry, I have included instructions for all these awesome features below!


Before we get this pattern started if you find yourself loving this pattern so much that you would like to buy a printable ad-free copy you can find it in both my Ravelry and Etsy Shop!


You can also get it for 50% off in both shops until midnight January 11th CST with the code: MAMABEARVIP


Oh! One more thing, be sure to read to the end of this post for some info on the Mystery Crochet Along that will be coming soon!


Alright let's jump into this super fun pattern now!


“Mama Bear’s Boho Bag”

Crochet Pattern

Materials:

  • Yarn - worsted weight 4 (2 strands) - colors of choice

Red Heart Super Saver Heather Grey - 236 yds (split the skein or use a second skein)

Loops and Threads Forest Green - 570 yards (2 skeins at 285 yds) You will not use the whole skein of either

  • Hook - M/N 9mm

  • Needle

  • Scissors

  • Fabric of choice if lining inside

  • Sewing thread if lining

  • Color to match yarn and lining

  • I also used invisible thread to sew the inside buttons for removable straps option



  • Straight pins if lining

  • 12 in x 4 in piece of plexiglass or acrylic if you want to put a solid bottom in the purse (I used a $2 piece of plexi glass from hobby lobby and cut it to size) or use plastic placemats from the dollar tree

  • Large Button - 2 in (50mm)

  • 4 Small Buttons - 11/16 in (18mm) - for removable/interchangeable strap option

Stitches:

Ch(s) - chain(s)

Sl st - slip stitch

Sp(s) - space(s)

Sc - single crochet

Hdc - half double crochet

CSFS - Camel Stitch Front Side

Set - for this pattern *2dc, ch 2* will also be referred to as a set

Scale - for this pattern a scale is completed after *5dc around first post in set, ch 1, 5dc around second post in set, ch 1*

* * - repeat *to*

BLO - back loop only

#st - complete # of sts in same space

St # - complete stitch in next number of spaces

Special Stitches:

Camel Stitch Front Side - for this pattern, work a half double crochet stitch into the 3rd loop on the front side of the stitch facing you. You will not be using the traditional front or back loop at the top of your work.

Crocodile Stitch - “Crocodile stitch is a crochet stitch that looks like reptile scales, fish scales, or even bird feathers. Its unique texture comes from working a row of foundation double crochet stitches followed by double crochet stitches that form the scales. The stitches aren't difficult, but they are different because you work with your crochet turned in different directions. Once you make a few scales, it feels natural. This stitch's frilled look makes it ideal for fantasy items inspired by dragons and mermaids, but it's even fun for textured pillow covers, sweater yokes, and bags!” - Spruce Crafts

https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/crocodile-crochet-stitch-tutorial


Note: Rounds 11 - 22 form the crocodile stitch


Skill Level / Language - Confident Beginner/Intermediate. If you are unsure of any stitches Youtube will be a great help! There are great tutorials on the different stitches and on crocheting in rounds. I have written the pattern using basic stitch terms to make it as easy as possible for any skill level to be able to accomplish the crocodile stitch but if you still have troubles there are several youtube videos that can be found via a google search to help! American Standard Terms are used in this pattern.


Gauge:

Not critical but if you would like to match it as close as possible:

  • Row 1: With two strands Ch 13, hdc in 2nd ch from hook, hdc next 11.

  • Row 2 - 6: Turn, hdc 12, ch 1.

  • 4 Stitches = approx. 2 inches

  • 6 Rows = approx 4. inches

Sizing:

Purse is approximately 12 x 12 x 12 x 4 inches.



Pattern Instructions

*beginning chains do not count as st unless otherwise indicated

*I will reference the colors I used but you are welcome to use your colors of choice


Main Purse Body:

  • Begin: With 2 strands of grey, ch 25.

  • Row 1: Turn, hdc in 2nd ch from hook, hdc next 23, ch 1. (24st)

  • Row 2 - 6: Turn, hdc 24, ch 1. (24st)


Note: Changing to rounds


  • Round 7: Hdc 6 (place one hdc in each row end on first short end/edge), hdc 24, hdc 6 placing one hdc in each row end on second short end/ edge, hdc 24, sl st to join, ch 1. (60st)

  • Round 8: Turn work, CSFS 60, sl st to join, ch 1. (60st)*make sure you are working the camel stitch from the inner side of the purse so that the rib that is formed can be seen from the outside of the purse *see special stitch info for assistance with CSFS stitch



  • Round 9: Turn, hdc 60, sl st to join, ch 1. (60st)

  • Round 10: Turn, CSFS 60, change colors to green before finishing last st, sl st to join, ch 3.


Note: make sure you are working the camel stitch from the inner side of the purse


  • Round 11: Turn, ch 3 from round 10 counts as stitch, dc in same sp as ch 3, ch 2, sk 2, *2dc in next st, ch 2, sk 2*, repeat from *to* around, sl st to join in top of ch 3, ch 1. (20 sets) *see set info in stitch key for further assistance


Note: Round 11 made a foundation row for crocodile scales that will be made in the next round.


  • Round 12: *see photo above for assistance with this round. Sk first set, working around the first post of the second set, 5dc, ch 1, 5dc around the second post of the set, ch 1, sk set, *5dc around first post of set, ch 1, 5dc around second post of set, ch 1, sk set*, sl st to join in the opening of the first scale made in round, see photo below for where to join. First row of crocodile scales are made. (10 scales) *see stitch key for scale info



Note: On each scale round you will skip the first set. This will prevent your scales from forming directly on top of one another and will allow them to be offset.


Note: On the next round you will be working around two layers/rounds. You will work over the space between scales from round 12 and between the 2dc stitch set from round 11.


Note: the next round will create another foundation row to work your scales on.



  • Round 13: Ch 3, counts as st, dc in same space as ch 3, ch 2, 2dc between scales working around both the middle of the two scales and between the set of dc stitches, see photo below for assistance, ch 2, *2dc in space between scale as seen in photo below round 12, ch 2, 2dc between scales working around both the middle of the two scales and between the set of dc stitches, ch 2*, sl st to join to top of ch 3, ch 1. (20 sets)


  • Round 14: Sk first set, working around the first post of the second set 5dc, ch 1, 5dc around the second post of the set, ch 1, sk set, *5dc around first post of set, ch 1, 5dc around second post of set, ch 1, sk set*, sl st to join in the opening of the first scale made in round, see photo below round 12 for where to join. (10 scales)

  • Round 15: Ch 3, counts as st, dc in same space as ch 3, ch 2, 2dc between scales working around both the middle of the two scales and between the set of dc stitches, see photo above round 14 for assistance, ch 2, *2dc in space between scale as seen in photo below round 12, ch 2, 2dc between scales working around both the middle of the two scales and between the set of dc stitches, ch 2*, sl st to join to top of ch 3, ch 1. (20 sets)

  • Round 16 - 21: Repeat round 14 and 15

  • Round 22: Repeat round 14, ch 1.

Note: In the next round work 2 hdc in top right side of scale, 1 hdc in the open space of the scale, 2 hdc in top left of scale, 1 hdc between two scales to help space the stitches out. See photo in next section for visual aide.


  • Round 23: Change colors to grey, hdc in same sp as ch 3, hdc 59, sl st to join, ch 1. (60st)

  • Round 24: Turn, working from the inside of the purse, CSFS around, sl st to join, ch 1. (60st)

  • Round 25: Turn, working again from the outside of the purse, hdc 60, sl st to join, ch 1. (60st)

  • Round 26 & 27: Repeat round 24 and 25, fasten off after the last stitch of round 27.


Purse Strap:

Note: This strap can be made longer by adding additional chains. In the assembly instructions you will have the option to sew it in permanently or make it removable/interchangeable. This strap is approximately 40 inches long for wearing on the shoulder or as a crossbody.

  • Begin: With 2 strands of grey, ch 91.

  • Row 1: Turn, sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc next 88, 2sc, ch 1, continue around to the unworked side of ch, sc 88, 2sc, sl st to join, ch 1. (181st)

Note: changing to rounds

  • Round 2: BLO sc in each st around, sl st to join, fasten off. (181st)



Closure Strap:

  • Begin: With 2 strands of grey, ch 13.

  • Round 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc 5, ch 4, sk 4, sc in next to last ch, 2sc in last ch, continue around to unworked side of ch, sc 1, sc 4 around the 4 skipped chs, sc 6, sl st to join to 1st sc of round, ch 1. (20 st and a ch 4)

Note: switching to a row

  • Row 2: 2Sc, sc 5, sc 4 around the ch 4, sc, sl st to join, fasten off. (12st)


Tassel Option:

  1. With yarn color of choice wrap it around a small book, dvd case, or piece of cardboard to desired thickness. Less wraps will gain you a smaller slimmer tassel while the more times you go around the thicker and chunkier the tassel will be. *See the 2nd photo in the next column on the next page for examples.

  2. With a separate piece of yarn, use your hook and pull one end of the yarn under the wrapped yarn. Tie the piece of string around the yarn in a knot.

  3. Flip the unit over and cut through all the yarn in the middle back.

  4. Fold all the yarn in half and with another piece of yarn go down about 1 to 1 ½ inches from the top of the fold and tie it around to form a small rounded section at the top.

  5. Trim your ends to the desired length. *See Photo grid below



Lining:

Note: see lining alternative after step 10

Note: if you would prefer to use a single piece of fabric, tester Gina B. recommends this youtube video: https://youtu.be/uC-34T2Albs


With fabric of choice cut the following panels sections.

  1. Front panel square - 12.5 in x 12.5 in

  2. Back panel square - 12.5 in x 12.5 in

  3. Middle section Panel rectangle 27.5 in long x 4.5 in wide

  • Pocket - If you would like to add a pocket to one of the panels do that before proceeding. Cut pocket to size desired and give a quarter inch seam allowance. Sew to the center or desired position on either the front or back inside panel.

  • Leaving quarter inch seams, pin together the front panel and back panel to the middle panel section, on three sides leaving the top open. Fold down the opening by a quarter inch and pin. If you added a pocket make sure it is facing towards the inside of the lining.

  • Back stitch the sections together to form a cube with a needle and thread by hand or sew together with a sewing machine. Alternatively you can use hot glue or a strong fabric glue to attach the panels together. When you do the final assembly your seams will need to be facing outwards when inserted into the purse.

I sewed my latch and button on before I sewed my lining in and just moved the button to the side to sew in my lining. You can put it on before or after. Lay your purse flat and find the center using a measuring tape and sew your button on. For the latch you will also need to find the middle and sew it to the inside of the purse on the opposite side. I just used yarn and a yarn needle to sew both pieces on.

Note: If you do not want your main purse strap to be removable you can sew those to the inner sides of the purse before lining. Otherwise you will add those on in step 8 of this section and it will be removable.

  • Next I attached my lining to the inside of my bag. To do this, flip your lining and the crocheted purse inside out. Slip your lining over the crocheted purse. See photos in the next column for further assistance.

  • Pin lining around the purse leaving about quarter inch to a half an inch of the crochet stitches showing around the top. Sew lining to purse either with a needle and thread or with your sewing machine. You could also use a strong fabric glue or hot glue if desired. Flip the purse right side out.

  • Next put your 12 in x 4 in plexiglass or other structure of choice in the bottom of the purse. I rounded the edges of the plexi glass with a pair of kitchen scissors so the points would not poke through the lining. *you could also use the plastic placemats from the dollar tree

  • To add your removable strap you will need to sew two buttons on the inner side sections of your purse. You may need to flip your purse inside out again if you are unable to do it with it right side out. In the photo I show it flipped inside out. Lay the purse flat and measure three inches from the top for the first button and one inch from the top for the second button. Then you can slip the button through the openings of the chain in the center of your straps. Now you have removable/adjustable straps!



  • Now that the rest of your purse is assembled you can add your final touch! Simply sew your tassel either to your strap or to the bottom of the latch and you will have completed your purse!


And that's it! You have the Mama Bear Boho Bag to sport around the town! I hope you enjoyed this pattern!


Mrs. Darlene and I would absolutely love to see your finished photos! Please feel free to show them off in the Orchid and Bee's VIP Facebook Group! Who knows maybe you will win prize for sharing your photo!


Be sure to subscribe to the blog so you never miss out on any Free patterns! You can do so by visiting the Home page and clicking the Subscribe button! I will also make shop announcements via the blog and a quarterly newsletter as well!


Speaking of announcements! We will be doing a Mystery Crochet Along this month! The date is still TBA but if you are subscribed to the blog you will get the announcement soon! Be sure to keep an eye out in your emails for the details!


Prizes for the mystery CAL will also be based on participation in the Orchid and Bee's VIP Facebook Group so make sure you join there too so you don't miss out on the extra fun bonus activities and prizes!


Thank you again for visiting Orchid and Bee's and I appreciate you so much! I look forward to seeing you next time for another great free pattern!


Don't forget that if you would like a downloadable pdf ad-free pattern that you can print off you can grab this pattern from my Ravelry and Etsy Shop!


Well, that is all for now! I pray this brings a little joy to your 2021 New Year! Love you all! Thanks again for stopping by!

You guys have a wonderful day! Take care, stay safe, and be well!

Blessings to each of you,

Karen E.












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