Tote Bag Strap Trouble

So I’m not really a designer. I like to knit and also found that learning to crochet was useful too. A few years ago(while I was in the learning process) I crocheted two really beautiful 12" by 12" granny squares and decided to turn them into a tote bag. I figured it would be easy enough. Just sew them together and crochet a strap, right? Wrong. I have fiddled and reworked it, stuck the whole thing in a bag for a couple years, pulled it out, reworked, ripped it apart, tried something different, and ripped that out too. The next thing I might rip out is my hair, lol. I have tried both knitted and crocheted straps, and nothing seems to work, they are either way too stretchy or weak or pull away from the bag at the join. Any advice would be most welcome.

@AAB, ​​instead of simply sewing the two squares together along three edges, try making a loooooonnnnggg strap of desired width that is also what joins the two squares together.

Oy, the image in my mind is hard to describe in words!

I would start at one of the two lower corners (lower meaning the part that would be touching the floor if you set the bag down). Make a chain long enough for a strap, say, two inches wide. At the end of each row, do a join to a stitch in one of the squares. Work along the bottom, back and forth, joining the strap row to the square on that side, turn, work across the strap (which is really a gusset joining the two squares), and join the strap row to the other square.

Turn the corner of the squares and work up the now-vertical edge. When you get to the top corner on that side, work the strap to the desired length, then start joining the end of each row to the other top corners of the two squares, joining at the end of each strap/gusset row as before. When you get to the bottom corner at the second vertical side, you’ll be back where you started, so crochet into the other side of your initial strap foundation chain to close the two ends of the strap/gusset.

Aaah, thank you! I will give it a try. Hopefully I can report back with good news. If not I might just stuff it away in a closet, never to see the light of day again.

@ilexedits has given you excellent advice. A couple of things that I’ve learned when making bags: 1: Make the strap shorter and a bit wider than you think you need. Even a non-stretchy stitch will usually stretch some…so basically, plan for that so that when your strap stretches a bit, it doesn’t become too long or too narrow. 2. If you just don’t get straps you’re happy with, consider using purchased straps. I’ve seen some really great knit and crochet bags that have leather straps either purchased for the project or taken from a bag the owner already has. A common way to install them is to use a grommet tool and insert grommets on the sides of the bags. Alternatively, if you plan in advance, you can make a reinforced buttonhole in the correct width to run the straps through (if you have the right type of strap).

@AAB - I knit a market style bag with a knit strap. I lined the bag with fabric. When I realized the straps were stretching so much I took extra strips of the lining fabric and sewed them to the underside of the strap. That worked perfectly. Here is a picture of my bag and a picture of the strap. It’s all curled up because normally it is knotted.



Try this. That’s what came to my mind as well. Maybe try a stitch that doesn’t have a lot of stretch like linen stitch or something with slipped stitches that will add strength.

My favorite bag handles are crocheted around the top of the bag. They never come loose. Here’s a few photos some bags I’ve made with this type of handle.







Thank you all for some great ideas I hadn’t thought of. Work on the tote bag was halted in lieu of knitting my SO a nice Fall color herringbone stitch scarf.(Its our first Autumn living in a place with an actual Autumn with actual Fall temperatures! I’m just too excited lol). I will eventually get back to that darned bag!