Friday, October 12, 2012

The silk sari crocheted purse

The silk sari crocheted purse

I had not intended to write a blog about this silk sari purse I finished last month, but every time I am out I seem to get compliments on it, so here goes.

I purchased five or six skeins of this beautiful yarn several years ago. My understanding is the yarn is a recycled product, made by taking scraps of the beautiful long dresses worn by women in India - called saris - separating the silk fibers into threads and spinning the threads into yarn. This is a cottage industry with the work being performed by women in Nepal. The results are stunning, and many color pallets are available. The silk sari yarn I purchased has many different colors - purple, hot pink, sage green, turquoise and red - but the overall hue is the gorgeous magenta you see here.

The yarn I used might actually be living its third incarnation, now as a purse, because at first I made a couple scarves out of the yarn. I unwound one scarf, which was really a wide shawl, and later stitched up this purse. I only know how to single and double crochet - any thing I have with scalloped edges was made after watching tutorials - but that's all you need to make a simple purse like this one.

To make the purse body I crocheted a rectangle, keeping the ends where I turned to go the other direction as square and even as I could. The dimensions of the rectangle were 9" x 18". When folded in half the purse becomes a 9"x9" square.

I crocheted a strap long enough so I can wear the purse across my body, with the strap resting on my left shoulder so the purse hangs on my right side.

For the flowers, I chose embroidery floss colors - perle cotton size 8 - which would compliment the colors in the bag. Using buttons for the base and the smallest crochet hook out there, I made the flowers. I know I have a link somewhere for the tutorial that shows you how to make these flowers, but I can't seem to find it. Anyway, they are very easy to make and if you fiddle around with a button, crochet hook and some thread you can probably figure out how to do it. I also beaded the centers with complimentary seed beads, which makes the flowers stand out a little better. The only thing I don't like about the flowers is the petals tend to curl up. I need to go back and stitch them down so they look bigger and not so rumpled.

And that's as far as I got with this purse for well over a year. It sat in my UFO (UnFinished Object) box for ages. As I have been trying to weed out my UFOs this year, I suddenly felt inspired to finish it.

To finish I simply machine stitched the sides together. I know, that's kind of cheating. A purist would probably have scavenged some yarn to do up the sides, but machine stitching was much faster and less of a hassle. In the end, it's probably more secure. I'm not exactly easy on my purses and bags. The strap is also machine stitched to the sides, very securely. I wasn't taking any chances of losing a strap.

If you're going to make a purse you may as well do it right by adding a lining fabric. And with something woven like this that has fairly large holes between the threads you just about have to. I found a scrap of purple Bemberg lining (very nice stuff with a silky feel to it), stitched it up to size including a finished double seam at the top and inserted it into the purse where it was machine stitched in place. I actually made the lining a bit larger than the purse. If I hadn't then the purse would have no give and not be able to expand if I placed something bulky in it. That may be good or bad depending on one's intentions for a crocheted purse. Crochet is forgiving and I kind of like it more flexible, so that's what I did. 

I stitched the largest  snap I could find in the center - which is really a medium/large size snap - and found the turquoise flower bead to cover the snap. Voila! I was done. The finish work - which I usually dread - wasn't hard at all. Thanks to the machine stitching it went by very fast and I am happy to scratch another UFO off my to-do list.

Just for grins I'll leave you with a pic of the Scottish tam and scarf I made using the same yarn.


  1. your blog was so information I had no idea how they made the sari silk, thanks for sharing it with us. The crochet bag looks great as does the hat and scarf, no wonder you get lots of comments.Re the crochet buttons am I right in thinking you use a real button for them not sure I understand that bit or how that works, but I am a bit slow on picking things up once I get there I am alright but it is the getting there that is the problem! wait till you are an OAP!!

  2. Hi Margaret. Thanks for the nice feedback. Yes, the crocheted flowers are built on a button. It's actually very easy, although I haven't made one in a while. You take a button that has four holes and tie the thread through one hole and around one side of the button. Then using that tiny crochet hook you begin crocheting long enough to make a petal and then you double crochet at the bottom to join the petals and then you start all over again, making as many petals as you like. It's really very easy. I did see on StitchinFingers I have a photo of one of the first ones I made and I also included the link to the tutorial where I originally learned this technique. Unfortunately, the blog is no longer active. :(

  3. Beautiful work Michelle-love the girl.