Here I have a tunisian crochet entrelac purse. There are patterns for this out there, but you can also just wing it.
I got my instructions on how to do “first triangles”, “end triangles”, top and bottom ones, and squares from this book – reference at the bottom of this post. (There is also a pattern for a tunisian entrelac bag in here, but for this bag I just put squares and triangles where I thought they should go and put this together as shown below.) You can also search on the web for how to do entrelac tunisian, I believe there are youtube videos on it out there, but I haven’t watched them. I wanted this book because it offers “how to” for many different types of tunisian stitches, and it taught me the tunisian entrelac.
Construction of the entrelac bag was much easier than making the inner fabric bag, and the photo below is pretty much all there is to it. Tunisian is always worked with the right side facing you, so you just do first triangles, middle squares, then last triangles, then once you’re done, fill in the top and bottom triangles to get your square or rectangle. Voilà, you’ve got the front of a purse. Then just make the back side to match in size. For this purse, I did the sides and bottom in one long strip to wrap around and seam to the front and back pieces. For this side strip, I just did a first triangle, then a last triangle, then a middle square between them, and repeated until it was long enough.
For the handle, I just did 8 simple tunisian stitches, attached at one side of the purse, then after 3 rows decreased to 7 and worked until it was long enough. Then I increased back to 8 for the last 3 rows and attached to the other side of the purse. The increasing and decreasing was just by choice, you can of course make it straight, or do as you wish with it. Tunisian curls inward, so this naturally becomes a rounded strap as shown in the first photo.
Everything below this point is how to do the sewing for the inner cloth sack. If you already know how to whip up a zipper bag, congrats! You’re free! Free like the birdies! You just sew your cloth sack to the inside of your entrelac sack close to the zipper, and you’ve got a new purse.
Having a cloth interior will ensure that your stuff doesn’t fall out through the looser stitches of knitting or crochet. (This is less likely through the tight stitches of tunisian, but you could still lose things like hairpins and pencils which can jab their way out.)
To make the cloth sack with a zipper, you can cut 2 pieces of cloth in a rectangle, or whatever shape you want your purse. Cut them one on top of the other so they are the same size, and slightly bigger than the size you will want for the inside of your knit or crochet purse. (You will lose a little when you fold up the sides to seam them.)
Lay the fabric rectangles side by side with the zipper face up in the middle, oriented so that this will be the top of your purse. Leave a little extra fabric at both ends of the zipper. Fold the fabric edge in to be sewn under the edge of the zipper to seal it in. It may help to pin it in place. Wherever the inside of the zipper is will be the inside of your purse, so think about whether you want your seams inside your purse where you see them, or whether you want them between the cloth and crochet bags where no one sees them. Think about which side of the fabric you want where, you might want the right side of your fabric to be on the inside of the bag so you see the pretty side when you look in your purse. (If so, when you set it up like the drawing below, the wrong side of the fabric should be up when zipper is right side up.)
Not what I did of course, I tend to sew things together backwards, even though I know I do that and try to watch out for it, and I did indeed do that again on this purse. I wonder what’s wrong with me sometimes. (Then I forget about it and go do something else.) Here is what I will see when I look inside my purse. I got my fabric inside out and my seams where I will see them. I also didn’t have fabric big enough so I sewed a bunch of scrap squares together to make fabric, thus I have a whole boatload of seams to look at.
So your bag at this point should look like this drawing below from the inside (this would be the back of the zipper). If you have plenty of fabric above and below the zipper, sew the pieces together where the red arrows show to seal up this side of the bag.
If you didn’t leave enough fabric on the ends of your zipper, you can do what is shown below. Cut 2 more pieces of fabric and place them over the ends of the zipper, all edges folded under, and sew them on. If your zipper really goes right to the end, you may want to cover the zipper a little with it and sew it across the zipper itself, that way you aren’t pulling the zipper off the end when you open the purse. Hitting the zipper broke my sewing machine needle, as I did mine that way, so have some spare needles around. (This was an idea that didn’t work out, I made the zipper go to the end because I didn’t want closed off space at the opening of my bag, I wanted all access.)
My kitteh won’t let me pose objects. Awww.
You can see where I sewed over the end of the zipper on the inside of the bag here with white stitching, as my zipper went right to the end.
After that, you can just seam around the edges of the bag, (thinking about what side you want your seams to be on when you look in the purse), or you can make a side edge to add thickness to the purse as I did with the entrelac bag. I just added a long cloth strip between the front and back to make sides and a bottom.
Now, if you want inner pockets, you can add some. Cut a piece of cloth bigger than you want the pocket, fold under and hem the top edge like shown.
Turn the bag so the zipper is inside out, and attach the bottom of the pocket where you will want it (to only one side. Be sure you are not about to sew the bag to itself on the back where you can’t see.). Pin the bottom in place with the edges folded in like so and sew the bottom on.
Now fold the sides of the pocket under and sew them under with the same stitching as you use to sew the sides of the pocket to the bag. I did some extra back and forth stitching at the tops of the pockets and ran off of the top a little so they wouldn’t pull loose if I put heavier objects in them.
Now you have open pockets on the inside. Once your cloth bag is done, just sew it inside the entrelac bag close to the zipper, and you’ve got the finished bag. You can use the sewing machine to sew right over the yarn, you just have to keep an eye on the foot to make sure the yarn isn’t catching on it. You may have to lift it to release it on occasion, but it works fairly easily.
Book reference: The New Tunisian Crochet, contemporary designs from time-honored traditions. Dora Ohrenstein. Interweave Press LLC, Loveland, CO, USA. 2012.
General tunisian entrelac instructions are on pg. 39.