Crochet Hand Tote Bag with Cut Out Handle | Free Crochet Pattern

Blue crochet hand tote bag lying on a white tile backdrop. Orange skeins of yarn are stacked in a basket in the upper left corner.

This crochet hand tote bag pattern features a minimal cut out handle. It keeps the pattern design simple and gives the bag a unique, streamlined look. Instead of a cumbersome, stretchy crocheted strap, this bag is quick and easy to grab and go.

What Can You Use This Hand Tote Bag For?

This bag is the perfect size for papers, binders, folders or even a lap top. It also has enough stretch that, even though it lays flat, it could hold a crochet project or a change of clothes.

The bag is very squishy and thick with the use of super bulky yarn, so it feels very protective. It will definitely add a good bit of cushion to whatever is being stored inside.

Blue crochet bag with notebooks sticking out of the top of the bag. Laying on a white tile background.

As with many crocheted bags, the challenge is with holding heavier items. Crochet handles tend to stretch and pull, making them feel a little less sturdy for something weighty. This bag will be a little more of a work horse in this function, as the handle is quite compact due to the cut out design, and also thick. However, if you are planning on carrying substantially heavier items, you might consider weaving a few extra strands of yarn into the corners of the handles to give a little extra support.

Crocheting in the 3rd Loop

You’ll notice that the bulk of this bag is constructed by crocheting either into the “3rd” loop of a half double crochet stitch, or the “front” loop. I really love the look of crocheting in the 3rd loop. By crocheting into this hidden 3rd loop behind your half double crochet stitch, it pushes the two loops that you usually stitch into forward. This gives the row a braided look. A nice little train track of loops traveling across the row.

Close up of stitching on blue crochet bag.

However, in order to achieve the really tight “3rd loop” look, you have to crochet in the round. This is because the 3rd loop is always at the “back” of your work and when you turn the project, the “back” of your work flip flops and this changes the look.

You can see the 3rd loop technique in the “striped” rows in the beanie photo below. This beanie pattern is worked in the round, making the rows nice and tight and close together.

crochet hat pattern showing the half double crochet in the 3rd loop stitch.

My original hope when I started fiddling with this design was to see if I could get the look of crocheting in the third loop with a back and forth pattern, rather than needing to crochet in the round. I thought that perhaps I achieve this by crocheting in the “front” loop on alternating rounds, as this would still push two loops (the back loop and 3rd loop of the last row) towards the front of the project.

Unfortunately, this did not work out as easily as I’d hoped. The rows were not as tight and close together as they are when working in the round. However, I didn’t hate how it looked. It still created a design that was interesting and pleasing to the eye. So, I decided to go with it!

Lion Brand Lazy Days Thick & Quick Yarn

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive compensation (at no additional cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links.

I used Lion Brand Lazy Days Thick & Quick yarn for this project. I had originally started playing with this design in a t-shirt yarn. However, t-shirt yarn is not as widely available as it used to be. When I ran across the Lazy Days yarn I was pleased that it has the similar compact, but very soft and sheen feel of t-shirt yarn.

2 skeins of orange Lion Brand Lazy Days yarn, sitting on a white tile backdrop.

I like how the structure of this yarn gives the stitches a very defined look. Because the stitching is part of what I love about this bag, this was important to me. It also feels very soft, but sturdy and strong.

However, I will give a small caveat here. As with many super bulky yarns, this thick & quick yarn can be difficult to work with for some people. The yarn is wide and heavy and you need a rather large hook to use it. It is made even more difficult by the immense stretch (like t-shirt yarn) that this fiber has! Some of my testers really struggled with it. If you already have a hard time working with super bulky yarn, the stretch of this particular yarn might make it even more cumbersome and you might consider using a super bulky yarn that you already feel comfortable with.


If  you would like to purchase an inexpensive, ad-free pdf version of this crochet hand tote bag pattern, you can find it here at my Etsy shop. (scroll down for the full free pattern)

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4.5” = 7 single crochet stitches
4.25” = 8 rows of single crochet stitches


12.5” wide x 15” tall

Stitches & Abbreviations Used:

(sk) skip
(ch) chain
(ch-sp) chain space
(sl st) slip stitch
(sc) single crochet
(hdc) half double crochet

Pattern Notes:

Beginning chain of each row/round does not count as a stitch.

I tend to crochet tightly. So be sure to check your gauge and if you are crocheting more loosely you can move to a smaller hook (or larger if you crochet even more tightly). Some people find they even need to go down two hook sizes to meet my gauge.

If you are using the suggested yarn, it feels like a t-shirt yarn. This means there might be a lot of curling as you work through the project. This should straighten out as you seam sides and ends together.

You may find it helpful to use stitch markers to mark the end of each row.


Make sure your starting tail before attaching your hook is rather long (at least 15 inches). This tail will be used to sew the bottom of the bag closed at the end.

Chain 26.

Row 1: Hdc in second ch from hook and in each ch across. (25)

Note: Your row will be approximately 13” across (this will be the height of the bag plus the handle; width will depend on how many rows you complete.) If you want to make your bag taller or shorter, you can add or remove stitches here.

Row 2: Ch 1 (does not count as a st here and throughout). Turn. Hdc in 3rd loop (located below front loop, see photo below) of each st across. (25)

Row 3: Ch 1. Turn. Hdc in the back loop (see photo below) of each st across. (25)

Rows 4 – 33: Repeat Rows 2 and 3. Your work should be about 24.25” tall.

Note: The measurement of the rows from top to bottom, divided by 2, will be the width of the bag. My measurement is 24.25”, so my bag will be approximately 12 inches wide. You can add or remove rows to adjust the width of your bag. Just be sure to end on an odd row so that your connecting seam will end at the opposite side of the work as your starting tail.

Your project will probably roll a lot at this stage. This will straighten out as you complete the construction of the bag.

Sewing The Bag Together:

Fold bag in half, bringing foundation chain in front of last row worked, right side out. You will be working through a remaining loop from the foundation chain and through the third loop on last row worked.

Seam: Ch 1, [insert hook through starting ch and 3rd loop of corresponding st in last row, yo and draw through both sts and loop on hook] across to seam. Do not finish off. Continue to handles.

TOP: Worked in joined rounds.

After slip stitching the rows of your bag together, you now essentially have a tube that is open at the top and bottom. The starting tail is located at the “bottom” of your bag and the last slip stitch of your join is located at the “top” of your bag.

Round 1: Ch 1. Sc in each row end around. Sl st to first sc to join. (33) (Crochet this round loosely, so that the top of the bag does not pull in too much.)

Round 2: Ch 1. Sl st in each st around. Sl st to first sl st to join. (33)

Round 3: Ch 1. Working into 2 loops behind sl sts in prev round, sc in each st around. Sl st to first sc to join. (33)

Round 4: Ch 1. Sc in first 5 stitches. Ch 9. Sk 9 sts. Sc in next 8 sts. Ch 9. Sk 9 sts. Sc in next 2 stitches. Sc in join. Sl st to first sc to join. (34)

Round 5: Ch 1. [Sc in each st to ch-sp. Sc 9 in ch-sp] twice. Sc in each st to end. Sl st to first sc to join. (34)

Round 6: Repeat Round 2. (34)

Finish off.

Closing the Bottom of the Bag:

Turn your bag inside out. Using your initial tail and a yarn needle, whip stitch the two sides together across the bottom of the bag to close it up. Finish off.
Weave in all your ends and turn the bag right side out.

Note: Feel free to sell finished products made with this pattern. If finished products are posted online, please include a reference/credit to this pattern. Do not distribute or claim the pattern as your own, or alter and use my photos to market your finished products. Do not use this pattern to create video tutorials.

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