The Billow Tote is a quick and stylish make thanks to the bulky yarn and easy pattern repeat. You can find the free pattern for this chunky crochet tote bag right here!
Using just basic stitches – the single crochet and spiked single crochet – this bag has a stylish and eye-catching texture. Plus, the stitch pattern is seamless, giving a polished and professional finish to your bag.
Whether you’re heading to the market or the beach, the Billow Tote bag is the perfect accessory to carry all your bits and bobs. Make your bag in one or two colors or go for full-on stripes for a super colorful accessory! You can also choose to crochet the bag straps (as I have done) or even sew on some leather straps to suit your own unique style.
What you’ll need to make this chunky crochet tote bag
To crochet the Billow Tote, you will need a #5/bulky weight yarn.
For my chunky yarn bag I used WeCrochet Billow, which is 100% pima cotton, and I was delighted with how it offered me the perfect combination of softness and durability.
What yarn won’t stretch for crochet bags?
In general, a cotton or cotton blend yarn is great for bags. Cotton is a strong and durable fiber, as well as being washable and easy to care for, making it perfect for everyday use.
If you can’t get your hands on a #5/bulky cotton yarn, then using a #4/worsted weight yarn with two strands held together will also work great (but do bear in mind that this will affect the required yardage!).
Some great alternative yarns include:
- Lion Brand 24/7 Cotton (100% Cotton – worked with two strands held together)
- Paintbox Yarns Recycled Cotton Worsted (100% Cotton – worked with two strands held together)
- Paintbox Yarns Recycled T-Shirt (90% Cotton 10% Synthetic)
- Hoooked Ribbon XL (80% Cotton 20% Other)
- Debbie Bliss Dulcie (47% Cotton 47% Acrylic 6% Nylon)
You’ll need approx. 360 yds / 328m of a #5/bulky weight yarn and the specific amounts of each color are listed in the pattern below.
For my bag I used a 5mm (H-8) crochet hook. This may seem a little small for using with a bulky weight yarn, but I really wanted to create a dense and sturdy fabric with little drape, and using the smaller hook was perfect for this.
How to crochet the Billow Tote
For this chunky crochet shoulder bag, you will work from the bottom up, starting with an oval shape for the base and then working an easy 2-row repeat for the sides.
The entire bag is worked completely seamlessly in continuous rounds i.e. you will not join at the end of each round but continue on to the next round immediately. This is why the stitch markers are so important!
When you get started you will notice that one side of the base has an extra stitch – don’t worry, this was done on purpose! Having this odd number of stitches in each round is what allows us to have a completely seamless appearance. So, once you’re finished, you’ll barely be able to tell where each round starts and finishes. Again, this is another reason that stitch markers are pretty much essential!
Once your bag is done, you will then crochet some easy peasy straps, attach them on and you’ll be good to go.
What is the best crochet stitch for a tote bag?
This is a really good question and really you can use pretty much any crochet stitch pattern for a bag. If you want something sturdy and that won’t stretch too much though, a dense stitch pattern without any lace or openwork is a great bet. This bag (including the straps) is crocheted entirely with single crochet stitches (even the spiked stitch, which is just a variation on your simple single crochet!). This pattern, combined with a bulky yarn and smaller hook gives us a pretty thick, inflexible fabric and a strong bag.
Billow Tote Video
Step-by-Step Video Tutorial
There is also a full video tutorial to accompany this pattern.
In the video I show you how to work the base and body of the bag, as well as how to crochet the straps.
Billow Crochet Tote
Free Crochet Pattern
Width: 15.75″ / 40cm
Height: 12.5″ / 32cm
Any #5/Bulky weight yarn. The amounts given here are for WeCrochet Billow (120 yds/110m per 100g skein; Weight: #5/Bulky; 100% Pima Cotton).
Note: Feel free to choose your own color combinations based on the total amount given below.
|Color 1 (C1)||Ice Lily||260 yds / 237m||3|
|– Tote||230 yds / 210m|
|– Straps||30 yds / 27m|
|Color 2 (C2)||Natural||100 yds / 91m||1|
|TOTAL||360 yds / 328m||4|
5mm (H-8) crochet hook (or hook required to meet gauge)
- Yarn needle
- Stitch markers (3)
Abbreviations (US Terms)
- ch = chain
- st(s) = stitch(es)
- sl st = slip stitch
- sc = single crochet
- SPsc = Spike single crochet (see Special Stitches)
- sc2tog = single crochet 2 together (see Special Stitches)
- blo = back loop only
- beg = beginning
- rem = remaining
- WS = Wrong Side
- This bag is worked from the bottom up in continuous rounds i.e. do not join at the end of each round. Use a stitch marker to keep track of the start of each round.
- The base of the bag is an oval shape, increasing by 6 sts each round until the required size is reached. The remainder of the bag is worked in even rounds. Please see the stitch chart in the Appendix for more details on stitch placement for each increase.
- The stitch pattern for this bag is the alternating Spiked Single Crochet (SPsc) pattern. Round 3 starts with a SPsc, Round 4 starts with a sc blo and so on.
- The sample is pictured in 2 colors, but feel free to use any color combination that you wish.
The ad-free, print-friendly PDF version of this pattern also includes a stitch diagram for the increase repeat at the base of the bag
General Pattern Notes
- The stitch count for each round is given in brackets [ ] at the end of the round. If no stitch count is given then the count is the same as the previous round.
- Skipped ch 1 at the start of Round 1 does not count as a stitch.
12 sts x 15 rounds = 4″ x 4″ / 10 cm x 10 cm measured over alternating SPsc / sc.
Note: gauge is not critical for this project. However, if your gauge does not match the one listed in the pattern then your tote bag may turn out a little larger/smaller depending on how loosely/tightly you crochet, and you may use a different amount of yarn than what is listed below.
Spiked Single Crochet (SPsc)
A spiked single crochet is a simple variation on the regular single crochet stitch. Instead of inserting your hook through the top of the next stitch, you will instead drop down to work into one of the previous rows. In this pattern, the SPsc is always worked 2 rows below.
Step 1: Insert hook into next st 2 rows below.
Step 2: Working around the entire stitch, yarn over and pull up a long loop to the height of the current row. [2 loops on hook]
Step 3: Yarn over and pull through both loops to complete the single crochet as normal.
Single Crochet 2 Together (sc2tog)
Step 1: Insert hook into indicated st, yarn over and pull up a loop. [2 loops on hook]
Step 2: Insert hook into next st, yarn over and pull up a loop. [3 loops on hook]
Step 3: Yarn over and pull through all 3 loops.
Note: You will notice that there is an uneven number of stitches on either side of the flat portion of the oval shape. The reason for this is to ensure a seamless pattern at the start/end of each round when alternating between the spike sts (SPsc) and sc blo sts.
Stitch Markers: Use a stitch marker to keep track of the first stitch of each round. From Round 3 onwards, you may find it helpful to use two additional stitch markers to mark the beginning of each increase section. If you choose to do this, remember to move the markers up on each round.
With C1, ch 32.
Round 1: Sc in second ch from hook (skipped ch does not count as a st) and each ch across until 1 ch rem, 3 sc in last ch, continue working along opposite edge and beginning in base of next ch, sc in each ch until 1 ch rem (i.e. the first worked ch), 3 sc in first ch (4 sc total in first ch), do not join. 
Round 2: Sc in each of next 30 sts, 2 sc in each of next 3 sts, sc in each of next 29 sts, 2 sc in each of next 3 sts, sc in last st, do not join. 
Round 3: (SPsc in next st 2 rows below, sc blo in next st) 15 times, *(SPsc in next st 2 rows below, 2 sc blo in next st) three times (pm in first SPsc of three just made)*, (SPsc in next st 2 rows below, sc blo in next st) 14 times, repeat from * to * once more, SPsc in last st 2 rows below, do not join. 
Round 4: (sc blo in next st, SPsc in next st 2 rows below) 16 times, *(sc blo in next st, SPsc in same st as last SPsc just made, sc blo in next st, SPsc in next st 2 rows below) twice, sc blo in next st, SPsc in same st as last SPsc just made*, (sc blo in next st, SPsc in next st 2 rows below) 15 times, repeat from * to * once more, sc blo in last st, do not join. 
Round 5: (SPsc in next st 2 rows below, sc blo in next st) 15 times, *(SPsc in next st 2 rows below, 2 sc blo in next st, SPsc in next st 2 rows below, sc blo in next st) twice, SPsc in next st 2 rows below, 2 sc blo in next st*, (SPsc in next st 2 rows below, sc blo in next st) 15 times, repeat from * to * once more, SPsc in next st 2 rows below, sc blo in next st, SPsc in last st 2 rows below, do not join. 
Round 6: (sc blo in next st, SPsc in next st 2 rows below) 16 times, *sc blo in next st, SPsc in same st as last SPsc just made, (sc blo in next st, SPsc in next st 2 rows below) twice; rep from * once more, sc blo in next st, SPsc in same st as last SPsc just made**, (sc blo in next st, SPsc in next st 2 rows below) 16 times, repeat from * to ** once more, sc blo in next st, SPsc in next st 2 rows below, sc blo in last st, do not join. 
Round 7: *SPsc in next st 2 rows below, sc blo in next st; repeat from * around until 1 st rem, SPsc in last st 2 rows below, do not join. 
Round 8: *sc blo in next st, SPsc in next st 2 rows below; repeat from * around until 1 st rem, sc blo in last st, do not join.
Rounds 9 – 47: Repeat Rounds 7 and 8, ending on Round 7.
Note: for reference, the sample pictured has a total of 32 rows of C1 and 15 rounds of C2.
Round 48: Sl st in each st around, sl st to join to beg st.
Cut yarn and fasten off.
Straps (make 2)
- Feel free to work a longer strap if preferred. The strap will stretch with use so bear this in mind!
- For a thicker strap, you can work 5 sc in Step 1 and then work the rest of the steps until your desired length is reached.
Step 1: Leaving a long tail for attaching the strap to the bag, ch 2, 3 sc second ch from hook. 
Step 2: With WS facing i.e. the back of each sc is facing outwards with the front of each sc turned inwards, sc blo in each st around
Step 3: Continue to sc blo in each st around, working in a spiral until the strap measures approx. 30″ / 75cm.
Step 4: Sc2tog to draw the next 2 sts together.
Step 5: Sc2tog again (working first leg into the 3rd st of the current round and then second leg into the top of the sc2tog just made).
Cut yarn and fasten off, again leaving a long tail for sewing.
With long tails, attach straps to the inside of the bag, approx. 5.5” / 14 cm from each edge.
Try to have at least 3”/7.5cm of the strap inside the bag (on each side).
Weave in ends. All done!
I hope you have enjoyed this pattern, if you have questions at all, please don't hesitate to contact me. And be sure to tag your finished project on Instagram or Facebook using @nedandmimi or #nedandmimi!