Updated: Jul 12, 2020
This blog post describes a Handy Clutch Purse pattern I wrote as a charity project in conjunction with the newly established Crochet Guild Australia for Share The Dignity. Share The Dignity supplies sanitary products and provides support to homeless women and victims of family violence within Australia. The purse is a good size to store sanitary products, but also plenty of other everyday items (including crochet hooks!) I thought this short pattern would make a good example to have a chat about Pattern Anatomy. I know some people love to crochet and can visually follow what someone else has done, but might struggle with the quirks of a written pattern.
When writing crochet patterns for publishers, the publisher determines the “writing style” for the designer to follow to suit their magazine space, style, country etc. Capitals for this, which style of brackets for that, where to leave a space between numbers or not, etc. Its very specific for each publisher. But since magazine space is expensive to print, they generally want short, succinct instructions for the pattern. The essential information is all there, just without the “fluff”.
For my self published patterns, I COULD write in whatever style I like, but I generally stick to a similar style as I would for the publishers I frequently work with (so my head doesn’t explode), and add some “fluff” into the mix - like photos, extra tips, sometimes how to customise the fit if its a garment.
Below you will find the pattern to make this clutch purse (#thedignitypurse) along with my ***comments*** at the bottom of each section as we go.
Yarn A: Scheepjes Catona (100% Cotton Mercerized; 50g/125m)
385 Chrystalline x 1 ball for Sample 1; 172 Light Silver for Sample 2.
Yarn B: Scheepjes Catona (100% Cotton Mercerized; 25g/62.5m)
245 Green Yellow x 1 ball for Sample 1; 130 Old Lace for Sample 2.
Scheepjes Catona comes in 109 different colours for these size balls - so good luck choosing!
Birch Dress Nylon Zip 18cm x 1, in matching colour (Mint for Sample 1; Smoke Grey for Sample 2)
Polyester sewing thread in matching colour
Sharp sewing Needle
*** The materials section is pretty easy to understand, this is the list of stuff you will need to make the finished object, but I should point out that the yarn amounts listed is not generally going to include an allowance to make a gauge swatch. Gauge is not critical for this project as its not going to fit the human body, so I haven’t specified any extra to swatch. In my most recent patterns though, I have started specifying swatching details, as I would really like people to swatch before making garments - if your gauge doesn’t match the pattern, your garment size will be affected.***
10 sts x 12 rows to measure 5cm x 5cm over rows of dc, using a 3.5mm hook, after a light steam pressing.
***As I just commented, the gauge for this project isn’t super-critical, but it is standard to include this, and since the total project is barely 10cm I have described gauge over 5 x 5cm instead of 10 x 10cm. For details on how to swatch for gauge (very important when making garments), see my previous post The Dreaded Swatch***
10.5cm x 18cm x 2cm
***The Measurements would describe the finished item after all “Finishing” techniques have been applied. Look to the Finishing section at the end of the pattern for whatever details have been used, before checking your final measurements.***
***If this was a garment pattern:
A Garment will generally have “To Fit Bust/Chest” measurement and and “Actual Measurement”. The “To Fit Bust” measure refers to the range of bust sizes in cm/inches a person might be that a particular size is designed for, and the “Actual Bust” measure refers to the dimensions of the garment itself, after all finishing has been applied, laid flat. The reason both are useful to know: You can figure out the ease of the finished garment relative to your body.
Lets say that your bust is 96cm so you are a size Medium bust (91.5-96.5cm), and you personally hate the feeling of tight clothing. You love the look of the garment, but you can see the Actual Bust of the garment in question is 98cm. The designer may have intended it as a realtively fitted garment (hey, a 91cm Medium person will have 7cm of ease which is pretty comfy), but you personally won’t like the feel of it too close to your body. The Actual Bust of the next size up is likely to be 8-12cm more (depending on how the pattern repeats work within the garment - I wont get into the super nitty-gritty). So you can check and see that the Actual Bust of the Large might be 108cm (as a made up example), giving you 11cm of ease - yay! By having both measurements specified, you can know the ease relative to you ahead of time, and decide to make the size of the pattern that you will be comfortable in. (As long as you are on gauge, of course...)***
Abbreviations (UK Crochet Terms)
ch-sp(s) chain space(s)
dc double crochet
RS right side
ss slip stitch(es)
WS wrong side
yoh yarn over hook
***I list all the abbreviations used within the pattern, though some pattern might not list the common basic stitches. Very handy to print these off to have on the side as you read the pattern if you are new to reading written instructions. Its good to have them listed even if you are used to reading patterns, as they might be a little different to what you are used to - ss as applied to sl st, for instance. Nothing else too revolutionary to say here.***
Secret Sew Finish cut yarn with 20cm tail. Gently pull yarn through top of last st made at end of round/row. Thread yarn onto tapestry needle, sew front to back under top 2 lps of second-next st and sew back into top of last st made at end of round/row. Sew in loose end securely.
Puff-dc a 3htr-cl with a dc finish: (yoh, insert hook in st indicated, pull up a loop) 3 times, yoh, draw through all except the last loop, yoh, draw through 2 rem loops on hook. (This last draw through makes a “dc” finish at the top of the 3htr-cl and is worked into for the next row of the braid).
***Special Abbreviations is where I get to “Make Stuff Up” (lol) to make my pattern instructions shorter or simpler. The phrases I use here will turn up in the pattern later, and aim to desribe a long instruction within a couple of words. You will have forgotten how to work the Special Abbreviation by the time you get to it within the pattern, but if you register the names listed here, you will recognise it in the pattern, and you can flip back to here to follow it step by step. And sometimes you discover a quirk of the designer. For instance, “puff-dc” above IS shorter than writing out that whole instruction repeatedly within the pattern, but it’s ALSO my personal tweaked version of a puff stitch - its not your regular puff! When you get to working the puff-dc’s in the braid, come on back to see exactly what I did. So thats what this section is for.***
Purse is constructed of two rectangles of dc fabric which are edged, then embellished by surface crochet (slip-stitch embroidery) in a diagonal zig-zag pattern. The zip is hand-sewn as the central spine between the two fabric rectangles, then ss crochet closes the remaining sides of the purse. If lining is desired, line each rectangle separately before assembling with the zip and crochet seams. A textured wrist strap may be added last. See www.peppergoose.design/blog for Crochet Tutorials for some of the techniques used in this pattern, such as Secret Sew Finish, and slip stitch seams.
***Pattern notes describes the overall approach and rough sequence of the pattern to follow. If my pattern includes notes on how to change the pattern to customise your fit, you will find it here, after the generalised description.***
With Yarn A and 4mm hook, ch21, change to 3.5mm hook, turn.
***these are the “foundation ch” even though they are written as “ch21” - it is the foundation of the rows that follow to make the fabric.***
Row 1 (RS) Ch1 (does not count as st here and throughout), dc in second ch from hook and each rem ch across, turn. [21 dc]
Row 2 (WS) Ch1, dc across, turn. [21 dc]
Cont in patt as described in prev row for 38 more rows, change to 3mm hook, turn.
***”across” just means in each stitch, or repeatedly, to the end of the row, or until where specified to stop - (eg “across to last 2 sts”)***
***The numbers in the [ ] brackets at the end of the row or round describe the stitch count for that row or round. Convention is they are specified in the first row or round, and then only at the end of an increase or decrease round, (or a number of increase or decrease rows or rounds) where the stitch count has changed. (Ie. if there is no stitch count, it should be the same number as when last specified). I opted to list it as the same number, 21 dc, in Row 2 here, really spell it out.... but if you are following a pattern and you wonder why sometimes the stitch count is there and sometimes not, that’s probably why.***
Edging Round (RS) Ch1, 3dc, dc in each st across to last st, 3dc in last st, turn piece and edge long side by working a dc in each hole at the base of evenly end row dc across to foundation ch, 3dc in end-foundation ch (working under the one remaining unworked loop of foundation ch), dc in each ch across to other end-foundation ch, 3dc in this ch, turn piece and edge long side as before across to beg dc, Secret Sew Finish. [3dc at each cnr, with 19 dc between these on each long side and 39 dc between these on short sides]
Sew in tails at back of work.
Photo below shows edging fabric rectangle in progress, working along the second side – red arrows indicate where to insert hook.
Make second fabric rectangle.
Surface Crochet (Slip Stitch Embroidery)
The hole at the base of each dc stitch forms a grid pattern which is exploited for surface crochet. Stretch the fabric a little and hold up to the light to see this grid. The surface crochet can be worked as is, but may be easier to follow the grid if the each rectangle is lightly steam pressed first (RS down, under a calico/pressing cloth to prevent scalding of the fabric).
With Yarn B and 3.5mm hook, slip stitch through the RS of fabric into the appropriate holes as indicated on annotated photo above for each of the fabric rectangles – see Note below.
Note: a Transfer of Active Loop technique between sts is used at the tightest corners in the stitch path as indicated in the photo below. (Loosen active loop, remove hook, insert hook backwards through the path indicated by the black arrow and pull loop though in the direction of the black arrow, then resume stitch pattern - the active loop is pulled under the loops indicated by red arrows).
***Generally, text in italics are explanatory notes, like this, ...and regular text is the official instruction.***
***Using this term “Transfer of Active Loop Technique” is me making up a term to describe something thats a bit unusual to do in the pattern - I tend to give these phrases capital letters to show its significant***
Once surface crochet is complete, sew in loose ends. Lightly steam press both rectangles (as described above) so they lie flat before sewing them to the zip.
***My patterns often have an ”Assembly” section, where a certain sequence must be followed for all the pieces to come together, and usually, thats because I am using a joining technique to be a design feature of a garment. I am not sure that its a section often used by others, and depends on the project.***
Position and pin first with RS facing up, then hand-sew each side of the zip to the rectangles using back-stitch as indicated for the length between the pins as shown in photo below. (Stitch very close to the zip, sewing on the inside of the edging dc of each fabric rectangle.)
Note the stitching starts and finishes 3 sts in from each corner as these must be available for the crochet ss seam. Photo below shows close up of back-stitch technique.
Seam Outer Edges with SS Crochet
Unzip the zipper.
With Yarn B and 3mm hook, hold RS of purse rectangles tog and align edging dc sts of each fabric rectangle, dc through outer lps of each paired dc around from third st in from corner around to third st in from corner as indicated in photo below.
Fasten off. Sew each tail 2 times around paired dc loops of beg and end pairs to re-inforce each end of seam then sew in tails to WS of work.
With Yarn B and 3mm hook,
Row 1 Ch4, puff-dc in fourth ch from hook, turn.
Row 2 Ch3, puff-dc in puff-dc, turn.
Rep prev row 22 more times. Fasten off.
With Yarn A and 3mm hook,
Round 1 Ch2, dc in beg ch of Central Braid Row 1, ch2, (dc, ch2) in hole at base of puff-dc of Row 2, (dc, ch2) in hole at base of puff-dc of next Braid Row to end of Braid, (dc, ch2, dc, ch2) in last puff-dc of Braid (to go around the end and start to work back across opposite side of Braid), cont in est edging patt (working the dc sts into same place as those of the other side of the Braid Edging) across to beg ch of Central Braid Row 1, dc in this ch, ss to beg ch, ch1 turn.
Round 2 Ss in ch-sp, ss in next dc, (2ss in ch2-sp, ss in next dc) around to beg ch-sp, ss in ch-sp, cut long tail, pull through the top of the last st, and use tail to neatly close loop ends and attach to the third and second paired edging stitches next to closed tab of zip (secure it a few times around, inserting needle under both loops of the edging dcs on each side of the purse).
Sew in all tails to WS of work.
***When a list of stitches appear in ( ) brackets, they are worked into a single stitch, and the stitch/location might be specified after the bracket (as in Round 1 above). When a short sequence of stitch instructions appear in ( ) brackets, they describe a sequence of stitches to repeat as described after the bracket (as in Round 2 above).***
***”around” is similar to “across” but is used for working in the round where as across is used when working in rows.***
See photo below for Braid Edging Round 2 in progress.
May be hand washed, but is ready to be used.
***This is often weave in tails, or sew in tails, then any blocking techniques. Whatever the finishing instructions are, is what the designer has completed before taking final measurements and calculating the final measurements of all sizes, so its definitely PART of the pattern! For this purse, its ready to go. Yay - job done! But a garment pattern will have some blocking instructions to soften the fabric, relax the fabric and set the stitches. Most of my garments will be both wet blocked AND steam blocked - see by other blogs The Dreaded Swatch and Blocking for more details of my take on blocking techniques and why they are so important.***
All pattern, text, photography and charts are Copyright Peppergoose Designs (Susan Walsh) 2019. This material may not be shared, distributed or copied without the express permission of the author, nor may be used to produce items for commercial purposes.
**please honour copyright for all designers***
How you can help - make this purse for Share the Dignity
This charity organisation supplies sanitary products to women in need so everyone is afforded the dignity that so many of us take for granted. This purse is the perfect size to store such items, (but also would be great for storing all sorts of things).
Ship finished purses to
CROCHET GUILD AUSTRALIA
C/O 33 CHESTERTON CRES
SIPPY DOWNS, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA 4556
This is a free pattern as I hope you might spend the money on making and donating instead? If you are not in Australia, maybe consider making a AUD$5 donation (this is their minimum amount) direct to the charity via their website? They offer PayPal and credit card options!
Go to: www.sharethedignity.com.au
...Or you could donate a small amount of money to a similar / community charity closer to your home. Everybody needs some help sometimes.
UK to US Conversion Chart
UK Terminology US Terminology
Chain (ch) Chain (ch)
Slip stitch (ss) Slip stitch (sl st)
Double crochet (dc) Single crochet (sc)
Foundation dc (fdc) Foundation sc (fsc)
Half treble crochet (htr) Half double crochet (hdc)
Treble crochet (tr) Double crochet (dc)
Double treble crochet (dtr) Treble crochet (tr)
Triple treble crochet (trtr) Double treble crochet (dtr)
Back/Front Post treble (BPtr/FPtr) Back/Front Post double crochet (BPdc/FPdc)
***I tend to include this generic conversion chart in my patterns, though for my Sashiko Happy Coat, I made a whole US terminology version of the pattern.***
I hope that adds a little clarity to something that might have been bugging you about pattern reading, and maybe you decide to make a purse and or donate to help support women in need?
Catona can be sourced from Scheepjes retailers worldwide.
Please consider supporting my blog and shop via these affiliate links:
Wool Warehouse (in the UK)
Caro Atelier (in the Netherlands)
It is no extra cost to you, and helps me to continue designing as I receive a small percentage of the sale.
Other handy shops:
Black Sheep Wools (in the UK)
Jimmy Beans Wool (in the US)
Knotty House (in Canada)
& shopping at Yarns For All helps to support a small Australian business in my local city of Perth Western Australia (a good option if you live in New Zealand - they ship worldwide).
Happy pattern reading and crochet stitching!
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