Crochet Mesh Bag from T-shirt Yarn

Crochet Mesh Bag PatternI’m going back to basics with these crochet mesh bags.  While I was going through some of my older posts (*blush*, because the first ones were horrendously primitive!), I stumbled upon my Mini Plarn Tote Crochet Pattern.  I decided to tidy the pattern up just a tiny bit…and then wondered what had happened to the T-shirt yarn mesh bags I had made from the same pattern (altered ever so slightly).

So I had a rummage around on my computer and realized that the photos for the crochet mesh bags were just as bad, if not worse, than I had remembered.

Soooo…I dragged my lazy body up to the loft and hauled the bags down for a bit of a photo shoot.  While I was going through the new photos on my computer, Jaco got hold of one of the bags and filled it with Ben-10 aliens and Gormiti men.  And of course I couldn’t resist using him as a model.

As you can see from the photos, these crochet mesh bags stretch QUITE a bit when full, so a little bag really does go a long way.

This pattern is exactly the same as the pattern for the Mini Plarn Tote, except for the fact that you end up making 3 ch st’s between each sc instead of 1 ch st.  You could make 5 ch st’s between each sc if you wished, but do remember:  The more ch st’s you make between sc’s, the more your bag will stretch.  And as you can see, this pattern is already plenty stretchy!

The pattern is suitable for beginners as you only need to know how to make chain stitches and single crochet stitches.

In fact, working a mesh like this, where you don’t crochet into the stitches, but into the spaces between them, is excellent for a first-time project as you can just concentrate on the feel of crocheting without having to worry about sticking the hook into the wrong bit!

A word about yardage

Because of the nature of t-shirt yarn, it is impossible to tell you how many t-shirts you would need with any degree of accuracy.  Not only are t-shirts all different sizes, but they don’t all stretch equally!

I have made another 2 bags in an effort to answer this question.  For the one bag I used less than 3 t-shirts, for the other one 5!!

Both took about 120 – 150 meters (130 – 165 yards) of t-shirt yarn, but they varied greatly in weight.

It IS possible to figure out roughly how many t-shirts you will need, but you’ll need to do a bit of arithmetic.

Here’s how to figure it out…ish…

If you are using a t-shirt that is about 30 cm wide (12″), each “round” will give you about a meter of yarn (width x 2 x 1.5 {to allow for the natural stretch}).

If the usable part of your t-shirt, excluding the hem and the arms, is 30 cm long, and you are cutting 1 cm (roughly 1/2″) strips, you’ll get 30 meters (32 yards) out of one t-shirt (length of t-yarn per round x number of rounds).  So you will need at least 4 t-shirts to make one bag.

Helpful hint:  use t-shirts made from the same thickness and type of fabric.  If you use a very stretchy lycra-type top and a not-so-stretchy XL men’s shirt, your bag is going to come out very wonky.

Alternatively, raid your fabric stash and use all those bits of jersey cotton you KNOW you will never find another use for. {Or just buy some t-shirt yarn!}

Crochet Mesh Bag Pattern

©Dedri Uys 2011.  All Right Reserved.

Crochet Mesh Bag Pattern for Beginners

  • Ch – Chain
  • Ch-1 space – the space between 2 sc’s formed by making a ch st between them
  • Ch-3 space – the space between 2 sc’s formed by making 3 ch st’s between them
  • Sc – single Crochet
  • Sl st – slip stitch
  • St – stitch
  • ** – Repeat all instructions between asterisks.
  • 1cm Crochet hook
  • T-shirt Yarn –here are some instructions for turning an unwanted t-shirt into yarn.
  • Yarn needle for finishing off 
Foundation Chain Chain 24.
Body Round 1:  Sc in one loop only of the 4th ch from the hook.  *Ch,sc* in one loop only of every 2nd st across.  You should now have 12 sc clusters.  *ch,sc* into the last (same) st again and then continue working around the foundation chain.  *Ch, sc* into the remaining loops of every 2nd st across (10 more clusters).  When you reach the end of the round, *ch,sc* into the same (lasts) stitch. (24 sc clusters in total – the initial 3 ch’s count as a cluster)
  Round 2:  Continuing around:  *Ch 3, sc* into the space formed by the initial ch-3 at the beginning of round 1, which counts as your first ch-1 space.  *Ch 3, sc* into every ch-1 space around.  (24 sc clusters)
  Rounds 3 – 24:  Repeat round 2, working into the ch-3 spaces of the previous round. (24 sc clusters in each round)
   When you have completed the last round, fold your bag flat.  The last stitch should now be 2 st’s away from the fold.
   Because you are working in a spiral, the first st of every round will creep steadily to the right.  If you want a longer or a shorter bag, add more rounds/leave some rounds out until you get the desired length.
   If you alter the length, though, the last st of your last round will fall in a different place (that is on the fold, before the fold or waaay past the fold).  Just make sure that you finish 2 st’s past the fold.  So add a few more stitches or leave a few out.
   You will now make the handles.
Handles Round 1:  Starting 2 st’s past the fold:  Ch 15.  Skip 8 ch-3 spaces.  *Ch,sc* into the next 4 ch-3 spaces.  These 4 sc clusters should fall over the fold on the other side.  Ch 15 again and skip 8 ch-3 spaces.  *Ch, sc* into the last 4 ch-3 spaces.
  Round 2:  **Now *ch,sc* x 9 over the 15 ch st’s of the handle  When you get to the end of the handle, work the *ch,sc* pattern into each of the next 3 ch-1 spaces.**  Repeat from ** to **.
  Round 3:  *Ch, sc* into each of the 24 ch-1 spaces.  Sl st in the next ch-1 space and bind off.  Now work away your tails.

For the flowers, I used this tutorial by Linda Permann.  For the inside of the flowers I made a very big french knot.

Phew. Another unfinished project done.

I love receiving your comments, so even if you only say hello, I’ll be chuffed to hear from you.

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Happy hooking!

xxx dedri


  1. Leonieke says

    It took me some time but then i figured the pattern out, but no grocery shopping for me with this bag :-) it is tiny! (But lovely)

    • Dedri Uys says


      My bags were quite big (as you can see from the photos), so I am interested in learning how your bag differed from mine. What did you use and how big were they?


    • Dedri Uys says

      bluebell, that really depends on how big the t-shirts are and how thin you are cutting your strips. Using home-made t-yarn is not an exact science at all. I think I used 2 large white t-shirts and 1 extra large blue shirt.

  2. Rhonda Reed says

    Dear Dedri

    I loved this pattern and bought T shirt yarn to start with as I havn’t crochet for 40 years. I had to start from scratch. The bag so far looks similar to yours. I just cannot get the handles correct is there any way you could do a short video. When I look at the pictures it looks like you have decreased – I really feel so dorf
    Regards Rhonda

    • Dedri Uys says

      Rhonda, if you send me a photo of your progress and tell me where you got up to, I can help you out. The first round of the handles does decrease because you are only making 1 ch st between sc’s, not 3. Does that make sense?

    • Rhonda Reed says

      Hi Dedri Many thanks for replying -I have reached the part where I need to start the handles you say start 2 st past the fold ( is it 2 clusters or literally 2 chain st) : Ch 15.( here I have a length of chain) Skip 8 ch-3 spaces.Do I skip 8 of the 15 created). I don’t understand where I must go round? Is it round the 15 chain that is crochet? I’l try take a photo.

    • Dedri Uys says

      Hi Rhonda, I have already replied via email, but thought I should try and clear it up here as well.

      You should end up 2 clusters past the fold. Once you have chained 15, skip the next 8 ch-3 spaces in the last round of the bag and continue the round as instructed. The first round of the handles is worked into the last round of the bag, if that makes sense. So don’t do anything with the ch-15. just leave it alone until you work over it in the next round.

      As soon as I get home from holiday, I will do a photo tutorial.

  3. Helga says

    I love the bag and can’t wait to make one. Are you from South Africa? Not too many people outside of S.A. use the word “chuffed” :)

  4. Lyn says

    Hi Dedri, I love these beautiful bags & have put one on my Christmas list to make for my daughter. She is very environmentally aware & hates plastic bags – she will love these bags for her shopping. Maybe I’d better make more than one!

    I have just knitted a t-shirt rug for my bathroom & I found that it sheds a lot of small fibers, does that stop happening after a while, or after a wash?

    • Dedri Uys says

      Hi Lyn

      Thank you for your comment :) It all depends on which kind of t-shirt fabric you use. As a rule of thumb t-shirt yarn that “tubes” very easily won’t shed. By that I mean: when you pull on the strips of t-yarn, they will either form a natural tube, or they will just stretch and look a bit bleagh. T-yarn that just stretches (instead of “tubing”) when you pull it, will shed.

      This does go away after a wash or two, though. I made a rug out of mostly yukky un-tubing t-yarn and after the third wash it stopped shedding little bits of fluff.

      I hope this makes sense. Let me know if you need me to explain it differently x

  5. Judy says

    Great bags, love the colors! Can you tell us approximately how many Tshirts are needed for each bag?

    • Dedri Uys says

      Hi Judy. Thank you for your comment. You will need about 4 t-shirts. I have updated the post above to include a rough guide on how to work out how many t-shirts you would need.

  6. Rosanne van de Peppel says

    What is it with women and bags? Every time I see a great pattern like this one , I just can’t resist it. I am gonna make one!!


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