In this segment, we answer your burning questions about yarns, crochet or knitting! If you have any great questions to ask us, do send them in via our Instagram DMs or any of our other channels!
What yarns are good for making bags?
In general, most yarns work fine for bags and the yarn to choose from depends on the design of the bag that you are creating.
Some questions to ask yourself before you start would be:
- Am I making an inner lining for the bag?
- Is the design meant to be slouchy or stretchy? E.g. like a market bag
- Or Is the design supposed to be firm and well-shaped? E.g. A handbag, or a back pack
- What kind of outlook do I want for my bag? E.g. Does it look soft and fluffy or does it look structured?
These questions can help to better determine the kind of yarn that you can choose for your project.
Yarns & their suitability for bags
1. Milk Cotton Yarn / Acrylic Yarn
Milk Cotton Yarns, Cotton-Acrylic Yarn Blends and Acrylic Yarn tend to be stretchy once completed.
The nature of Acrylic Yarn is stretchy, hence, the more Acrylic content in the yarn, the more the project will tend to be stretchy after it is completed.
This category of yarns will be great if you are making a bag meant to stretch or have a slouchier outlook.
Image Credit: French Market Bag by Two of Wands
If you’re also into sewing on linings for your bags, then yarns that fall into this category will be able to work for your projects, as the lining will help to protect your bag from stretching and give your completed bag a more structured look.
However, it is to be noted that acrylic, like wool, tend to pill a lot and tend to give off a “furry” look to your finished product rather than a cleaner finish that cotton yarns can provide. Over time, with frequent use, the yarn will also tend to become even “fluffier” over time and may not look as good as before.
Pro tip: For Acrylic-based yarns, it will be good to use a smaller hook size compared to what is recommended so that your projects will be slightly tighter. This will give it less leeway to stretch itself out and help to keep your completed bag more durable.
2. Cotton Yarns (100% Cotton)
For bags, we normally recommend using 100% cotton yarn. Pure cotton yarns are great if you want to use a yarn that is soft and more durable.
Compared to the Acrylic Blends, cotton yarns are less stretchy and tend to bring out your crochet/knitting stitches. This will help your piece to stand-out more and look more defined and beautiful.
Bag made using 100% Cotton Yarn
We do still recommend sewing on a lining as there will still be a stretch to the yarn (as do all yarns).
Cotton Yarns also tend to be more durable and pill less. From our experience, the bag will be able to last longer and unlike acrylic yarn, be able to maintain a cleaner finish for longer periods of use over time.
The only downside of these yarns are that cotton is a heavier material than acrylic and your finished bag will be more weighty compared to one made with Acrylic or Acrylic-blend yarns. Also, cotton yarns tends to be pricier than acrylic as Cotton is a natural fibre as compared to acrylic, which is man-made and thus more readily available. However, the pros of using cotton yarn for bags definitely outweigh the cons and they still remain my go-to yarn for making bags using soft yarn.
3. Bag Yarns: Cotton-Linen Yarn, Braided Cotton Rope Yarn, etc
The best yarn for making bags, especially if you want a sturdy, non-stretchy and structured bag is to use Bag Yarns. This category of yarn are specially formulated for making bags and are normally too stiff to make other projects, like clothings or amigurumi.
We do have these yarns on our website that you can browse through here. These yarn tend to be stiffer and harder to give shape and strength to your bag.
Example of Twisted Yarn (Top) vs Braided Yarn (below)
Normally, the yarns can be put together via the usual twisted technique or the braided technique. Yarn made with the twisted technique tend to be heavy and very durable and firm.
For reference, this bag weighs 300g
However, the bags will also tend to be heavier and bulkier. Hence, these kind of bag yarns are great if you are making a small bag or if you are making a sturdy mesh bag. For tote bags, it is not as suitable as the finished look is heavier (unless that’s what you are going for!)
This tote weighed 400g when completed
Braided Technique yarns like our Braided Cotton Yarns are yarns that have their separate ply of threads braided together. This technique gives more “air-spaces” in between the yarn that allows the yarn to remain durable and stiff but lighter.
Our Pisa Bag in the same size as the bag above, weighs less than 250g with braided cotton yarn. The bag is slightly stretchier, but definitely lighter. For the free pattern, check out our post here.
Bags made with any of these yarns are definitely non-stretchy if done right and can create many designs that can stay in shape throughout your use. The yarns also tend to be firm and does not pill easily over time, making them long-lasting as well.
Other alternatives to bag yarns are also: Polyester Yarn, which can give a shiny finish to your yarn as compared to Cotton’s matted finish.
The only downside to Bag Yarns is that the yarn tends to be stiffer and therefore may be tiring to use, especially for those with a tighter tension or hold over their yarn.
Why is my finished product bendy and not flat?
Generally, if a completed bag comes out to be bendy and stiff, it would indicate that you are using a wrong size hook. Using a crochet hook that is too small will cause the piece to curl up and feel very stiff when completed.
Normally, it is recommended to follow the crochet hook size or knitting needle size recommended on your yarn band or as recommended by the shop you are purchasing your yarn from.
If you want a less stretchy finished product, you can reduce your hook/needle size by 0.5mm but if you are seeing the piece curl up or become stiff, it is recommended to increase the hook/needle size by 0.5-1mm.
Everyone has a different grip/tension when controlling their yarn, so there is no universal hook/needle size for everyone. You have to adjust accordingly to your own preference and figure out what works best for you :)