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Knit a glamorous evening bag from scrap yarn

by Cynthia MacDougall

This week we’ve been making projects from yarn scraps from the blogs we did in 2016 with Universal Yarn. I’ve saved the best — and scrappiest — project for last.

So far this week, we’ve made a Cowl by Chance, learned to adjust a pattern for a different weight of yarn, and how to elevate our knitting by paying attention to details such as edges and cast ons.

In November, I did a review with Rozetti Cotton Gold yarn. This unique yarn is “spangled” with evenly spaced sequins on a fine strand of cotton yarn.

Two balls of Rozetti Cotton Gold in a soft grey with silver sequins topped with one ball in a deep blue with sapphire colored sequins

Hmmm. What could one do with scraps of this stuff?

The project that week was a shawl, which used nearly all three balls of the off-white and silver, and about 10g of the blue.

I decided to combine it with some black double knitting acrylic I had left over from an afghan (I had almost 100g of that), and make not one, but two evening bags.

A ball of black Rozetti Cotton Gold yarn in the background with a ball of off-white and one of blue in front of it

My humble leftovers: about 95g of black acrylic, 90 grams of blue, and a whopping 15g (about half an ounce) of off-white

Pattern (makes 1 bag)

finished measurements: 8″ x 5″ [20 x 13cm] (9½” x 5¾” [24 x 14.5cm])


60g black, double knitting yarn (will make either bag)
15 (90)g Rozetti Cotton Gold


size 5 [3.75mm] straight needles


½ yd or m satin or coat lining
½ yd or m decorating weight (heavy) interfacing
1½ yd [1.2m] black cord (optional)
magnetic purse closure

gauge: 25 sts to 4″ [10cm] over stocking stitch

Notes: Directions are given for smaller size, directions for larger size are given in (brackets)

With black, cast on 48 (56) sts using the cable/ Canadian cast on.

Beg with a k row, work in stockinette st until work measures 4¼”  (5″) [11 (12.5)cm] , ending with a k row.

Bottom turning ridge: k across.

Beg with a k row, work stockinette st for 5″ (5¼”) [12.5 (13)cm]  from turning ridge, ending with with a K row.

Top turning ridge: k across.

Beg with a k row, work 3¼” [8cm] (4rows) stockinette st. Break black. Join 2 strands of Cotton Gold and work in garter st for 2½” (6″) [6.5 (15)cm].

Small size only: join black and, with RS facing, work in stockinette st for 3¼”  [8cm].

Both sizes: Cast off.

Two strips of knitting, both black at the bottom. The bag on the left has blue on the top third, and the bag on the right has a 2½" strip of off white topped with another strip of black.

The finished knitting, large bag on the left, small bag on the right

Carefully measure the width of the back of the bag (my small bag is 8″ [20cm] and my large bag is 9¼” [23.5cm] ) (uncurl that stockinette stitch!)
Carefully measure the depth from the cast on edge (bottom in photo) to the second turning ridge (my small bag was 9½” [24cm] and the large bag was 11″ [28cm].
Small bag 8″ x 9½” [20 x 24cm]
Large bag 9¼” x 11″ [23.5 x 28cm]
Cut lining ¼” larger than your bag’s measurements.
Cut interfacing ¼” [5cm] smaller than your bag’s measurements.
Optional pocket (both sizes): Cut a piece of lining 5″ x 8″ [23 x 20cm] and a piece of interfacing 4½” x 3½” [11 x 9cm].
Center the interfacing on the wrong side of the lining fabric and the pocket interfacing on the the top half of the wrong side of the pocket lining, and bond them, using the manufacturer’s directions.

A pocket piece on the left with a piece of interfacing over the top half, and the purse lining on the right with the interfacing in position to bond.

Interfacing ready to bond to lining fabric

Fold pocket piece right sides together, and stitch from fold to bottom of pocket. Turn corner, and stitch in an inch or so, back stitching the threads at both ends of the stitching. Repeat for other side. Turn pocket right side out, pushing out corners. Press under opening (which will become the bottom of the pocket), and top stitch to close it.
Center pocket horizontally on one half of the right side of the lining, with the bottom of the pocket about ½” away from the center fold of the purse lining. Pin securely in place and top stitch pocket into place.

Pocket piece turned right side out and placed 1/2" above the fold line of the purse lining. Stitching will be done in a "U" shape, leaving the top of the pocket open

Pocket in position to stitch in place. The stitching will be made in a “U” shape around the left, bottom, and right sides of the pocket piece.

Fold purse lining right sides together, and stitch down side seams, with a ¼” seam allowance. Press down a hem of ¼” around the remaining opening, and top stitch.
Lining is complete.

A photo looking into the lining, showing the pocket attached to the bottom piece, the top stitching, and the interfacing showing on the outside

The finished lining, with sewn in pocket and top stitched hem

Bag assembly: Weave in all ends. Turn cast on edge up to the second turning ridge and sew front of bag to back of bag.
Fold top flap back and mark (with pins or stitch markers) where the magnetic closure will go.

The knitted bag, with the top (blue) flap folded down and the magnetic clasp placed in the center, horizontally, and about one third down vertically.

Positioning the magnetic clasp

Attach the closure following the manufacturer’s directions.
For small bag, sew cast off edge to the row above the turning ridge. For large bag, sew cast off edge to the blue bumps from the first row above the turning ridge.

Detail of blue clutch, showing the needle going up through a bump of the first row of Cotton Gold knitting, and a corresponding stitch on the cast off edge.

Detail of the stitching for the blue clutch’s top flap

Turn the flap down and mark (with pins or stitch markers) where other half of the closure will go on the front of the bag. Attach the closure as above.
Cut cord for the straps to desired length plus 2″ [5cm] on each side. Position the cord so it will be hidden by the lining at the back of the bag. Stitch each end into the bag with black thread.
Slide the lining into the bag so the pocket is at the back of the bag. With black thread, sew the lining to the knitting.

The almost-assembled bag. All that needs to be done is to place the shoulder cord, and stitch the lining to the knitting.

The clasp attached to the body of the bag, and the lining slid into place, ready for stitching in. Remember to add the shoulder cord, if you’re planning one!

Enjoy your hand made evening clutch. No one will guess that it was made with scraps of yarn and a few bits!

The two knitted bags, small one on the left and large, blue on on the right, propped up against a gold cloth, with a black fabric bag that has a beaded edge on the flap laying in the foreground

The finished knitted bags (top) and the store-bought fabric clutch that inspired them!

This is part 5 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 4: 2 tips to elevate your scrap yarn project to a professional level 


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