Self Assembly Required

DIY dressmaking + crafts with Emily

A DIY round raffia box bag

These round straw/raffia box bags have been floating around since last summer and are still going strong!

I was never that bothered about getting one but I was finally swayed by Instagram that it would be a great idea! (Thanks Zeena for the inspo! By the way, if you don’t follow her already on Instagram you totally should – she’s awesome!! 😆).

Photo from @heartzeena

And with the release of the new Ra-Ra-Raffia from Wool and the Gang it seemed like the perfect time to try making one!

(By the way I did the math and whilst Wool and the Gang can sometimes seem a bit overpriced, their raffia is actually cheaper than elsewhere I’ve found).

So where to begin when planning a bag like this?

After a bit of brainstorming, I came up with two round circles with loop handles and a long skinny rectangle to join between them. Not exactly rocket science and all things I knew I could crochet!

I started with two spools of raffia in the Desert Palm colourway – you can either buy 2 lots or buy 1 and divide it (for this sized bag you can make it out of 1).

I used a size 7mm crochet hook and doubled up the raffia so I crocheted with two strands acting as one. I practiced a little with the tension to make sure it looked how I wanted.

For the circles I used a similar technique that I’d done for the base of my plant pot covers a couple of months ago with some slight adjustments and obviously made them bigger!

And these are the instructions! (I’m assuming if you’re still reading you might have a bit of crochet knowledge. If not all the techniques are super easy to find on the internet. I’ve added my circle crochet pattern at the end of the post. Be warned, I’m not a seasoned crocheter and you might find better ones elsewhere!).

– Crochet a flat circle using the magic circle technique and joining each round with a slip stitch

– Continue until it is around 20cm wide

– Chain 20 st.

– Attach with a slip stitch about 8cm from the last slip stitch (end of last row).

– Turn your work and crochet around the chain (as though to magic circle) and push the newly formed loops together.

– Try to fit as many of these as you can along the handle.

– Make TWO of these circles.

For the rectangle:

– Chain 7 st

– 1/2 double crochet along the work.

– Turn and repeat.

– Continue until the work measures about 40cm

What you’ll have now are 2 circles each with a loopy handle and a long thin rectangle.

I found my finished pieces to be quite floppy so I decided to starch them all. I made my own starch mix by boiling 1 tablespoon of cornflour and 3 cups of water together. I dunked each of the three pieces in and then laid them out on a couple of tiles to shape and flatten them. Then I left them to dry.

Luckily it was a sunny weekend when I did this!

Once dry, the pieces were much much stiffer – perfect for a box bag! The colour of the raffia was a little darker than the original but that was an expected byproduct of the starching process.

I threaded a very large needle with some remaining raffia and sewed the pieces together making sure to centre each one.

The long handle I’ve attached is from Wool and the Gang as well – I got it in order to get free delivery rather than because I really needed it… 🤣

It’s a useful bit of kit though! It consists of a long leather strap with regular perforations all the way along , two hooks and 5 rivet screws. The screws mean that you can continually change the length depending on how you like it or what bag you’re using it with. It’s perfect for adding to clutch bags etc!

I’ve made my bag cute and small (but still big enough to fit my giant phone and all the other rubbish I feel I have to take with me everywhere 😂) but you could use the same technique to make one any size!

I’m not sure about the durability of a make like this – who knows how the raffia will hold up? Or what’ll happen when it gets bashed around too much and loses its shape? We’ll see how it looks by the end of the summer!

Circle crochet instructions:

– Magic circle 6 st

– Inc a SC in every st (12)

– SC in first st, inc 1SC in 2nd st, repeat (18). Slip stitch.

– SC in first 2 st, inc in 3rd st, repeat (24). Slip stitch.

– SC in first 3 st, inc in 4th st, repeat (30). Slip stitch.

– SC in first 4 st, inc in 5th st, repeat (36). Slip stitch.

– SC in first 3 st, inc in 4th st, repeat (45). Slip stitch.

– SC in first 4 st, inc in 5th st, repeat (54). Slip stitch.

– SC in first 5 st, inc in 6th st, repeat (63). Slip stitch.

– SC in first 6 st, inc in 7th st, repeat (72). Slip stitch.

(Don’t worry if it’s all a bit wibbly-wobbly at this stage. It’ll get blocked and flattened later on…)

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  1. Your bag IS so cute and I bet it will surprise people to learn (right after saying how adorable it is) that you made it! 🙂 I think you were totally right to purchase that leather strap as well though – that just makes it so much easier to carry and it looks really “cool” too (so important!) 🙂

  2. Thank you so much for this – you won’t believe how long I’ve trawled the internet to find (and fail to find) rafia!

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