Saturday, June 23, 2012

Antique-Style Cordelière for Drawstring Bags

This is a style of drawstring/strap that was sometimes used in patterns for crochet bags in the early 1900s. Many of these old patterns are public domain and are free if you know where to look (start at the Antique Pattern Library). While I didn't design this thing originally, I feel like the instructions in those patterns are lacking in detail for modern crochet vixens who haven’t ever put one of these together. I've made some adjustments and given a more thorough explanation of the construction.

The following instructions are for a bag with two rows of drawstring holes around the top into which the cordelière would be inserted. However, it could easily be modified to work for a bag with one row of holes. I used #10 thread and a 1.65mm steel hook for a bag approximately 6.5" across. If your bag is a different width, you might want to add or subtract length from the 24" sc sections.

Construction of cordelière:
Make a chain 15 feet long (no, really). Turn, skip the chain next to the hook and make 1 sc in each ch. until the work measures 24 in. Without breaking thread, make another chain, long enough to reach within 24 in. of the beginning of first chain made. Make 1 sc in each ch. to the end. You should now have a piece consisting of two approx. 24 in. sc ends with approx. 11 feet of double chain between (around 15 feet total).

Using a large hook (I used an “I” hook) and leaving the first sc section as a “tail,” using both strands of the double chain as one thread, crochet that loooong section of double chain into a single crochet chain, fastening off when you reach the other sc section. You should now have two 24 in. sc sections with a thick chain in the middle.

Small balls (make 4):
Chain 4 and join in a ring. Make 8 sc in the ring. Do not join, as the balls are worked around and around, both threads of stitch being taken up.
Second round: put 2 sc in each stitch of preceding round. 16 st.
Make four more rounds of 16 sc.
Make two rounds, skipping every third stitch on each round.
Fill with cotton and make two more rounds, skipping every other stitch.
Draw up with one sc, chain 10* and fasten off.

(*for second ball of each pair, ch 3, catch 4th ch. of first ball, ch 6)

Slip balls (make 2):
Chain 6 and join in a ring, 12 sc in the ring.
Second round: 2 sc in each stitch. Make six more rounds of 24 sc.
Make 2 rounds, skipping every third stitch. Fasten off, but leave a long end of thread.

Slide one slip ball onto each sc section and move it up towards the thick chain so it’s out of the way. Now, starting on one side of the bag, thread one end (sc section) through the bottom loops. Alternating over and under, go all the way around the bag and come out where you started. Even out the two ends of the sc section you just threaded through so that they’re about equal length.

Now, starting on the opposite side of the bag and using the upper row of holes, do the same thing with the sc section at the other end of the thick chain. After that's done, one each side of the bag, you should have two lengths of sc emerging - one attached to the thick chain and one hanging loose.

Slip each remaining loose end through its respective slip ball and attach firmly to the thick chain. Slide the slip balls over the join, fill them with cotton.** If necessary, draw them closed using the long thread-end, Anchor the top in place. Fasten two small balls to the bottom of each slip ball (I actually fastened mine to the chain inside the ball, but it's up to you).

Now engage in your favorite celebratory activity because, after 30 feet of chain and all that other hoo-haw, you deserve it!

** I recommend cotton instead of fiberfill. Just get some real cotton balls. Cotton, being denser, is slightly easier to work with. Fiberfill is hard to get a grip on in such tiny amounts.