Macrame Shopping Tote Bag

Step-by-step instruction and scheme

macrame bag

•X - Square Knot 

•W - Wind Knot 

•R - Double Half Hitch 

•S - Spiral Braid 

•G - "Gourmand" pattern 

•C - Chain Braid 

•K - Capuchin Knot 

•F - Frivolite 

•L - Loop Knot 

•H - Chameleon Braid 

•B - "Berry" Pattern 

•P - Petals Pattern 

•J - Josephine Knot 

•A - Lark's head knot 

You will need approximately 24 cords 4,5 m each (5 yards), 40 cords 3,5 m each (4 yards), 5 cords 1 m each (1,1 yards). The size of this tote is approximately 36 X 46 cm or 17 X 20 inches. Cord size - #24 - #28 (3-4 mm), material - sisal rope, cotton, polyester, nylon, polypropylene (the last three are sturdy but don't hold knots that well).

Here is are couple examples of cord that will be great for this project (sold on Amazon website):

Hemp Cord Spool 48# 205 Feet/Pkg-Natural

Bonnie Macrame Craft Cord 4mmX50yd, Pearl Beige

Darice 1971-15 Macrame Cord with 50-Yard Spool, Natural Cotton

Making the tote’s handles

macrame tote 


1.Take the12 longest cords (5 yards). Double them and attach the center to cushion. Using two edge cords as working threads and 10 middle ones as a base, make about 10 Square Knots in both directions from center. You will have a braid that is approximately 8 inches (20 cm) long. 

2.Continue making Flat knots in the same direction  - you will have a short Spiral braid. Separate all cords into 3 parts with 4 cords in each. Make 3 small Spiral braids – about 2 -3 inches (5-7 cm) long. Repeat this step to make a second handle. 

3.Take two 1,1-yard threads and place them around cushion horizontally. Attach the ends of your tote’s handles to this thread with the Double Half Hitches. Then mount on this base thread all of the 4-yard cords with the Lark's Head Knots. Spread them equally – 20 on each side of handle. If you want your tote to be sturdier, place one more base thread under the first two and make a second row of the Double Half Hitches. The ends of the base threads tie together and cut the extra length. The handles are ready!

Making the tote - I

1.Separate all the cords on parts with 4 cords in each. Make short (1/2 inch or 1 - 2 cm) Spiral braids

2.Again place the 1,1-yard base thread around cushion and attach to it all the ends of the threads. you will have the Horizontal Hitch

3.Decorative lane consists of 8 diamonds. At first make 8 triangles from 6 Square knots (1 row –3 knots, then 2, and finally - one). Actually, you will have 8 triangle Chess Patterns. Then “close” each triangle with 2 rows of the Diagonal Hitches, and between the triangles make 8 Josephine knots from 12 cords separated on 2 parts. From the “tips” of triangles make short Spiral braids (0,5 - 1 inch) and “close” the diamonds with 2 rows of the Diagonal hitches. Again make triangle Chess patterns. 

4.Make two more Horizontal Hitches on two 1,1-yard base threads.

Making the tote – II (Main Pattern) 

macrame bag

1.This pattern is a variant of the Petals Pattern. Just start each next row of petals from the middle of “petals” in previous row. In other words, start making Diagonal Hitches on 8 cords “to the left”. In the 2nd row make the same Diagonal Hitches, but “to the right” and starting from the middle of previous Hitches. You can make as many rows as you want - as long you want your tote to be. 

Making Tote’s Bottom

1.Take one of the edge cords and using it as a base thread, make a Horizontal Hitch with all threads. 

2.Repeat the1st step 3-4 times, using different edge cords as a base. Then turn your tote inside out. Take any edge cord again, place it horizontally and make on it the Double Half Hitches, taking cords in order from both sides of the tote. Two rows of the Horizontal Hitches will be enough for a sturdy bottom. Cut off all the extra cord. Your tote is now ready!

macrame handbag

The pattern and images are used from Anna Krauze, "Macrame", 1987, Uzbekistan.