Lie-Flat Drawstring Bag Knitting Pattern

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I wrote this lie-flat drawstring bag knitting pattern a long time ago for a now-defunct website so I decided to update the pattern and make it available here so more people could make and use it, because it’s really a handy little thing.

(Of course I can’t find the bag right now to take new pictures, so I’ll have to knit a new one soon!)

Why Knit a Lie-Flat Bag?

The cool thing about this bag is that it’s basically a big circle with eyelets along the edge, making it possible to lie it down flat. That means no digging around for things that have fallen into the depths.

This is great to use as a makeup bag so you don’t have to dig around for small things. I think it would also be great to hold a small embroidery, cross stitch or hand sewing project because you can open it flat and don’t worry about poking yourself with a sewing needle or scissors within.

It could be a dice bag, hold toiletries when you travel, maybe even hold a sock while you’re knitting it. They’d make great gift bags that become part of the gift. Maybe fill it with a little soap and lotion for a sweet self-care gift?

And because knitting a flat circle works at the same rate no matter how big you make it, you can make the bag any size you like. How about a big play mat sized one for your kiddo to play blocks on? Then you can store them in the same place!

What You’ll Need to Knit a Lie-Flat Bag

I worked my bag using worsted/medium weight yarn (CYC classification 4) and size 8 US (5mm) knitting needles. You’ll need both double pointed needles and a circular needle for when you have too many stitches to comfortably work on the double pointed needles. Or you can do magic loops throughout.

If you want to use a different weight of yarn, just pick knitting needles of the corresponding size needed for that yarn. Be aware that lighter weight yarns will require more Increasing (and yarn!) to make a bag of the same size as the one shown. Bulkier yarn, on the other hand, will need fewer increases and less yarn than suggested here.

For the bag shown I used Lion Brand Heartland in two colors: Glacier Bay was my color A and Great Smoky Mountains was color B. I used about 142 yards total, so one skein of each is more than enough.

Of course you can also use a single color, multiple colors or make a totally scrap busting project using up all your odd balls of the same weight. Once you’ve made one you’ll probably want several variations.

You’ll probably want a stitch marker to mark the end of the round, especially when you switch to the circular needle.

Gauges

Gauge is not super important in this pattern, though you will want the fabric to be firm enough that things don’t fall through easily. If you start and the fabric looks too loose, you can try again with a smaller knitting needle.

My gauge with worsted weight yarn and size 8 needles was 16 stitches and 20 rounds per 4 inches/10 cm, or 4 stitches and 5 rounds per inch/2.5 cm.

size

As shown, the finished bag is about 13 inches/33 cm across, which makes the bag 6.5 inches/16.5 cm tall when closed up. We’ll talk more below about how to change the size.

Lie-Flat Drawstring Bag Knitting Pattern

Choose your color A and, using double pointed needles, cast on 6. Divide onto 3 needles and join for working in the round.

  • Knit 1 round.
  • Knit in the front and back of each stitch around. 12 stitches.
  • Knit 2 rounds.
  • Knit in the front and back of each stitch around. 24 stitches.
  • Change to color B if desired. Knit 4 rounds.
  • Knit in the front and back of each stitch around. 48 stitches.
  • Change to color A or another color as desired. Knit 8 rounds.
  • Knit in the front and back of each stitch around. 96 stitches.
  • Change to color B or another color as desired. Knit 16 rounds.
  • Knit in the front and back of each stitch around. 192 stitches.
  • Change to color A or another color as desired. Knit 4 rounds.
  • *Yarn over, knit 2 together. Repeat from * around.
  • Knit 4 rounds.
  • Bind off loosely and weave in ends.

Knitting the Drawstring

To finish this lie-flat drawstring bag knitting pattern, we need the drawstring! It’s just a 5-stitch I-cord, which is really easy to do. You can do this with a circular needle, but using a pair of double-pointed knitting needles works faster.

I used my color B for the drawstring, but again you can use any color you’ve already used in the bag or another one altogether. It makes sense to use the same weight of yarn because it will fit easily through the eyelets, but you can also cast on more or fewer stitches as needed. Just test it in the eyelets once you’ve knit an inch or two to make sure it fits snuggly.

  • Cast on 5 stitches and knit across.
  • Slide the stitches back to the other end of the needle without turning your work. Take the working yarn behind the stitches loosely and knit them again. Every inch or so, tug gently on the knitting to close up the back.
  • Repeat that step until your cord is about 45 inches/114 cm, or the length of your choice. It needs to be long enough that the bag can lie flat while it is threaded through the eyelets.
  • Bind off and weave in ends, then thread through the eyelets on the bag.

Adjusting the Size

This lie-flat drawstring bag knitting pattern is a nice size for a small bag, but if you want to make yours larger, you can just keep increasing at the same intervals as noted in the pattern. So instead of knitting 4 rounds and doing the eyelets after the last increase, you would knit 32 rounds and then increase again, giving you 384 stitches.

You’re really only limited by the number of stitches you can easily fit on your needle when it comes to how large this bag can be!

As mentioned earlier you can also use larger yarn, which will make the rounds bigger. Try a bulky or super bulky yarn, or hold two strands of yarn together for a totally scrappy and fun look!

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