The Calico Bag

Update: The pattern for The Calico Bag is now available for download as a PDF file.
See The Calico Bag Free Pattern.
There is also a Crochet-Along for The Calico Bag at CAL: Calico Bag (Turning chains and changing color)
and CAL: Calico Bag (The handle, assembly and finishing).

Nature is an important source of techniques and ideas for patterns and color schemes. Here, I turn to my calico cat, Kitty2, for inspiration. She is now over a year old. We found her in early October last year under a tree outside our apartment, apparently abandoned. She was was inside an open plastic bag indicating that someone had thrown her over the fence and fell right under the tree.

Now, Kitty2 is a gigantic cat! I took several photos of her and turned her coat markings into a pattern for a crocheted bag. Below is a photo of the finished bag.

The pattern on this side of the bag is based on Kitty's face.

The pattern on this side of the bag is based on Kitty's face.

The body of the bag is made from two sections, front and back, of the same size but different markings. The bag is worked in single crochet, except for a small section where the ginger and white colors mesh (as shown above) where I used front post double crochet alternating with single crochet. It is also possible to make the alternating colors in sc stitches only.

The photo below shows the other side of the bag, worked entirely in single crochet. The handle of the bag is a crocheted cylinder stuffed with cotton.

The pattern on this side of the bag is based on Kitty's body.

The pattern on this side of the bag is based on Kitty's body.

The side seams of the bag was crocheted together with single crochet, and the handle was sewn to the bag.

Here is the sketch I made to determine the color pattern for the bag.

Sketch of Kittty2's body and face.

Sketch of Kittty2's body and face.


I would like to make this purse again, this time, paying more attention to the methods that I should use in changing color in crochet. I used the stranding (or stranded) method (carrying the yarn across the back of the work) in the project, and have found it to be very messy and difficult especially when it came to making the purse handle: it was just too difficult changing colors in such a small piece. Perhaps the intarsia method (as used in Tunisian crochet) would be cleaner and easier – then that would be the opportunity to learn Tunisian, and eventually,Tapestry crochet.

Note: No animals were harmed in making the Calico Bag. :P

12 thoughts on “The Calico Bag”

  1. Thank you so much for this pattern. I have a calico cat named Cocoa who came to me in much the same manner. She looks like Kitty2! She was starved to death when I found her, and just a tiny kitten. Now, she is well-loved and part of the family…and she loves getting on the computer, just like Kitty2!

    1. Calico cats are often female which is why people throw them away rather than keep them or have them spayed (which can be expensive). We’ve already found 3 calico kittens, the first one died, but the other two survived. Kitty2 is with my mom, and Kitty3 is with my aunt.

      We can’t keep the cats because we live in an apartment on the 2nd floor (neighbors complain if the cat savage their gardens, poo on their roof, etc.) and we are often away for weeks with no one to take care of pets …

      But we visit our calico cats often, and have had Kitty2 spayed (my mom complained after dozens of male cats started invading the house!)

      I love cats (even though I’m allergic to their fur)!

      Lovely name your cat’s got! :)


  2. I love calico cats, too, and I’m also allergic to them (well, to cats). At my previous residence, there was a calico cat next door that I called Buttons. I couldn’t get close enough to see her tag but she had such lovely, princessy manners. Her brother that I called Bootsie (black cat with white “boots,” belly, throat) came close enough one day to read his collar: “My name is Zico. If you find me outside, that means I’m lost.”

    1. Thanks for sharing your cat story! :) And maybe you can make a calico bag from Buttons – the bag can also be knitted intarsia.

  3. Your cat is so beautiful.We call them tortoiseshells in the UK and I have a gorgeous black tortie called Winnie,who rules the house! She’s getting on a bit now,she’s 10 this year but she still rules the other 4 cats with a paw of iron!!
    I love the bag,I may even be inspired to try to do one to match my Winnie!
    I am allergic to cats,too but I’m ok with my own…it’s the dander that I’m allergic to but my cats are very clean and always grooming themselves,and I usually brush them every day,which seems to help keep the dander down.

    1. Weird thing is I seemed to be less allergic to calico/tortie cats, and worse when it comes to gray cats! Now my allergy seem to be getting bad so I’m having second thoughts about having a cat when we move into our new home … :( But you’re quite right about grooming … I know someone who gives her cats a bath (!!!) every once in a while and I don’t have much problem with them. :)

  4. What a brilliant idea for a colour scheme.

    Your cat is lovely. We also have a calico cat and I’ve often though her colours so lovely, but it would not have occurred to me to combine them to make an item as you have.

    Our calico cat’s name is Katy, and she is long-haired and very pretty.

    FATS: there may be a reason you are more allergic to certain colour cats; it is thought that it is the pigment melanin, present in darker fur, which casues the allergic reaction. I know I am more allergic to black cats (luckily not seriously, because we also have one of those).

    1. Thanks, Alison, I suspected it had something to do with the color of the fur too. I seem to not have problems with white, or ginger-white cats. In fact now, we have a white-ginger feral in our apartment balcony. We call him Gary (after Spongebob’s pet snail :D ) – and since we’ve been feeding him, he’s staying here longer.

      No allergies so far, thank goodness, because I’ve grown to like old Gary. :)

      Then a strange thing happened – immediately after the powerful typhoon some 2 weeks ago, Gary offered us a rat. :) I guess he was happy that we all survived the typhoon. It was quite bad, the GI sheet roofing of our apartment got partly torn off by the strong winds, and it was banging against the roof all night …

  5. I have just found your website and am very interested in your calico bag. I would love to make it,but can’t seem to find the pattern for the bag itself. I read your instructions on putting it together and doing the handles but not for the purse proper. Can you please tell me how or where I can obtain the pattern? We had a much-loved calico cat many years ago when we lived in California and your purse brought back memoriesof her. Thanks for your help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>