Sewing Pattern: Japanese Knot Bag

Sewing Pattern and Tutorial: How to make a reversible Japanese knot bag
I have to start out by thanking my friend Cathy for giving me the "pinspiration" for this project. She sent me this pin about Japanese knot bags. I had never seen such a thing before, but was intrigued by the concept and so I set about designing my own bag.

My finished bag is about 11 1/2 inches wide and 10 inches deep. It's a simple yet functional and can be used as a small purse to carry your essentials. I'll be using mine to carry knit and crochet yarn projects when I'm on the go. And did I mention that the bag is reversible? You can use two different colors of fabric to suit your mood.

Materials



Directions


Before you begin, wash, dry and press each of your pieces of fabric and print the pattern PDF.

To begin you'll need to enlarge the pattern 200%. On my printer/copier, I had to cut the pattern into quarters and enlarge each page separately and then tape them together.

If you want to double check that your pattern is the right size, the grid on the pdf is 1/4 inch. When you enlarge it, each square in the grid should be 1/2 inch.
Fold each of your fabric pieces in half so the selvages match up. The straps of the bag should be parallel to the selvages. Cut out the pattern.

As you get ready to start sewing, please note that you should use a 1/2 inch seam allowance for all the stitching.
Place the pieces with the right sides of the same colored fabrics together. Pin and stitch along the top edge of the long strap.

With a water soluble fabric marker, on the wrong sides of all 4 pieces of fabric, mark the two side arrows from the pattern.

Press the seams to one side.
To minimize the amount of hand stitching, the assembly of the bag is a little unconventional.

Open up both of the bag pieces. Lay the pieces right sides together and pin. Machine stitch the outside edge of the long strap between your marked arrows. Stitch around the inner "U"  on each side and along the inside of the long strap.
Trim the seam allowance along the "U" on each side to 1/4 inch so the bag is easier to turn.

Next, turn the bag right sides out by pulling one side through the long strap. This takes a bit of patience.
Press around the "U"  on each side and along the long strap.
Pin the top edges of the short strap right sides together so that the same colored fabrics are facing each other. Stitch along the top edge.
Press the short strap seam.

The bag is starting to take shape.
To add a nice finished look to the bag, I like to stitch about 1/4 inch from the edge all the way around the inner edges of the straps and the "U" shaped opening.
You can use a decorative stitch if you like. I chose a plain, straight stitch since my fabrics already have strong geometric designs.
Now you need to close up the bottom of the bag. Pin the right sides of the main fabric together and stitch between the arrows you marked earlier.
Now do the same with the contrasting side.
There should still be an opening through the short strap.

Turn the bag right side out through that opening.
You'll finish the bag by turning the outer edges of the short strap under 1/2 inch. Hand stitch around the outer edge of the short strap.
I used a simple whipstitch and it's nearly invisible.
Fill your bag with all your goodies. To secure everything inside the bag, simply pull the long strap through the short strap. Then, you can use the long strap to carry your pretty new bag.

Sewing Pattern and Tutorial: How to make a reversable Japanese knot bag



19 comments:

  1. I love this, Ellen! A friend of mine asked me recently for advice on how to make this type of bag, so I sent her the link as soon as I saw this! I love these bags, which are so simple, but so cute. I'm going to feature it as the "Free pattern of the week" on my weekly newsletter! Thanks for sharing it! :) Lisa

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    1. Wonderful! I hope your friend enjoys the pattern. Thank you for sharing it :)

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  2. Hello, I am a beginner and am wondering if there is a pattern I can purchase so I ddon't have to copy, enlarge, eTchaikovsky. Thank you! Kathy

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    1. Hi Kathy - I'm sorry. I don't have an enlarged version of this pattern available for purchase. If you don't have easy access to a copier, my recommendation would be to print out the pattern and take it to someplace like Office Depot or Kinkos. They should be able to enlarge it for you for a couple dollars.

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  3. I was so hesitant to do this because I'm new to sewing. But I did It!! yes I had a little trouble doing somethings but your awesome instructions and pictures put me back on track. Thanks a lot for sharing this with us..

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  4. Thank you for posting this! I usually wing things just by how I think it was made, but without your awesome tutorial I would never have figured it out! I don't have a printer so did my own pattern but couldn't have done it without you! I love it so much! Wish I could post a picture but don't see an option. ~Angela Young

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    1. Hurray! I would love to see a picture of your project, Angela. You are welcome to post one on my Facebook page.

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  5. Do you not use any batting or interfacing in the bag? Is the double layer of cotton strong enough?

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    1. Hi Cheri - I did not use any batting or interfacing. The bag is not that large (only about 11 1/2 inches wide x 10 inches deep) so a double layer of cotton seems to be sufficient. Granted, mine is filled with small knitting and crochet projects which aren't super heavy. Even if you used it as a clutch type purse, I think you would be fine without any interfacing.

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  6. Love this pattern! I made one and found your tutorial very easy to follow. Can your pattern be used to make bags for re-sale as fund raiser for a non-profit? Janet

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    1. Hi Janet - I am always happy to support other crafters who are using their time and talents to make the world a nicer place. So yes, finished products made from this pattern can be used to help a non-profit. Happy sewing!

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  7. OH.MY.GOSH. LOVE THIS TUTORIAL!!! I have wanted to make this bag for ages, but never understood the directions (I'm definitely a "show me" person, lol). NOW I understand how it comes together. Really, I can't say THANK YOU enough - great job!

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    1. I am smiling from ear to ear right now. I totally understand what you mean because I am a "show me" person, too. I would love to see pictures of your finished project. You can post something on my Facebook page or tag me (@thechillydog) on Facebook or Instagram. Happy sewing!

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    2. Hi, the pdf link isn't working! :-( Dying to have a go at this great pattern though.

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  8. Hi Donna - The pattern is available on Google Drive. I have heard rumors that ipads and other Apple devices do not play nicely with Google Drive so you may need to try downloading the file on a different type of device. If that is not an option, email me directly and we can work something out.

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  9. I followed these instructions using a pattern from another source. This is definitely a better order of construction than the first one I made. I did underline both bags with a low-loft dense batting. Thanks for figuring out a better way to construct these bags. To me, they are deceptively simple.

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    1. Deceptively simple... I like that. Those are my favorite kind of projects :)

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  10. I love this pattern and tutorial. I used pattern for first bag and loved it...but I did want strap to hang from my shoulder on a second bag so I lengthened the long strap loop by 4". Did not change short loop or width of either loop. Added 1/2" inch to side and bottom of bag. Used featherweight fusible lining on one fabric only. Did not machine sew long loop...would have been almost impossible to turn right sides out. Hand hemmed instead (just like hem on short loop) after bag was finished. Thank you for the very clear tutorial.

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