An easy sewing project, the Japanese knot bag is a stylish addition to your wardrobe. Fully lined, this reversible knot bag closes on itself without a zipper to keep your belongings safely stashed away!
I don’t remember where or when I across the Japanese knot bag, but my first impression was “this is such a cool bag!”. I love the fact that it closes on itself without any buttons or zippers. If you are anything like me, you may have had random things fall out of your purse because you forgot to close it (oops!). The Japanese Knot bag solves that problem, because you can’t carry it without first looping the short handle over the long one.
One day while browsing the local fabric store (one of my favorite things to do), I came across a cork fabric in the upholstery section. DING DING DING! That would make a lovely Japanese Knot bag! Don’t you just love it when certain fabrics inspire you to sew certain things? It’s like the fabric tells you what you should turn it into, like RIGHT NOW.
Today I will be showing you how to make this cool looking Japanese Knot bag.
What Sewing Level is the Japanese Knot Bag for?
The Japanese Knot bag is an easy sewing project for all levels. However, because of the nature of the pattern, you will need to sew curves. But don’t be discouraged! Just go slowly on the machine. The most challenging curve to sew in this bag is the “J” shape curve between the two handles. If you really don’t feel confident, walk your machine with your hand (by turning the handwheel on the right with your hand) as you go around this area.
Another tip for beginners is to use 100% cotton fabric as this fabric is very easy to work with. If your fabric is a little slippery and light weight, you can also apply fusible interfacing to add a little bit of stiffness. Interfacing also helps prevent the fabric from stretching, which is a common problem when you sewing curves.
While I really loved the look of the natural cork fabric, it was rather difficult to work with because cork doesn’t fold over itself easily. So unless you have some experience with sewing, I would stick with 100% cotton.
What Do You Use a Japanese Knot Bag For?
The Japanese knot bag is a multi functional bag that can pretty much hold anything. Uses include (not limited to)
- small grocery items
- personal belongings (keys, phone, wallet, etc.)
- extra set of clothing
- kid’s toys
- notepads, books, and pens
- snacks, water bottle, and utensils
- yarn – for knitters
- whatever you like!
What are the Dimensions of the Japanese Knot Bag?
- 13.75″ (34.9cm) – from Top of Long Handle Strap to Bottom of Bag
- 10.5″ (26.67cm) – from Top of Short Handle Strap to Bottom of Bag
- 10″ (25.4cm) – widest part of bag
How Much Fabric Do I need to Make Japanese Knot Bag?
- Fabric – I recommend using 100% cotton fabric, especially if you consider yourself a beginner (100% cotton fabric is very easy to work with). Canvas or medium weight denim are other good fabrics choices. Suede or vinyl would also work well
- 1/2 yard for one side (Fabric A – I used this natural cork fabric. However, due to the stiffness of the fabric, it was not very easy to work with. I definitely don’t recommend the natural cork if you are a beginner! )
- 1/2 yard of second side (Fabric B – I used a light weight denim)
- Fusible Interfacing – Optional (if you want to add stiffness to the bag) I like using Fusible Featherweight Interfacing(Pellon 911FF)
What Other Tools/Materials Do I need to Make Japanese Knot Bag?
- Sewing machine
- Fabric Scissors – these Ginghers Fabric Shears are my favorite.
- Pins/Fabric Clips
- Chalk for marking fabric – I highly recommend Clover Chaco Chalk Liner for marking. It’s thin, marks well, and easy to use!
- Clear Ruler
- Matching Thread and hand sewing needles
- Iron for pressing
How to Make a Japanese Knot Bag: Step-by-Step Instructions
If you want the Printable PDF Tutorial (NO ADS) available, you can purchase HERE. This PDF includes:
- Step-by-Step Printable PDF Tutorial
- Japanese Knot Bag Pattern in two sizes (SMALL & MEDIUM) – Free version only includes Small Size
- Pattern to make color-block version (Cork + Poppy Fabric) on the right.
CUTTING PATTERN FOR JAPANESE KNOT BAG
LEFT: Cut out Japanese knot bag pattern on fabric of choice. For this tutorial, the tanned cork board fabric (top) will be called “Fabric A” and the washed out blue denim fabric (bottom) will be called “Fabric B”
RIGHT: Place Fabric B right sides together and stitch the handles together at 3/8”(9.53mm) seam allowance (red dotted line)
SEWING JAPANESE KNOT BAG TOGETHER
LEFT: Sewing knot bag handle together.
RIGHT: Press open seams with iron. Repeat for Fabric A
Place right sides of Fabric A and Fabric B together. We will be sewing together the opening between the bag handles, (shown as black dotted lines)
Pin opening between bag handles together and sew at 3/8” (9.53mm) seam allowance (black dotted line)
Turn Fabric B in through opening you just sewed so that right side of Fabric A is exposed.
The Wrong side of Fabric A and Fabric B will be facing each other after Fabric B has been turned in.
Match right sides of Fabric A together
Place the right sides of Fabric A together and the right side of Fabric B matching together
Pin and sew Bag part of Fabric A together from notch to notch. Make sure to back stitch at the notches.
Pull long strap of Fabric A towards middle of bag to reveal long strap of Fabric B
Pin bag of Fabric B right sides together, and sew from notch to notch (Black dotted line) as you did for Fabric A. Make sure to backstitch at the notches
At this point your bag will look like this with an opening on both handles (of Fabric A and Fabric B). Black dotted line indicates where you sewed. Clip curves.
Turn Fabric B into Fabric A through the opening.
You will now have a bag with two openings: One at the long bag strap and one at the short strap.
Turn Fabric A to right side through opening of long strap and turn Fabric B into Fabric A.
Tuck Fabric B into Fabric A, and press the handle and top of bag
Top stitch bag handle and top of bag with matching thread, 1/8”(3.175mm) from edge (white dotted lines)
LEFT: Push seam allowance in (3/8”or 9.53mm) at side of bag straps
RIGHT: Press down seam allowance with iron on Fabric A
LEFT: Press seam allowance in on Fabric B
RIGHT: Pin and top stitch opening closed, sewing 1/8”(3.175mm) from edge. Alternatively you can close the hole with invisible ladder stitch. if you do not want the stitches to show on top of the bag.
LEFT: Repeat (ironing seam allowance, pinning) on short strap of bag
RIGHT: Close opening by top stitching or using invisible ladder stitch. I find that it’s a lot easier to close the opening by hand on short strap of bag as there isn’t as much room to slide the short strap under the sewing machine to top stitch.
Finished! Wasn’t that simple and easy? Good job! You did it!
Pack up your stuff and close it in with the short handle! All ready to go! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Happy Sewing!
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