February 17, 2015

DIY Reversible Japanese Knot Bag

A few weeks ago a friend commissioned me to make her a couple of bags. She is a wonderfully talented crocheter and needed some bags to carry her projects in. 

This is the first bag I made for her, a large messenger bag. 
I completely meant to do a tutorial for it but I jumped in and started cutting and sewing before I remembered to take pictures! ARGH!! There goes my brain, again. :/

With the Japanese Knot Bag, I wanted a practice run before I made the real thing. That is what this one is.


1 yard main fabric
1 yard contrasting fabric
Paper bag to draw out the pattern

This Japanese Knot Bag is bigger than most of the ones you will see that are already out there.


This is where I free handed the pattern. I went through a couple before I got the one I thought would work the best.
The ONLY thing I would change would be the length of the handles. I think it would hang much better if at least the shorter handle was 2 inches shorter. 


Cut 2 pieces from both fabrics.


With right sides together, pin and sew just where the red lines are.

Do this to both sets of pieces.

Trim the seam allowance down OR cut the curves. 
I just trimmed it down to nearly nothing. It makes the curves look SO MUCH nicer.


Turn the lining right side out and slip it down into the main piece. 

Now, pin and sew where the red line is.

Trim the seam allowance down OR cut the in the curves.


Turn the bag right side out, pushing the lining down inside.

Fold the edges in on themselves and press. 

Pin and sew the handle edges closed.

Go back and top stitch the handles and the "neck" of the bag. If you like you can zigzag around the bottom curves of the handles. I did. I think it will make it sturdier. 


Now you have a reversible Japanese Knot Bag!!!!!

Hopefully I will get the real bag done before this post goes live. It's been crazy around here, as normal. C&C have been sick since the middle of last week!! Now the rest of us are starting to get it. I don't think we have enough bathrooms to accommodate that!!!! 


  1. Ack! I hope you all get feeling better! I love the bag!

  2. THat bag is adorable!! The fabric is to die for.. love,love it..
    thanks for the tutorial..

  3. Thank you so much for this. This bag pattern is incredibly popular and some cant understand how to sew them with the instructions available to them. This will help!

    1. Thank you so much!!!! :D
      I certainly hope it helps!! It was so easy to make once you understand how it's supposed to work. ;)

  4. Thanks for your tutorial on the Japanese knot bag as all the other links were broken that I tried to look at. I want to try this with recycled denim from old jeans.

    1. Oh! I think recycled denim would be great!!!! Let me know how it works out!!!

      Are the broken links on my site?? Let me know, I can fix them! ;)

  5. Sorry but i cant follow the tutorial because twice you say to turn it right side out the the pic shows it right sides together. Im totally confused.

    1. The first time I say to turn one set right side out and slip it down into the other piece so that right sides of both sets are together. You do it that way so when you sew the seams they will be hidden and it can be reversible.
      The second time, the right sides are out but you turn the edges of the handles in and top stitch, again so that it will be reversible.
      Read each line separately. Each line is a step within a step or explains that step further.
      Hope that helps! :)

  6. Can you give a template of the back or the measurements of the bag. I can't tell just how big the pattern is. I do like the larger size. Thanks.

    1. I will try to dig out the pattern I made and measure it but in the meantime, each piece is almost an entire 1/2 yard with just bits left over.
      Hope that helps! :)

  7. I made several of these japanese-knot-bags for my great nieces and they loved them I did a smaller verison of them , will hold lip gloss, pen, pad and few other items. Made myself a larger one hold lots of stuff and I just love it . Thanks for sharing
    Dolores Odom Moore

  8. I attempted to post this comment a while ago, but apparently did not post it correctly. However, I recently, could not find a gray bag to go with my gray shoes (a recent gift to myself). I saw this tutorial and decided to make this bag to go with my bag. I happened to find a yard (and a half) of gray suede, which very, very, closely matched my shoes in color and texture, and made this bag. It turned out so well that when I took it to church I was asked numerous time where I bought it. When I explained that I made it I was asked to "make me one" by about 6 of my friends. So I decided that this will be 'the Christmas of the Japanese Knot Bag'. I'm going to make this bag and give it as gifts to my church ladies group and a few of my other friends. Thank you for the tutorial. I'm going fabric shopping for the outer pieces, and all will have my 'sewing motif' lining. Thank you, again, for this post.

  9. Thanks for the tutorial! I looked at a few but yours was by far the easiest to understand. I made my own pattern for a teeny one and I'm very pleased with the results. Thank you for taking the time to share! :)

  10. Thank you so much:)

  11. Fun bag! Your pictures and descriptions were very easy to follow. I had never seen or heard of a Japanese knot bag before but this was quick and easy to sew up and my daughter used it to carry her own stuff to the ball park this weekend. Thanks!

  12. Thanks Stacy. I will definitely be making a few. Instructions are perfectly clear.


I <3 comments!! Thank you so much for taking the time! :)