Thursday, January 1, 2009

How to Make Japanese Knotted Bags (borrowed instructions)

A few months ago, I was looking for a quick purse to make from fabric and came across an excellent tutorial created by Helen in New Zealand. Her complete instructions, including nice photos of her Japanese print bags, can be found at Japanese-knot-bag.

Only two fat quarters (if you are not a quilter, one fat quarter equates to very little fabric) are required to make this bag (photo courtesy of Helen):

She says about her shop where she sells hand crafted items:
Welcome to Show Your Workings. I like to recycle and re-purpose. I mostly work with fabric but also collect and sell vintage patterns and haberdashery. I'm trying to live a sustainable life in New Zealand with a small footprint, craft is a way of living sustainably and inventively (that's my excuse anyway!). I also write and blog at
Thanks for stopping by and supporting NZ handmade.
Her online shop can be accessed at Helen's Etsy Shop.

The process for sewing the purse looked so intriguing that I just had to try it. I am not finished with my Japanese knotted bags, but here is a photo of three sets of coordinating fabrics that will be used to make three different bags:

A couple of coordinating face pins in my jewelry stash will be added to the sides of the purses when the sewing step is completed.

One idea that I added to Helen's instructions for making the Japanese-knot-bag is this: use the plastic that comes atop any 2 lb. coffee can as the insert for the bottom of the bag. You will not even have to cut the plastic, because it is exactly the same size as the pattern piece. And you will be recycling plastic and going green.

If you are looking for another type bag to sew, you can go to another quick tutorial on making shopping bags at Free Crafts:Shopping-bag.

The entire cost of making one Japanese knotted bag was less than $5, including newly purchased fabric. They are the perfect size for holding a small knitting project, or just your car keys and a lipstick.

If you make one of these bags, please send me a picture of it, and I will post it on a future blog. Thanks!

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