How to Make a Japanese Knot Bag Tutorial

Once I saw these Japanese Knot bags, I immediately fell in love with the concept – a small bag with an ingenious ‘knot’ so you don’t need to have a zip or poppers to close it. Here’s my tutorial on how you can make one for yourself.

japanese knot bag - made by hand

Cutting out the Pattern

Start by downloading the PDF pattern and printing off the 3 pages of pattern pieces. You will need to join the pattern pieces at points A1 & A2 and B1 & B2. Do this by lining up the points where they intersect.

You will need:

  • 4 fat quarters of fabric (18″ x 22″)
  • Coordinating thread

Cut the following:

Choose a fabric for panel 1, fold your fabric in half placing right-sides together and cut out the panel (this gives you 2 pieces, your back and front). Repeat with a different fabric for panel 2. Then repeat for the lining fabrics. As this bag is reversible you can choose a lining fabric that gives you a different look to the outer. I choose a vibrant flower print and spot for the outer and the pale grey spot and plain fabric for the lining.

All seam allowances are 7mm (¼”) unless otherwise stated.

Tutorial Steps

Japanese knot bag tutorial - cut panels

Photo 1 – Sew together panel 1 and panel 2 by placing right-sides together and sew on the vertical center seam with a 1.5cm seam allowance to create the front. Repeat for the back of your outer bag. Repeat for the lining.

Japanese knot bag tutorial - cutting lines

Photo 2 – Place your 2 outer bag pieces together with right sides facing and sew together by stitching from notch to notch – see dotted line (sewing down one side along the bottom and up the other side). Make little nicks in the seam allowance on the rounded corners at the bottom of your bag.

Then sew along the tops of both handles (you can see the dotted line on the shorter one, unfortunately I couldn’t get the longer one in the photo but you do need to sew it).

Repeat for the lining bag.

Japanese knot bag tutorial - turn outer bag out

Photo 3 – Turn your outer bag right side out and leave your lining bag inside out. Place the outer bag inside the lining bag so that right sides are facing.

Japanese knot bag tutorial - lining matrial

Photo 4 – Note that I’ve changed the colour of the lining fabric to blue in this photo, so that it’s clearer to see.

Line up one side of the lining fabric with the outer and Join them together by sewing along the inside of the handle, down around the centre curve and up to the other handle. Make little nicks in the seam allowance on all the curved pieces. Repeat for the other side of your bag.

Turn the bag right sides out by pulling both bags through the hole left on the side of the long handle. Press flat. Now top stich along the seam that you just made (your bag opening).

Japanese knot bag tutorial - pin the seams

Photo 5 – Press in the seam allowance 7mm (¼”) inwards around the opening that you pulled the bag through. Do the outer and lining separately. Pin them in place and top stich.

Japanese knot bag tutorial - pinning smaller hole

Photo 6 – Repeat for the smaller hole on the shorter handle. Press flat.

Your Japanese Knot bag in now complete, just simply feed the long loop strap through the hole of the smaller loop and your back is closed and you have a handle to carry it with. It can easily be turned inside out to create a reversible bag. The photo below shows the same bag with the original fabrics and reversed.

reversed japanese knot bag

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