Add this simple carryall to your bag of sewing tricks. Pick two fabrics, one for the exterior and one for the lining, and whip up the trendy shape in a flash.

By BH&G Holiday Editors
Updated May 24, 2019
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Whether you’re packing up your knitting supplies or heading to the market, this take-everywhere reusable bag is stylish and roomy. Thanks to three interior pockets on each side, you’ll have plenty of room for all your essentials (and then some!). Our take on a Japanese knot bag can be customized with any fabric you like—download our free printable pattern to get started.

Jacob Fox

How to Make a Fabric Knot Bag

Once you've created your pattern and cut your fabrics, this handmade fabric pouch comes together in a snap!

Supplies Needed

  • Paper (to create a [button-pdf id="550506" title="template" /])
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Quilter’s pins
  • 1/2 yard print A (bag)
  • 3/4 yard print B (lining)
  • 18 x 44-inch thin quilt batting or crafts fleece
  • Quilter’s pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
Get the FREE Japanese Knot Bag Pattern

Finished Reusable Bag Tips

To make a template of our Japanese knot bag pattern, trace it onto a large sheet of paper and cut out. Transfer the clips and dots onto the pattern, then to the fabric pieces. Yardages and cutting instructions are based on 42 inches of usable fabric width. Bag measurements include 1/4-inch seam allowances. When making your bag, sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated. The finished knot bag will be approximately 13 x 18 inches.

Step-by-Step Directions

With just a few materials and these how-to instructions, you can create your own Japanese knot bag. You should be able to complete this easy sewing project in about an hour.

Step 1: Cut Your Fabrics

Cut the following fabric pieces to create your reusable tote bag.

  • From print A, cut: 1 each of Bag Pattern and Bag Pattern reversed
  • From print B, cut: 1 each of Bag Pattern and Bag Pattern reversed 2 6-1/2 x 15-inch rectangles
  • From batting, cut: 2 of Bag Pattern

Step 2: Layer Fabrics

Layer a batting bag piece on the wrong side of each A print bag piece. Machine-baste a scant 1/4-inch from the edges to make the bag's front and back (Diagram 1).

Step 3: Form Inner Pockets

Fold a B print 6-1/2 x 15-inch rectangle in half lengthwise to make a 3-1/4 x 15-inch rectangle. Sew together along three open edges, leaving a 3 inch opening for turning in the bottom edge (Diagram 2). Turn right side out through the opening. Press, turning under raw edges of the opening, to make a pocket. Repeat to make a second pocket.

Step 4: Stitch Pockets

Position a pocket on the right side of each B print bag piece at the widest part and pin it in place. Referring to Diagram 3, topstitch bottom edge of each pocket, then stitch two lines 5 inches apart to divide each pocket into compartments. Trim pocket side edges along the curve of bag piece; baste a scant 1/4-inch from edges to make lining front and back.

Step 5: Stitch Bag Seams

With right sides together, sew together the bag front and back from clip to clip along the side and bottom edges (Diagram 4). Clip into seam allowance where marked. Turn bag right side out and press flat.

Step 6: Sew Lining

Repeat step five to sew together lining front and back, leaving an opening for turning between the dots in the bottom seam (Diagram 5). Do not turn right side out.

Step 7: Sew Body and Lining Together

Insert bag body into the lining (they will be right sides together). Sew together bag body and lining along inside and outside edges, beginning and ending 2 inches from top edges (Diagram 6). Pull bag and lining through the opening in lining bottom. Hand-stitch opening closed. Push bag into the lining so the bag is wrong side out.

Step 8: Sew Handles

On the lining, carefully press under 1/4-inch on the handle upper edges. Keeping the lining out of the way, pin together the long handle ends of the bag body; stitch with 1/2-inch seam allowance (Diagram 7). Repeat to join the bag body short handle ends.

Jacob Fox

Step 9: Sew Handles

Turn in remaining raw edges of handles on bag body and lining handle (the lining handle ends should overlap each other); pin in place. Turn right side out. Topstitch around all edges to secure the handle ends and complete the bag. Leftover fabric? Try making a simple six-pocket tote bag.

Comments (1)

Anonymous
May 1, 2018
I have made several of these. They're really handy for knitting projects. I usually omit the batting and pockets to make it truly reversible. Rather than leave an opening in the lining to turn everything right side out, I sew the bottom of the lining closed and pull everything through the smaller, unfinished handle.