Skip to content

DIY Japanese Knot Bag Tutorial / It’s Reversible!

Do you know what is a Japanese knot bag?

A Japanese knot bag is small open tote bag, but with a twist. It has asymmetrical handles, and one of the handles slips through the other to form a knot and close the bag. The handle could be slightly longer, or up to three times as long when compared to the other handle.

The reason why it is longer is so that you can thread one handle through the other and carry the bag without worrying whether the stuff you’re carrying will fall out. No need for zippers, buttons, or drawstrings. Neat, right?

So let me show you how to make one reversible Japanese knot bag! It’s simple, fun, and it doesn’t take a lot of time. Download our Japanese knot bag pattern, follow the instructions in this tutorial and you’ll be finished before you know it!

We occasionally link to goods offered by vendors to help the reader find relevant products. Some of the links may be affiliate meaning we earn a small commission if an item is purchased.

How to make a Japanese Knot Bag

Supplies and tools

This is a simple project, so you don’t need a lot of supplies. Here’s what you’ll have to prepare:

Once you get all that ready, you can start making the DIY knot bag.

DOWNLOAD: Japanese knot bag pattern (Free PDF file)

Follow us for free patterns & tutorials!

How To Sew a Japanese reversible knot bag

Watch the diy japanese knot bag video first and then follow the written step by step instructions below.
Please enjoy and don’t forget to Like and SUBSCRIBE over on YouTube to be kept up to date with new videos as they come out.

Japanese knot bag VIDEO TUTORIAL


STEP 1: Prepare the pattern

Download the japanese knot bag pattern and print it out in full size (no scaling). Cut it out as instructed, tape all 5 pages together and get rid of any excess paper. Here’s how it looks when taped together:

STEP 2: Cut out the fabric

Before you start working with the fabric, wash it thoroughly and iron it well. This will prevent any unwanted deformations later on when you wash it for the first time.
Use the pattern as a guide and cut out two mirror pieces from each type of fabric.
The dimensions of our finished knot bag will be around 11 x 15.5 inches (25 x 40cm), including the longer handle.

TIP: To get mirror pieces you will need to fold your fabric either wrong sides together or right sides together and then cut.

STEP 3: Start stitching the knot bag

Place the fabric pieces on top of each other, with their wrong sides up. Align the edges and secure with pins or clips.

Using a 3/8 inch (1cm) seam allowance, start stitching the two layers together. Begin just below one handle and go along the bottom curve, all the way to the other side. Stop the stitch below the second handle.

Stitch the the upper edge of each handle.

Repeat the entire process with the second set of fabric pieces.

STEP 4: Prepare the bag for further stitching

Make small cuts along the bottom curve of the fabric piece. Keep the cuts about half of an inch apart. Turn one of the fabric pieces inside-out. Insert it into the second piece.

Align the two sets of fabrics with each other and secure everything in place with pins or clips. Don’t connect all four layers together! Keep the gap between the two sets or you’ll end up closing the bag shut.

STEP 5: Stitch and turn

Using a 3/8 inches (1cm) seam allowance, sew along the curve between the handles. Pay attention not to stitch all four layers together.

Make some shallow cuts about half-inch (1-1.5 cm) apart along the inside curve of the handle.

Turn the entire knot bag inside-out through the opening at the handle. You will probably pull one fabric from the other while doing this, so just return them back into each other. Press everything flat.

STEP 6: Topstitch the curve

Now you will need to topstitch along the inside curve between the handles. Be careful not to sew the bag shut as you do this. Start the stitch from the top corner of one handle and stop at the top corner of the second handle.

STEP 7: Finish the Japanese knot bag

All that’s left is to sew the outer edges of each handle that are still raw and unstitched.

Fold each of the raw edges inwards for about half of an inch. Press them flat with your iron. Secure everything with pins or clips.

Now topstitch along the outer edge of each handle. Start from the top corner of the handle and go all the way to the beginning of the bottom seam. Make sure that you don’t sew the handles shut when sewing.

This completes our Japanese Knot Bag tutorial! The bag is officially ready for action.

Do you like this? Pin for later:

Wanna be friends? Click HERE and follow me on Pinterest


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 39 comments
Allison - September 8, 2020

Hi, thanks for the tutorial, but I cannot find the free pdf pattern.

    Helen - September 11, 2020

    Hey Allison, the link is fixed now. You can download it and make it! Happy sewing

Life Diet Health - September 8, 2020

What a great idea! I might have to get one of these made! Thanks for sharing at Fiesta Friday.

    Helen - September 12, 2020

    Tag me on social if you do, I’d love to see your makes

Terri - September 9, 2020

Fun idea! I have pinned this idea for a day when I have a sewing machine again. Thanks for sharing!

    Helen - September 12, 2020

    Hi Terri, hope you’ll have a sewing machine again. Keep an eye on the offers online, you can snag a great offer if you are not in a hurry

Marsha Cooper - September 9, 2020

thanks so much for the tutorial! I think these might just be what I make for the females on my Christmas list!

    Helen - September 11, 2020

    These knot bags make awesome Christmas gifts. So glad you liked it!

    Helen - September 12, 2020

    Exactly my thoughts. My mom loved it

Migdalia - September 12, 2020

Hello, thanks for the tutorial, but I cannot find the free pdf pattern.

    Helen - September 12, 2020

    Hi Migdala, you are welcome. Glad you liked it. The updated pattern is just under the supplies and tools section

Marie Klein - September 12, 2020

Love this bag. Will make some for stocking Stuffers. Only problem is, WHERE IS THE LINK TO DOWNLOAD PATTERN? Waiting anxiously.

    Helen - September 12, 2020

    Hi Marie! Thank you for the kind words. This indeed makes a great gift. I’ve just fixed the link to the pattern – it’s just under the supplies and tools section

Shelbee on the Edge - September 13, 2020

Well now, that is the most adorable, practical little bag to have on hand. And I love the bright, fun polka dot print! Thanks for linking up with me.


Naush Samama - September 13, 2020

Wow !! Beautiful color of your knot bag.

Donna @ Modern on Monticello - September 15, 2020

Definitely a very useful project. And you can make them so pretty too. Great for kids. Thanks for sharing with us this week at #HomeMattersParty

Cherelle | The Inspired Prairie - September 15, 2020

I’ve never heard of a Japenese knot bag before, but it looks very cool. Thanks for sharing the tutorial with us on the Homestead Blog Hop!


    Helen - September 16, 2020

    I’m so glad to hear you liked it. A friend showed me this bag and it was a love at first sight for me

Jennifer Dynys - September 16, 2020

SUper cute! thank you for linking up at EMbracing Home and Family!

    Helen - September 16, 2020

    Thank you! I love it

Creatively Beth - September 16, 2020

Your step by step tutorials are awesome! I’d love for you to share over at our weekly Wednesday Creative Crafts Linky Party
Have a great week!
Creatively, Beth

Melynda Brown - September 17, 2020

Hello, this is one of my favorites for Encouraging Hearts and Home, this week! Stop by and say hello, and this post has been pinned!

    Helen - September 17, 2020

    Thank you for the lovely comment and for pinning this, Melynda! I’ll make sure to stop by

Mark - October 12, 2020

what an awesome idea, thanks for sharing

Sara - June 25, 2021

Thank you! Could you scale this up to make it twice as big?

    Helen - June 26, 2021

    I haven’t tried to scale it up. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work, but the only way to be sure is to give it a try

Shelley Ziegler - July 25, 2021

I’m having a terrible time top stitching the small loop that the large strap fits into. I’m about to hand sew it..arggg

    Helen - July 26, 2021

    That would work, too.
    It’s the trickiest parts of the whole bag. To stitch it with the machine, you can remove the free arm and slowly stitch around the loop, pivoting frequently. Make sure the fabric is not bunching up. It works, I promise, but you need to take your time.

Sue - September 13, 2021

Thanks for the tutorial.

Dianne - December 10, 2021

These are so fun and easy to make. I have made several for little girls to match their dresses I made. Even a young boy wanted one! I increased the size of the pattern to make a larger one for myself. Great pattern and idea!!

T - December 29, 2021

why is it that I cannot print the instructions? I have no computer at home, and I cannot start sewing at the library….

HP - August 17, 2022

Have you done this with old jeans fabric on the outside and a thinner liner on the inside? In that case, it wouldn’t make sense to use two layers for the outside fabric. Any suggestions for adapting this for that purpose?

    Helen - August 18, 2022

    No, I haven’t but I don’t see why it won’t work.
    Just use jeans fabric without any interfacing for the outer and thin lining fabric for the inside.
    Be careful when cutting old jeans not to have jeans seams around the handles or it will be near impossible to stitch them neatly

Renee - August 25, 2022

Hello. May I use your instructions and pattern in a kit to sale in the little mom and pop fabric shop I work at? We would give your website all the credit. We’d only be selling our fabric not your pattern. We would just include the pattern in our kits. Thanks.

    Helen - August 25, 2022

    No, you can’t sell the pattern as a part of your kits.
    You can however print out the link to the instructions and pattern and include them with the fabrics for the bag

Rebecca S - October 15, 2022

Thank you so much for the tutorial. This is such a cute bag. For some reason, I can’t get the link to work so I can download the pattern. Any suggestions?

    Helen - October 17, 2022

    Hi Rebecca, I tested the link and it works just fine on my end.
    It should load in a pop-up window and your browser might be blocking the popup.
    So either try a different device (PC,phone) or a different browser (chrome, firefox, safari, opera, etc.) OR enable popups from the browser settings
    Hope that helps. IF anything else fails, shoot me an email and I will send you the pattern manually

      Dee - October 23, 2022

      Hi, I have same problem as Rebecca nothing there, no pop up blocker it is disabled, Great tut but no use without the pattern 🙁

        Helen - October 25, 2022

        Check your email, I’ve just sent you the pattern manually


Leave a Reply:

Send this to a friend