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« Whit's Knits: The Wonderful Wallaby! | Main | Handmade Baby Elephants from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts & Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts! »

Molly's Sketchbook: Very Pretty Japanese Handbag

This bag handle and pattern came to us with only Japanese instructions. With a little help I was able to get it  translated and share it all with you. Its pretty shape and cheery colors make it the perfect thing to sew in anticipation of Spring!



Cut out the pattern included with the handle. You will have one bag piece and two smaller rectangles. Put the rectangles aside for now.

Press your outer fabric in half length-wise. Place the bag pattern piece's straight right hand edge on the fold as shown above. Pin the pattern piece down and cut out the fabric.

Repeat this step again so you have two outer bag pieces. Then do the same for the lining fabric. You will have:

  • 2 outer bag pieces
  • 2 lining pieces

Press down the top raw edges of all the bag pieces (the outer pieces and the lining pieces) 3/8-of an inch to the wrong side of the fabric. This is the  shaded area on the original paper pattern.


Sew the bottom edges of the outer bag pieces right sides together with a 3/8-inch seam allowance. Press this seam open.

Repeat this step to sew the lining pieces together as well.

Sew the diagonal side seams of the outer bag pieces right sides together with a 3/8-inch seam allowance and press them open (leave the little right angles at the bottom of the bag unsewn).

Repeat this process to sew the sides of the lining together as well.

To make the bottom of the bag, pull the sides of the bag out so that the side seam and the bottom seam are on top of one another and the raw edges form a neat straight line. Pin the raw edges together.

Sew this seam with a 3/8-inch seam allowance.

Repeat for the other side of the bag and then for the bag lining.

So now you should have two identically shaped bag pieces; one made of the outer fabric and one made of the lining fabric.  Turn the outer bag right side out.

Edgestitch the bottom of the top flap of the bag 1-inch from the inside of the right angle as shown above. This area is marked as #5 on the original paper pattern. Do this edge stitching on all four sides of the top flap of the outer bag and then repeat for the lining.

Attaching the Lining

Slide the lining into the outer bag, wrong sides together, making sure the pressed folds at the top stay towards the wrong side.  Pin the lining and the outer bag together along their tops, making sure they are flush with one another.

Edgestitch the lining and the outer bag together along their tops. Start your seam directly above the #5 stitches, go across the top and then turn the corner, stopping at the #5 stitches on the other side.  Repeat for the other side of the bag.  Do not sew the lower outer corners of the bag.  As you can see in the picture above they are still pinned, not sewn, at this stage.

Now it's time to use the smaller pieces you cut from the original paper pattern.  Place the smaller one at a top corner of the bag, as shown above.  Make sure the right angle matches up with the bags top right angle and that the bent line is at the bottom.  Trace along this bent line with the water soluble marker.

Repeat this at all four top corners of the bag.

Now place the larger rectangle in the same position, lining up the printed bent line on the paper with the bent line you traced on the fabric and trace along the bottom, straight line of the rectangle piece.  Repeat this at all four top corners of the bag.

Sew across the marked bent line on one side of the bag, backstitching at the beginning and end of the seam.  You will be sewing through both the outer fabric and lining in this step.  Repeat for the other side of the bag.

Next, sew one side of the bag along the marked straight line.  At the end of this marked line keep sewing in a straight line, thus edge stitching the outer corners of the bag together.  This seam is marker #8 on the paper pattern.  Repeat this for the second side of the bag.  Spray the markings out and press the bag.

There should be no raw edges showing and the lining and outer bag should be fully joined.  There should be a thin open channel between the bent sewn line and the straight sewn line on each side of the bag that the handle will be threaded through in the next step.

Attaching the Handle

Unscrew the rods from the handle.

Thread the first rod through one side of the handle and then pull one side of the bag onto it through the little channel you sewed in the last step.

Thread the end of the rod through the handle and screw the end back on.

Repeat for the second side and you're all done!

Reader Comments (10)

awesome! what a nice tutorial~
February 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChase
Adorable. Those handles are pretty pricy though; I'm wondering if there might be a way to make some kind of handle arrangement myself, out of fabric.
March 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshley
thank you for that nice tutorial. the bag is so pretty and I hope I will manage to make such a cute bag too.
best wishes from Austria!
March 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterelenor
What I love about this frame purse, is that you can make a few different shells and reuse the frame! I've got the frame at home, and am having a hard time deciding what fabric!
August 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaLora
Beautiful! Thank you for sharing :)
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLyn
I've made about 20 of these but used a different pattern. I also use some fabric and make pockets on the inside. When I make one for a gift I feel like I have to make them another one just so they can change it. Great for seasonal themes also.
February 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSue
I just have to say you amaze me and what I wouldnt give to be able to make anything on here......I love to look at it all......
May 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Auen
I have a handle just like this one, but there were no instructions, so I had to make them up. I like my own version, it's rounder, but this one is much better. I have to try it. Thans for shareing!
July 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMaarike
beautiful little bag.....
i realise this post was used some time ago but ive just found it have a similar(cheaper) handle and was wondering did you size up the template as it would be quite small if using the one supplied with the handle? i can't seem to get my printer to make it bigger it only wants to give me one page???
best wishes
June 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersheri
Hi Sheri-

The template featured here comes with the handle and is made by a Japanese company. We don't have any control over the size of it because we don't manufacture it.

I'm sorry we can't be of more help!

June 10, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee

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