22 November 2015

Stashbusting Sewalong: November Theme "Containment - Japanese Knot Bag"

The theme for the Stashbusting Sewalong for November is all about containment. I had high hopes of making both my children new bags for swimming, maybe some more fabric boxes to store things in my studio, and of course, a Japanese Knot Bag, for which Sue from Fadanista is hosting a sewalong this month for the Stashbusting Sewalong.

I was determined to at least make one bag this month, and had a neglected cotton top in mind to use as well.

When I printed the pattern out, it was so big that I would have only gotten one of the pieces out of the front of top, so I printed another copy at 85%, which looked a little small, and another at 92%! Not having chosen a fabric to use as a lining, I did a quick look around and decided to make my daughter a bag instead, using some printed cotton that I first used about 10 years ago to make my niece a tiered, frilled skirt. I think the skirt's all worn out now, I know my daughter used it so much that the waistband was starting to fray!

Bag No. 1 in progress
This bag is so quick and easy to make. My first version I made from the 92% size copy. It only took one hour start to finish. Win!

For my second bag, I used the 85% size of the pattern. It took a little longer to make, as I had to prepare the fabric by unpicking the top, and interfacing the fabric. I was having trouble interfacing my textured fabric, so I put a towel underneath the fabric to even out all the bumps.

You might be wondering why I would want to turn a perfectly good top into a bag. Well, here's a before shot.

I must say that I didn't notice anything wrong with it, until my husband pointed out one day the unfortunate placement of the circles in the pattern. I felt so self-conscious about it after that, I just couldn't wear it again. And now it doesn't really fit anyway, so it was either put it in a charity bin, or refashion it.

I spent a long time wondering what to use as lining, and when I went to have a look at what I had, I found the perfect fabric straight away. It has the same base colour, which I had thought would be really hard to match.

This is one of my secret stash of Parisians fabrics. I can't help myself whenever I see one, I have to buy at least half a metre. I never have any plans for them, I just buy them to keep for a rainy day.

My Parisian themed fabric stash
A peek inside my bag at the streets of Paris
I'm really happy with how this one turned out. When I cut it, I was careful to cut both pieces with the pattern side up, so I could have the patterned side all on one side of the bag. You'd think I would have realised from making the first one that they pieces aren't both right side up, so I ended up with one patterned piece on one side on the bag, and the other on the back. You know what though, I like it a lot better this way. It breaks the pattern up, and there's a bit more interest with the opened dart on each side of the back too!

I'll leave you with a size comparison between the two bags.

If you'd like to make your own Japanese Knot Bag, Sue has generously made her pattern available as a free download from her blog here.


  1. That recycled top looks really luxurious as a bag! And I did laugh to think you had a stash of parisian fabric, just in case.

    1. You mean, not everyone has a stash of Parisian themed fabric? Surely it's not just me?

  2. Your bags are fabulous and the second one? Glorious! I really like having the pattern on both sides. I have serious bag envy and am currently looking round my house to see if I've got anything I can cut up!

    1. Thank you Sue. I'm sure you'll find something you can refashion. Thank you for the pattern, it went together perfectly.

  3. Lovely bags Andrea. The one from the top is really a great make. Sonja

    1. Thank you Sonja, I must admit, I do really love my refashioned bag. I even took it to do the school run this morning, when all I had in it was my house keys, which I could have put in my pocket.

  4. Gorgeous bags and I wish I had the stash of Parisian themed fabrics :)