Tutorial- Sewing a Reversible Bag

Yesterday, we got the circle shaped bottom of the bag sewn into the purse tube of the Japanese Knot Bag. Here are the results with the extra piping added in for some fun.

After learning about this Japanese Knot Bag I saw many versions of it and read many comments about it. One recurring comment dealt with not understanding the instructions. I am hoping that by taking the time to show the step by step procedures to construct and assemble this bag, the instructions for the Japanese Knot Bag will be a little clearer and maybe easier to follow. Hopefully it will clear up any questions about construction. 😉

Now that the circular bottom is sewn on, the outer shell of the purse is done, for now.

The next stop: sewing the inner lining.

Fortunately, the inner purse is made from the exact same pattern as the outer purse and follows the exact same construction.

The instructions for the purse say:

“Step three

Take the 2 main pattern pieces of outer fabric and place them together right sides facing. Mark with chalk or pencil on the fabric at the point of the join in the paper pattern. This is the point you will sew to on the side seams, sew from the bottom up to the marked point on each side. Repeat for the lining.”

Here are the sides, placed together right sides facing. See where the pins are?

I placed my pins at the “join in the paper pattern”. Now, we sew from there down to the bottom for the side seam. This will leave the handles are flappy and unattached just like out outer purse fabric.

Moving on in the pattern directions we read:

Step four

Take your base pieces, you may want to contrast the base by swapping around the lining and outer fabric. Pin the base to main body and sew around, repeat for lining. You should now have two pieces that look like bags without the handles joined.”

*I did NOT post a separate photo of the circular bottom of the lining being sewn is because yesterday’s post covered that in detail. We can check back there for the information.*

At this point we have an exact replica in shape, form and construction of the outer purse.

From the purse directions we read:

Step five

Slip the outer fabric bag into the lining with the right sides facing, sew the outer fabric and the lining together along the sides of the handles, leave the tops of the handles unsewn. Turn the bag right-side out through the top of one handle.”

Whew! Well, of all the ‘steps’ this one is a handful! Let’s see what this looks like bit by bit. It is here that we encounter some tricky little glitches in the construction.

“Slip the outer fabric bag into the lining with the right sides facing,” – The first thing is getting the outer purse INTO the lining; RIGHT sides together. Here you can see the lining, in the exact same position as the last photo above. It looks as though you are already looking into the bottom of the bag. The outer purse is RIGHT side out. We can see the snails as though they are the purse already done and ready to go. Stuff the outer purse into the lining and match up the handles. Yes, this can feel truly weird to do, but really, it will work out. 😉

We want to match up the fabric for the handles. Let’s do the side of the handle that requires us to sew toward the side seam. This side of the handle is the trickiest of the set. Here you can see how they match up. I don’t like to pin on too many pins.

If you get the corners to match, set a pin, get the side seams of the purse to match, set a pin on either side of the seam, and get at least one ,maybe two, pins between those two spots, you will have enough ease to help you sew in a neat, tidy seam.

Here you can see where our tricky spot is at the side seams of the purse. Right here, it seems as though we ‘don’t have enough material to fill the seam’. This is how we are going to get the ‘turn’ or ‘curve’ of the handle to sew in straight, by matching the side seams, pinning to the left and right of the seam and ‘imagining’ that the little space there that we see, well…we are going to pretend it isn’t there. 😉

“sew the outer fabric and the lining together along the sides of the handles, leave the tops of the handles unsewn.” We start at the top of one handle, on the side that we just pinned. I like to use the foot to gauge my seams so here you can see I’ve lined the right edge of the fabric up to the right edge of the foot. (I don’t run over my pins by the way. I pull them out as I come to them.) Sew down this straight way until we get to that tricky side seam. Leave the first 1/4 in. UNsewn at the top.

As we approach it, notice I have to use 4 fingers to keep the fabric in place. I pinch the fabric that is being fed under the foot with my pointer and thumb. This keeps a certain ‘tension’ on the fabric as it feeds into the machine.

Here you can see the ‘imaginary’ seam line it passes the ‘gap’ of that tricky side seam. If we ‘imagine’ that to be the seam line and connect the blue section to the upcoming blue section, then we will sew, over the gap and go on.

Here is that view again, at a different angle. Notice, again, I have to use all 4 fingers to keep the fabric where I want it while I sew this section. (And take the photo of course, but even without the camera, this is where the tension is tightest on both my grip of the fabric and the feed into the machine.)

Sew over that gap and up to the other end of the handle. Leave the last 1/4 in. of the handle UNsewn.

*SNEAK PEEK* What we are sewing that is so ‘tricky’ is the “V” or “U” at the handle intersections from front to back. Here you can see what that ‘gap section’ looks like turned right sides out. In this photo I am having to really pull the fabric and stretch the material in place to show the way the seam will eventually lay on the outside of the purse. As we see the “V” or “U” area, it goes in straight and seems to make a sharp, deep turn to come back up the other side. That ‘dip’ is the ‘gap’ that we saw on the inside. 😉

Now that the side seams of the handles are done, we just have to finish the other seams of the handles. Again, match the corners on both sides, place pins, then match the center ‘dip’ there where the dip is at the lowest, place a pin, then match add one or two pins between those guide pins to ensure ease matches up for a tidy, neat seam. Again, leave the first and last 1/4 in. UNsewn.

And here is our beautiful purse?! From the top…

from the bottom… Well, it’s done. It’s just INSIDE OUT!

Remember the top of the handles? Recall our directions…“Turn the bag right-side out through the top of one handle.”Um, yeah,…right?! See that little space where we left the top of the handles UNsewn? We are going to pick ONE of the handles and we are going to turn the entire bag right side out through that hole. Yes. I know… ever witness childbirth? It’s kind of the same idea. LOL

Tomorrow we will get this baby to turn INSIDE OUT through this little tiny hole at the top of this handle. Really. We will. 😉

Your life needs fun. Go ahead, have some fun!

———–Helpful Information———

Find Small Snail Purse/Bag with Vintage Snail Embroidery Part 1 (Click Here)

Find Small Snail Purse/Bag with Vintage Snail Embroidery Part 2 (Click Here)

Find Small Snail Purse/Bag with Vintage Snail Embroidery Part 3 (Click Here)

Find Small Snail Purse/Bag with Vintage Snail Embroidery Part 4 (Click Here)

Find Small Snail Purse/Bag with Vintage Snail Embroidery Part 5 (Click Here)

Find Small Snail Purse/Bag with Vintage Snail Embroidery Part 6 (Click Here)

Find Small Snail Purse/Bag with Vintage Snail Embroidery Part 7 (Click Here)

Find Small Snail Purse/Bag with Vintage Snail Embroidery Part 8 (Click Here)

Find Small Snail Purse/Bag with Vintage Snail Embroidery Part 9 (Click Here)

Find Small Snail Purse/Bag with Vintage Snail Embroidery Part 10 (Click Here)

Find Small Snail Purse/Bag with Vintage Snail Embroidery Part 11 (Click Here)

Find Small Snail Purse/Bag with Vintage Snail Embroidery Part 12 (Click Here)

Find Small Snail Purse/Bag with Vintage Snail Embroidery Part 13 (Click Here)

Find Small Snail Purse/Bag with Vintage Snail Embroidery Part 14 (Click Here)

Find Small Snail Purse/Bag with Vintage Snail Embroidery Part 15 (Click Here)

Find Sue of Berkshire Cottage (Click Here)

Find Helen of Show Your Workings (Japanese Knot Bag Tutorial) (Click Here)

Find My “Tinting Fabric with Crayon” Tutorial (Click Here)

Find My Iron On Transfer Tutorial (Click Here)

Find Flickr Group Hoop Love Vintage Transfers (Click Here)

Find Yahoo!Group Hand Embroidery (Click Here)

Find Hand Embroidery Group Blog (Click Here)

Find Hand Embroidery Group Summer Creativity Challenge (Click Here)

Find Stitchy Britches Blog (Click Here)

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One response to “Tutorial- Sewing a Reversible Bag

  1. dear god thank you ive been trying to get this right its like a huge secret.cant find how to finish off though???

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