Very Pretty Japanese Handbag | Purl Soho

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!

Materials

Very Pretty Japanese Handbag | Purl Soho

Cutting

Very Pretty Japanese Handbag | Purl Soho

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

Very Pretty Japanese Handbag | Purl Soho

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.

Very Pretty Japanese Handbag | Purl Soho

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

Very Pretty Japanese Handbag | Purl Soho

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.

Sewing

Very Pretty Japanese Handbag | Purl Soho

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.

Very Pretty Japanese Handbag | Purl Soho

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.

Very Pretty Japanese Handbag | Purl Soho

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.

Very Pretty Japanese Handbag | Purl Soho

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

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

Very Pretty Japanese Handbag | Purl Soho

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.

Very Pretty Japanese Handbag | Purl Soho

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

Very Pretty Japanese Handbag | Purl Soho

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.

Very Pretty Japanese Handbag | Purl Soho

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.

Very Pretty Japanese Handbag | Purl Soho

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.

Very Pretty Japanese Handbag | Purl Soho

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.

Very Pretty Japanese Handbag | Purl Soho

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

Very Pretty Japanese Handbag | Purl Soho

Unscrew the rods from the handle.

Very Pretty Japanese Handbag | Purl Soho

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.

Very Pretty Japanese Handbag | Purl Soho

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

Very Pretty Japanese Handbag | Purl Soho

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