I love look of furoshiki wraps that take a simple square of fabric, then wrap and tie it creatively to turn any object into a pretty package. But most often, when I need to carry something, I want a container that holds everything without shifting when open, and is lightweight as well as sturdy. To combine sturdy practicality and pretty fabric wraps, I made a Furoshiki Style Bag with Kraft-Tex – kind of faux furoshiki. I can tuck my folded project into the sides and keep embroidery and embellishment supplies corralled inside.
I wanted to use Kraft-Tex for the body of my bag because it’s durable and easy to sew. Kraft-Tex is a paper fabric that sews like leather or vinyl. The edges do not fray, and it mixes well with other materials, just like leather and vinyl do. Kraft-Tex is washable, so as long as I use other washable materials, I can launder the whole project when it needs to freshen a bit. Learn more about working with Kraft-Tex.
Here’s how to make your own Furoshiki Style Bag:
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Supplies Needed to make a Furoshiki Style Bag:
- 1 roll (18.5 X 28.5 inches) Kraft-Tex kraft paper fabric. (I used hand-dyed and pre-washed Kraft-Tex in Marsala)
- 1.5 yards fabric for handle, handle lining and bag lining. (I used the same fabric throughout, but it would be fun to use 3 different fabrics.)
- Pattern drawing paper, 10 X 30 inches
- Thread for your sewing machine
Begin with fabric selection to match or contrast with your Kraft-Tex. I try to limit my shopping adventures while we are all trying to stay home to stop the spread of Covid-19, so I wanted to limit my fabric choices to fabric in my stash. I found this blue ticking stripe (that I forgot I had) and thought it looked fresh and crisp next to the reddish marsala Kraft-Tex. And I had enough! All seams are 1/4-inch.
Next, it was time to draft the pattern for the handle. It’s a very easy shape to draw. Take a look at the illustration below to get an idea of how to form the tie shape. The pattern includes a 1/4-inch seam allowance.
- Draw an 8 1/2-inch line at one end of the pattern paper. This will be the bottom of your bag and be placed on the fold for cutting.
- Draw a 27-inch line perpendicular (90 degree) line from the center of the first line.
- Center a 1-inch line centered on and perpendicular to the end of the line you have just drawn. This will the be the top of the tie ends.
- From your first 8 1/2-inch line, draw a 7 1/2-inch line perpendicular to each end. This section will wrap the tie up the sides of the bag.
- On each side, draw a line joining the ends of the 7 1/2-inch and 1-inch lines. This will provide enough length to secure the ties around the bag.
Lay out your pattern on the tie fabric, and remember that the wide end goes on the fold. This is why you need a full 1 1/2-yards of fabric. If you choose to piece the tie with multiple fabrics (could be super fun!), be sure to add seam allowance. Then pin the pattern on the fold of the fabric. If using the same fabric as I did, you can layer the fabric for cutting.
Cut the handle and handle lining pieces. These are all straight lines, so use your rotary cutter and ruler to make quick work of this step. Cut one handle plus one handle lining from this pattern piece. I layered my fabric and cut both pieces at the same time.
In addition to the handle pieces, cut 1 each of your Kraft-Tex and bag lining fabric into 16 by 24-inch rectangles. With these four pieces, you’re ready to start sewing.
Start sewing with the bag lining. That’s the 16 by 24-inch rectangle of cotton fabric. Fold the lining right sides together, matching the 16-inch edges. You now have a folded rectangle with 12-inch sides. Sew each side, leaving an opening for turning on one side. You will be turning the thick Kraft-Tex through this hole at the end of the process, so be generous with your opening. I had to go back and pick some stitches to make more room. I suggest a 5 to 6-inch gap for comfortable turning.
Press seams open. Now to make a 6-inch gusset. Easy! With the 45-degree line of a ruler, find the point where you get a 6-inch measurement at the base of the triangle. My ruler is 6 1/2-inches, so I slid the 45-degree line along the folded fabric edge until I had 6 inches across at the ruler’s base. Then I made a mark along that edge. I repeated for the other corner.
Stitch along the drawn line, securing the stitches at each end.
Trim away the excess fabric at each stitch line, leaving a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Set the lining aside for now.
Now it time to sew the furoshiki tie. Right sides together, stitch the tie and tie lining together, leaving a gap for turning.
Clip the corners at the tie ends.
Turn the tie to the right side, using a bodkin or similar tool to coax out crisp corners. A bodkin can get into sharp corners without piercing the fabric or breaking threads. I reach for mine often!
Press the tie nice and flat.
Topstitch around the edge of the tie. I like to use an edgestitch foot to keep my topstitching consistent.
Lay out the 16 by 24-inch piece of Kraft-Tex and find its center. Find the center of the tie and line it up with the center of the Kraft-Tex, parallel to the 24-inch side. Tape the tie to the Kraft-Tex – NO PINS – they will leave permanent holes. Use painter’s tape or artist’s tape – they will not leave a residue on your Kraft-Tex and fabric. Mark the just the corners of a 6 by 7-inch rectangle (you can cut one from paper – sorry I didn’t take a picture) across the center portion of the tie. Mark just the 4 dots at the corners, then connect the dots to make a big X. Then stitch along the drawn lines to secure to tie to the bottom of the bag. Remove the tape.
Your bag is still flat at this point, but that’s about to change! Being careful to keep the ties away from the needle, match the side edges of the Kraft-Tex right sides together and stitch both sides. Leave the top open.
Press seams open.
Stitch mitered corners just like you did for the lining. Trim excess Kraft-Tex from the corners to reduce bulk.
When you turn the bag right side out, you can see the big X securing the bottom and the shape of the bag taking form.
The bag sits nice and straight with mitered corners at the base.
Right sides together, slip the Kraft-Tex portion of the bag into the lining, matching side seams and centers along the top edge. Use clips, not pins, to secure the pieces, and take care to keep the ties away from the edge.
Stitch the Kraft-Tex outer bag to the fabric lining around the entire top edge.
My bag kind of wanted to hug my machine as I stitched. Everyone needs a hug, so I let them have their moment.
Remember that gap you left in the lining seam? Here is where you test it! Turn the Kraft-Tex bag through the gap in the lining. Work at it a little at a time, and you’ll get there. But midway through, it’s going to look like a big mess that will never work. But be patient, and keep nudging.
A few more nudges, and the bag is now right side out! Hang on – it will neaten up in a minute!
Slipstitch the lining opening with matching thread, and no one will ever know how you did it.
Press the top edge, then topstitch all around.
Ta-da! Brings the ties up along the sides of the Kraft-Tex and tie an easy square knot. It closes the bag while making a handle!
Here’s a top view of the Furoshiki Style Kraft-Tex Bag so you can see how the top folds in on itself to close.
When the bag is open, the inside is very accessible, keeping your supplies within easy reach.
The Furoshiki Style Kraft Tex Bag is ready to carry your projects or a little picnic.
The sides provide extra space for carrying folded projects with all your supplies inside.
Browse through more Kraft-Tex projects on Create Whimsy.