Thursday 7 November 2013

How to Make a Komebukuro Bag - Part 2, General Construction

How to Make a Komebukuro Bag - Part 1 showed how I made the exteriors for two bags.

So, if you have decided to make a bag, settled on the finished size and made your sides here's what you need to finish it.

Four exterior sides, plus base, as described in Part 1.
Four lining sides, plus base, cut to the same dimensions.
Grossgrain ribbon  -  For the tabs: nine pieces 3.5 inches (approx 8.5 cm).  For the drawstrings: two pieces which are four times the width of your bag plus 12 inches (30 cm).

In the following picture you can see that I wanted to use some nice Liberty for the lining, but economised by using cheaper fabric for the base, and by piecing the sides to include the same cheaper fabric at the bottom.

Four lining sides, plus lining base.

You will need to sew your lining sides to the lining base, one at a time right sides together.  When you sew each side begin and stop sewing the width of your seam allowance in from the corner.

Now sew up the sides, from the base to the top.  The corner you left unsewn means you can stitch all the way from the base.

Do the same thing with your exterior sides and base, attaching the sides to the base first and then sewing the sides together one by one.

You will have to overlook the fact that mine seem to have got rather crumpled in between stages...

Do you remember that when constructing your sides, you made the top strip taller, so that it overhang the batting?  Once you have sewn the exterior together fold this extra fabric along the top edge over and down into the bag and press into place.  You are now ready to add the tabs.

See how the top edge of the bag is folded over and inside

Take each piece of ribbon and fold it in half.  Find the centre of each side and pin a folded ribbon tab to it.  You want to space out your tabs evenly round the bag, which you can do by adding another ribbon tab on each side of the central one so that the space from the central ribbons to the outside ones is twice the distance from the outside ribbons to the side seam.  You can eyeball this quite easily.

Now take your lining and stand it inside your exterior.  Carefully fold in the seam allowance so that the top edge lies just a whisker below the top edge of your exterior.  I've let it peek out a bit in the shot below so you can see how the two are folded in and butted up together.  Add more pins to secure the two together so that the ribbon tabs are nicely trapped in between.  You may find it helps to match up the seams at the corners and pin there first.

You're now ready to sew round the top of the bag, close to the edge, to secure your exterior and lining together.  Use a fancy thread or a matching one, whichever you prefer and remove the pins as you go.  You can add a second row of stitching just below for extra strength.  Since you are now sewing through several layers you may find it helps to use your walking foot.

TIP: If you start at the middle of a side and find that you have a small excess of fabric in the lining by the time you reach the side seam, take a tiny tuck there before carrying on.  No-one will notice!

Finally, starting at a corner, thread through one of your drawstrings, bringing it back to the starting point and knotting the ends.  At the opposite corner, thread through the second drawstring in the same way.

Pull each drawstring to close!

Hopefully you can now make a bag the size of your choice.  You could choose to make a taller one (ie one which isn't square), or a small one for use as an evening bag. Please let me know if anything is unclear.

You can find another design (which uses a different method of construction) here.


  1. Great tutorial! Perfectly clear without being dry. The photos illustrate your points well too!

  2. I saw this lovely bag over at Ali's blog, and thought it looked lovely. Thanks so much for writing up such a clear tutorial - these will make great Christmas presents for some of my friends!

  3. Great tutorial! Thanks. What lining did you put in the botyom of the bag: it doesn't look saggy at all!

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  6. Thank you so much for sharing this with us :)


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