Azuma Bukuro (Japanese Traditional Cloth Bag)

Size (when opened): about 51cm (l) about 51cm (w)

Today’s project is an Azuma Bukuro, a Japanese traditional cloth bag. It is made using a sheen natural linen fabric with a color pearl print treatment. A popular blogger and handcraft artist, Yuki Inomata is the creator.

Design & work: Yuki Inomata

Fabric shown for this sample:
 :TSUMIKI PG101-1(A)(D)

□ Fabric
(Outer fabric A): 80cm×40cm
(Outer fabric B): 80cm×40cm
□ Leather (Embellishment): 10cm×10cm
□ Double sided rivets: One pair (0.7cm diameter)


We interviewed Yuki about her creation:
Kokka Fabric (KF): What did you think of the fabric you used for this project?
When I first saw the fabric, I immediately thought of making an item with a sharp form, utilizing the fabric’s design. However, the moment I touched the fabric, my direction changed. An Azuma Bukuro came to my mind so that I can make full use of the relaxed feel of this 100% linen fabric. The texture of linen gets better and better as it goes through washing. The longer you use it, and the more you wash it, you will start to love the feel of it. So this bag is perfect.

KF: Can you tell us any special elements or ideas that you incorporated into this creation?
An Azuma Bukuro has a simple design. It can be created from a single Tenugui (a rectangular Japanese washcloth) using hand stitches and is ecological and reusable. I arranged it to combine two monotone pieces so that I can maximize the fabric’s design. You could make it reversible with two layers. For this, I use a single layer to take advantage of the linen’s characteristics. When folded, it becomes compact and fits in your purse. It is both convenient and stylish.

KF: What are some tips for making this bag?
I am introducing the combination of black and white fabrics this time, and of course you can use a single color. The method to cleanly finish the seam is also featured. Whatever the fabric, you can make this bag with a length and width ratio of 1:3. You can arrange the shape by reducing or widening the bottom width. I hope you will try the project as it takes only about an hour to make.

KF: Thank you very much, Yuki! Here are sewing instructions along with step by step photos from her. Enjoy crafting!

Instruction for Azuma Bukuro

Cut the fabrics.

Put together the two fabrics following the seam line.

Serge or finish with zigzag stitches where it is pieced together. Spread the fabrics.

Double-fold the seam on both sides and sew.

Fold a third of the fabric, matching top edges. Sew the top edge with 2cm seam.

Next, fold the other side, matching the bottom edge. When sewing the bottom, make sure to adjust the fabric sewn in Step 5, not to accidentally sew them together.

Open the bag. The stitch line created from Step 3 will now become the bottom stitch line. Finish the seam from Steps 5 and 6. As shown, cut off 1cm of the 2cm seam of the long side of the inside triangle.

Wrap the cut seam with longer seam and secure it using the pins.

Run stitches on the edge. The bottom is difficult to sew and it is ok to leave about 2cm of the end unsewn.

Repeat the process on the other side.

When opened, the corner cleanly matches. Finished!

Click here for Sewing Instructions (PDF format / A4 size)