A Japanese Bag Perfect for Gift Giving

Gifts and their packages are important in Japan. For years I’ve used square cloths called furoshiki with the corners tied like a hobo’s bag. I have several from pretty small (10” square) to huge ones about a yard square.  One day two Japanese textile friends met me in my Tokyo hotel room, and we exchanged gifts of course.

Nice cloth or paper is also important. This trip to Japan I remembered that paying for anything and everything will take time and patience. The fabric here is the silk lining of a kimono that one of my friends took apart.

Here is the shape of the finished bag. I often saw them in the shops with the “handles” all tied up and had thought they were made with square fabric like I was used to. So, this shape intrigued me. The ends would be tied in a knot providing handles for the bag.

We spent a good bit of time tearing up paper to get the right starting shape and proportion. The length should be 4 times the width. The creases in the paper show where it should be folded.

Here is the finished sample.

Afterwards we had a soba noodle lunch in the hotel’s Japanese restaurant looking out at a lovely garden.

8 thoughts on “A Japanese Bag Perfect for Gift Giving”

  1. Flax and Twine is a young entrepreneur that sells designs in knitting and crocheting for this bag. She calls it a Bento Bag. It is a lovely shape and can be used with and without handles. Interesting that you worked it out on paper (which i did also before I purchased her patterns). I enjoy following your travels and discoveries.

  2. Are you sure it is *4* times the width? I tried folding the paper up like you did and it seems to be 3 times the width.

    Love the design!

    • I’ve made directions for the next post with 4 times the width. If you were succesful with 3 times, great but it is pretty complicated with 4.

  3. Could you create an actual pattern for the Japanese bag? It’s a time for wrapping things and I have more fabric than wrapping papers.


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