20 Beautiful Projects to Sew with Japanese-Inspired Flair

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We all love the beautiful bags, quilts, and embroidery projects made in Japan! The Japanese fabric company Lecien gave me permission to share a few of their patterns here on the SewCanShe blog. In addition to those, I’ve gathered up more free sewing patterns inspired by Japanese handiwork. Learn how to make bags, pouches, and home items of your own that are inspired by beautiful items from Japan.

Zola Pen Case

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My version of this Japanese pen case is so much fun. I gave myself the chance to use a bunch of different fabrics by adding a bound zipper that makes a cute snappy handle – it’s the cutest little case in the house. Well, they all are – and they are great for lots more than pens!

Easy Fold-Over Messenger Bag

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Lecien Fabrics allowed me to create a detailed tutorial using their diagram for this messenger tote bag. This bag has no interfacing, making it perfect for heavier fabrics like canvas, sateen, and other home decor-weight fabrics. There’s also an option to make 2 smaller messenger bags from 1 yard.

One Yard Magic Hobo Bag

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All you need to make this bag is 1 yard and 1 hour, and you’ll be done. I promise! Perfect for beginners, this bag also has no interfacing and works beautifully for thicker fabrics like canvas, sateen, and other home decor-weight fabrics. Make sure you check out the 1 Yard Magic Hobo Bag, which is another tutorial that I wrote in collaboration with Lecien.

Shibori Dyed Fabric Napkins

Photo credit: Alice & Lois

Shibori is a traditional dying technique from Japan. Learn how to do simple Shibori dying in a free tutorial from Alice and Lois.

Japanese Style Square Drawstring Bag

Photo credit: Sum of Their Stories

These bags have a lovely fat shape and can be decorated any way you like. The free tutorial shares a simple Boro style that uses small pieces of scrap fabric and just a couple of very easy hand stitches. You can, of course, skip the embellishment step and just make a sweet square komebukuro bag from a beautiful fabric you’d like to showcase.

Origami-Inspired Fold Up Baskets

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Sew clever storage baskets to organize every thing in your home! These fold up baskets were inspired by Origami!

1 Yard Magic Apron Pattern

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The One Yard Magic Apron Pattern is another tutorial that I developed in collaboration with the Japanese fabric company Lecien. It is so easy!

Japanese Style Fabric Gift Wrapping

Photo credit: Cucicucicoo

Once you prepare a few squares and learn a few easy furoshiki wrapping techniques, you can wrap gifts that are truly beautiful with minimal effort. Learn to make Furoshiki: Japanese reusable fabric gift wrap.

Japanese Style Square Bag with Quilting Cotton

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This Japanese-inspired design is perfect for a beginner – the shape is made with some easy darts sewn into the side of the bag. This free sewing pattern includes instructions for making two different sizes so you’ll have the perfect size bags for yourself or to give as a gift.

Easy Japanese Knot Style Bag Pattern

Photo credit: Sum of Their Stories

Learn to sew a simple version of the traditional Japanese knot-style bag. This lovely bag shown has patchwork, but the pattern can be made with a single fabric as well.

Ninja Stars Quilt

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Here’s the bold and modern star quilt pattern you’ve been looking for! It’s perfect for that hard-to-sew-for person on your list. The Ninja Stars Quilt Pattern has 2 different sizes: full and twin XL.

The Pochi Zippered Pouch

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Pochi means ‘pouch’ in Japanese. Learn how to make a simple zipper pouch with a sweet clamshell shape with this free pouch pattern.

Patchwork Style Pochi Pouch

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Another cute variation is using a leftover quilt block to make a patchwork Pochi Pouch.

DIY Jewelry Bag

Photo credit: The Sewing Loft

Whether you are new to sewing or just getting back into it after a long break, this easy-to-make drawstring bag is the perfect project. The simple bag tutorial requires no special pattern or rulers and can be made with your favorite fat quarters.

Japanese-Style Drawstring Bag with a Handle

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This Japanese-style tote is another fabulous drawstring bag. Patchwork and pockets make each side stylish and functional. It might be even cuter uncinched than when it’s cinched. You decide.

Sashiko Stitched Patches

Photo credit: Swoodson Says

Sashiko is a traditional Japanese sewing technique that has been used for utilitarian purposes as well as decorative embroidery. With fabric scraps, a needle, and thread, you can make adorable fabric patches to mend holes in jeans or just for decoration! Learn how to make Sashiko patches from Swoodson Says.

One Yard Bag and Apron Pattern

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Or learn how to make a half-apron and a sweet tote bag from a yard of fabric. It’s another fabulous idea from our friends at Lecien!

Pretty Drawstring Pouch Pattern

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These sweet pouches are so handy and pretty—the essence of ‘Zakka’, a Japanese design aesthetic that combines usefulness with beauty. I love the style!

Pleated Lampshade

Photo credit: thehousethatlarsbuilt.com

Learn how to make a gorgeous origami-inspired pleated lampshade out of your favorite fabric.

Japanese Style Bag Handles

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Let me show you how to sew easy Japanese inspired bag handles for any bag. This includes the one in the picture above (made from a yard of fabric) or my pretty boxy zipper bag pattern.

More from SewCanShe:

Photo credit: finchfocus / Shutterstock.com

27 Free Bag Patterns You Can Sew with Just 1 Yard of Fabric!

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25 Beautiful and Free 3 Yard Quilt Patterns

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Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂