DIY Yoga Mat Bag (with step-by-step instructions!)

When I moved to Vancouver 4 years ago, I caught the yoga bug. I used to be of the “sign up for a yoga class, and then go for ice cream instead!” camp. Oh the shame! But this city really makes it easy to get hooked on yoga.

I’ve spent years carrying my mat under my arm, because I was too stubborn and cheap to spend serious dough on a decent bag. But the other day I decided – I am a grown adult yogi woman, and I deserve a lovely bag for my much-loved mat. So, why not make one?

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I went with a striped linen from my stash, and I didn’t want to buy any extra supplies like strapping or piping. So I decided to go with a simple design, with all the bells and whistles made out of the same fabric. The top end closes with a draw string, and there is a handy pocket for my cell phone, keys, and cards. The strap is even long enough so I can wear it across my body if I want to. I’m really happy with the final result!

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So, would you guys like to know how I did it? I put together some instructions, so you can make your own yoga mat bag, if you’d like!

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Okay, first we need to cut our pieces out. I marked the measurements in the photo above, but here they are again with metric conversions:

Body: 30″ X 18″ (76cm X 46cm)

End: Draft a circle with a radius of 3½” (9cm)

Pocket: 8″ X 6″  (20cm X 15cm)

Strap: 40″ X 5″ (102cm X 13cm)

Drawstring cord: 31″ X 1½” (79cm X 4cm)

You’ll also need a small rectangle of sew-in velcro, just an inch or so long.

Note: Seam allowance is 5/8″ (1.5cm) unless otherwise indicated below.

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First finish the edges of the body, end piece, and pocket. I used my serger to do this, but you could easily just zig-zag or pink the edges.

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Next, we need to prep the pocket piece. I like to sew the corners of the pocket so that there’s a clean finish. I demonstrate this method in the Belcarra sew-along, here. I turned the top edge under 1″ (2.5cm), and the other edges under 5/8″ (1.5cm)

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Stitch along the top, just short of 1″ from the edge, finishing the pocket opening.

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Then, as shown above, attach a small rectangle of velcro to the pocket piece.

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Now we can pin the pocket to the body of the bag. I wanted my pocket exactly centered. Since I was working with linen, all I had to do was fold long-edge to long-edge, pressing the fold with my fingers, and then do the same thing in the other direction, short-edge to short-edge. This created fold lines that intersected in the center! You could also find and mark your center with a ruler and chalk.

Next pin the pocket in place, but leave the top end unpinned. Before sewing the pocket on, we need to attach our other rectangle of velcro. Pin it in place so it will match with the pocket, and stitch it down.

Then you can finish pinning the pocket.

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Edgestitch along the pocket edge, securing it in place.

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Now let’s create our tube. Fold your body piece lengthwise, right sides together. Pin and sew along the edge.

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Next press this seam open!

yoga-bag-13 So now we can create our drawstring cord, and our strap.

For the strap, I just folded the strap piece lengthwise, right sides together, pinning along the raw edges together. Sew along this edge, and then turn right side out. Just give it a press, and voila!

For the drawstring cord, I used the same method as the straps in the Saltspring dress sew-along, here.

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Next, pin the end (circle) piece to the bottom edge of the tube. You’ll also want to sandwich one end of your strap piece in this seam. Line up the strap with the seam in the tube, so the strap is on the back of the bag, and the pocket on the front.

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Above is what it looks like once you sew that edge and turn everything right side out.

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Next, let’s secure the other end of the strap in place. Fold the raw edge of the strap under, and then pin it in place, about 6 inches from the top of the tube.

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Secure it in place, sewing in a rectangle shape, enclosing the raw edge. Then sew a criss-cross shape across the rectangle for extra strength.

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We’re almost finished! Fold your top edge in 1″ (2.5cm), and press. We’ll be creating a channel for our drawstring.

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Before we sew this edge down, we need to sew a couple of button holes inside the pressed edge. This will create slits to feed the cord through. My buttonholes are around ¾” (2cm) long. Sew the buttonholes on either side of the seam, so that you have the extra stability of the double layer of fabric.

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Now we can stitch along the top edge, creating our channel for the drawstring.

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And finally, we can feed the drawstring through!

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All finished! This project only took me a couple of hours and I love final result. The linen is durable and easy to wash, and it’s not your typical solid nylon or printed bag that you can find in the shops these days.

Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from sewing garments and tackle an easy, functional project. What do you guys think? Would you give this project a try?

Happy sewing!

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37 Responses to DIY Yoga Mat Bag (with step-by-step instructions!)

  1. Agneta August 13, 2014 at 6:09 am #

    We totally need more YOGA! With all the work infront of the sewing machine who doesn’t need feel the aches and pains in back and shoulders after a while? We definitely need to stretch out. Yin yoga for the back is better than any ice cream. :D

    Namasté ;)

    • Jermaine January 27, 2015 at 8:38 pm #

      I made this back today using your tutorial. For some reason the bottom was too large. I made it the 3.5 radius and it was a little too large, so I had to fold it a bit on the bottom, but that’s okay. (I was afraid to cut the diameter down in case I cut it too small. Other than that the back is great. I decided to do the body in a gray and the drawstring, pocket and strap in a aqua. Great tutorial. I would definitely make another one, but this one will probably last me a long time 8).

    • Mary September 19, 2015 at 4:25 pm #

      I love my bag, but I too had a problem fitting the bottom circle to the tube. I sewed 2 lines of gathering on the circle and eased it into the tube. The second bag I made I cut the tube piece 1″ larger, 30×19. This solved the problem!

  2. Dani August 13, 2014 at 7:01 am #

    This is inspiring! Great tutorial. I normally just do yoga in my apartment, but I might have to get my butt out to a class if I make one of these. :)

  3. Violeta August 13, 2014 at 7:22 am #

    Your yoga bag is so cute! Linen seems like a very nice choice.

  4. Amy August 13, 2014 at 7:47 am #

    I just bought a yoga mat so I totally should make one of these. And actually go to a yoga class……

  5. Annette August 13, 2014 at 8:43 am #

    I have a Yoga Mat just crying out for something like this bag. TFS!

  6. Carolyn August 13, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    I love your bag, Caroline! I agree that the striped linen is a really nice touch. Thanks for sharing such a functional project. This makes me want to get back to yoga ASAP! :)

  7. Vanessa August 13, 2014 at 10:28 am #

    Oooh! Thank you for the tutorial. I will absolutely make one of these. I’m taking my first yoga class this fall that doesn’t provide mats.

  8. Jill August 13, 2014 at 11:14 am #

    Great tutorial, will definitely give this a go! I’m tired of walking to classes with my mat stuffed under my arm and threatening to unroll in the street at any second :-) Thanks!!

  9. Maaike August 13, 2014 at 11:26 am #

    Yay! Just what I needed for my poor abused yoga mat! Also, what a great gift idea!!! Thanks, Caroline:):)

  10. Miss Crayola Creepy August 13, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

    I WANT TO MAKE THIS!!!!!! Such a cool idea, Caroline!!!

  11. Janet August 13, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

    Thank you so much! Great post.

  12. Amy August 13, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

    These are so awesome to sew, so easy. I made one for myself 2 years ago; made it longer to carry my strap and block. Then my daughter saw it and begged for one too. So nice to choose Zen material to suit your personality. Fun!

  13. Michelle August 13, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

    I made one last week. Thanks for the tutorial. It would have made life easier! I added a contrasting band at the top & bottom. It was a fun make.

    https://createquiltsew.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/yoga-bag/

  14. crab&bee August 13, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

    I really need to do this, too! Thanks for the tutorial.

  15. Summerflies August 13, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

    I just made a yoga mat bag for my niece (which she loves). Pretty much the same but I use elastic in the casing instead of a drawstring. I prefer it to drawstrings which I find a bit fidgety. I didn’t think of a pocket though… that’s a great idea and when she’s back from working in Japan I might add one for her.

  16. Innergy Corporate Yoga August 14, 2014 at 9:38 am #

    What a great idea. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Suz August 15, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    Brilliant! I absolutely love yoga and attend classes around 3 times a week. I have a good strap for my mat but I’ve been meaning to do this for a while to keep it clean and in good condition more than anything else. Great tutorial. Thanks!

  18. patrick August 17, 2014 at 5:44 am #

    For anyone who daily commutes to yoga class must have a yoga mat. This post is just amazing. Your sewing techniques are really unique and innovative. And, I just loved the pocket concept. I would be pleased to try this mat once. Everything including cloth, design and stitching are matchless. Yoga Mad is known to provide qualitative yoga products.

  19. Paa Fleck January 9, 2015 at 6:46 am #

    Oh, this is so inspiring and cute! I like yoga, and now I can have my own bag.

    I usually just read your website, buy today I had to post something. Your knowledge through here is awesome and my favorite, too. Thank you!!

    (I’m sorry about the poor english, I’m from Brazil.)

  20. Megan January 10, 2015 at 9:42 pm #

    Thank you for this awesome pattern Caroline! I have a Lululemon mat but found my mat was so grippy i couldn’t get the mat into the bag :( not sure if anyone else has had the same problem or if it was the material i used. It was fun to sew though, good for me as a beginner sewer!

  21. geeta January 12, 2015 at 3:43 am #

    I made a yoga mat bag following your instructions. Very detailed instructions. Came out perfect. Thanks a bunch!! :)

  22. Kim January 14, 2015 at 1:27 pm #

    Oh my goodness! So flipping easy. From start to finish it took me about an hour, that was with my 4-year-old & 1-year-old helping me with ribbon. I wish I could post a picture. It’s too freaking cute! The is a very easy sewing project for anyone. Thanks!

  23. Amy April 26, 2015 at 4:41 pm #

    This was so much eaiser to make than I thought I was going to be! Fits my mat perfectly and is comfy to wear when I bike to class. Thank you :)

  24. Amy May 7, 2015 at 6:44 am #

    Saw a DIY bag on the free people blog and decided to give it a go. theirs was a bit more novice (didn’t have the circle bottom), so i searched google and found your post immediately. And so glad i did! I couldn’t be happier with the way this turned out for me. Like others, I had trouble with the bottom circle at 3.5 radius being too big and it’s a little tight on my sticky mat so maybe increase your tube circumference ..but either way, so in love with it. thanks for posting this!!

    • Jayne Reed July 8, 2016 at 2:54 pm #

      My mat’s a little thick, too, and I ended up trimming the circle bottom down. Somebody else’s mat slid in there perfectly, though.

  25. Lindsay June 6, 2015 at 5:00 pm #

    thanks!!

  26. Cat June 26, 2015 at 1:28 am #

    Thanks so much for this! I have to get my lazy bones to set up the sewing machine and attempt this now…

  27. Conny June 30, 2015 at 2:16 pm #

    Thanks for that tutorial! I made a bag by using an old table cloth and to give it more “strength” I used an old towel for the inner part…. Now my only problem is that the mat doesn’t really slip into the bag (I guess the towel and the mat material are not really compatible…) Do you have any suggestion how to solve it? Open all the seams and add another piece of fabric? Or put something on the towel to make it more “slippery”? :)

  28. Paula January 13, 2016 at 11:06 am #

    Thanks for this! I made my yoga mat bag from old pair of jeans and these instructions saved my time. Without i would have scratched my head and lost nerves. The outcome is perfect!

  29. Jayne Reed July 8, 2016 at 2:51 pm #

    I’m an older lady who made this in the senior center sewing room from some donated quilted upholstery fabric. I just followed the instructions on my new smart phone — it looks fabulous! Also, it takes relatively little fabric and very little time.

    (The fabric is too thick to make a cord, so I’m just going to see what they have for cord at the center.)

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