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?
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!
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!
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.
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.
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)
Stitch along the top, just short of 1″ from the edge, finishing the pocket opening.
Then, as shown above, attach a small rectangle of velcro to the pocket piece.
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.
Edgestitch along the pocket edge, securing it in place.
Now let’s create our tube. Fold your body piece lengthwise, right sides together. Pin and sew along the edge.
Next press this seam open!
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.
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.
Above is what it looks like once you sew that edge and turn everything right side out.
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.
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.
We’re almost finished! Fold your top edge in 1″ (2.5cm), and press. We’ll be creating a channel for our drawstring.
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.
Now we can stitch along the top edge, creating our channel for the drawstring.
And finally, we can feed the drawstring through!
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?