I have been try to make myself a nice yoga mat bag since I began sewing. I don’t want to buy one as they fall within my personal classification of ‘things I can’t buy because I could make them myself’ (this also includes hats, scarves, most knitwear…). I’ve had a few attempts so far and now I am on version three. The first two where functional but they still looked pretty flimsy and home-made. I wanted to have another go as version two was starting to look tatty and also the strap was too long to be able to cycle with.
So I didn’t worry too much about bodging it up I used fabric I already had; a blue and white stripy cotton and a grey wool. While they aren’t natural bedfellows I rather like them together. I think it looks a bit 80s somehow but that doesn’t put me off
To combat the flimsy issue I used the grey wool as a lining and contrast colour for the strap, top and pocket. This was mainly because I didn’t have enough of the stripy fabric to do it the other way around!
I cut out two big rectangles of each fabric (75cm x 50 cm stripy and 80 x 50cm for the grey in case you’re interested) and then turned over the tops and hemmed them. Then I sewed the rectangles along the sides and bottom (right side to right side), cut the corners, pinked the edges (because I am lazy), pressed and turned the right way out.
Next, I hemmed the side of the draw string top, turned over the top and sewed that down right on the edge. Then I cut out the pocket (I was feeling a bit slap dash at this point so can’t offer you any measurements and I suspect it isn’t strictly square) and then hemmed along the top, ironed the sides under (again in a slightly slap dash way without my tape measure). I got to use my automatic button-hole foot for the button holes (which I love and is my favourite thing about my sewing machine) and then I sewed it on to the main bag.
I cut out the fabric for the strap (12cm x 148 cm) ironed it in half, unfolded it, folded each side into the middle and ironed and then folded the whole thing in half and ironed again (if that makes sense?). I sewed it up along the side. This time I made sure that the strap was short enough that it would fit nice and snuggly across my body and won’t shift around when I’m wearing it on my bike.
To finish it off I threaded the strap through (using the safety-pin on the end trick my mum showed me many moons ago), sewed it to the bottom of the bag, sewed up the bottom and the sides on the wrong side and sewed on the buttons. Finally I excitedly waved it under the nose of my boyfriend in triumph, luckily he is very skilled at feigning interest in things I have made. 🙂
I’m pretty pleased with it and will definitely be taking it on my bike to yoga next time I go. However there are a few extra modifications I would make:
- Sewing on the buttons before I sew up the bag. It’s a right pain to try to sew them on the final bag.
- Allow a double seam allowance so that there is allowance left for sewing up at the end. This time around I had to sew right along the edge. We will see if that makes it all fall apart really quickly.
- Make a smaller pocket (and measure it probably). I think the pocket overwhelms the bag a bit and it would look better smaller. As I’m not entirely sure what I plan to put in the pocket anyway this shouldn’t be a problem.
- Use thinner fabrics. I had real problems convincing my sewing machine to sew through the straps and the sides of the bag. It wasn’t happy at all…..
- Buy new thread which is a good colour match rather using thread I have hanging about which you can kind of see….
- Try and make the strap stretchy (not sure how I plan on doing that yet).