Infest the Waters: A Blog About Design, Life and Making Stuff

Sewing Sunday: June Edition — Namaste!

Finished yoga mat bag

Earlier this month, I received an e-mail from my friend, Rachel, asking me if I’d be willing to make a yoga mat bag for her.  Her timing was really serendipitous, as I had been thinking about making a yoga mat bag for myself.  After receiving her e-mail, it was clear to me that I had found June’s project!  After looking at a few online, it seemed simple enough, so I figured I could take a few measurements and freewheel without a pattern.

Rachel’s only requirement was that she be able to bike with it (which was actually a requirement of mine, too), so I decided that I should use a more durable fabric, which necessitated a trip to Fabric Row.  I picked out a cheerfully patterned indoor/outdoor fabric and got enough of it to make two bags–one for her and one for me.  I started by cutting out fabric for only one bag in case I had to make any adjustments to the size or design.  If that ended up being the case, I figured I’d keep the first bag and give Rachel the improved bag.

Yoga mat bag - pinned pocketI started by sewing the strap, and then moved onto the main part of the bag.  I sewed an enclosure for the drawstring at the top of the main bag piece, and then moved onto the pocket.  I had decided that it would be great if the bag had a pocket to carry a cell phone, keys, wallet or whatever else you might need to take to your yoga class, and after debating the pros and cons of using velcro versus a zipper to make the pocket closure, I decided that a zipper would be more secure for biking.  I sewed the pocket onto the bag, and then I attached the strap to the bag and sewed up the main seam that ran the length of the bag.

Circle pattern for bottom of yoga bagThen it was time to attach the bottom to the bag.  This was the trickiest part, and it required some math on my part.  I knew what the circumference of the bag was, and I needed to cut a circle for the bottom.  From the circumference (2πr, for those of you whose middle school math is a little hazy), I backed out the radius of the circle and used a compass to draw a pattern for the circle on a piece of paper.  Using my new favorite tool, my rotary cutter, I cut out the circle, pinned it to the bottom of the bag, and sewed it on.

Bottom of yoga mat bagIt was difficult to sew the circle, and it didn’t come out quite right.  I ended up with a few puckers on the bottom of the bag.  (See photo at left.)  It wasn’t the worst thing I the world, but I thought I’d try to correct it for the second bag.  As I tried to figure out what the problem was, I realized that I hadn’t allotted for the seam.  (I am constantly doing this when I’m not using a pattern and have to calculate dimensions.  Seam allowances are going to be the death of me.)  I added to the radius what I thought was appropriate for the seam allowance based on how wide I was making my seams and cut myself another circle.  The bottom of the second bag really didn’t come out any better, though, so I’m clearly missing something here.  I will do some research, but if anyone had any bright ideas, please drop me a note.

By this point, I pretty much had a completed yoga bag.  (Ta da!)  Finished yoga mat bag

The only thing left on the bag was the drawstring.  I had some salvaged strings to use as a cord, but my attempt to find a cord lock on Fabric Row proved unsuccessful, so I thought I’d wait to put the finishing touch on the bag until I could find a cord lock.  In talking to Ben, it turned out that he had two camping chair bags (sans chairs) from which I could pilfer the drawstrings and cord locks.  Problem solved!  And with something salvaged, to boot!

I got to test-drive my new yoga mat bag yesterday at Blue Banyan Yoga (tip: Lana is an awesome yoga instructor!), and it’s great.  And now I’m so stylish when I go to yoga, too!  See for yourself below!  (Note: I hadn’t added the drawstring yet in these pictures.  Don’t judge me.)

Yoga mat bag  Over-the-shoulder yoga mat bag


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