Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Lined Yoga Mat Bag

I have wanted a yoga bag for as long as I can remember.  I am always walking in to yoga class with an unrolled mat, a towel hanging off one arm, keys dangling.  In short: a hot mess.  No more.  The fabric I chose for this yoga bag was an impulse buy without a purpose.  Those of you who are fabric lovers will know what I mean.  I used it earlier in the year to make a skirt and thought it would be the perfect fit for this bag.  The only problem was that it wasn't as thick/rigid as I would like for a bag, so I added a stabilizer and it worked like a charm.  Here's how:

First, I collected supplies.  You will need:
- Fabric for the outside of your bag (you will want to measure the width of the mat in order to determine how many yards
- The same amount of fabric for the liner - I just used a really thick clothing liner in black for this
- Stabalizer (This is optional, but helps if your fabric isn't very stiff)
- I bought black strap material for my straps
- Thread to match your fabric
- a zipper - it needs to be as long as your mat is wide
- cording
- premade binding - in a color to match your bag fabric
 You need to start by measuring your mat.  Measure both the width of the mat and then the circumference of the mat once it is rolled.  This will give the length and width you will need to cut for your bag.  I added a couple of inches on to each, because I do hot yoga and wanted to bring a towel with me and be able to easily get my thick LuLuLemon matt in and out.

 Next, you will need to cut a rectangle using the measurements above, plus two inches (to account for the zipper being added) out of your liner and outer fabric and a rectangle that are the measurements above out of the pellon stabilizer.  In this way, you will have a liner and outer fabric that are just a tad wider, but the same length as the stabilizer.

 Next I prepared my cording.  I used black pre-made binding.  This will need to be the same length as the shorter side of your rectangle.  You will need two of these - one for each end of your bag.
 First, you want to open up the binding.  Leave a little bit of cording stick out of the end.  Push the cording in between the sides of the binding and pin it in place carefully.  Next, sew as closely as possible to where the cord is in the binding.

 I wanted to add a pocket in the lining of my bag for my keys, so I cut a small rectangle - the size is completely up to you and used snaps to secure it (this is optional and not necessary).
 For the ends of the bag, I used a circumference tool online to determine the side of a circle I would need on each end.  I drew this by hand and cut it out of the liner material, outer material and stabilizer.
 The first thing I did was to iron the edges of my pocket down.  I folded them about a 1/4" and then pressed,  I measured to the middle of the rectangle and lined the pocket up there.  I just kind of eyeballed how far from the top edge it was.  Then, I sewed that pocket in place.
Next you want to iron the stabilizer to the outer fabric - the stabilizer will have directions, but basically you line them up and then you want the side with the glue on it touching the back side of the fabric.  For this project, I left 1" on the two longer edges of the outer edges where there was no stabilizer - later this will make it much easier to insert the zipper. Then, you iron - the amounts of time differ by stabilizer brand.  I did this for the circles at each end as well.
 After the stabilizer is secured, I added the straps.  I measured these just by putting them over my shoulder and seeing where I wanted the bag to fall.  I measure in about 10" and started to pin the strap down.  I only cut one very long piece.  I stopped pinning about 1" from the top (the same place that there was no stabilizer), because you will want this fabric later when you insert the zipper.  I carefully looped the strap around and then pinned it 10" from the other edge of the rectangle.
 I just continued to loop the strap around to the other side and then measured 10" from each edge again and made certain to leave 1" at the top.  I looped it again - with the same amount of strap as on the other, pinned again and then trimmed the strap where it met with where I started on the other side.
 Next, I sewed the strap in place.  Remember not to sew the 1" near the top.  I used a zig zag stitch where the two strap ends met.

I also reinforced the straps by stitching a square with an X through it four times where the strap was last attached to the bag in each place.  When you are done sewing the straps in place it should look like this:
 All of these seams will be hidden by adding the lining, which is the next step.  Place the lining with the pocket-side up, on top of the outer fabric with the stabilizer and straps.  Next, fold the lining and outer fabric 1" and then pin it carefully in place, making certain not to pin the straps on each of the long sides of the rectangle.  Sew each edge in this way.

 Next, insert your zipper, you can just follow the directions on the package.
 It is easier to do this part when the zipper is partially open.  I found this part to be the most challenging.  You need to pin the cording in between the rectangles and circles, and pin the lining for the circles as well.  For the cording, you want the cord as close to the seam possible and you just leave a small bit hanging out and then sew over it on both ends.  Pin this very carefully and sew it equally as carefully.
 I carefully trimmed any excess after this, just to make the seams clean.
 Then, turn everything right-side-out and you are done.  Enjoy your custom yoga mat bag!

1 comment:

  1. This is so clever....maybe once I'm actually exercising again, I'll make one. I've never had a mat bag either!