Monday, January 17, 2011

DIY Easy Yoga Bag

After successfully completing my first yoga class, I decided to celebrate by crafting myself a much-needed yoga mat tote (because even though I scoffed at these previously, a yoga mat really truly doesn't fit well into traditional bags, and if you try to carry it in your arm it unrolls, slides out of a roll, etc. You really do need a bag). I looked online and in stores for one but nothing really struck me - not even on Etsy, which is unusual! I figured I'd make my own.

I initially went into JoAnn's looking for some owl-print material (because what could be more adorable than an owl-print yoga bag?) but the only owl prints I could find were fleece and flannel, which I passed over because both tend to attract dirt and dust, and I know my bag will be spending most of it's time on the floor. Once I had abandoned the owl concept, it took me forever to find something I liked, but I finally found some pretty green leaf-print material with sparkles. And it was 60% off. :)

I went over to find some canvas strap that would work for a handle, and debated between a linen-cream color and brown until I spied some orange canvas strap that matched my mat perfectly. I like the pop of color against the green, and I love the fact that the strap makes the bag coordinate with the mat and my new Camelbak water bottle (why is it that matching items feel more luxurious?).

I bought a yard of the material and a yard of canvas strap and brought it home to play.

Isn't the material pretty?

I started by cutting out a circle for the bottom using an old Tofutti container as a pattern (I believe it had a diameter of 4.5"). Then I measured out a rectangle of material 1" longer on both sides than my bag, and wide enough to wrap around my bag. My dad determined (via some mathematical formula that I missed, as I stuck my fingers in my ears and hummed loudly during the math) that the ideal width for this rectangle, based on my 4.5" circle, was 13 1/8" (these measurements allow for a 1/4 seam allowance).
I sewed the rectangle in half, creating a tube.

Then I sewed on the bottom circle. This is the trickiest part! If you make it past this step, you're home free. :) I marked the four corners of the circle, then the four "corners" of the tube, pinned them together, and sewed slowly. I increased my stitch length a bit the first time around, to make for easier ripping if I goofed it, but it turned out perfectly, so I went over it again with a regular stitch length.


I debated about how to finish the top... I was initially thinking a ribbon-drawstring finish, but I didn't like the idea of ribbon after seeing how "sporty" the bag looked. I ended up giving it an elasticized "cuff" on the top, loose enough so that the mat shows through a bit, but not enough that the mat would fall out if I picked it up the wrong way.
I winged it on the handles - I didn't measure, just attached them where it seemed natural and sewed over them like crazy with matching thread. :)

So pretty!

I had some material left over (really, a LOT of material!) so I made a padded sleeve for my Camelbak, and a velco strap to attach it to my new bag.

My new set! :)
Of course, now that I see how well this turned out, I'm determined to have an owl-print yoga bag. :) I checked over at to see if they had any owl material and was delighted to discover they have a whole nest full! So far I'm leaning towards one of these three: this adorable print with owls, moons, and stars (it's like a mashup of all my favorite things!); this fun black and white print with skinny owls, fat owls, stuffy owls, funny owls, etc; and this fun artsy-crafty looking owl print. Kind of leaning towards the black and white print just because it's a heavier material, but I'm thinking I could always quilt the lighter prints to make a heftier print.
Decisions, decisions...

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