If you do yoga or pilates, you'll most likely have a mat to do your exercises on. When taking them to class, they need to be carried in a special bag, but I have found that the ones available in shops are pretty awkward to use. The fit is too tight; roll your mat too loosely and it won't go in. Even when it is wrapped as tightly as possible, it is still a squeeze. If you have a towel or something that you also want to take with you, forget trying to put it in with your mat; there's simply no room.
So if you like a bit of sewing, why not make your own? You can personalise your own bag with your choice of colours and fabrics.
Art and Craft Supplies
Approximately 100cm x 100cm Fabric
Sewing Machine (optional)
Cotton of Polyester Thread
Side plate (or other circular object)
Iron & Ironing Board
1. Iron out your fabric, then lay it out flat.
2. Cut out a piece100cm x 65cm for the main body of the bag.
3. Cut out a piece 100cm x 13cm and 50cm x 13cm for the straps.
4. Cut out piece 2 x 50-55cm x 8cm for drawstring.
5. Using a plate as a template, cut out a circle 25-30cm in diameter for the base.
6. Right sides together, sew the main body of the bag from one end up to 75cm, and then press the seams open.
7. Turn under the edge of the remaining 25cm of fabric to form a 'V' shape. Press stitch along the edge of the folds. Press stitch along the edge of the folds and reinforce the base of the 'V' with a horizontal line of stitching just beneath it. Press.
8. Turn under the edges of the top of the main body. Press stitch along the edge of the fold. Fold over the newly created edge so that it is at least 5cm deep to create a covering for the drawstring, and press it down.
9. Right sides together, sew the two pieces of the shoulder straps together. Press the seam so that it runs along the spine of the material. Sew one of the open ends. Turning the tube right way out, insert the sewn end into the open end about 5cm, sew into place, and then iron out.
10. Starting from just below the 'V', sew either end of the strap to the top and bottom of the bag, so that it is at a comfortable length to carry over your shoulder.
12. Turn the bag inside out, and start sewing the base, taking out the pins as you go. Once finished, turn the bag back to the right way out.
14. Right sides together, sew the two pieces of the drawstring together. Sew both of the open ends to give one long drawstring.
15. Thread the drawstring through the bag at the top. Tie the ends off.
16. Enjoy your new bag.
When choosing your material, be aware of how thick is. You need something strong enough to support the weight of your mat, but also something that isn't going too stiff to get mould into the correct shape. Remember you also have to be able to poke a needle through it. A light/medium weight fabric such as cotton, linen, or a synthetic is best.
Pressing the material as you go makes it easier to work with, and avoids creases. A steam iron is best, but if you don't have one, press a standard iron over the material with a damp cloth.
When threading the drawstring, it is easier to pull through by attaching a large safety pin to one end.
When attaching the base to the bag, you will need to ease and gather the material. This can be done by using straight pins to hold the layers together.
When making the seams, remember that 15mm is the standard width. If you are using a sewing machine, the width will probably be etched on the plate as a guideline. If sewing by hand, using pins can help keep the material in place while working, so it does not slip.