Saturday, February 9, 2013

Yoga Bag - A Tutorial!

Sorry it's taken me so long to get this pattern posted...but I promise, it's worth the wait :)  I started going to yoga a month ago and immediately fell in love with it!  I've never been a big fan of working out, but this basic yoga class has been a great way for me to de-stress and get my brain to slow down a few times a week.

So, what would any new hobby/passion be without a little bit of crafting to compliment it?  Hence, the yoga mat bag. 

I found an awesome yoga mat bag on Amy Butler's website.  I'm an Amy Butler addict - I use her fabric more than any other and love the way she mixing patterns and colors.  I loved the pattern but it was pretty simple - I wanted more pockets, everything to be fully lined (including my pockets) and I wanted a bag that zipped open along the length of the mat.  So, this pattern mixes a bit of the Amy Butler pattern with my own design. 

WARNING - this is my first in depth sewing pattern that I've written so it may not be super clear in some parts.  I've tried to take a ton of pictures and if you are really confused, shoot me an email at and I'd be happy to try to explain a bit better!


1 yd exterior fabric (54" wide mid-weight home decor fabric) - mine is the blue flower fabric (Valori Wells designer fabric)
1 yd interior fabric (44" wide light to mid-weight fabric) - mine is the pink fabric w/ teal dots (Amy Butler)
1/2 yd pocket fabric (44" wide light to mid-weight fabric) - mine is the blue tiki fabric (Amy Butler)
2 - 2" D rings (used to make the strap adjustable)
1 - 36" zipper (parka zipper)
Coordinating Thread
Amy Butler Nigella Yoga Bag Pattern (you will need the circle template from her pattern)

Other supplies:

Sewing machine
Straight pins
Yard stick/ruler

 (1) Cut out all of your fabric pieces:

From your exterior fabric:
(a) 2 circles from the Amy Butler PDF printable pattern - the printable pattern has half circles; place the flat edge of the pattern on the fold of your fabric to cut out a full circle
(b) 1 Exterior Main Panel: 19" x 28" rectangle
(c) 1 Exterior Pocket: 19" x 12" rectangle
(d) 2 Straps: 1 piece 18" x 8" rectangle; 1 piece 24" x 8" rectangle

From your interior fabric:
(a) 2 circles using your Amy Butler PDF printable pattern (same instructions from your exterior fabric circles)
(b) 1 Interior Main Panel: 19" x 28" rectangle
(c) 1 Interior Pocket Lining: 11" x 20" rectangle

From your Pocket Fabric:
(a) 1 Exterior Pocket Lining: 19" x 13" rectangle
(b) 1 Interior Pocket: 11" x 20" rectangle

(2)  Construct your straps

(a) Start with your 8" x 18" piece of fabric.  Fold one short edge under 1/2", wrong sides together, and iron it down to create a nice finished edge on one short edge of your strap.  Fold the strap in half lengthwise, wrong sides together and iron a center crease, then open up the strap.  Fold each long edge in toward the center and press. 

(b) Then fold the strap in half again at the center crease, enclosing the raw edges, and press it in place.  Top stitch 1/4" in along both long edges and along your finished short edge.

(c) Repeat steps (a) and (b) with your second piece of strap.

(d) Following the instructions on your D-Ring packaging, slide both rings onto the finished edge of your shorter strap.  Fold the finished edge of the strap over, holding the rings into place, and sew in place.

(e) Set your straps aside - you will not need them again until your bag is nearly complete.

(3) Make your exterior pocket

(a) Place the exterior pocket piece and the exterior pocket lining piece right sides together with the long sides lined up on one side (note - the lining piece is slightly larger than the exterior pocket piece, so just line up one one of the long sides).  Sew a line 1/4" in from the long side that is lined up on both pieces of fabric.

(b) Flip the two pieces so that the wrong sides are facing each other.  Line up the opposite long edge and iron in place.  There should be about 1" of your interior fabric along the finished edge (see picture.  Then sew a top stitch 1/4" from the finished, ironed edge.

(c) Line up the unfinished 19" edge along with one of the 19" edges on your exterior main panel.  Your exterior main panel fabric RIGHT side should be facing the pocket lining fabric side of your pocket piece (look at the picture for guidance).  Pin into place.

(d)  Sew 1/4" in along the bottom 19" side, sewing the bottom of your pocket panel onto your bag.  Then mark two lines, 5" in from each shorter side that go straight from the bottom of your pocket up to the top.  I marked mine using chalk.  Next sew along your marked lines straight up from the bottom edge to the top 19" edge of your pocket piece - creating 3 smaller pockets from your one large pocket.

(4) Piece together the exterior panels

(a) Fold the 28" side of your exterior main panel 1/2" under, wrong sides together and press the fabric in place.  Repeat on the other 28" side.  Where you have multiple layers of fabric with your pockets, they should all be ironed under.  Use straight pins to hold those pieces in place if needed.

(b) Attach your straps to your main panel by first folding the two 28" edges toward each other, wrong sides together.  Each side of the strap needs to be pinned right in the middle of where your two 28" edges will line up.  Look to picture to see how to pin straps.  Once pinned in place, sew onto your main panel, 1/4" from edge.

(c)  Your two exterior circles now need to be pinned and then attached to your exterior main panel.  I folded and ironed my circle into quarters and did the same technique on my exterior main panel so that I have 4 ironed creases that I know need to line up.  Sew a line 1/4" away from the edge on each of your 19" edges of your main panel.  Then clip small Vs out of the main panel edge, 1/4" apart.  Do not clip any further than your top stitch.  This will keep your fabric from bunching up or having too much excess around that curved edge.

(d) Pin your circles to the exterior main panel, lining up your folded seams, with the RIGHT sides facing together.  Once pinned into place, sew together using 1/2" seam allowance.  Repeat with one circle on each end.

(e) Once complete, turn your exterior right side out.  Set your completed exterior aside so that you can complete the interior.

(5) Create your interior pocket

(a) Line up your interior pocket and your interior pocket panel pieces, RIGHT sides together.  They are exactly the same size so line up all 4 edges.  Sew along all 4 edges with 1/2" seam allowance, leaving a 3-4" opening along one edge.  Once sewn, flip the entire thing right side out using the opening you left yourself.  Use scissors or a pencil to push out all of your corners.  Iron down all of your corners and sew a top stitch 1/4" from the edge around the entire panel.

(b) Center your pocket panel onto the right side of your interior main panel.  To find the center, I recommend folding your interior panel in half, then in half again and pressing the creases.  Do the same with your pocket piece then line up the ironed creases on both pieces.  The long pieces of your pocket should be parallel with the long pieces of your main interior panel (as shown in the picture).  Pin into place.

(c) Sew along the two shorter edges of your pocket panel then along the iron creases, attaching the pocket piece to your main interior panel and creating 4 interior pockets.

(6) Piece together the interior of your bag

(a) Repeat step 4(a) with the interior piece.

(b) Repeat steps 4(c) and (d) to piece together the remainder of your interior panel.

(7) Attach the zipper

(a) Place your completed interior into the completed exterior of your bag and line up your longer edges with the folded over seams.

(b) Your zipper will go between the exterior and interior pieces on the long edges that have been folded under.  Take your time to slowly and carefully pin your zipper between the two pieces of fabric on both sides and then sew it in place.  I recommend using a zipper foot on your machine to attach the zipper.

(c) To use the D rings on your straps, making them adjustable, place the strap WITHOUT the two D rings attached to it through both D rings.  Loop the strap over the top ring and under the back ring - pull to secure.

And yay - you're done and ready for yoga class!  Here are a few more pictures of the finished bag...

Just a few more notes on my bag.  Yes, the zipper is a bit longer than you need and I could only find one of those double zipper pulls that can zip up each side.  BUT, it works just fine and I just have excess zipper (and that second zipper pull that I never use) stuffed down in between my exterior and lining on one end of my bag so it really doesn't affect my bag at all.

Also, I have a standard size yoga mat and this bag size works great.  I'm able to easily and quickly get my mat in and out of my bag.  I created this pattern with a long opening and zipper because my yoga mat is made with natural rubber so it's extra "sticky" which is great and keeps me from sliding around on it BUT I was afraid that without a big opening it would be a huge pain to try to slide it down into a tube bag with an opening on one end.

My goal is to make a little eye pillow out of coordinating fabric...soon I hope!

Good luck and email me if you have any questions at!