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!


  1. Hi there,
    I love your bag. Can I know whats the finish measurements of the bag please? Thanks heaps. I now walk to my pilates class & would love to make a bag for my mat.
    Karen(from Australia)

  2. Awesome bag, awesome tutorial!

  3. Getting back into sewing with this project after many years. Does it make any sense to install zipper,then handles then the circle ends? Seems like then I could get zipper in neatly.

  4. I just got done making your bag and for the most part, your tutorial was very easy to follow. However, your directions assume the person making the bag has some type of sewing expertise. A beginner would have difficulty putting in the zipper. I have been sewing for 39 years and I found it difficult to put in the zipper. I basted the zipper into the lining first, which I think is easier than the directions you provided. Also, your instructions did not indicate to leave a gap to accommodate for the zipper teeth when the ends were sewn on. This caused some puckering. As far as the zipper being too long, all you need to do is secure the zipper teeth together by zigzagging over it using a darning stitch and sealing the stitching with Fray Check. You can then easily cut off the excess zipper. Overall, I really enjoyed making your pattern. Thanks for your contribution.

  5. What are the final dimensions of this bag? I really like it especially with the zipper but I want to make it a bit bigger to put a yoga towel, blocks, etc. Otherwise this is EXACTLY what I am looking for!

    1. Did you ever do this??? That is what I have in mind, and don't see a lot of options.

  6. Google the Amy Butler yoga mat pattern; all dimensions are there

  7. Absolutely love that yoga bag! Where do you find these?!

  8. Thank you for a very clear tutorial! I just finished making this bag as my most ambitious sewing project so far (moving on from pillow cases! yay!) and it turned out GREAT! I kind of handled the little annoying details about putting on a zipper on my own, but definitely it's best if you've had experience sewing zippers before (like on pillow cases...) And of course the pictures would be clearer if the patterns weren't so busy and similar, but overall it's an easy tutorial to follow and an awesome bag in the end. Thanks again!

  9. I am just finishing up this bag. I went with a black and white outside and pink inside, looks amazing. I read through the instructions a few times before working on it and didn't have a problem with it. I even added embroidery to mine for some added personality :-) I will probably remake in a few colors to have on hand for friend's bdays

  10. Hey! Love your blog! The photos are fantastic! I really needed this post! Step by step and instructions were spot on! Thanks so much!!
    Peace n' Løve,

  11. I just finished and love it!! I read the comments before starting so was prepared for the possible tricky zipper and it wasn't too bad however the trick I used was called "Wonder Tape" which is a great product worth buying for installing zippers!! I used it the full length of the zipper both sides from and back and it alleviated the need for pinning the zipper which can cause puckering. The only tricky part was sewing in the end with the zipper head on it but slow and stead with a little finesse will get it done!! But for sure get Wonder Tape- its a game changer!!! Oh and I added a hidden "Welt Zipper Pocket" within one of the interior pockets for money, keys. I made it within the interior pocket so that the zipper was hidden as not to rub on my yoga mat to cause wear over time! I added my Welt Zipper in at Step 5B- before you pin the pocket down but once you have your pocket set in place I then chose the pocket to put my hidden zipper pocket within. For details on how to make a Welt Zipper Pocket I used this great tutorial and just made sure the zipper size would fit within the pocket already planned for in the Yoga Mat Bag! Great Yoga Mat Bag Tutorial Thanks!!!

    Welt Zipper Tutorial

  12. For those of you who want to make a bigger bag. These are the dimensions that I came up with. The diameter of the circle will 16". If you roll a 1/2" mat and 1/4"mat together like I have, it measures 10" in diameter. I also increased the size of the rectangles to 28"x 29" for the exterior main panel. Exterior pocket 28"x 12". Exterior pocket lining
    28" x 13". Interior pocket for pocket and lining (2) 11" x 20". The straps stay the same at 18"x 8" and 24" x 8". I have not sewn this yet, but I will use wonder tape. I plan to sew the zipper in first. My bag will have lining with zipper between the exterior and interior. The only change will be that I will serge the two ends instead of how she lines her bag. The straps will be the same.

    1. Heads up> If you want a blanket and a yoga block to fit inside also increased the length to 36 ".

    2. Changes: Width is 44", length is 29". Diameter is 15". I did use a parka zipper and I have to secure end better but I did cut it off. This bag is generous. It will fit both of my mats and a blanket and the block. I did make a closed pocket with velcro tape closure. For help with the zipper, sailrite has excellent youtube video for installation of zippers.

    3. This is an excellent guideline for making a yoga bag. I did some changes in installing a zipper. I serge the lining and the exterior together and then put the zipper in. I cut the parka zipper so that it wasn't stuffed into the lining and exterior. So many great ideas that helped me put this together. Thank You all

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