How to sew a yoga mat bag: inspired by The Great British Sewing Bee

Simply Sewing how to make a yoga mat bag

In case you missed, this week was quarter-final of the Great British Sewing Bee, where the five remaining sewers battled it out (in the most polite, British way possible) over activewear. They grappled with lycra, turned ski suits into children’s jackets and got technical with yoga outfits. If you’re keen to have a go, but aren’t quite ready to get stuck in with sewing lycra yet, we’ve got the perfect project for you!

Stay stylishly serene on your way to your next stretching session with Leah Farquharson’s yoga mat bag. Our free tutorial will talk you through step by step how to make this easy sewing project.

You will need
■ Cotton fabric: 70x90cm (28x35in), for the outer bag
■ Cotton or linen fabric: 85x85cm (33x33in), for the inner bag lining
■ Iron on interfacing: 30x90cm (12x35in)
■ Velcro: 1m (40in)
■ Basic sewing kit

Notes
■ Use a 1cm (3/8in) seam allowance unless otherwise stated.
■ Download the template for the bag end with our issue 14 pattern sheets

Cutting out
From the outer fabric cut:
Bag side: 63x66cm (247/8x26in).
Bag ends: cut two circles using the template form our  issue 14 pattern sheets

From the lining fabric cut:
Bag lining side: 63x66cm (247/8x26in).
Bag lining ends: cut two circles using the bag end template.
Decorative strip: 6x66cm (21/2x26in).
Strap: cut two strips, 6x84cm (21/2x33in) each.

From the interfacing cut:
Bag ends: cut two circles using the template.
Strap: 6x84cm (21/2x33in).

Making the outer bag

Step one Press the long edges of both outer and lining bag sides under by 1cm (3/8in).

Step two Fold the decorative strip in half lengthwise, RS together and stitch. Turn rightside (RS) out. Press.

Step three Position the strip on top of the RS of one turned-under edge of the outer bag side. Pin in place and topstitch (Fig 1)

Simply Sewing how to make a yoga mat bag fig 1

Fig 1

Step four Stay stitch 5mm (1/4in) in from both short edges of the bag sides (Fig 2)

Simply Sewing how to make a yoga mat bag fig 2

Fig 2

Step five Press the interfacing to the wrong sides (WS) of both of the bag outer ends.

Step six Place the loop side of the Velcro along the turned-under long edge of the bag side without the topstitched strip. The edge of the Velcro needs to be positioned 4.5cm (17/8in) from the turned-under edge. Trim the Velcro ends to fit then pin and stitch securely around all sides of the Velcro. (Fig 3)

Simply Sewing How to make a yoga mat bag fig 3

Fig 3

Step seven Overlap the edges of the bag sides so that the topstitched strip edge meets the outside edge of the Velcro on the other edge. Pin in place but don’t stitch just yet. (Fig 4)

Simply Sewing how to make a yoga mat bag fig 2

Fig 4

Step eight Pin the RS of one bag end to the RS of one bag side, and stitch together all the way around but leaving the section where
the bag sides edges meet unstitched. (Fig 5) 

How to make a yoga mat fig 5

Fig 5

Clip the seam to help the circle shape lay flat. Repeat at the other end of the bag. (Fig 6)

Simply Sewing how to make a yoga bag fig 6

Fig 6

Making the bag lining

Step nine Place the hook side of the Velcro along one long edge of the bag lining side, right up to to the turned-under edge and stitch in place. Trim the Velcro ends to fit then stitch securely around all sides of the Velcro.

Step ten Overlap the edges of the long bag lining sides to the same measurement you overlapped the bag outer so that the turned -under edge (without the Velcro) meets the turned-under Velcro on the other edge. Pin in place but don’t stitch at this stage.

Step eleven Pin the RS of one bag lining end to the RS of one lining bag side, and stitch together, but leave the section where the bag sides edges meet unstitched. Clip the seam to help the circle shape lay flat. Repeat this process to attach the other bag lining end to the bag lining side.

Making the strap

Step twelve Press the interfacing to the WS of one of the strap fabric strips. Stitch the pieces RS together along both long edges. Turn the strap RS out and press. Topstitch along both long edges. (Fig 7)

Simply Sewing How to make a yoga mat bag fig 7

Fig 7

Assembling the bag

Step thirteen Turn the bag outer WS out. Turn the bag lining RS out then slip the outer inside the lining. Pin the bag lining with the Velcro edge to the outer bag edge with the decorative strip WS facing. (Fig 8) Matching turned-under edges, topstitch.

How to make a yoga bag fig 8

Fig 8

Step fourteen Pin one short end of the strap RS together to the open section left on the outer bag side only. Stitch securely. Repeat for the other side of the bag. (Fig 9)

How to make a yoga mat fig 9

Fig 9

Step fifteen Press the Velcro together. (Fig 10) 

How to make a yoga mat step 10

Fig 10

Pull the bag top flaps through the opening left in the circular end. Stitch securely through all of the layers – flaps, outer bag side, inner bag side, only at the spot where they all overlap. (Fig 11)

Fig 12

Step four Turn the bag RS out using the bag flap opening that’s unstitched and topstitch to complete. (Fig 12)

Simply Sewing How to make a yoga mat bag step 12

Fig 12

That’s it! You now have one handmade yoga matt bag, ready to take with you out and about! We’d love to see your finished creation – share your photos with the tag #simplysewingmag.

For more easy sewing projects like this one,  Leah Farquharson, who designed this project, is an artist and maker living in Florida with her husband and their two sons. Find out more at www.bluebirdchic.com and www.bluebirdchic.etsy.com. And why not brighten up your post and subscribe to Simply Sewing?

How to make a yoga mat bag