Pillowcase + Recycling = A Yoga Mat Bag Tutorial


Welcome to my very first tutorial!! This bag turned out SOOOO much better than I thought it would.   I couldn’t find anything like this on line so I made one. I hope I can explain well enough for anybody who would care to make one too.

I usually make an item at least twice before I get it the way that I want it. The first time is where I make all my booboos and solve any problems, then the second time around is the real thing. The first one that I made is actually useable, but needed a few adjustments.  This bag is the result of those adjustments. Be warned — I’m not a professional by any stretch of the imagination, so if something isn’t clear, please let me know. I’m not entirely sure I wrote everything down, so I will post any revisions as quickly as I can. Also, I overthink everything, so this will be wordy as all get out.

One king sized pillowcase (I think it’s king sized) (I picked up a few at my local Salvation Army)
Sewing machine and thread to match or contrast, whatever
Some kind of ribbon or cord, 18 inches long or so
Tape measure and/or yardstick. A ruler is handy too
All seams are 1/4″ but I used 14 or 15 stitches per inch for security.

Yes, this is me overthinking. Tres annoying, isn’t it?

1. Measure your yoga mat rolled up. Mine was about 23 1/2″ long and had a circumference of 13 1/2″ around. The diameter of the bag is about 4 inches so I used 5 1/2″ as a measurement for the circles needed for the end of the bag. I would imagine that those dimensions are pretty universal as yoga mats go.

Ooo, look pictures.

Yes, that’s my toe, thanks for asking.

2. My fabulous plaid print pillow case began life approximately 32 1/2″ long and 18 1/2″ wide. I used the two layers of the pillowcase for each of the three components of the bag so that I wouldn’t have to worry about lining it. The rectangle that I would need for my 13 1/2″ x 23 1/2″ mat, with a couple inches for wiggle room, would be 27″ long and 15 1/2″ wide.

3. For the strap, I cut off 3 inches +/- along the long folded edge of the pillowcase (not the long seam side, although it probably wouldn’t make any difference), from the hemmed opening to the bottom. Cut off the hemmed edge and then cut open the fold. I used my rotary cutter and ruler so that the width all the way down would be even. You will have a strip of fabric about 3″ wide x 60″ long. Fold the strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together and press. Watch the fingers. Then fold in each raw edge about 1/4″ and press. Stitch down the length of the strip, close to the edge. The strap will be about 1 1/4″ wide when finished and can be cut to length. I used about 36 inches or so for mine.

Circles for bottom of bag — Cut off 5 to 5 1/2 inches on the remaining width of the pillowcase. I just drew a circle using a cereal bowl flipped upside down and then cut it out.

4. After cutting for the strap and the circles, you are left with a rectangle approximately 27″ long x 15 1/2″ wide, in two layers of fabric. Using the fabric doubled gives it some body so that you don’t have a wimpy yoga mat bag. You don’t want other yogacizers laughing at you.

5. The Bag

Pin the long side seams together. Don’t worry about right and wrong sides, because both pieces are the right side. No need for a lining that way. Start sewing the seam from the bottom, stopping when you are half an inch or so from where the hemmed open edge starts. I reversed and went forward several times so that it doesn’t fray. Press the seam open, this time including the edges of the hemmed area. I used a zig zag stitch to stitch down those edges. My zigzagging skills need some work, thanks for pointing that out. Fold the hemmed end down and stitch securely, making a casing about 1 inch wide for the cord or ribbon to go in. It’s easier to do this if you do it before you turn the bag inside out. Go ahead, ask me how I know this. Time to turn the bag right side out.

6. The strap is next. Can you see it in the pic above? Center one end of the strap over the finished seam, about an inch or so from the casing. Make sure the raw edge of the strap is facing down toward the end of the bag, not the top. I zigzagged back and forth several times. Then flip the strap down toward the end of the bag and zigzag/stitch back and forth again. Mine isn’t the neatest but it darn sure isn’t going anywhere. Turn the bag wrong side out.

This part is very important.  Be sure that your strap is not twisted inside the bag after you turn it wrong side out.  It’s not? Good. Now check it again. Ask me how I know to do this. (again)

Pin the double circles to the bottom of the bag and stitch around. Watch the fingers. This part can be really painful. Be sure to catch the other end of the strap into the seam securely.  I sewed over it a couple of swipes. Depending on your level of perfection, you may or may not have tucks in the seam.  I kind of like mine.

8. Grab your ribbon/rope/twine/cord and pin a safety pin to one end. Thread it through your casing. How about that!!  It’s a yoga mat bag!!


4 thoughts on “Pillowcase + Recycling = A Yoga Mat Bag Tutorial

  1. sarahjun

    Hi, I came across your site through a Google search (I am going to attempt to make a yoga bag without a sewing machine!) and I just had to comment because you are hilarious. “Ask me how I know to do this,” and “thanks for pointing that out” = giggles. God bless 🙂

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