Thursday, January 20, 2011

Carried Away

Here's a little project I've had in my head for a while. Anna Marie Horner has a fab tutorial on tote-able towels on her blog.  Since I'm not really a beach towel kind of person, I just made a mental note of it as a possible gift when my friends' kids get older.  But, the other day as I was walking into yoga carrying my purse, my water, my mat, my towels, and a bag of my clothes, I thought I should probably invest in some sort of carrier for my yoga mat to free my hands up a bit so that I can pick up my water, my towels or my clothes when I drop them.  Because I am always dropping something.  I don't like traditional gym bags and prefer something cute and, well, non-traditional.  So I thought I'd just make one.

I wanted something simple in design, quick to sew, and something that could easily be folded up and tossed into one locker along with all of my other things.  I was also wanting something flexible so that I would not have to worry about how tightly I wrap up my mat. One day, as I was rolling out my mat, Anna's tutorial came to mind.  So, I thought I'd modify it a bit to carry my yoga mat.  Here's what I did for Version 1.0.

I cut one piece of linen and one piece of interfacing to 16"x12" and then a second piece of linen down to 15"x12".  The 12" width is the portion that will wrap around the rolled mat.  I then pressed the linen.  I know some people are opposed to using interfacing, but with this project the fabric needed some weight to it for it to lay properly. And I had some in my stash from some project that I never started so I was glad to use it up. 

To add some color, I cut a 4" wide piece of printed fabric down the width of the fabric. My printed fabric measured 44" wide. This would be used for straps and the outside of the carrier. I simply chose linen because I scored about 3 yards of it on clearance at a fabric store that was closing.  But I also love the look of linen when it is paired with another fabric.  I just feel like it makes the printed fabric pop so much more - a concept I got from a fellow sewer friend.  

To create a decorative outside layer, I cut 12" off the length of the printed fabric and then cut the 12"x15" piece of linen in half to get two 7.5"x12" pieces.  I sewed the three pieces together using a1/4" seam and pressed the seams open. 

For the straps, I followed Anna's directions and pressed the printed fabric in half lengthwise and then folded the edges toward the center crease and pressed again.  So, the strap is 4 layers of fabric and an inch wide.  I top stitched it 1/4" from the open edge to close it up and pressed again. I am a big believer in pressing, if you can't tell by now.  Once I was finished, I cut 9" from the length to create one long strap and one short one.

I ironed the interfacing onto the wrong side of the fabric then pinned the straps to the right side of the fabric equidistant from the edge of the 16"x12" fabric, making sure my straps were going to lay properly and not end up twisted.  It came out to be about 5" between each strap end.  At this time, I trimmed the decorative layer down to 16"x12". You could also do the math and measure exactly how much linen you need for the decorative layer, but I am too lazy for that.  So, I trimmed mine down to 16"x12".

All of the layers were then pinned together and sewn together using a 1/2" seam.  I left a 3" opening on one side to pull the fabric right side out. I made sure to backstitch several times on the straps to secure them. 

I then clipped the corners and pressed the seams open.  You could probably trim the edges at this point, but I left mine there.

Once I was finished, I blind stitched the opening to close it up and pressed the entire thing one last time.

Here is the final product!  I am debating whether to add a top stitch to it for an extra cuteness factor, but it's pretty cute without it.

To use it, just pull the longer strap through the shorter strap, and....

Voila!  It's a yoga mat carrier!!  It took me 2 hours from start to finish, including water breaks, taking pictures and a seam ripping for a dumb mistake I will not mention. I have a reputation to uphold, after all.

Here's a close up. I love it. Yes, it is basically a glorified placemat.  But, it is one less thing I have to hold and it's pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself. There are so many ways to modify this pattern.  Trust me, I've already got a few ideas how to improve it and make it more functional and even cuter.  But for now, I am happy. 


Anita said...

Lovely tut!!! Did you have help w/ taking the pix?

poo kah loo said...

what a great idea!