I forgot to take my yoga mat with me to the Nia class yesterday and when I got home I realised I didn't have a mat bag as I've only ever used my mat at home.
I'd seen a free yoga bag pattern on Amy Butler's site (the Nigella yoga mat bag), so I decided to give it a whirl. Ta da!
I'm quite chuffed with it. It was pretty easy to put together (I even remembered how to ease curves and believe me, it's been a long time since I did anything resembling complicated sewing). The fabric is a cotton canvas, so I didn't have to use the interfacing. Though I definitely needed a heavy needle - there are a LOT of layers of fabric in certain parts, particularly attaching the bottom circle to the exterior bag where the strap is attached. I'm happy to report that my new Janome (did I blog about that?) didn't turn a hair, just chugged happily through the loads of fabric.
I'd read this review of the pattern (really, how cool is the internet?) and decided to take her advice. I made the strap an inch narrower, and the bag itself four inches longer. I decided not to lengthen the strap itself (wasn't sure if that would work with a drawstring closing) so I just attached the top of the strap four inches down from the top of the bag instead of against the top edge, turned the raw edge under and top stitched that then stitched another line of stitching two inches below to reinforce. It appears to be pretty strong, yoga mat aren't that heavy after all. And seems to have worked fine, though I guess you could lengthen the strap. I've made a channel for a drawstring cord (or shoelace or whatever I end up using) at the top by turning over an inch, sewing that down then turning over another inch and sewing with a gap for the drawstring. It took me about four hours including cutting out the fabric and a few breaks.
The longer length is good, my mat doesn't stick out. A note about the pockets, they're pretty close fitting, good for keys or some cash and a card but you wouldn't get a water bottle in there. There's a reasonable amount of fabric left over so I might even make a bag or something out of it eventually.