Maker’s Pride: Zipper Bag for My Yoga Mat

The story of the second sewn piece I’ve made from scratch (the first was the beige lyocell skirt: 1, 2, 3) starts with a very first world problem: ñiñiñiñiñi, my all-natural rubber super yoga mat is not slippery enough to fit in the typical cylinder yoga mat sacks (taking all my f*ing omm away while I’m struggling with it after the practice). And it is heavy to carry around. And it unrolls at home. And, yes, it smells like rubber… A lot. Even after several year of use (I think I bought it in January 2016).

It actually was the first project I wanted to do with Carmen (Opció Taller forevaaah!) as part of my custom sewing course. Somehow the skirt happened first, and then some fixes too… But now it was the moment for this! New skills to learn? A lot! I had never sewn a zipper. I had never sewn a pocket. I had never attached a handle (trying to make sure that it would actually hold under the weight of the object to be transported). But I had the best teacher and the material, beautiful Soviet – or cunningly acquired non-Soviet? – denim I have inherited from when my mom was sewing:

I love that denim so much that I actually already have a purse made of it, by our beloved seamstress Elita in Rīga, see here, here and here. The sea blue canvas for details come from Julie’s stash, the same where the skirt lyocell came from, by the way. I bought a zipper, though. And promised myself to be very patient with this project, as impatience didn’t help with that first skirt.

Suddenly – OK, after a number of hours – I was a person able to sew zippers and pockets. My main worry throughout the process was the length. Getting it just right so that the mat would fit in, it would be reasonably easy to put it in and out, and that there wouldn’t be too much space… well, seemed to be happening.

I did some crying over this one, as I had decided to fit bias tape over the inner seams of the round bottom pieces. Why? F*ck knows. So that was pretty awful, but those inner seams ended up being covered. With the fugliest bias taping ever… It’s on the inside and nobody will ever pay attention to it.

But… While there was more than enough space for the mat in the bag, getting it in and out was not smooth enough. Usable but a bit tight. Usable but clearly waiting for a hole or a broken zipper to happen after ten uses or so. Hence this bag turned into a present for my favorite yoga teacher that has never given me a class: Marina. And I set out to make a new one – longer – for my mat.


What are your experiences with #memade stuff? I think I get tired of them while sewing, so need to put some distance to be able to appreciate them afterwards. Also, I am overly critical of my own creations, at least at the beginning.


An update in April 2019

There wasn’t enough of that floral denim for another bag, but more than enough of the blue canvas. Also, my demon t-shirt was falling apart (worn since 2014, 100+ wears). To ensure that Brekte’s ‘Lietuvēns’ would live on, it became the designated appliqué for the new bag, the same technique I used for the transformation of the No pasarán t-shirt. Easy-peasy: cut it, iron on a layer of adhesive lining to make it more sturdy, and sew on.

I unexpectedly got another embellishment in Carmen’s embroidery workshop. Practicing for that f*ing inner bias, I had made several small circles (my sewing comrades called them ‘Pope hats’), and used one of them for embroidery practice. The result was so cute I wanted to use it. So it got some velcro, and now sits atop the appliqué. My lietuvēns says hi to people…

The new bag is quite a bit longer. Standing upright there are some 5+ cm of empty… Not that pretty, but oh! so comfortable to put the mat in. Also, that blue is beautiful! And the demon says enough about my relationship with a yoga culture that prefers exaggerated mystic spirituality and all-white. ¡Hola!

The only thing left is to pick up my yoga practice back again…

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