I’m so excited to bring you this tutorial. When I made my first Creative’s Tote, I knew it had to become a gym bag! Those side curves were screaming at me to hold a yoga mat. Today I am going to show you how to add a mat strap to your tote plus show you how to make an elasticized pocket to hold water-bottles inside! Let’s get to it!
Not familiar with the Creative’s Tote? Not to worry! You can find the pattern here!
What you need to get started:
- Completed exterior of your tote.
- One side of your lining completed plus fabric for the other side and pocket (I will be using Ripstop Nylon for a waterproof lining).
- “Main Lining Pocket” pattern piece as we will be adjusting it.
- 4″ x 22″ (10cm x 56cm) piece of fabric for the mat strap PLUS light-medium weight fusible interfacing that is 2″ x 22″ (5cm x 56cm).
- 1 of each – 1″ (2.5cm) D-ring, 1″ (2.5cm) swivel hook (along with pattern required hardware though we will only need 1 magnetic snap for the lining pocket!).
- 1/2″ (1.3cm) wide elastic.
Note about Ripstop Nylon – You won’t need to interface it because it is fairly stiff to begin with. Double up on your firm stabilizer behind your magnetic snaps to ensure they don’t rip the nylon!
First we are going to make the yoga mat strap. Take the 4″ x 22″ (10cm x 56cm) piece of fabric and cut it into 2 strips – one for the D-ring connector measuring 4″ x 4″ (10cm x 10cm), and one for the swivel hook strap measuring 4″ by 18″ (10cm x 46cm). Cut the interfacing so that the D-ring connector is 2″ x 4″ (5cm x 10cm) and the swivel hook strap is 2″ x 24″ (5cm x 46cm).
Fold both pieces as per the “ALL CONNECTORS” step in the Creative’s Tote pattern (step 6, page 5), fusing your interfacing in the same manor.
Top stitch using a 1/8″ (0.3cm) seam allowance to secure.
Fold the smaller, D-ring piece in half and place the D-ring at the fold. Top stitch close to the edge of the ring to secure, reinforcing 2-3 times across the width of the connector.
Baste it to the centre top at the back of your tote using a 1/4″ (0.6cm) seam allowance, ensuring approximately 1/4″ (0.6cm) of the connector is sitting up and past the edge of the tote.
Fold the longer connector in half and place the swivel hook at the fold, ensuring the ends of the connector sit open to make a triangle as shown below. The gap between the inner edges of the connector should measure approximately 3″ (8cm).
Top stitch close to the edge of the swivel hook to secure, reinforcing 2-3 times across the width of the connector.
Position the connector so it is at the centre front of your tote. Pin in place within the 1/4″ (0.6cm) seam allowance. Before you baste it in place, position your yoga mat on top of your bag to test for fit. If the yoga mat is sitting a little loosely within the closed strap, adjust the connector accordingly by moving it up (to make it shorter). (My yoga mat is bulky!). Once you have your connector positioned, baste in place using a 1/4″ (0.6cm) seam allowance.
You exterior is now complete so set it aside!
For the unfinished side of your lining, we are going to make an elasticized pocket to hold water bottles and more!
Take out the “Main Lining Pocket” pattern piece. Fold your fabric as required however, instead of placing the edge of the pattern piece along the fold of the fabric as you normally would, we are going to place it 1″ (2.5cm) IN. This will give us the little extra room we need! Cut two pieces as per the pattern.
Stitch the two pieces together as per the “Main Lining Pockets” step in the Creative’s Tote pattern (step 24, page 10), omitting the magnetic snap. Top stitch along the top edge using an 1/8″ (0.3cm) seam allowance.
To make the casing for the elastic, stitch a second line 3/4″ (2cm) away from the top edge of the pocket. Make sure you back stitch at the beginning and end so that the stitch doesn’t come undone when we add the elastic.
Now to gather the bottom of the pocket. Find and mark the centre bottom of the pocket. Also mark points that are 4″ (10cm) OUT from the centre on both sides. We will use this as our start and stopping point for gathering. Machine or hand stitch a gathering line with a 1/4″ (0.6cm) seam allowance within those points. Make sure you leave long threads at each end.
Tie one end of the threads in a knot to secure. Pulling the bobbin thread at the other end, gather the fabric until the bottom is the same width as your “Lining Panel” piece and tie the end in a knot to secure.
Cut a piece of elastic that is 16″ (41cm) long and thread it through the casing we made earlier. Stitch the first end in place before pulling the elastic all the way through. Stitch the final end in place as well, leaving a 1″ (2.5) long tail. The elastic should be only slightly tighter than needed so your pocket will still lay flat against the lining panel.
Place your pocket on your “Lining Panel” piece, matching up the centre bottom points and baste in place using a 1/4″ (0.6cm) seam allowance.
I’ve chosen to divide up the pocket with two lines of stitching to make three pockets. Each stitch line is 2″ (5cm) out from the centre mark. Make sure to back stitch over the elastic a couple times to secure it in place!
Now assemble your lining and finish your tote as per the pattern and don’t forget to install your magnetic snaps (step 26, page 11 onwards). Make sure your new straps are tucked inside when you stitch the exterior to the interior.
Note: If you are using Ripstop Nylon, be gentle turning your bag as it may tear easily once cut!
Top stitch around the top edge of your tote, ensuring the extra connectors we added are pointing UP and out of the way.
Now give it a test run and admire your new yoga workout bag!
And the best part? The extra connectors will easily sit down in your bag when not in use, so you can use it as a regular gym bag on those days you aren’t doing yoga! Bonus!
Inside you’ll be able to store your water and those waterproof pockets are excellent for your sweaty gym clothes! That inner utility pocket is almost like a hidden secret pocket, and perfect for storing your gym lock, keys, phone and more safely inside!
Will you be making your very own custom yoga bag? I cannot wait to take this to my first actual yoga class next week!
Click here to find out more about the Creative’s Tote pattern.
But wait! There’s more! To celebrate this awesome double hack for this truly versatile pattern, you can now grab a PDF copy of the pattern for just $5.50 USD*! That’s a saving of over 20%!
To access this special pattern hack pricing, simply use the code yogahack at the checkout!
The Little Bird Designs
* T&C’s: Offer applies to the Creative’s Tote PDF pattern only. Offer only available for approximately 48 hours from time of post and ends at 10am, Friday 13 April 2018 (AEST). Limit of one transation per customer.