Hillarys Blinds Country Craft Competition

A little while ago, I saw a post on Caroline’s blog about a competition being run by Hillary’s blinds and I thought it sounded so much fun I had to give it a go. So without further ado, this is my humble entry!

Hillarys Bird Parade

I chose the Bird Parade fabric above and had a bit of a panic when it arrived. The problem that I have with crafting is something a call The Fear – when fabric or wool arrives and it’s so pretty that you feel a bit wrong taking the scissors to it! Just look at that peacock! How could I live with myself if I accidentally cut off his head?!

After a cup of tea and a long think, I had a flash of inspiration. In my last post I talked about starting yoga instead of eating chocolates on the sofa every evening. I have officially bought myself a yoga mat now, so I’m fairly committed to the cause! The only problem is that said yoga mat is pink. So pink. Bright, Barbie, clashes-with-just-about-everything pink. Great for yoga, not so great in my calm, blue bedroom. After a quick Google, I figured that a yoga mat bag would be a lovely, easy project.

 

Pink Yoga Mat

In theory, it was easy. Its a big rectangle for the main bag, a long rouleau strap and a circle of fabric set in for the bottom. In practice? Well…I probably should mention that this was my second ever sewing project, the first being the hot water bottle cover which broke five needles and about which we do not speak. I should also mention that my sewing machine, Trixie, is a gorgeous but temperamental, hand-cranked old girl. This was not going to be smooth sailing…

So I threaded my needle and turned the handle. Things went well for about ten minutes, and then? Then I swore. I stuck more pins into my fingers than any competent adult should. I had a fraught encounter with an empty bobbin. I swore some more. I had a falling out with Trixie, and stormed off to fetch my mum’s 21st century machine, Peggy. I fell out with Peggy, too. I gave up and went to bed. When I came back to it this afternoon, I realised that in both sewing and life there is only one way to deal with tension issues – with a large glass of wine. And armed with that pearl of wisdom (and a little Sauvignon Blanc) I finally finished it:

 

Finshed Yoga Bag DIY

It might not be perfect, but I made it with my own hands, and that’s such a brilliant feeling. It’s like all those episodes of Sewing Bee are starting to pay off…

If you’re interested in having a go yourself (I’m sure it will be easier than I made it seem above!), here’s the how-to:

1) Measure your fabric against your yoga mat, and cut out a rectangle for the body of the bag. There’s no need to be too precise, just make sure you leave yourself plenty of wiggle room!

2) Cut your circle for the bottom – I did this by drawing around a small plate which was a wee bit wider than my finished bag would be.

Circle Plate Trick

3) Cut your strip for your strap. I made mine about two inches wide, but bear in mind it will be smaller once you turn it inside out!

4) Press everything. Everything!

5) Now, onto construction. Decide which is the top end of the bag, fold your fabric over about an inch and sew it down. This will be where you thread your cord to make the opening.

Top of Bag

6) Make your strap. Fold your strip of fabric in half, with the wrong side facing out, and sew all the way along the edge to make a tube. Now grab some kind of poking device, and turn that tube inside out. Ta-da! One strap.

Strap

7) Decide where you want your strap to sit on the bag, and pin it to the inside of your bag’s main body. Take care to make sure the strap is folded properly, so it won’t be twisted.

Insert Strap

 

8) Pin absolutely everything down, and you’re ready to sew up your bag. Leave a decent amount for your seam and sew the rectangle into a tube, making sure that you catch the strap nice and securely, and that you don’t sew the hole for the cord shut!

9) Now you need to sew your base in. Grab your circle and every single pin you own. Try and make it fit beautifully. Cry. Try again. Cry more. Enlist your mother’s help. Decide to just bodge it . Or, y’know, do it properly. Your call…

The Circle of Doom

10) Take a deep breath and turn your bag right side out. Almost done!

11) Thread your cord through the top of the bag. Attach one end of the cord to a large safety pin to help you wiggle it through!

Safety Pin Trick

12) If the cord is nylon (or similar), gently heat the ends with a lighter or a match to keep them from fraying. Now thread some pretty beads on!

Beads

And enjoy your yoga bag!

Thank you so much to Hillary’s for the fabric – it was great to work with, and the best bit? I still have almost half a metre left for my next project!  I’d love to see other people’s entries too – leave me a link if you’ve had a go!

 

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