We’ve done a few yoga mat totes here on Sew4Home (links are included below), but sometimes you don’t need or want a full bag. You’re dressed and ready, and your minimalist spirit says all you really need is to sling your mat over your shoulder and go. This style of mat wrap is easy to find on retail shelves, but we’re willing to bet none of them are as lovely (or as clever) as ours. We’ve used gorgeous jacquard ribbon from Renaissance Ribbons on one side with standard polyester webbing on the other. We figured out all the brain-twisting, wrapping, turning, and securing challenges for you, so you can put it together in a snap.
This is an excellent project for beginning sewers. It’s very quick and easy and would make a great gift for the yoga lovers on your list. The looping process through all the plastic hardware may feel like a bit of a puzzle, but simply read through a few times, following along with the pictures. You’ll get it!
We used 1½” ribbon, webbing and hardware. This width can sometimes be a bit more difficult to find, but you could also use 1” or 2” widths – all the construction steps would be the same; simply adjust the sizing of all your components.
Our clever design allows the cross-piece and the adjustable strap to be one long piece. The ribbon is stitched in three sections: two on one side of the webbing and the third on the opposite side, which is what allows the length to wrap and turn while keeping the pretty ribbon facing right side out. You’ll also thread this main cross-piece/strap between the layers of the wraparound mat strap loops. This keeps layers to a minimum, making stitching easier.
We selected buckles over Velcro® for the two wraparound straps that secure the mat. This eliminates the worry of any accidentally exposed Velcro® snagging the woven Jacquard ribbon or the smooth knit fabrics of most activewear. Once adjusted to fit your mat, you just pop the side-release buckles open and closed.
For hardware, we used and recommend heavy acetal plastic rather than metal. They are sturdy and water resistant. In addition, because they are the most traditional choice for outdoor gear, you can find “wide-mouth” options to better accommodate the thicker layers of webbing and ribbon. We found our hardware from the outdoor gear experts at local outdoor experts, The Rain Shed.
You’ll see in the steps below that we suggest fusible seam tape to secure your ribbon and webbing layers prior to stitching. And, we prefer invisible thread for that stitching. Monofilament thread is not mandatory, but is a nicer look against the ribbon. For best results, you may need to loosen your upper tension slightly. It’s also a good idea to lengthen your stitch and sew at a slow and even pace. This type of thread does not stretch as well as regular thread and can break more easily under pressure, especially if it accidentally slides off the spool and wraps around the spool pin. Using a spool cap against the spool helps hold it in place on the pin, and again, going slowly and evenly helps the thread to feed correctly off the spool. Finally, always sew in the same direction along both sides of the ribbon. This will help prevent any shifting and puckering. If you’d prefer not to use invisible thread, choose colors that very closely match your ribbon in the top and your webbing in the bobbin.
Prior to starting, lightly press the ribbon and webbing with a steam iron to prepare them for sewing. Remember to take care when ironing polyester ribbons and webbing; they require a lower ironing temperature than cotton and linen fabric. Use a pressing cloth for the best results.
Our measurements are figured for standard yoga mats that roll up to finish from about 4” to 5¾” in diameter. We checked through many mat options online and this seemed to be the most common size range.
If you’re looking for a full yoga mat tote, check out these tutorials:
Sewing Tools You Need
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 3 yards of 1” – 2” wide Jacquard ribbon; we originally used 1½” Meadow Bloom on Black from the Moon Shine collection by Tula Pink for Renaissance Ribbons
- 3 yards of 1” – 2” wide polyester webbing; we used 1½” poly webbing in black
NOTE: You don’t want the super thick webbing but rather a thinner webbing such as you might find on a seat belt. Webbing is available from numerous sources, we used The Rain Shed
- ONE 1” – 2” tri-glide slider for the adjustable strap; we used a 1½” wide-mouth tri-glide slider in black (the wider opening is very helpful with these thicker layers)
- ONE 1” – 2” rectangular ring or D-ring for the adjustable strap (we show both options in the photo above); we used (and recommend) a rectangular ring – ours was 1½” in black to match the other components
- TWO 1” – 2” side release buckles; we used 1½” buckles in black
NOTE: We again used local outdoor experts, The Rain Shed for all the hardware
- Fusible seam tape; we used Pellon EZ-Steam II
- All purpose thread to match the ribbon and the webbing and/or invisible monofilament thread; we used monofilament in smoke for all ribbon topstitching with standard black all purpose thread in the bobbin
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins or clips
- Hand sewing needle
- From the webbing, cut the following:
ONE 59” length
TWO 20½” lengths
- From the ribbon, cut the following:
ONE 41½” length
ONE 6½” length
ONE 11½” length
TWO 20½” lengths
- The fusible seam tape will be cut to length as you construct the project.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Long main strap
- Find the 59” length of webbing, the 41½”, 6½” and 11½” lengths of ribbon, and the roll of fusible seam tape.
- Following manufacturer’s instruction, place a strip of seam tape down the center of each ribbon length, on the the wrong side of the ribbon. The ends of the seam tape should be about ¼” in from one end (the outside end) of each length of ribbon. The Pellon product we used (Pellon EZ-Steam II) is pressure sensitive as well as being able to be fused in place with an iron. We simply finger pressed the tape in place…
- … then peeled away the paper backing to reveal the adhesive.
- Place the 59″ length of webbing horizontal and flat on your work surface. On the right end, place the 6½” length of ribbon right side up. Finger press in place to hold the ribbon in position. The raw outside end of the ribbon should be flush with the right raw end of the webbing.
- At this far right end, tuck under the raw edge of the ribbon ¼” (this is why your seam tape ended ¼” from the ribbon’s end). Although the fusible seam tape will likely hold this tiny fold in place, we recommend inserting a pin at the top and bottom to help secure it.
- Measure 11½” to the left of the inner end of the ribbon you just fused in place. Place a pin or draw a line at this point. Find the 41½” length of ribbon.
- Place the head end of this longer ribbon at the marked point (11½” to the left of the inside end of the first ribbon you just placed).
- Smooth the long ribbon into place along the webbing, keeping both layers nice and flat as you finger press to activate the adhesive behind the ribbon.
- When you get to the far left end, the ribbon should extend ½” beyond the webbing. In the image below, we’ve lifted up the webbing to show the ribbon extending.
- Wrap the ribbon around the end of the webbing and secure in place with pins.
- Finger press or use a pressing cloth and iron to insure both the long and short lengths of ribbon are firmly secured to the webbing.
- You now have one long length of webbing with a long ribbon length to the left and a short ribbon length to the right. Both outer ends of both ribbon lengths are finished and pinned in place and there is 11½” of empty space between the two ribbons.
- Place a pin along the inner edge of each ribbon, then flip over the webbing so you can see the pins marking that 11½” empty space.
- Find the 11½” length of ribbon. Place this ribbon in the 11½” “empty space,” using the pins as your guides. Finger press (and/or adhere with an iron and pressing cloth) to secure.
- You now have ribbon on both sides of the webbing, and the inner edges of the of the ribbon lengths should align front to back as shown below.
- Thread the machine with thread to best match the ribbon in the top and to best match the webbing in the bobbin. We prefer monofilament thread (invisible thread) for ribbon stitching and so used this in the top (in smoke) and standard all purpose thread in black in the bobbin. Lengthen the stitch.
- Topstitch all three sections of ribbon in place.
- Run the seam very close to the outer edges.
- Pivot at the outside end of the far right ribbon and stitch across to secure the tiny hem.
- At the inner edges of the ribbon, switch to a zig zag stitch to both secure and finish the end.
- Remember, these inside ends are where the front and back ribbons align.
- At the far left end, you will also pivot and stitch across to secure that end’s folded back hem.
Place and stitch the wraparound straps
- Place the long length of webbing right side up so the center 11½” is webbing side up.
- From the inside edge of each ribbon, measure ¾” toward the ribbon and draw a line. Do this on both sides.
- Find the two 20½” lengths of webbing.
- Place one length under each “ribbon joint,” aligning the outer edge of the webbing with the drawn line.
- Slide the webbing until there is 3” extending beyond the top edge of the horizontal cross-piece.
- Find the two 20½” lengths of ribbon. Adhere fusible seam tape to the back of each ribbon length as you did above.
- Place the ribbon down over the webbing, finger pressing to adhere the two layers. You are sandwiching the main, horizontal strap piece between the webbing and the ribbon layers of the wraparound strap.
- As you did above with the far right end of the main, long webbing length; tuck under the raw edge of the ribbon and pin to secure. Do this at the shorter top end…
- … and the longer bottom end.
- Edgestitch the ribbon to the webbing through all the layers.
- Pivot and stitch across both ends to secure their tiny hems.
- Repeat to place and stitch the remaining wraparound strap.
Secure the strap to complete the main assembly
- You now have the basic form of your “harness.” There’s a main, long horizontal piece and the two shorter vertical straps that will become the wraparound buckles.
- Flip over this unit so the side of the long horizontal piece facing up is the side with only the 11½” ribbon.
- Fold in one end of the main horizontal piece. The fold itself should be flush with the outer edge of the wraparound strap. You are folding the main strap back on itself, which is what allows the right side of the ribbon to now face up.
- Make two short vertical seams to hold this fold in place across each wrap around strap. First stitch along the fold, through all the layers.
- Then stitch along the inner edge of the wraparound strap, also through all the layers.
- Repeat to fold in and stitch the opposite end of the main horizontal piece over the opposite wraparound strap.
Attach the buckles
- There are five ends of your “harness” with exposed webbing: both ends of both wraparound straps, and one end of the main, horizontal strap.
- To finish these exposed ends, light a match and let the flame burn low. Carefully pass just the webbing through the flame to melt the raw edge. Don’t touch the flame to the ribbon, just the exposed webbing. With the flame low, this is quite easy to control.
- Find the buckles. Open up each buckle into its two pieces. The female end of the buckle goes on the short end of the wraparound strap. The male end of the buckle goes on the long end.
- Insert the short end of the wraparound strap up and over the guide bar of the female end.
- Bring the end through so it is against the back of the strap, pulling it until the end butts up against the horizontal cross piece.
- You could switch to a Zipper foot to machine stitch in place, but there are a lot of edges and folds and layers coming together here. We recommend simply hand stitching the end in place against the webbing.
- Thread the opposite longer end of the strap through the male end of the buckle. This end is not stitched in place because you want it to be adjustable to cinch it to fit the diameter of your mat. We like the look of continuous ribbon and so threaded the end through so it sits to the inside of the main wraparound strap.
NOTE: Threading through to the inside does make it a bit harder to adjust the strap, however, you should really only need to make this adjustment one time to fit your mat. Then, as long as you keep the same mat, you shouldn’t have to re-adjust. Instead, simply open and close the buckles.
- Repeat to attach the second buckle.
Finish the adjustable strap
- Find the tri-glide slider and the D-ring/rectangular ring.
- Thread the right end of the main strap (the end that has the tiny tucked under hem) through one side of the ring. Pull it through from front to back about ½”.
- Topstitch the end in place.
- The opposite end of the main strap feeds through the tri-glide slider.
- Feed the strap up and over the center bar of the slider.
- Continue to pull the strap through, checking to make sure there are no twists or turns in the strap. The free end will now go through the opposite side of the ring.
- Pull the end through from front to back.
- Keep pulling so you have a good amount of strap to work with, and flip over the strap so you can see the underside of the slider.
- Feed the end of the strap under the center bar of the slider.
- You are following the path of the strap’s first pass through the slider with this second layer.
- Continue threading up and over the center bar. You’re still following the same path – just creating a second layer that will become your adjusting layer.
- Pull on the free end to complete the second pass through the slider. The two layers are now webbing-to-webbing and the ribbon is facing out on both the front and the back.
- Pull through until you have approximately 8” from where the strap loops through the ring to the finished end of the strap.
- Topstitch this final end in place
NOTE: In the supplies list above, we recommend a “wide mouth” tri-glide slider. Even with this extra space to the opening, you are working with a number of thick layers. In addition, neither the webbing nor the ribbon are particular “slippery” so be prepared to adjust the strap slowly, moving one layer at a time through the slider. As with the wraparound straps mentioned above, you shouldn’t need to alter this length very often. Adjust it to best fit over your shoulder, and you’re good to go unless you change to wearing a heavy coat, or the person using the wrap changes.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild