clothing reconstruction Archive

Making Out with Kristina Wong #1: Turning an old Pair of Pants into a Yoga Bag

August 2nd, 2009

I’ve been re-reading a couple years worth of old blog entries where all I seem to do is pine about work, how I’m trying to get more work, or how I’m recovering from work… and I’ve decided I need more creative stuff to share on the blog.

Now that I have a sewing machine, it’s time to start a new series of blog entries where I make new things from old things! I’m calling it “Making out with Kristina Wong” but if you have a better suggestion for a title, I’m open to change.

Today! Turning an old pair of pants into a Yoga Bag! (Or tripod bag or cue stick bag…)

From this:

To this!

After what I thought was my brilliant idea alone, I discovered there are quite a few tutorials for making yoga bags from old pants online. But my yoga bag uses the existing leg, belt loops and back pocket of your pants to cut down the sewing time and is a very easy project for beginning sewers!

Ingredients:
One pair of old pants (I used old cordoroys. You can use any pants with belt loops and a backpocket. Even pants with no loops and a pocket can by used but you will have to make modifications.)
Straight needles
Sewing machine (you can handsew this project but it takes a lot longer)
Needle and thread
Good scissors
Chalk or marker

Time: Less than 2 hours (with food and bathroom breaks)

Step 1: Select a pair of pants to transform. Make sure your yoga mat can comfortably slide from the top of the waist through the entire leg of the pants.

These pants have been with me since high school! I think they were actually pants that belonged to my aunt. I loved these old cords, so much so that I wore a big hole in the ass that even my patching and pinning efforts could not save. I’d been holding onto them for years trying to figure out how I could save them.

You can always make the legs more narrow, but you can’t make them more wide, so if your pants are too narrow, you will want to find a wider pair.


Check and see how easy it is to slide the mat in. Some material is “too sticky.” Wool pants may get stuck to your mat. Also, check for holes in the fabric of your pants. A hole along the buttcrack is ok (hey now!), but a knee hole will need to be repaired before you do this project.

Step 2: Cut the pants in half so there are two separate legs. Cut a generous seam allowance on the leg you will use for sewing purposes.

It doesn’t matter which half of the leg you use. I chose the side that was less worn out. I chose to cut the zipper part into the half I will use for the yoga bag to give me a generous seam allowance. But will trim it off later.

Save the other leg, you’ll use that fabric for creating the strap and drawstring for your yoga bag.

Step 3: Put the yoga bag in the pants (in the waist down) and trim the leg from the bottom. Pinch the top of the tube to get an idea of how much you will need for it to close. Cut the bag about 3″ past the mat.

Save the leg that you cut off to make the bottom of the bag. If it’s too short to make the bottom of the bag, but you should have enough fabric on the other leg to make a bottom.

Step 4: Sew a giant tube that will accommodate the yoga mat.

Turn your leg inside out. Use pins and mark off a straight line from the top of the waist that meets the inside seam of the pants. Sew from the top of your pants to meet the existing leg tube. Save the fabric you cut off to create the bottom of the yoga bag.


Because of the way pants are cut, the fabric may have a curve to it, or will not match the other side evenly. So you will have to pin and sew your tube so it will have a few ripples in it. These ripples are very unnoticeable once your bag is done.


After you have created the tube, trim off the excess fabric and turn the tube inside out.

Step 5: Create the strap for the yoga bag by using the other pant leg and cut a long rectangle about 4″ wide and as long as your pants length.

This will need to be a long strip, so I recommend cutting along the backside of the pants, not the seam. You will end up with part of the back pocket of the pants.

Step 6: Fold over the fabric, ugly side out, and sew along one side, then turn it inside out, save it for later.

Step 7: Create the drawstring for the yoga bag by cutting a 3″ wide and approx 25″ long rectangle, fold along one side, sew it, then flip it inside out. Save it for later.

Because this narrow tube is going to be tricky to turn inside out, I recommend using part of the pants that are not seamed. The fabric in the front of your pants before the pockets is ideal.

Step 8: Cut the bottom of your bag.

I used a plate that had a slightly larger circumference than the hole at the bottom to draw a perfect circle.

(In hindsight, I realized I should have used a square shape since circles are difficult to sew for beginning sewers like me)

Step 9: Pin the circle into the opening. Also pin the back strap in (it should be inside the tube) since you will sew this in also. Sew your bottom and strap in.

Remember, the back pocket of the pants will actually be used in the front of the yoga bag, so you need to align the strap so that it covers the front pocket of the pants. Also align it so that you will not later sew the top of the strap over a belt loop.


Trim the excess fabric and turn your tube inside out!

Step 10: Hand sew the top of the strap to the waistline to become another belt loop.

Some sewing machines can handle a lot of layers of fabric, but mine couldn’t. So if you are able to get your machine to sew this, all the better. I sewed where my pins lay.

Step 11: Sew front pocket closed.

I used little asterisk stitches to keep the front pocket closed. Sewing the front pocket closed prevents the strap and weight of the mat from constantly pulling the pocket open.

Step 12: Weave your drawstring through the belt loops. Tie it closed! You have a yoga mat bag! Namaste!

Now let your mat and new mat bag collect dust while you avoid yoga class for several years like I have!

→ 3 Comments

Category: buy nothing year, clothing reconstruction, crafty, sex is unnecessary when you have yarn.

When the going gets tough, the tough get crafty…

May 17th, 2007

I was so cranky yesterday. You probably could tell from my blog. And I had been forwarded the CNN article on APA depression like twenty times yesterday even though I was telling the universe to stop sending me more stuff to drive me nuts this week. (But like “the Secret” says, when you tell the world what you DON’T WANT…you just get more of it.)

So I did what any busy neurotic cat lady would do who should be working on her show and freaking out that both will have big and full audiences.

I finally plugged in my sewing machine from Craigslist and started to make clothes.

As some of you know, I am in the middle of my own personal “Buy Nothing Year.” The things I’m not buying are new clothes or gifts. I’m also trying to cut down on buying other unnecessary crap. Everything has to be made, gifted, traded, etc. No cash. The reason is not just to save money, but to be more creative with what I got and reduce what I consume.

So I made this skirt last night. Unfortunately my sewing machine only sews in reverse, so I was not able to do very clean stitching.

From Shirt to Skirt– Welcome to Kristina’s World of Procrastination!

First I started with this old polyester shirt, that was too big. My friend Nadia gave it to me because she couldn’t sell it at her yard sale. It’s still cute as a shirt, but not form fitting and just cut weird for my body.

Then, I removed the sleeves.

Then, I cut off the collar.

I sewed in a waist and sewed the sides in for my hips. Turned the buttons so they faced the back of the skirt.

Viola! a skirt!

I reused the button hole and button from the shirt sleeve to make this tab to keep the waist tight.

Yay! new skirt!

I’m going to wear this after my show this weekend! See you then!

→ Leave a comment

Category: buy nothing year, clothing reconstruction, crafty