Thursday, March 12, 2009

The UN-tutorial

Wanna make yourself a yoga mat bag out of a spare pillow case?
Well, you should probably go find a competent sewer to show you how. But if you really like to swear and want to strengthen your relationship with your seam ripper, read on.

Sigh. When it comes to process vs. product, this one falls in the latter category--it turned out OK, but man, the process was not pretty.

A little background info: I have finally found a yoga class that a) fits my schedule b) isn't too hard or too easy c) isn't being taught by an angry teacher (I know, an angry yoga teacher? wasn't pretty). So now my yoga mat, which had been hanging out at the back of the closet needs to be relatively accessible. After finding the black cat curled up on it every time I turned around (because cats have a magnetic attraction to anything you don't want them to sleep on), and noticing that the sticky surface of the mat was perfect for collecting cat hair, I figured it was time to protect the mat.

Sounds easy, yes? Take a big tube and make it smaller, with a drawstring and a strap. Ha!

Step 1: Locate spare pillowcase, make sure mat will fit:
Looks good.

Step 2: Cut away excess the fabric and use it to make the a shoulder strap:
Folding and pinning the strap...

...and sewing the strap. I "chose" contrasting thread because I couldn't find the white. And because I wanted to make sure everyone could see my crappy stitching.
Wow! This is going pretty well! Maybe I've shaken off that sewing curse!

Oooops. Spoke too soon. Should know better than to have confidence when it comes to sewing.

Fuck up #1: Sewing the tube for the drawstring before adding the buttonholes for the string to come out of.

Time to get out the seam ripper!

Hmm. Where is that thingy? Time to locate the seam ripper.

I sent the girl critter on a quest to find it which she enjoyed because it meant emptying out the four separate boxes of poorly organized sewing crap.
The contents of just one of the four boxes. (Oh look! There's the white thread too!)

Luckily the girl critter located it because from here on out, the seam ripper is the main character of our sordid little craft drama:
So with our purple protagonist, I ripped out edges of the drawstring tube. Yum yum, munch munch. (I found it helpful to imagine the seam ripper as hungry. Then at least I could feel good about feeding it.)

Fuck up #2--Remembering how to do buttonholes. You'll notice that there is a break in the photo documentation of this process. At this time I was too busy swearing a blue streak and ripping/feeding the seam ripper to remember to take photos.

Despite practicing making buttonholes on a spare scrap of fabric, I still screwed up 3 times when trying to make them on the drawstring tube. (More swearing, more snacks for the seam ripper!)

Step whatever: re-sewing the drawstring tube.

Step whatever+1: sewing the side seam.

Fuck up # whatever: sewing the two completed buttonholes into the side seam.

(Insert favorite curse words, start brandishing seam ripper like a fencing foil.)

Try again to sew the side seam without enclosing the much-suffered-for button holes.

Half success! Also known as: Fuck up # whatever+1. This time only one buttonhole was trapped in the seam.

(Sigh. Consider alcohol. Then realize that drunk sewing is probably dangerous.)

Riiiiiiiiip! Munch munch (even the seam ripper is getting full/sick of this). Finally succeed in sewing a seam in which both button holes are not trapped.

Thread through ribbon for draw cord.
Close up of crappy buttonhole with drawcord.

Bag is finally done.
It doesn't look like it tortured me for three hours now does it?

For $12.29 I could have saved myself the grief, not exposed the girl critter to some very creative language and bought a bag that is ventilated (so your mat can breathe?) and has the added bonus of not looking like an old Ikea pillowcase.


Susan W said...

Oh my god Kate, I had to keep myself from laughing out loud at work. Which is probably bad to admit that I read your blog at work...but that was frickin hilarious! I'm not much better with my sewing machine I have to admit. I would have never even attempted the button holes! Good for you for giving it an A effort :)

On an aside, I'm glad you found a yoga class that fits for you. I have yet to find one that accomodates a working mom's schedule and a non-profit employee's salary. I'm going to keep trying though!

Anonymous said...

LOL! Great idea! Too bad my sewing machine and I have such an antagonistic relationship. You should have seen the stuffed zebra I tried to make for my niece. Forget the stitch ripper!

Your bag is much nicer than the $12.99 one :)

Anonymous said...

This is hilarious! Drunk sewing is an improvement upon sober sewing, in my opinion (I speak from experience). I make an equal amount of mistakes, but care far less about them.

Anonymous said...

I would have hoped for a beautiful knitted yoga mat.

But, your version is cute too!

Melanie said...

I love your story. Thanks for sharing. I was going to make my nieces and thier American Girls dolls aprons for Christmas. I bought some great - expensive- fabric. And it's still in the bag. Sewing and I don't agree, so I don't know what I was thinking. I need to at least try to sew one before I give up.

Maggie said...

LOL! At least you didn't jab yourself with the seam ripper. The damn thing always gets me at least once.