Tag Archives: Design

Simple Overlap Pillowcases


I made two pillowcases the other day. I was feeling intimidated by fitting (I’ve been reading books that are at a much more advanced level of sewing than I am) and needed to do something to boost my confidence.

I purchased two “European Style” pillows at Ross the other week that I thought would make good couch cushions. They were 24 inch squares, and I didn’t have anything to cover them, so I used some of the yoga bag project seersucker material and made them cases. Now they’re on the couch and being used instead of sitting in their plastic covers waiting for me!

I used the seersucker weave to get my cuts straight, and each pillowcase was a rectangle 25″ tall and 33″ long. That gave me 1/2″ seam/hem allowances and 4″ of overlap on the back of the pillowcase, so I didn’t have to bother putting a zipper in for a closure. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of my work in progress, but I do have a couple of the finished product! The pictures have a bit of a greenish tinge, but it’s really a natural, unbleached cotton color.


Pillow 1

I used the yoga bag seersucker fabric.

Pillow 2
The 4″ overlap worked out just right!




I’m proud of how nice and straight my hem turned out!

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Create Your Yoga Sanctuary


yoga (Photo credit: GO INTERACTIVE WELLNESS)

It can be hard to work up the motivation to stick to one’s home yoga practice. Chronic pain is a giant demotivator, and yet hatha yoga can be irreplaceable as a physical foundation for self-management of pain. One of the ways I keep myself coming back to my yoga practice is my yoga space. I turned a corner of a room in my apartment into a yoga healing sanctuary, and you can too.

My yoga room is also my piano room, my computer room, my recording studio, my crafts and sewing room–it’s the Everything Else Room in our apartment.  When you create your yoga sanctuary, if you have the space for a permanent space solely devoted to yoga and meditation, good for you! If you live in a smaller space where most places need to serve multiple functions, like mine, creating a yoga sanctuary may be easier than you think.

First I selected a room: in the Everything Else room, I can close the doors and my sweetie knows not to open them unless there is an emergency during yoga time. A space where you can be uninterrupted is mandatory. I started with three yoga mats, unrolled on the floor side by side. This is nice because my floor is tile and I don’t have to worry about protecting myself from the hard surface if my pose takes me off the side of my mat. With carpet, this is probably unnecessary, but it feels luxurious and helps define my space. Next, I found a container to keep my yoga and meditation accoutrements in: I have a strap, some books and pose cards, a towel, a foam ball (for extra stretch in certain poses), and I plan to add an eye pillow and an inspirational statuette when I find the right ones. Nearby I keep my bolster and any other large props. With all my tools close at hand, I don’t have to spend time gathering things up, which leaves more time and energy for my practice.

Once the bare necessities were taken care of, it was time to look to the senses to set the space apart. For my eyes, I turn the lights off and light candles around the room. The creates an instant atmosphere that I find calming, and since I only do this for yoga and meditation, the set-apart feeling of a sanctuary settles over the room as, one by one, the candles provide a calming glow. I keep some prayer flags up in the space, and have my current mantra posted where it easily catches my eye. For my nose, I like an essential oils warmer, and I choose oils by their correlation to the chakra I’m currently focused on, or a general calming or meditative blend that I find pleasant (lavender, chamomile, sandalwood, and jasmine are favorites). If you are able to set up a space outdoors, some natural incense could be a nice alternative to oils, which could get lost outdoors. I would not recommend incense inside, because all that smoke could be hard on the lungs while you are breathing deeply. For my ears, I often enjoy the quiet of a room to myself, but sometimes I’ll play some music that doesn’t tend to interrupt my concentration–a friend introduced me to the music of Dr. Jeffrey Thompson, which I find great for yoga and meditation. For my skin, I adjust the temperature of the room to slightly cooler than the rest of my tropical house, so I can stay comfortable while moving. If you get chilled in Savasana, a blanket would be a good addition to your yoga space.

I use my Everything Else room often for all kinds of activities. If I need more room for a project, I just roll up the yoga mats and stand them in the corner, and my stored sanctuary takes up about a 3 foot cube in the room. It takes only a matter of moments to light the candles, add oil to the warmer, and turn on the music. Then, with a flick of the light switch, my yoga sanctuary is complete and I can have a beautiful yoga practice in my lovely, relaxing space.

Anyone else have any special ways to enhance their home practice by altering their yoga or meditation space? How else do you keep yourself coming back to the mat?

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The Great Yoga Bag Project

The Great Yoga Bag Project

I may be on temporary hiatus from sewing while my wrist heals (no scissors), but I can still write about sewing. One of my big projects I’m working on is designing a yoga tote bag. It actually started with a surplus of fabric that would work great for a bag to carry my yoga mat in, and the fact that the bags I’m using right now aren’t designed for yoga mats. I’m the kind of person who can think of several personalized improvements to any bag or purse that would work better for me, so I decided, why not make several of these and give them to friends? Because if there is one thing better than making something awesome for yourself, it’s making something awesome for someone you care about.

I began with my requirements. There are basically two types of yoga bags–one where the rolled-up mat lies horizontally, and the other, often called a sling, where the rolled mat is vertical. Since I have a tendency to make quick turns in the near vicinity of others, a vertical bag was a must. But I have some other necessaries I want to take to class too, and for that, I need more room. My bright idea was to put a flat pouch sticking off the side of the tube where the mat goes, attached to the carry strap in some way. I tried to explain this to my sweetie and he requested a drawing around this point. I’m going to do one better, and make a 3D model in Sketchup.

My Bag Design3

Three-dimensional awesomeness.

So what do I need to bring to class? None of the pants I like to wear to yoga have any pockets, so everything I need will have to fit: a water bottle, a towel, ID/money, keys, phone, maybe a book, an ankle brace, and my emergency medications, which include an inhaler, an epipen, and some pills. Could throw a strap in there too. This thing is feeling heavy already!

Thinking about the physics of it, it seemed like a yoga mat, even with a bag of goodies hanging off one side of the bottom, is not going to stay vertical on its own–it’s going to slide, unless you hold the strap at your shoulder in place with one hand, like if you put your backpack on only one shoulder. My heaviest requirement is a bottle of water, and I figure I could use that as a counterweight, at least when it’s full, to keep the mat upright. So to be most effective as a counterweight, it will have to go at the far end of the pouch. I like those water bottle holders made of mesh, with elastic on top, so you can fit a nalgene but a store-bought bottle won’t fall out, thanks to the elastic. And while I have mesh, I should make the tube for the mat breathe so I don’t have to take the mat out when you I home. I looked online and most of the slings that claimed to breathe had this funny ring of mesh around the middle of the tube, so the mat would block most of the air flow.. It makes more sense to me to have it on each end, so there can actually be airflow. I also thought the pouch should have an outside mesh pouch for the towel, so it doesn’t make my book all sweaty. A keyring and a small pocket for money and ID would be great on the inside.

My Bag Design4

Someone got tired of messing with Sketchup and just wanted to get the point across. The tiniest text, left to right, says “Elastic Top” and then “Magnet Pocket Closure”

For closures, I can use drawstring at the top of the tube, and a zipper on top of the pouch and for the inner wallet pocket. I don’t want my towel to fall out of the outside pocket, so I think a magnet would be good there. Add some trim, lining, and zipper pull charms (a trick of my mother’s that I just love) and it sounds like the perfect yoga bag to me! Can’t wait to start actually putting a few together!

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