diy reclaimed sweatpants yoga mat bag

I know that this probably an unsavoury post title, but bear with me. I was inspired to make a yoga mat bag out of sweatshirt fleece after a friend of mine posted a photo of herself on Instagram while trying on a very cool sweatshirt & sweatpants combo at a COS in Copenhagen. I actually love plain, unbranded sweatshirt fleece—I love how old school the fabric is, and it is certainly way more my speed than nylon and polyurethane. 

Once I had the idea, I immediately realized that since a yoga mat can fit inside the leg of a pair of sweatpants, this would make a great recycling project. Earth Day is coming up, after all. And it is a pretty easy and quick project. If some of these steps don’t make sense, please let me know—my sewing style is pretty loose and easy and I just make things in a way that makes sense to me.

-an old pair of sweatpants. I found mine (men’s size large) at the thrift store for a whopping $4. The larger/longer the better, but just make sure that the circumference of the leg can accommodate your mat. Of course, look for a pair that is clean and not overly worn.
-a sewing machine, although you could always try this by hand!
-a stretch fabric sewing needle or a ballpoint needle for your machine.
-cord or rope, about two yards or meters. This strap is meant to be adjustable so getting extra length is not a bad idea. I used cotton rope that is fairly sturdy. Try to find something that would be appropriate to the weight of your mat (i.e. if you have a pro-style mat, a thin cord might not be enough). Keep in mind that it has to be comfortable on your shoulder as well.
-notions: pins, thread, ruler or measuring tape, scissors, fabric pen, plus the usual seam ripper and thread snipper, iron, etc.
-a metal D-ring.

If your sewing machine (or, if you are really lucky, serger!) has an overlock stitch, the seam allowance will be 1/4”, but if you are using a zig zag stitch, the seam allowance can be greater than that. Just make sure you finish your edges.

1. Once your sweatpants have been washed and dried, start by making sure that your mat fits in one of the legs of your sweatpants, with some room to spare.

2. Cut a long piece from one leg, about the length of your mat plus about an inch and a half. This part doesn’t have to be too precise, as long as there is some room at the top.

My sweatpants had a side pocket and a back pocket; I cut the fabric below the side pocket and removed the back pocket with a seam ripper. No sweat. At the bottom I had to cut through some gathered fabric from above the elasticated cuff, but it evened out and I was able to cut it into a nice clean edge.

3. The outer seam of your pant leg will be straight, and you can leave this seam as is (one less seam to sew). The inside seam will probably be tapered. I cut out the inner seam and folded the fabric with right sides together, using the straight, sewn seam as a guide to even it out. I hope that makes sense. Basically I ended up with a folded length of fabric with a width that was roughly the diameter of my yoga mat plus about three inches, same width from top to bottom.

4. Before you sew your tube together, you’ll want to make a loop for your D-ring. Cut a piece that measures about 3 inches by 4 inches.

Then, with right sides together, sew this piece into a tube using an overlock stitch. Turn it inside out, and with the seam in the middle, topstitch along either side (you can use a straight stitch here). Insert the D-ring and pin to secure it.

5. Now take your unfinished main tube, pin the loop about 4 inches from the bottom in between your fabric and pin everything with right sides together. Like a little sandwich. Sew this seam with an overlock stitch. If you have a heavy mat, you could reinforce the seam by going over it twice. 

6. Now you’ll need to cut a circle for the bottom of the mat. I had made my tube three inches wider than my mat, so I took the width of my rolled-up mat and added three inches to it (don’t forget to add seam allowance). I happened to have a bowl that was that exact measurement, so I was able to trace a perfect circle onto the remaining pant leg. My inability to do basic math is brought into stark relief at this point so if you know a better way to calculate the size of your circular piece here, please feel free to use it! I am hopeless at it. Or, if you want to skip this step, you can just sew the tube together at the bottom.

Pin the circle to the tube, right sides together, and sew using overlock stitch or zig zag stitch. Again I would recommend reinforcing the seam by going over it twice, especially if you have a heavy mat (the one pictured here is a Manduka eKo Lite and it weighs four pounds). Trim any excess fabric from your seams without cutting into the stitches. If you’ve used a zig zag stich, clip your seam allowance all the way around or finish your edges so that there isn’t much bulk (i.e. pinking).

7. Now cut another piece that you will use to pull your drawstring through, about 4 inches in height. The width will be the size of your tube when it’s folded flat, plus 1 inch. Fold over the small edges half an inch on either side and topstitch in place. Then fold this fabric in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and pin it to the upper outside edge of your tube. Overlock or zigzag them together.

8. Using a safety pin on one end of your rope, feed the rope through this top loop.

9. Knot the rope to the D-ring. You can adjust this knot if you want to make your strap longer or shorter.

10. Done! Enjoy your new bag.


floral island

If you’ve been into Easy Tiger, Philistine, or Likely General here in Toronto, there’s a good chance you’ve seen the beautiful work of Toronto-based glasswork artist Robin Clason under the name Floral Island (um yes, best name ever). So in love. It looks as though a few of the newer pieces will work as water vessels, which is pretty amazing.

Most of these pictures are taken from the Floral Island Instagram account, but a few are from Likely General’s blog and the Floral Island shop.


repository pt. 12: spring moods

A few things that have been helping me get springtime on my mind, since the weather isn’t quite doing it!

Hobes: I’ve been enjoying my Wooly Hobes as the snow has started to melt away, but I think a pair with this sweet watercolour print would be just the thing for the new season.

Sea salt detox bath: Nothing is better than a delicately-scented bath, and while my attempts at making my own bath salts were not so successful, I might try this “recipe” (with a few drops of lavender, patchouli, and geranium, I think!).

Wellies from Joules: Unfortunately, my rubber boots are cracked and I won’t be able to use them once the spring rain comes, but I recently upgraded to this pair from Joules (thanks, Joules). Sold out online, but they do have a large collection to choose from. Not surprisingly, I was thinking of getting a few different colours of grosgrain (i.e. pink) to change it up from time to time.

Timberlost: maker of beautiful watercolour notecards, including this pretty spring wreath.

A lesson in lucid dreaming:  Not particularly spring-y, just something I enjoyed reading.

Let it be Beautiful: Again, not particularly spring-y, except they have newness in common with spring, I guess? New zines from Laura Jane and Liz. Very exciting! (I wrote about the first set of zines here).

Baked blueberry oatmeal: I’ve been following theghostonmyback on Instagram for a while, and I was happy to learn that she had started a blog to collect her recipes. I made this oatmeal twice this weekend and it was perfect. So delicious!


the theit lula camera bag: a giveaway

Today I have an incredible giveaway from a local brand, THEIT, makers of the prettiest camera bags I have ever seen. For years I have been carrying my camera and lenses in many different but not always so safe ways, but they are very secure in here. Plus it has extra space for all the things I insist on carrying around with me at all times. I am so happy to have this bag!

Update: March 28, 2014: This giveaway is now closed! The winner is Emily. I have hidden the comments as some contained full email addresses. Thank you!

This sweet coral number is the Lula bag, which was designed by Jen of Jen Loves Kev. I took mine to Allan Gardens the other day. It was hot and humid in there (the gold plate fogged up a bit! And me in a wool coat because it was actually freezing outside), and it was just the perfect antidote to this eternal winter. Plus it smelled amazing because many of the flowers were in full bloom. My coral Lula looked right at home! Geoff & I couldn't resist snapping quite a few photos of it.

The bag is made of a high quality synthetic fabric, which is easy to clean and lightweight. The strap is removable, as is the decorative tassel (I like it though). I took a “What’s in My Bag” pic for the THEIT blog, and while I was at it I snapped a few interior shots, which you can view here and here. The THEIT bag has lots of padding and inserts that can be moved around (using velcro) to accommodate different camera sizes and shapes. It also has two small pockets on the outside that are perfect for film canisters, two pockets along the sides for small items such as cleaning cloths or keys, an interior zip pocket, and a large zip pocket on the back. Quite a lot of storage space, and yet the bag never feels like it weighs me down.

THEIT will generously provide one Lula bag, in winner’s choice of coral or chestnut, to one lucky winner of this giveaway. To enter, please leave a comment below letting me know what your favourite thing to photograph is. Please be sure that I have a means of contacting you if you win! Also please note that I have comment moderation enabled to combat spam so your comment may take a few moments to appear. For an extra entry, follow THEIT on Instagram and leave a comment to let me know.

This giveaway is open internationally, but please note that you are responsible for any duties and customs your country may charge. I will select one winner at random on Friday, March 28 and contact that person privately (THEIT will ship out your bag). Good luck!


fieldguided for garmentory + giveaway

Quick note to say that if you click over to the Garmentory blog here, we have some free wallpapers available for your iPhone & iPad! Plus a little Q&A with yours truly in which I reveal my deep fondness for Julia Roberts movies. So much love for Garmentory—I used it last week to score the swimsuit of my dreams. Yessss.

“Just saying it could even make it happen” is a line from Kate Bush’s “Cloudbusting,” and y’all know what big Kate Bush fan I am... I think of this line a lot and I think it’s quite affirming. As I say in the Q&A, positive vibes for spring 2014. I always like to put reminders like on my phone’s wallpaper, since, well, my phone is near at hand most of the time (sad but true).

Download at the bottom of the post here! Also, Garmentory is giving away a few of our tote bags on Instagram; to enter follow Garmentory & comment on this picture.


shop local: bicyclette, toujours x fidele

A few things to share with you, Toronto! First up, Bicyclette continues to do adorable work, like this flower-infused spring lookbook (shot by Jason Matos at the Blush & Bloom studio). Of course anyone can shop their collections online, but there is just something so nice about shopping in person.

I also wanted to sheepishly point you to this blog post they wrote, which includes an interview with me as a Girl Crush (aw, blush blush). I wrote my replies when I was having a bad week so I hope they’re not too bleak!

I also wanted to mention the Toujours x Fidèle popup that opens this Friday at Dundas and Ossington. T x F is a brand that focuses on transforming deadstock materials into a limited run of clothing and art objects. You may have seen some of their pink flamingos around town in anticipation of the event, which promises to have a spring-y vibe with pink lemonade and flowers. Below are some images from their lookbook, as well as stills from a video they made entitled “Suburban Daydream.”

Models: Bea Santos, Rachel Wallace and Sel Ghebrehiwot / Makeup: Chelsea Collinson / Photography: May Truong / Styled & directed by Amy Jenine Wong.

It’s pretty clear to me based on these images that we are all so tired of winter and longing for spring. Any day now, spring, show yourself!


behind the scenes / swan lake with daniel neuhaus

Tomorrow, March 8, Swan Lake opens at the National Ballet. Daniel Neuhaus sent me this beautiful photo essay on the company’s production, from studio rehearsals to backstage to above stage (I shared some of his rehearsal shots from Giselle in December of 2012). These haven’t been seen yet so this is pretty exciting, and I am honoured to share them here. There are quite a lot of photos because it was hard to narrow down the selections!

I’ve got my tickets to see Swan Lake next week and I am pumped. My tickets $50 and they’re not bad: front row of ring 5 (of course, I really enjoyed this NYT piece on the benefits of the nosebleeds). I’ll include some information about how to see the ballet for less below the photos.

Enjoy! Thanks, Daniel.

All studio shots were taken in the rehearsal space in Queen’s Quay. All photos by Daniel Neuhaus. Click to view larger.

Rothbart by first soloist Etienne Lavigne with Odile/Odette in front played by 
Principal Xiao Nan Yu, with the corps fluttering around

Second soloist Tiffany Mosher perfecting her moves

Second soloist Alexandra MacDonald taking a break

First soloist Elena Lobsanova warming up

Apprentice Mimi Tompkins

Membres du Corps Kate Hosier, Krista Dowson and Elizabeth Marrable as swans

Alexandra MacDonald

 Tiffany Mosher


Senior Ballet Mistress Mandy-Jayne Richardson giving notes

Nan and Maddox McGee as Sigfried – they opened in the November performance of Swan Lake

Principal dancer Heather Ogden as Odette

Guillaume Côté (as Siegfried) and Heather Ogden on stage while swans look on

Principal dancer Heather Ogden

There are ways to attend a performance by the National Ballet for less; Ring 5 tickets are available for $25 for all performances. In my experience, these tend to go quickly, particularly for a popular show such as Swan Lake! Public rush tickets in designated locations are available at the Four Seasons Centre box office at 11am the day of the performance for $35 each. Standing room tickets are also available for $12, in person at the box office (again, starting at 11am on the day of the performance). If you are 16 to 29 years old, you can get $35 tickets by joining DanceBreak. You can also save money if you purchase a subscription, which is also a great way to support the Ballet in general.