I don’t particularly like the foamy mats that you can get at any sporting goods store. In fact, I kind of hate them. Despite their supposed anti-slip qualities I often find myself sliding off of them, and that’s not what I want in a yoga mat. So, I decided to make one for myself. And then there was my longstanding wish to sew a quilt. I’d like my yoga mat to be a little softer than just two pieces of fabric sewn together, so that was perfect. One and one equals… a new yoga mat!
My mother-in-law gave me this batik fabric with the eye pattern over a year ago. I immediately loved it and thought it would be perfect for a yoga mat. I bought additional fabrics for the front and the back, and then I procrastinated actually making the mat for more than a year. I understood the theory of making a quilt, but somehow I was afraid to try for myself. And then, I realized that I only have a few days left before I go on a weekend long yoga retreat, and that if I wanted to take it with me, I’d better start sewing.
Sew I did – pun intended, of course. I started by determining how much fabric to add to the sides of the batik panel. The panel was about 60 centimeters wide, which I found a little narrow for a yoga mat. So I added a strip of ochre on either side to make it around 70 centimeters wide. That was the quilt top done.
I then made a sandwich that consisted of the top, the filling and the back. For the filling, I chose a thick flannel that I layered double. This way, the mat is more sturdy than it would be with traditional batting, but it still is soft. Plus, I wouldn’t want to stand on a carefully crafted quilt with cotton or woolen batting day in and day out. I don’t think it’d hold up against that. I then pinned this sandwich together in many, many places and started quilting. I decided to follow the meandering lines that weave between the eyes on the batik fabric, and to skip this for the smallest rows of eyes. I have a normal sewing machine, and it was hard enough maneuvering the whole mat under/around/through my machine without having to make tiny slaloms around those tiny eyes. I’m happy with how it turned out in the end, but this part really was a process. I now understand why people invest in walking foots for their machines! I ended up pushing and pulling the fabric through the machine, because it just could not properly feed it. So I have different stitch lengths all over the place, but you can only see that from the back, and who’s gonna see that?
Lastly, I trimmed the quilt to the size I wanted it to be (70 x 190 centimeters) and sewed on the binding, which I had made from 6,5 centimeter wide strips. I sewed it onto the back and then top-stitched it in place on the front – and then it was done! It took me two evenings to make it, and I am very happy with the result!
- Front: Batik panel and ochre woven cotton
- Back and binding: burgundy woven cotton
- Filling: thick flannel, doubled up