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Got your back! Register for this #freeyoga class on Zoom for easing back challenges.

https://tinyurl.com/TueYogaGail

NEXT CLASS IS Tuesday, October 26, 2021 – 6 PM Central Time on Zoom. Those that register will also get a playback private video link.

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Sewing your own yoga gear, yoga mat bag, meditation pillow

Sewing your own yoga gear, yoga mat bag and meditation pillow

Here are some of the things I’ve used my Singer Featherweight 221 and my Pfaff Sewing Machine for yoga gear.

Using my Pfaff and Singer Featherweight Vintage sewing machines, I've made many items for my yoga practice.  Yoga mat bags, bolsters, zafu meditation cushions and eye pillows.  Yoga with Gail.
Using my Pfaff and Singer Featherweight Vintage sewing machines, I’ve made many items for my yoga practice. Yoga mat bags, bolsters, zafu meditation cushions and eye pillows. Yoga with Gail.

I used the tutorials listed on my site for making these #zafu #meditationpillows

Singer Featherweight 221 Sewing Machine - Yoga Gear & Props Sewing. Yoga with Gail
Singer Featherweight 221 Sewing Machine – Yoga Gear & Props Sewing. Yoga with Gail

#sewyogagear
#zafumeditation
#yogamatbag
#yogawithgail
#lovewhatido
#yogagear
#diyyogaprops

DIY Sewing your own yoga gear!

Yoga Mat Bag – sewing instructions

Yoga Mat Bag – Sewing instructions

Yoga Mat Bag Sewing Instructions.  Click and Read.  Yoga with Gail
Yoga Mat Bag Sewing Instructions. Click and Read. Yoga with Gail

Yoga Mat Bag How To DIY instructions.

This project uses Amy Butler’s Love fabric collection and knew it would be perfect for our yoga tote.  Check out the original instructions here as it is finally back out there on the web.

Our generously-sized bag will hold your mat, towel, yoga chimes and more. We recommend choosing a heavier weight fabric for the bag so it’s sturdier and wears well. Amy Butler’s Love collection has several home decor weights from which to choose. Your lining can be regular weight. I used upholstery fabric, and I didn’t have to use a liner fabric when I made this bag.

The Yoga Mat Bag Sewing Instructions.  Brought to you by Yoga with Gail
The Yoga Mat Bag Sewing Instructions. Brought to you by Yoga with Gail

Sewing Tools You Need

  • Any Sewing Machine

Fabric and Other Supplies

Fabric and other supplies needed for the Yoga Mat Bag Sewing Project.  Make your own yoga gear with Gail
Fabric and other supplies needed for the Yoga Mat Bag Sewing Project. Make your own yoga gear with Gail
  • 1 yard of 54″ wide fabric for bag: 
  • 1 yard 45″ wide coordinating fabric for lining: 
  • 3 yards of 2″ wide cotton webbing for handles: we used an organic white cotton
  • 1 large (apx. 1″) wooden button
  • All-purpose thread in colors to match fabrics
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. From the fabric for your bag  cut two 33″ wide x 14″ high rectangles.
  2. From the fabric for your lining  cut two 33″ wide x 14″ high rectangles.
  3. From the fabric for your lining, also cut one 4″ x 4″ square.
  4. Cut your cotton webbing into two 52″ lengths.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Attach handles

  1. To place the cotton webbing for the handles, first make four marks with your fabric pencil on each outside bag fabric 33″ x 14″ rectangle: 9″ in from each corner.
    Location of where to attach the handles for the Yoga Mat Bag Instructions.
    Location of where to attach the handles for the Yoga Mat Bag Instructions.
  2. Starting with one length of webbing and one fabric rectangle, position the end of the webbing flush with the bottom and aligned with the 9″ marks. Pin in place.
  3. Run straight up, make a 24″ loop to create the handle, then run the webbing back down the other side, lining up with your 9″ marks. Pin as you go.
  4. Repeat with other outside fabric rectangle and other length of webbing.
    Pinning and Attaching the Webbing for the  Yoga Mat Bag Sewing Instructions.
    Pinning and Attaching the Webbing for the Yoga Mat Bag Sewing Instructions.
  5. Top stitch webbing to fabric along both sides and across the bottom. Your stitching on all straps should end approximately 1″ from the top raw edge so you have room for a top seam allowance.
    Seam Allowance Instructions for the Yoga Mat Bag.
    Seam Allowance Instructions for the Yoga Mat Bag.
  6. To reinforce the top of each strap, again starting 1″ below the top raw edge of the bag, stitch a 1″ – 2″ square.
    Reinforce the webbed handles to the Yoga Mat Bag.  Yoga with Gail
    Reinforce the webbed handles to the Yoga Mat Bag. Yoga with Gail

Stitch bag pieces and lining pieces together

  1. Pin the two outside bag pieces right sides together, making sure the strapping matches up at the bottom and the handles are sandwiched in between the layers – out of the way of all seams.
  2. Using a ½” seam, stitch down both sides and across bottom of bag. Press seams open.
    Stitch the Bag pieces together. Yoga Mat Bag Instructions. Yoga with Gail
    Stitch the Bag pieces together. Yoga Mat Bag Instructions. Yoga with Gail
  3. Take your two 33″ x 14″ lining pieces and pin them right sides together.
  4. Using a ½” seam, stitch down both sides and across bottom of lining. Press seams open.

Create the gusset

  1. Press the main bag piece, so the bottom seam is very sharp.
  2. Open bag and fold in the opposite direction, matching the side seams. The bottom of the bag will naturally fold in on itself, creating two matching triangles. Very carefully align the side folds and the top points to ensure your gusset will be exactly even.
    Create the Gusset for the Yoga Mat Bag Sewing Instructions.  Yoga with Gail
    Create the Gusset for the Yoga Mat Bag Sewing Instructions. Yoga with Gail
  3. Measure approximately 2″ down from the top tip of the triangle and use your fabric pencil to draw a line straight across the folded fabric. Your line should be at a point that is approximately 5″ wide.
    Measuring 2 inches down - Yoga Mat Bag Instructions - Yoga with Gail
    Measuring 2 inches down – Yoga Mat Bag Instructions – Yoga with Gail

    Measuring and Marking - Yoga Mat Bag Instructions - Yoga with Gail
    Measuring and Marking – Yoga Mat Bag Instructions – Yoga with Gail
  4. Repeat on the opposite side. Check to make sure your two drawn lines are at the exact same place on both sides.
  5. Unfold and stitch across along on the 5″ drawn line on each side.
    Unfold and Stitch - Yoga Mat Bag Instructions - Yoga with Gail
    Unfold and Stitch – Yoga Mat Bag Instructions – Yoga with Gail
  6. Trim the top of each triangle ½” from the sewn line.
    Trim top of the Triangle - Yoga Mat Bag Instructions - Yoga with Gail
    Trim top of the Triangle – Yoga Mat Bag Instructions – Yoga with Gail

    Repeat steps 1 - 6.  Yoga Mat Bag Instructions - Yoga with Gail
    Repeat steps 1 – 6. Yoga Mat Bag Instructions – Yoga with Gail
  7. Repeat steps 1-6 to create the gusset in the lining.

Make the button loop

  1. Take the 4″ x 4″ square of lining fabric and fold it in half diagonally, right sides together.
  2. Stitch ½” away from fold. Folding and stitching on the diagonal will make your loop bias-cut, which will allow it to curve without wrinkling.
    Make the Button Loop - Yoga Mat Bag Instructions - Yoga with Gail
    Make the Button Loop – Yoga Mat Bag Instructions – Yoga with Gail
  3. Trim the seam allowance to ¼” and turn right side out, using a safety pin or loop turner. Press flat.
  4. Find the top center point of the side that will be the ‘back’ of your bag. Make a mark at this center point with your fabric pencil. Then, still using your fabric pencil, draw a short horizontal line along the ½” seam line.
  5. Fold your loop in half and pin it at the center point mark you just made in step 4. Adjust the loop so enough of it extends past the seam line for the button to pass through easily. Don’t guess. Test it with your actual button. Pin the loop in place.
    Attach the Button Loop - Yoga Mat Bag Instructions - Yoga with Gail
    Attach the Button Loop – Yoga Mat Bag Instructions – Yoga with Gail
  6. Stitch the loop down, running forward and backwards several times so your loop is secure and can stand up to lots of wear and tear. Trim away excess.

Finish the bag

  1. Finish the raw edge of both the main bag and the lining with pinking shears or a zig zag stitch. For more thoughts about finishing, read our tutorial: Finishing Raw Seams: Part One – Sewing Machine Finishes.
  2. Turn lining inside out. Keep the bag right side out.
  3. Place bag inside the lining so right sides of bag and lining are together. Pin around the top edge matching seams and centers and tucking straps down. Leave about 8″ open for turning.
    Attaching the liner to the bag - Yoga Mat Bag Instructions - Yoga with Gail
    Attaching the liner to the bag – Yoga Mat Bag Instructions – Yoga with Gail
  4. Stitch, using a ½” seam allowance, making sure not to catch the straps. Remember to leave about 8″ unstitched for turning.
  5. Turn right side out and press top edge flat. The edges of your 8″ opening should be folded in ½” to match your seam allowance.
  6. Top stitch around the entire top of tote. For a clean look, fold handles down and stitch BEHIND the handles not over the top of them.
    Top Stitch the Entire Top of Bag - Yoga Mat Bag Instructions - Yoga with Gail
    Top Stitch the Entire Top of Bag – Yoga Mat Bag Instructions – Yoga with Gail
  7. Hand sew the wooden button to the center of the front of the bag, opposite the loop.
    Hand Sew on the Button - Yoga Mat Bag Instructions - Yoga with Gail
    Hand Sew on the Button – Yoga Mat Bag Instructions – Yoga with Gail

Contributors 
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Jacqueline Smerek

Love this pattern.  Had to find it off of Archive.org to get the instructions!

Sew sew sew!!

Props and Gear for your Yoga practice . . .

Props and Gear for your Yoga practice.

Sewing your own yoga gear!  Yoga with Gail.  Love using my Singer Featherweight to make yoga gear!
Sewing your own yoga gear! Yoga with Gail. Love using my Singer Featherweight to make yoga gear!

Sew if you have any sewing ability, you can make these items for your Yoga practice.

  • A Yoga Bag by Amy Butler
    Yoga Mat Bag
  • A Lavender Eye Pillow by Amy Butler
    Lavender Eye Pillow
  • PDF of Sewing a Meditation Cushion Here are the instructions.
    • Zafu

      How to make a Zafu

    First, what is a zafu? It’s a cushion to sit on during sitting meditation.

    Do I need one? Nope.

    Having said that, here are some instructions which I borrowed from a wonderful web site called No Zendo. Unfortunately they are no longer online.

    The following information was originally published by the Zen Center of Los Angeles and was found in one of their fine books, entitled “To Forget the Self: An Illustrated Guide to Zen Meditation” by John Daishin Buksbazen. Unfortunately, this book is now out of print. It is gratefully presented here as a help for those getting started on their own.

    SUGGESTED FABRIC

    A sturdy material such as a cotton/polyester blend

    SUGGESTED FILLING

    Kapok fiber, although buckwheat hulls can be used for those who prefer a firmer seat

    BASIC PIECES

  • Length of cloth 59 inches long, 6 inches to 9 inches wide (depending on how high you would like your cushion to be).
  • Two circles of cloth, each with a diameter of 11 inches to 13 inches (depending on how large around you would like your cushion to be.)
  • STEP 1.
    Pleat the length of cloth. There should be fourteen 3/4 inch pleats, 3 inches apart. To pleat:
    a) Beginning 6-1 /2 inches from the left edge of the length, make three marks, 3/4 inch apart, thus marking out the first pleat:

    cushions1

    Three inches after the first set of pleat markings, make the second set, as indicated above. Continue doing this till you have 14 pleats. When you finish, the last pleat marking should be 3 inches from the right edge. (If you wish to have narrower pleats, of course, simply increase the number of pleats.)

    b) Next, iron the pleats and pin them. They should all be folded and ironed in toward the left-hand side. For each set of pleat markings, fold the third in toward the first as shown, and then pin as shown at below:

    cushions2

    STEP 2.
    Now, having completed the first step, take the right edge of the pleated strip cloth and pin it to the left end of the strip, 3-1/4 inches from the left edge:

    cushions3

    STEP 3.
    Mark each circle of cloth at four equidistant points. Turn pleated length of cloth inside out. Pin each circle to the pleated strip, one circle to the top edge and one to the bottom edge, at each of the four points:

    cushions4

    STEP 4.
    Next, ease (pin) all the pleats in to the circles, top and bottom. Sew the circles to the length of cloth:

    cushions5

    STEP 5.
    Turn inside out and stuff with kapok or buckwheat hulls (through opening in the side that the zafu will have) It’s best to use a lot of stuffing material. Kapok will slowly compress with use and buckwheat hulls eventually breakdown:

    That’s it!
    You could sew a zipper in the opening or simply sew it closed. Sewing a Meditation Cushion

    Instructables instructions on making your own meditation pillow.

  • A Meditation Bench, bench to sit on during kneeling meditation.  Site down, so I’ve included the instructions here:

Seiza – Meditation Bench from Wood

How to make a Seiza

Seiza1

First, what is a seiza? It is a bench to sit on during kneeling meditation.

Sitting_Seiza

Do I need one? Nope.

WHAT YOU NEED

  • A sheet of wood, ¾-inch (2 cm) thick, and approximately 20 by 20 inches (52 cm). Alternatively, you might use scraps of wood of various sizes, according to the actual sections required.
  • At least ten 1¼-inch (3 cm) countersink woodscrews
  • A hand saw for wood (a cross-cut hand saw, if available, or possibly an electric table saw/rip saw)
  • A drill (or powerdrill), a small drill bit for wood, and a countersink bit or a countersink tool
  • Wood glue
  • Two or more C-clamps
  • Sandpaper (and perhaps a disc-sander)

CHOOSING THE WOOD

Any strong, solid wood used for furniture will work. Be sure the wood doesn’t bend easily (you’ll be sitting on this), and that it wont split when screws are put into the narrow sides.

A solid, single piece of wood like pine or cedar will probably look better and be easier to work with — especially if you plan to varnish or stain the wood later. Avoid standard plywood and chipboard, which will probably bend, flake or disintegrate. Make sure your wood is flat and not warped. Solid scraps of wood that match the sizes needed could work fine as well; your seiza doesn’t need to be fancy, just functional.

CUTTING THE LENGTHS

You need to cut five pieces of wood, like this:

seiza2

MAKING THE LEGS

Ensuring symmetry

After cutting, the parts may be a little rough — one leg may not exactly match the other. Even wood bought from a shop may not have edges that are exactly straight.

To fix this, simply clamp the legs together and sand the edges until they all match. If you can, get a few of the sides to line up before starting; it will provide a good reference point. Try to clamp the sides together in an ‘average’ position, to minimize how much sanding is needed. Don’t worry about detail sanding right now, such as rounding corners for aesthetic purposes. Right now you just want things to line up.

Before long, you should have two identical legs.

THE FIRST LEG

Attach the reinforcement to the inside edge of the leg, in the center of the slanted edge. Like this:
Seiza3

Line up the edges of the two pieces as best you can. Measure the distance to both edges, so that the little piece is in the middle of the leg’s edge. Clamp the two pieces together using C-clamps. Place one at each side, along the flat edges (not the slanted edge) of the leg, so that they’re not in the way of your work. You need to small drill holes in the pieces. The holes shown here are bigger, for clarity.

Seiza4

Using a drill, bore two pilot holes for screws into both pieces of wood. Pilot holes guide the screws and prevent the wood from splitting. Use a drill bit around half the diameter of the woodscrews, or a little smaller. If the diameter is too large, the woodscrews won’t get a strong grip and the seiza could break easily.

After drilling the pilot holes, you to countersink them. Countersink screws have a triangular head with a flat top, designed to sit flush with the surface of the wood. Countersinking makes a similar triangular shape into the top of the pilot hole, to allow the woodscrew to be flush to the surface:

Seiza5

Once the pilot holes are drilled and countersinking is done, join the pieces together. Release the C-clamps, add a little glue between the pieces, re-clamp, and screw the pieces together. Be careful to put the screws in from the outside — from the larger leg, into the smaller reinforcement:

Make sure the screws are tight, wipe off any excess glue, and leave it to dry for a few minutes.

THE SECOND LEG

Be careful which side you attach the reinforcement to on the second leg. It needs to be the opposite of the first. Take the first piece, and place it with the slant coming down from the back to the front. Whichever side the reinforcement is on will be the inside. Take the other leg, and place it further over, across the inside edge, and then place the second reinforcement on the new leg’s inside edge:

Seiza6

Line up the pieces, clamp them together, drill and countersink the pilot holes, unclamp, glue, clamp again, and finally screw the pieces together. Remember to drill the holes and put the screws in from the outside edge, opposite the reinforcement, and when finished, allow some time for the glue to set before removing the clamps.

COMPLETING THE LEGS

When the legs are assembled, sand off the top slanted edge to make sure that the reinforcement and the leg edge are even. The seat should be flat against the legs to best distribute your weight evenly.

THE SEAT

Place the seat on top of the two legs, making sure the reinforcements are on the inside edge. Line everything up, so that the edges of the seat are tight against the edges of the legs.

You could move the legs in slightly to allow the seat to overhang the legs, creating a more interesting shape. This could make it more difficult to line up the seat screws, and you need to have enough space for your legs underneath the bench.

Clamp your seat down by placing the C-clamps around the seat and the reinforcement bars. If you have a limited number of clamps, place them diagonally opposite around the seat. Even two clamps will do, but four would be ideal.

Drill and countersink three pilot holes in each side of the seat. Two should go through the seat into each leg, and the other should be further in, so that it goes into the reinforcement. Measure all the distances carefully, so that the screws are centered and symmetrical on each side. Something like this:

Seiza7

It’s particularly important to countersink the holes properly, since they’re on the seat that you’re going to sit on. If they’re not deep enough, the screws will sit up and be rough. Once the holes are drilled, release the clamps and apply glue to the top of the legs. Re-clamp, and screw down. Leave the clamps for a while so the glue can dry.

Once the glue dries, you’re done!

Finishing

Finally, check once more that it sits well. Hopefully, you won’t have any major problems with one leg an inch lower than the other. If you notice a little rocking, it should be easy to fix by sanding the bottom surfaces to be even.

You can cover the screw holes completely with a product called ‘plastic wood.’ Or try just mixing some wood glue with sawdust you made earlier, place it into the recessed screw hole, and sanding it down when dry.

You have a few finishing options. You can stain it to match your other furniture, or make it look like a more interesting kind of wood perhaps — or you can varnish it to give it a professional, glossy finish that’s easy to clean.

A smooth well-sanded surface is important. You don’t want to sit on, or even carry a seat that’s rough. Splinters aren’t much fun! If you are planning to use a varnish, sanding will be an important first step. Sanding by hand is pretty simple — just keep going in a circular pattern, with very light pressure, until things feel smooth. Pay particular attention to corners and edges. It’s nice to get those smoothly curved — especially at the front where your legs will leave the seat.

Suggestions

The folks at the WildMind website suggest that seiza benches require more hand support than other meditation methods. You may want to use an extra pillow to support your hands more fully above your waist as you kneel. WildMind has lots of great guidance on posture, though — I’d suggest referring to that site, if you’re having difficulties.

About this guide

http://www.michiganbuddhist.com/seiza – original site is missing. Here is what I saved over the years.  Sewing a Meditation Cushion

I used some cotton material that I had around the house. I used this same concept, to cover a neck roll that I had so that I could also use this in restorative yoga poses.

Here’s another link for making a stuff sack, or a cover for your cylinder shaped bolster…

p.s. Update, a sewing pattern from Simplicity 3583 – Bolsters, Meditation cushion, neck roll, eye pillow, yoga strap.  Wait till Hobby Lobby or JoAnn’s have their sales and snatch this pattern!

Simplicity Sewing Pattern 3583 - Make your own yoga gear - Yoga with Gail
Simplicity Sewing Pattern 3583 – Make your own yoga gear – Yoga with Gail

Additional information on making your own Yoga Props! DIY Meditation Pillows.

Sew your own yoga accessories, mat wrap, mat bag, zafu meditation pillow, yoga bolsters and more.

You know Simplicity pattern company (which you can find at Hobby Lobby, JoAnns Fabrics and online) has come out with patterns for making bolsters, cushions, yoga mat bags and such, but there is a wealth of info out there on the web to help you make your own yoga props.

Using my Singer Featherweight to make a Zafu Meditation Yoga Cushion.  Yoga Mat, Bolsters and more!  Yoga with Gaileee
Using my Singer Featherweight to make a Zafu Meditation Yoga Cushion. Yoga Mat, Bolsters and more! Yoga with Gaileee

I made my yoga mat bag out of upholstery material.  I didn’t need to use any lining material because my upholstery fabric was very thick.

Yoga Mat Bag Tutorial, like a long tote bag.  I made this one.

The Yoga Mat Bag Sewing Instructions. Brought to you by Yoga with Gail
The Yoga Mat Bag Sewing Instructions. Brought to you by Yoga with Gail

Make those meditation pillows (zafu’s)

 

Some of the websites that listed how to make the seated meditation pillows are no longer on the web, so I’ve included the instructions onto this page. Here’s a little PDF I created based on these long ago lost internet instructions. Sewing a Meditation Cushion

Additional Meditation Pillow Instructions - Making the Pleats
Additional Meditation Pillow Instructions – Making the Pleats

 

Zafu Meditation Pillow Instructions
Zafu Meditation Pillow Instructions
Old original meditation zafu instructions
Old original meditation zafu instructions

 

Constructing a ZaButton Meditation Cushion
Constructing a ZaButton Meditation Cushion

How to Make a Zafu and Zabuton

Posted by Som on Monday, March 13, 2006

Whether you’re looking for some comfortable, casual seating or you want to make your meditation sessions more pleasant, a zafu and zabuton are wonderful things to have around the house. Zafu and zabuton are traditional Japanese cushions used for meditation; the zafu is a circular pillow with pleated sides, and the zabuton is pretty much just a large, flat pillow. You can order them online for $40+ each, but it’s cheaper and more satisfying to make your own at home.

Zafu with a Zabutton meditation cushion
Zafu with a Zabutton meditation cushion
Crossed Legged on the Meditation Zafu & Button
Crossed Legged on the Meditation Zafu & Button
Side view of sitting on the Zafu & Button.  Tilts pelvis forward making for easier seated position.
Side view of sitting on the Zafu & Button. Tilts pelvis forward making for easier seated position.

(I don’t have the best meditation posture, but you get the idea of how the cushions work. The zabuton is a little small for me, because this is one I made for a friend who’s shorter than I am.)

The zafu elevates and cushions the pelvis, and the zabuton cushions the knees and ankles. This position facilitates better posture, eases joint and back pain, and may help one achieve deeper longer meditation sessions. As long as you’re making one set, why not make two? Keep the extra set for guests, give it to a friend who meditates or has back problems, or donate it to your local Zen center or Buddhist temple.

About the materials: I chose to use a cotton/polyester blend for these because it’s cheap and easy to clean with a wet rag; these aren’t something you can just throw in the washing machine. When I’m more settled in my meditation practice, I’ll probably make another set out of some heavy silk, perhaps adding some colorful embroidery or sashiko stitching.

As for filler, I used organic pillow-grade buckwheat hulls for the zafu and plain ol’ polyester stuffing for the zabuton. Kapok would be a better choice for both, but it’s fairly expensive.

Click below for full instructions on how to make the zafu and zabuton.
Zafu
Materials:

  • Cotton/polyester blend fabric, 2 yards (note: 2 yards is enough for two zafu)
  • Pillow-grade buckwheat hulls, 5 lbs.
  • Zipper
  • Sewing thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Hand-sewing needle, pins, scissors
  • Iron, ironing board, and water spray bottle

Sewing a Meditation CushionSewing a Meditation Cushion. That’s what I started with, but I had to tweak it a little for my own use. I recommend downloading it even if you’re going to use my instructions, as the illustrations in the PDF are quite helpful.

Cut a strip of fabric 65″ x 7″ (there are a few extra inches in the length for fudging purposes.) Cut two circles 13″ in diameter – I used a 13″ round serving plate for my template, but you could also make from cardboard using a compass and a pencil.

Pleat the long strip of fabric: measure 4.5″ inches from one end and mark. Make two more marks 3/4″ from the first. Measuring from your center mark, repeat the process every 4″ until you have 14 pleats marked. Fold, iron, and pin the pleats (since the iron setting for polyester blends usually isn’t high enough for steam, use a water spray bottle for best results.)

On the end, you started pleating at, fold back the fabric 1/2″ and iron. Begin pinning the strip of fabric around one of the fabric circles. When you get to the end, you’ll have a few extra inches of fabric. Fold back and iron. Pin your zipper in place on the folded ends of the fabric, making sure to cut and secure the zipper at least 1″ away from the top and bottom of the fabric to allow room for sewing. Use the sewing machine and a zipper foot to sew the zipper in place; hand-stitch the remaining seam of the side strip width. Trim the extra fabric behind the zipper.

Using the sewing machine, stitch the side fabric strip to the first circle of fabric with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Then pin and sew to the second circle. Trim the extra thread, remove any remaining pins, and turn the pillow.
Stuff as much buckwheat hull as you can into the pillow. This is a little tricky, as buckwheat hulls are tiny and quite devious. Also, they really hurt under bare feet. Fill it as much as you can, shake it down, and fill some more. I used almost all of the 5 lbs. of buckwheat hulls I purchased. Once it’s full, try it out. You may find that you’d be more comfortable with more or less filling – hence the zipper. (And, I’ll admit, I’m terrible at blindstitching. The zipper is my way of cheating.)

If you want to make your circles a different diameter, here is how you calculate where to place your pleats and how long a strip of fabric you need: Multiply the diameter of your fabric circle by pi (3.14159.) This will give you the circumference; for a 13″ diameter, I got a 40.84″ circumference. Add 1″ for the zipper seams (=41.84″.) For 14 pleats, each 3/4″ and using 1 1/2″ of fabric, add 21″ (=62.84″.) Add a couple of inches for fudging purposes, so you’ll be sure not to run out of fabric and have to start all over again (=65″.)
To determine where to put your pleats, take the length of your fabric strip, minus the 1″ of seam allowance and 2″ or so for fudging allowance (in my case, 62″.) Divide by 15 (=4.13″.) Round off as best as you can (=4″.) Remember to add your 1/2″ seam allowance for the measurement before the first pleat (=4 1/2″.)

Zabuton
Materials:

  • Cotton/polyester blend fabric, 1 1/2 yards
  • Polyester, cotton, or kapok stuffing, ~2 lbs.
  • Sewing thread, machine, etc.

Cut two rectangles of fabric, 32 1/2″ x 27 1/2″ (if you’re over 6′ tall, add a few inches to both dimensions. You need it to be big enough to accommodate you when sitting cross legged with your knees comfortably cushioned on the zabuton.) Note: Cutting a straight line that long can be difficult. In order to make sure that my cuts are indeed straight, and that I end up with 90o angles, I use the pulled thread method for cutting straight lines in the fabric.

Pin the rectangles together and stitch around the edges with a 3/8″ seam allowance, leaving an opening about 4″ wide on one side for turning and stuffing. Make sure to backstitch at the corners and on both sides of the opening. If you like, you can stitch a small curve on the edges or add a rise, but it’s not necessary.
Turn and stuff. A word about polyester stuffing: it’s tempting to just grab wads of stuffing and jam it in there without a care in the world, but you’ll end up with a lumpy, unusable pillow. Take the time to do it right. Grab a handful of stuffing and pinch off little pieces. You can make a big pile of pinched stuffing and then stuff the pillow by the handful. You’ll use a lot less stuffing this way, and your zabuton will be nice and fluffy – not lumpy.

Once the zabuton is stuffed to your liking (I stuffed to about a 2″ rise,) stitch the opening shut. To keep the stuffing from shifting about too much, tuft the zabuton. I added four tufts, each about 8″ from the corners toward the center of the pillow. To tuft, take a sewing needle and an 18″ length of thread. Double your thread and pierce both layers of the pillow; pull the needle through, but leave a few inches of thread on top. Bring the needle back through both layers of pillow near the first stitch. Pull both ends of the thread tight and tie it off carefully. Clip the extra thread. And you’re done!

Other links for sewing up your yoga props

List of  Sewing Patterns for Yoga Clothing and Sewing  Yoga Gear

Sew your own Yoga Mat Bag Sewing Instructions 

Sewing your own yoga gear. My nice long yoga mat bag from upholstery material, plus yoga straps for the handles. Zafu Meditation seat cushions (pillows) made from denim. I've had the mediation pillows for year, they have held up nicely! Yoga with Gail. 409-727-3177
Sewing your own yoga gear. My nice long yoga mat bag from upholstery material, plus yoga straps for the handles. Zafu Meditation seat cushions (pillows) made from denim. I’ve had the mediation pillows for year, they have held up nicely! Yoga with Gail. 409-727-3177