New year, new you — right?? If only it was that easy. Resolutions are hard and become even harder when the days are short, dark and rainy (AKA winter). Being more active is always on my resolution list, and this year I have actually come up with a solution to get myself to finally go to the gym or dance class! The secret is my gym bag. I pack it the night before and put it right next to my backpack to grab before I head out the door. I normally go to workout classes after work, so I’ll see my gym bag underneath my feet all day while working. When it comes to the end of the day (when I want to go home), I end up going to the gym because there is no way I want to lug my bag all the way back to my house without it being used at all — that’s just embarrassing for me and the bag. Hopefully my insight can inspire you to help with your resolutions, and if not, you still can follow along below for an amazing DIY gym bag tutorial.


Materials and Tools:



  1. Cut a 20 x 34 inch rectangle from your base fabric and a 10 x 24 inch rectangle from your accent fabric.
  2. Use a dinner plate to trace two circles onto your accent fabric — then cut out.
  3. Pin the smaller rectangle in the middle of the larger rectangle. Sew down the two long edges of the rectangle.
  4. Lay your 1.5-inch strap on top of the newly sewn edge of your two rectangles to create the handles. Lay the strap out like a large oval-shaped track. This will create handles at the top and bottom of the bag. Pin in place and then sew.
  5. Pin the zipper in place and sew to turn the large rectangle into a cylinder.
  6. Cut a small 1 x 4 inch rectangle, loop through the D ring and sew in place. Pin one tab of the loop to match up perpendicularly with the edge of the zipper, then sew. Do this to both ends of the zipper and then sew.
  7. Turn the bag inside out and pin the large circles to the two edges. Sew around the circles to finish your bag.
  8. Slide your 1-inch strap into your slider, fold and sew. Thread the strap through the D ring on the bag and then back through the strap slider. Loop it through the D ring on the other side of the bag and then sew together to hold it in place.

Cut out a 20 x 34 inch rectangle out of your base fabric.


Grab a dinner plate from the kitchen; trace and cut two circles from your accent fabric.


Cut out a 10 x 24 inch rectangle from your accent fabric — this will be your outer pocket on your bag.


Find the center of your bag and pin the smaller rectangle in place. I folded my larger rectangle in half and then found the middle of the fold to then match up the middle of my large rectangle to the middle of my smaller rectangle.


Sew along the long sides of the rectangle to create one large pocket.


Grab your 1.5-inch strap and pin over your newly sewn line. The strap will lay on your rectangle like a large oval/running track. Make sure you leave the same loop length at the top and bottom for equal bag straps.


Sew down both sides of the strap to really hold them in place.


Fold back the edge of the fabric to create a clean line and then pin to the zipper.


Sew the zipper to the bag. Zipper hack: I used a jacket zipper, so it came completely undone, and I could easily sew both edges of it to the edge of the bag without any difficulty. Is it the right zipper to use for a bag? No. Was it easy? Yes.


Cut a small 1 x 4-inch tab from your fabric, loop through the D ring and sew in place. Pin one tab of the loop to match up perpendicularly with the edge of the zipper, then sew. Complete this step for both sides of the zipper.


Turn your bag inside out and pin your circles to your newly sewn cylinder bag.


Sew in a large circle — slow and steady wins the race.


Now to create that long over-the-shoulder strap. Sew your one-inch strap onto your trap slider — slide it in, fold it over and sew.


Slide the strap through one of the D rings and then feed the free end of the strap through the slider. Fold the free end of the strap over the other D ring and then sew to secure.


Tada — a gym bag made 100 percent with your own hands.


We got this amazing material from our local fabric store Britex in downtown SF. Literally in love with its subtle silver reflectiveness.


This bag will fit all your workout goodies and could totally double as a weekend getaway bag.


Stay active, my people.

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DIY Production and Styling: Kelly Bryden
Model: Maddie Bachleder
Photography: Brittany Griffin

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