How to Embroider a Yoga Mat with an Embroidery Machine

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Embroidered yoga mat bags are fairly common, but have you ever tried to embroider a yoga mat?

Turns out, it’s not too hard as long as you’re careful to select the right supplies! (Trust me, I tried the wrong ones first and made a huge mess out of the back of one of my old mats.)

However, after some trial and error, I perfected the process and am looking forward to purchasing some nice-quality yoga mats to embroider and start gifting to friends and family. 

Now, adding a name or design to a yoga mat would have been MUCH easier on a multi-needle embroidery machine with a magnetic hoop or fast frame. However, since I only have a single-needle machine with a normal hoop, I learned to make do!

Let’s talk about how to embroider a yoga mat!

how to embroider a yoga mat

DIY Embroidered Yoga Mat Supplies

Below are the supplies I used for this tutorial.

  • Embroidery machine
  • Yoga mat
  • Stabilizer: 2 layers of tear-away stabilizer and one layer of water-soluble topping like Sulky Solvy
  • Needle: 75/11 embroidery needle (I used a gold Schmetz one. Sometimes with water-soluble topping and denser embroidery blanks, switching to a sharp needle might be necessary.)
  • Thread: I used 40 wt polyester embroidery thread, but rayon or cotton should work well as would a thicker thread.
  • Temporary fabric adhesive spray (ex Odif 505)
  • Embroidery design (a satin stitched name was perfect!)
  • Small scissors

Since yoga mats can be made from vinyl, plastic, rubber, or a variety of other materials (I saw a jute one even at Walmart!), just make sure you choose a mat that’s soft enough for the needle to penetrate through and thin enough to fit underneath the embroidery foot of your machine. 

How to Embroider a Yoga Mat – Tutorial

Now, let’s go step-by-step through the process. 

Marking the Center of the Design

how to mark a mat to center the design

First, decide where you want your design to go. I liked the idea of adding the name to the front, top of the mat. That way, it could be looked at while doing yoga. And, if rolling up the mat with the top side facing out, it would shown when being carried as well!

Next, test any marking method you’d like to use on your mat in a small location first to make sure it will be removable. I used a small embroidery marking sticker (see how to make embroidery placement stickers) to mark the mat as I didn’t want to have to deal with a water-soluble marking pen. 

Best Stabilizer for Yoga Mat Embroidery

Yoga mats themselves aren’t too stretchy, so there’s no need for a cut-away stabilizer. Especially since you don’t want the stabilizer showing on the back of the mat! 

Thus, choose your favorite between tear-away or wash-away stabilizer and double up if you plan to use any dense satin stitching in your design. I used tear-away stabilizer and doubled up on it for my mats also as a way to provide more of a barrier between the mat and my machine. 

Floating the Yoga Mat

Again, unless you have a specialized hoop that won’t leave marks on the mat itself, you’re going to have to secure the mat outside your hoop. Since you can’t pin or baste without leaving holes, this leaves adhesive spray or adhesive stabilizer (sticky or water-activated) to keep the mat from moving during the embroidery process.  

It’s VERY important to test your adhesive method before adhering the entire mat. See below? My sticky self-adhesive stabilizer was WAY too good of an adhesive and pulled off huge chunks of the mat when I was trying to remove it to reposition. Good thing I learned this before I wasted time embroidering that project!

test your stabilizer first

I then tested a small area of the mat on tear-away stabilizer sprayed with Odif 505, and this was perfect. Mats are made from different materials (of different quality) as are stabilizers. Thus, the best thing you can do is TEST first! Don’t press the mat too firmly on the stabilizer after spraying either unless you’ve also tested. You want a good enough hold to keep it from moving around but don’t want to lose any of the material on the back. 

Another option is using magnets (like Sewtite) to hold floated items in the hoop. I once rigged a magnetic hoop set-up that dislodged during embroidery, though, and I’ll never do that again!

Prepping to Machine to Embroider

unroll the mat before placing it in your embroidery machine

As you’re adhering the mat, make sure the rolled portion is going to be to the left of the machine body. This means you won’t have to roll the mat up like a huge burrito in the throat space of your machine. 

Now, place your mat and hoop onto your machine and load your design. Make sure it’s rotated appropriately and all settings are correct. 

Because yoga mats are super squishy, you’ll want to also float a layer of water-soluble topping over your yoga mat. This will keep the stitches from sinking into the squishy mat material. (Remove the placement sticker before placing the topping, though.)

add a layer of water-soluble topping

Press start, and watch your machine make a beautiful project! Make sure to keep an eye on it as it’s embroidering. You may need to hold the rolled portion and watch the mat to make sure it doesn’t come off the stabilizer.  

Finishing & Cleaning Up

embroidered yoga mat: done

After the stitching is done, remove the stabilizer from the hoop. Then, gently tear it away from the back of the mat. Trim any jump stitches, and remove the water-soluble stabilizer

Lastly, make sure to inspect your machine for any fibers that may have gotten inside. It’s not generally advised to embroider craft foam and a few other similar materials, so just make sure you clean your machine after each mat to keep it running smoothly. 

And, that’s it! I hope this tutorial for how to embroider a yoga mat has given you one more fun thing you can make with your embroidery machine!

machine embroider a yoga mat

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