No need to get your limbs in a twist—if your favorite cargo pants are looking more bedraggled than retro, set them on a better path with a little omwork. In this exclusive excerpt from ReMake It!: Recycling Projects from the Stuff You Usually Scrap ($12.95) by Tiffany Threadgould you’ll learn how to transform your ’90s throwback into a functional, one-of-a-kind tote for your yoga mat. Now get downward dog with your bad self. Namaste.


  • Pair of cargo pants
  • Fabric scissors
  • Ruler
  • Iron
  • Safety pins
  • Needle and thread
  • 75 inches of cord
  • Cord lock

DIY tutorials, crafts, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


Start with a pair of cargo pants that is at least 28 inches long on the inseam (the inseam is the measurement from the inside top of the leg to the cuff). Cut off one pant leg at the top where the inseam begins.


Cut a 2-inch slit down the top of the pant leg on the side opposite the cargo pocket. This is where the drawstring will come out.

Tip: If the drawstring opening frays, put a thin line of liquid seam sealant—found at most fabric stores—on the edge of the material.


Flip the pant leg inside out. Fold the top edge down ½ inch and iron along the fold to make a crease. Fold the top edge down again by 1 inch, and pin it to the pant leg with safety pins (see diagram a).


Sew a running stitch along this fold, ¾ inch from the top (see diagram b). You now have a drawstring casing.


Cut a piece of cord 75 inches long. Attach a safety pin to one end, and thread it through slit made in step 2. Thread the cord through the drawstring casing, using the safety pin to push the cord along and back out through the same hole. With both ends of the cord sticking out, insert the cord ends through the cord lock (see diagram c).


With the wrong side of the pant leg still facing out, cut squares 1½x1½ inches out of both bottom corners of the pant leg (see diagram d). These will become box corners.


Stitch along the bottom edge of the pant leg, making sure not to stitch along the squares you just cut out (see diagram e).


Pull the two ends of the cord through the center of the pant leg and lead them all the way down to the bottom. Thread the cord through the open box corner on the same side as the drawstring opening. Leave ½ inch of cord sticking out (see diagram f).

Tip: Use the cargo pockets to carry a water bottle, keys, or other items to yoga class.


Now, you will sew up the box corners you cut in step 6. Pick up the side you sewed together in step 7 and match up the side seam and bottom seam. Flatten the pant leg this way, with the side seam laying flat on top of the bottom seam. Stitch a straight line along the
box corner, perpendicular to the side and bottom stitches.

Make sure you stitch over the drawstring sticking through the bottom from step 8 (see diagram g). Repeat for the other box corner (this side will not have the drawstring sticking through.)


Flip your bag right side out. Decorate it with embroidery thread, buttons, or any other decoration you’d like. Carry your new yoga bag to class in style. It will surprise the pants off your yogi friends!