New Gym Bag

You have a busy life, and getting regular exercise is important.  You want to remove as many obstacles from getting exercise as you can, so your exercise is a ROUTINE and REGULAR, rather than OCCASIONAL.  Exercise must fit into your BUSY schedule.  Exercise requires different clothes, which get sweaty, wet, and stinky.  Owning enough gym clothes for clean, dry ones every day, or having enough time to launder stinky ones for every day adds cost and complication to the schedule.  See BUSY, or OBSTACLE.  Say you’re one of those people who can’t optimize the laundry so that new clothes hit your gym bag every day.  What happens on day two when you’re in the locker room?  Damp, stinky gym clothes.  Ugh/Ick/Yuck.  You grit your teeth, and say “What can I do?”, and you deal with it.  And you wish for a better situation.

I find myself in this situation regularly, and expect more of it now that it’s time to row outside again (See BACKSPLASH).  I expect swimmers have this issue with dampness, too.  I decided a better gym bag might be part of the solution.  I want one with good air circulation.   The two or three grommet holes in my existing duffel are not even close to effective.  I decided to steal a bag idea, and make a bag out of laminated cotton (waterproof) and pet-proof screen (airflow).  I bought my laminated cotton at Fabric.com and Olive Juice Quilts, and my pet-proof screen at my local Menards.

My first design was based on this tutorial, which I found on the Obsessive Crafting Disorder blog, by way of Pinterest.  While this tutorial is excellent, I wanted a slightly different design, without the flaps on the ends, and with finished seams, so my lycra gym clothes (or swim suits) wouldn’t get caught on the raw edges of the cut screen.  I also thought that pockets inside the bag would be a good way to hold sneakers, etc. up from the bottom, so they would get the airflow.

I spent a good part of our WAQG mini-retreat trying to make internal pockets for a bag made out of this pet-proof screening, and found it frustrating to work with, since the internal pocket layer kept getting caught on the seam allowance of the bag body, and  the screening is pretty heavy and not as flexible as I’d like.  I ended up scrapping my first attempt, and going back to the drawing board.

click picture for larger view

My solution to finishing the seams was to leave the seam allowances on the OUTSIDE of the bag, and to cover the seams with strips of laminated cotton, and to put a second layer of laminated cotton over the bottom on the outside.   I ended up ditching the pocket idea, since the extra layers of screen would probably reduce the airflow anyway.  What this leaves me with is the classic tried and true Boat and Tote bag shape, with a couple small modifications.

The straps are sewed to the bag at the base, and at the top edge of the bag, but they are not sewed to the sides all the way up the mesh, so hopefully this will allow more air to circulate.

I’ve also added some small nylon-covered wire clips on the inside, so I can clip wet clothing up, so it won’t be stuck in a heap on the nonporous part of the bag, and hopefully this will allow the clothes to dry out better.

Now, with luck, I’ll have less damp gym clothes.  Assuming I don’t leave the bag in the trunk of the car.   Baby steps, right?

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One Response to New Gym Bag

  1. Pat says:

    Jennifer,
    This is fantastic. You need to patent this and begin production. I would buy one (well, depending on how much…).

    Happy rowing

    Pat in Boston

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