Adventures in Sewing

Camo. Grey. Black. Red. Different style Camo.
The color options for standard bike bags leave much to be desired.  To be fair, you can score a snazzy custom bag in your favorite color if you are willing to drop some coin.  I’m a teacher by day-not a sponsored rider or trust funder.  To add some flare to my bike I make it myself.
a0442-img_6058As a kid, I spent summers sewing 4H projects.  20 years ago a pair of my homemade wind pants earned blue ribbon praise at the local county fair.  Since then I’ve mended a few sweaters, hemmed my work pants, and cut a pair of jorts.  Undeterred by my lack of experience, I optimistically headed out to my local fabric store and quickly learned a few things.

The Do’s and Don’ts Approach to Making Your Own Gear

Do use appropriate local dialect when shopping for material.  I said bag three different times only to be met with confused looks. As a former Minnesotan, I pronounce bag as “bayg.”  For sweet southerners to understand I should have added a few extra syllables for clarity: “ba-a-a-g.”

Don’t apologize for the accent you spent years perfecting.

Do buy your favorite color! Mine is purple at the moment.

Don’t exercise color constraint.  Neon green fabric?  Why not!  If you wanted black you would have bought the bag already. I’m already regretting turning down the extra yard of hot-pink fabric.

Do order outdoor specific fabrics and zippers from the comfort of your couch.

Don’t waste 2 hours in a store on a beautiful afternoon trying to decide if the cheap zipper labeled “purses” or “coats” will best hold up to miles of abuse.  For the record, I bought the metal zipper for purses.  Time will tell if it lasts the teeth-shattering washboard sections of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.

Do set realistic expectations.

Don’t anticipate your first prototype turning out Etsy ready.  I naively ran out to strap my bag to the top tube of my bike only to watch it slip to the side.  After a few tweaks and excess velcro, I designed a mediocre saddle bag instead.

Do create something you need.  Even if your 10-year-old self could make it better.



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