UPDATE 1/28/14: Thanks to all of your support, I won the satchel/pannier category in the Cooper bag contest! My prize is $100 at Hart’s Fabric in Santa Cruz which calls for road trip, right? Yeah!
My first sew along & contest!
I’ve been a sewing blog lurker for so long…time to get some skin in the game! This sew along was hosted by Colette Patterns who designed this awesome bag pattern. I’m so thankful for the effort and creativity that these independent pattern companies have poured into their craft. Their work has not only motivated many folks like myself to get excited about sewing again, but has inspired a whole new community of makers. Kudos to them for bringing a contemporary spin to a traditional craft!
Ok, we went a little bezerk with the photography (thanks Nate!)
I had so much fun customizing this bag. Since I wanted to use my bag for traveling around SF by bicycle, I combined the messenger style with the pannier style rack straps. This seemed like a good marriage since I love messenger style bags for ease of access but I’m not a huge fan of the resulting sweaty back when riding. I have other bike panniers that have satchel style handles which are fine for bike camping and touring, but when I’m riding about town, they are a pain to hold when I’m off the bike. So, I replaced them with a messenger strap in my design.
I knew immediately I wanted to make this bag in wool fabric. Frankly, as practical as they are, I have enough bike bags made of weatherproof materials like cordura and waxed canvas. Most are designed by dudes. Wouldn’t it be nice to bring some softness and femininity (gasp!) to the bike accessories world? I’ve had great results with a lined tweed handlebar bag in some pretty horrendous field conditions so I wasn’t afraid to go there. The trick is to pick the right wool and interline it. For my bag shell, I chose a super soft wool flannel and paired it with heavy canvas for strength. For the lining, I selected a bright linen cotton blend for pop and texture. Before sewing up the wool, I tested it thoroughly for washability, steam pressed the hell out of it, and applied fusible interfacing for stability. That sucker is staying put.
Now the best part – bells and whistles! It was tough to narrow down the “doodad holders” to the essentials. Some of my early ideas did not make the cut:
Beyond accommodating the obvious phone/keys/lady purse junk, I wanted to include a removable zippered pouch for bike tools. Sometimes I switch bags in a hurry and I want all of my tools together for an easy transfer. Done and done!
The other big change I made was to reduce the height of the design by 2 inches for a more rectangular shape. I think the original square shape is great for a backpack or a satchel but for a messenger bag, the leaner profile feels a little more natural to me.
Oh and the exterior pocket included in the original design happened to be perfect for clipping a tail light. (Don’t miss the hilarious photo bomb in the upper left corner, ha!)