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DIY bag making

Old 12-12-22, 08:26 AM
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This is a slight diversion, more like DIY bag customization. I like to have a small bag for packing extra layers into or for carrying my picnic lunch on charming days. I also keep finding "handlebar bags" that seem the right size but I don't like the dangling design with two straps around the handle bar, next to the stem, that leave the bag hanging and bouncing against the control cables. I've had some success with taking that basic bag and changing the attachment methods to suit my purposes. I'll move straps, lengthen straps, change ladder lock straps to hook and loop, fabricate stiffeners, add tie downs, etc,,,,, as needed. Works for me.




^^^ is a Canondale bag with a nice size and shape. I fabricated a simple "rack from electric fence wire and a bit of cherry hardwood. I then made a wooden stiffener for the back of the bag, replaced the original straps and attached them wider to clear the center of the handlebar and added a tie down to wrap around the HT, stabilizing the bag under load. Good enough for a sandwich, carrots and some chips.




^^^^ Sunlite barrel bag that, again, was a useful day trip size but would not play well with the cables on the front of my Y2K Cannondale. I'd made the wooden package rack years ago and found that, by removing the original straps, making and then turning a new one and adding a bit of hook n loop to the bottom it mounts on that rack well and is stable. Room for a tool roll and picnic lunch.




^^^ another simple barrel bag what would never suit me lashed to a handlebar. This one needed an internal stiffener which I made out an empty (and washed) kitty litter jug. I then removed the original straps and fabricated quite long hook n loop straps that are fastened on one side and long enough to wrap around the bottom (and the luggage rack its sitting on) and up the other side to close across the top. This one sits along the rack like a trunk bag, either on the rear of one bike or the front rack of another. Good for a day trip or even as a bit-o-extra when I have the panniers on the front rack. Suitable for purpose

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Old 12-20-22, 10:36 PM
  #177  
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When you see the Southern Cross for the first time you understand now why you came this way
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Old 12-20-22, 11:05 PM
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Hand sewed tool bag

Made this tool roll to take advantage of the loops on the saddle. Hand sewed with a leatherworking needle and then used pop rivets for the snaps.




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Old 12-26-22, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by seagrade
When you see the Southern Cross for the first time you understand now why you came this way
Very nice bike you got there, quite rare now. I assume you're aware this bike is low trail and is designed to carry the load on the front, right?
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Old 12-27-22, 02:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Schlafen
Very nice bike you got there, quite rare now. I assume you're aware this bike is low trail and is designed to carry the load on the front, right?
Cheers thanks, I do, although you'd hardly know it looking at the setup - a randonneur masquerading as a race bicycle with its near-14cm stem and seat to handlebar drop. I bought it a few years ago in a Soma factory clearance, knowing virtually nothing about such machines. I intended for it to be an overnight tourer with a handlebar bag, but such escapades have yet to materialise.

All that said I did enough research to decide upon a Stronglight roller bearing headset, and with that and weight more over the bars than perhaps anticipated by the designer, it rides perfectly well as is. In fact, the Tange Prestige frame/Infinity fork seems to suit me at c. 180lbs when I sporadically muster what little power remains.

All that said I'd probably trade it towards a 650b Jeff Lyon/L'avecaise were one to surface in anything near my size...
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Old 12-27-22, 02:34 PM
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So Sactown Albert, where did you find the wrenches in the tool roll? Been looking for some like that but have hesitated to buy on line as I doubt I will find something as solid as what came with the 3 spd I had as a kid. Thanks!
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Old 12-28-22, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Spadoni
So Sactown Albert, where did you find the wrenches in the tool roll? Been looking for some like that but have hesitated to buy on line as I doubt I will find something as solid as what came with the 3 spd I had as a kid. Thanks!
It would help if you quoted his post or used @, such as @Sactown_Albert.
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Old 12-28-22, 12:25 PM
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Found them on Etsy

Originally Posted by Mr. Spadoni
So Sactown Albert, where did you find the wrenches in the tool roll? Been looking for some like that but have hesitated to buy on line as I doubt I will find something as solid as what came with the 3 spd I had as a kid. Thanks!
I put in a search for “bike tools” on Etsy and these came up used. I did a search today and I saw a number of similar tools.
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Old 12-28-22, 12:30 PM
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Another more similar option

Originally Posted by Sactown_Albert
I put in a search for “bike tools” on Etsy and these came up used. I did a search today and I saw a number of similar tools.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/23465148048...3ABFBM9vvnn6th
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Old 12-28-22, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Sactown_Albert
Thanks. I should have asked the question a little more clearly. What I really wanted to know was if they were older heavier tools or some reproduction tools that would likely be flimsy. But with the link, you pointed me in the right direction, I’ll look for some older tools. And nice work on the bag!
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Old 12-30-22, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by seagrade
Cheers thanks, I do, although you'd hardly know it looking at the setup - a randonneur masquerading as a race bicycle with its near-14cm stem and seat to handlebar drop. I bought it a few years ago in a Soma factory clearance, knowing virtually nothing about such machines. I intended for it to be an overnight tourer with a handlebar bag, but such escapades have yet to materialise.

All that said I did enough research to decide upon a Stronglight roller bearing headset, and with that and weight more over the bars than perhaps anticipated by the designer, it rides perfectly well as is. In fact, the Tange Prestige frame/Infinity fork seems to suit me at c. 180lbs when I sporadically muster what little power remains.

All that said I'd probably trade it towards a 650b Jeff Lyon/L'avecaise were one to surface in anything near my size...
I searched for a canti GR for about a year before I moved on and built my PX10. Had the new disc GR in my cart for a month but couldn't do it, it's practical but ugly ( the rear dropouts/seat stays are an absolute eyesore and the top tube is significantly more sloped than the mk2 you're riding). Good choice on the roller bearing headset. You have to run a bit more pretension than on standard ball bearings, will help riding with and without a front load, but I realised it is required in order to keep the crown race straight,
I have bent a couple of aluminium Stronglight crown races before (too much play/float? too much weight on the front? not sure) and now run a 1" ITM Sterzo bottom half with a beefy steel crown race.
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Old 01-05-23, 05:10 PM
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My latest saddle bag design. This one is slightly smaller than my last bag and has a single arched zipper for the closure. This presents an interesting challenge in that each side of the arch presents a different circumference. Since it is just two pieces (not counting the straps), I had to fudge a little when I stitched them together. Look at the center bottom of the closure, the pucker is where I had to make up the difference. I'll make adjustments for my next one.

The use of the alligator pattern leather was inspired by this thread from last week. "Cool and Interesting Bar Tape."



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Old 01-09-23, 12:11 PM
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Mounted on the bike.

While I was making the bag, I also made matching bar covers and hoods.
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Old 03-06-24, 10:05 AM
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It is hard to imagine that over a year has passed since there was a new post to this great thread. I'm a little embarrassed to be the one to refresh it--- since I was the last member to add pictures.

For the past month I've worked on a leather handlebar bag. I utilized a steel cradle which came with many vintage Cannondale and other bags as my support. I designed it around a rechargeable battery with a built-in solar panel to ride in the top pocket (which incorporates a window for the panel).

As mounted on my '71 P13 Paramount with other leather projects.

Originally, I planned for it to be made from all red leather, but I miss-measured the top piece with the window for the solar panel. I had used all the red (and my supplier no longer had this hide), so I resorted to the black which I had on hand and used the contrasting red stitching.


Front pocket with magnetic closure.

Cockpit side. Double zipper for main compartment. Single zipper for top battery compartment. The zippers were repurposed from an old backpack.

Side view with rings (behind brake lever) for a shoulder strap.

If you look closely, I added two wide elastic straps to the bottom panel to carry a spare tubular tire, which sits between the tie-down tabs. I also made a leather sleeve to help secure the tire. Finally, I made a tool-pouch to fit in the front pocket.

Tubular tire holder and sleeve.

Tool-pouch in front pocket.

Open tool-pouch.

I lined the interior with white leather.

Thanks for letting me share my latest leather bag project. I'm glad to answer any questions. I also took additional pictures as I made the various pieces prior to assembly (including my mistake).
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Old 03-06-24, 10:18 AM
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pastorbobnlnh not sure if you mentioned it before but, which sewing machine are you using?

Been thinking of giving it a go myself as I can never find the bags that I want and xpack is relatively inexpensive to play around with.
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Old 03-06-24, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Schlafen
pastorbobnlnh not sure if you mentioned it before but, which sewing machine are you using?

Been thinking of giving it a go myself as I can never find the bags that I want and xpack is relatively inexpensive to play around with.
I do all my stitching by hand with Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl. I've never used a sewing machine.

People ask all the time (especially about the purses I make for my wife, daughter, and MIL), "Why don't you use a sewing machine?" My answer is simple: I like the contemplative action of hand stitching.

I realize I could speed-up the time it takes to make a bag, but I'm in no hurry, and I'm not trying to earn a living with my leather crafts. They are just a fun way to spend time and make functional pieces which I and others enjoy.
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Old 03-07-24, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh
I do all my stitching by hand with Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl. I've never used a sewing machine.
Well done, Bob. I’ve resorted to a speedy stitcher a couple of time but Ima no good at it. Back in December I finally took a good look at an “old” sewing machine my wife bought a couple of years ago for repairing horse blankets. Old? Turns out it’s a 1920 Singer 96-10 industrial machine driven by a more recent clutch motor drive. That should be interesting for a DIY project. It looks like it could sew aluminum sheet, let alone leather strapping. Cool. DIY is not dead.
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Old 03-07-24, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Prowler
Well done, Bob. I’ve resorted to a speedy stitcher a couple of time but Ima no good at it. Back in December I finally took a good look at an “old” sewing machine my wife bought a couple of years ago for repairing horse blankets. Old? Turns out it’s a 1920 Singer 96-10 industrial machine driven by a more recent clutch motor drive. That should be interesting for a DIY project. It looks like it could sew aluminum sheet, let alone leather strapping. Cool. DIY is not dead.
A few Speedy Stitcher tricks and tips:
  1. I use .030" twisted waxed cord from Maine Thread, from up in top506 and 1989Pre neck of the woods.
  2. I don't bother to wind the cord on to the Speedy Stitcher bobbin. I just use the cord as it spools off the original cardboard tube.
  3. Using a leather pricking/punch iron/tool is essential! I have an inexpensive set I bought on Amazon. I use 6mm spacing on most of my leather projects.
  4. When stitching, do your best to keep the needle in the same orientation as you stitch from hole to hole. As you pull the stitch tight, try to be consistent with the tautness from stitch to stitch.
  5. Like anything, the more you do the better your craft.
Hope this is helpful. I'm glad to share as much as possible. I tend to learn something new with each project I attempt. I want to make some panniers at some point, but the women in my life keep ordering purses.

Below is a good example of how my stitching technique has improved. I completed the red purse for Christmas 2022. The turquoise one was made for Christmas 2023.
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Old 03-08-24, 08:51 AM
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Thanks for these tips, pastorbobnlnh ! I've yet to try my hand at bag making and I'll certainly be referencing your post when I do!
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Old 03-08-24, 02:31 PM
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Not a great pic of a large seat bag I made out of an old Boy Scout Yucca pack years ago.
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Old 03-08-24, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh
I do all my stitching by hand with Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl. I've never used a sewing machine.

People ask all the time (especially about the purses I make for my wife, daughter, and MIL), "Why don't you use a sewing machine?" My answer is simple: I like the contemplative action of hand stitching.

I realize I could speed-up the time it takes to make a bag, but I'm in no hurry, and I'm not trying to earn a living with my leather crafts. They are just a fun way to spend time and make functional pieces which I and others enjoy.
You have the patience of a saint (ha).

I've modified a cooler into a front bag and it was an unpleasant hand stitching experience. The material may have been the cause actually, it did put me off trying again. The bag turned out ok and usable but not what I envisioned before embarking on my first ever hand stitching adventure.








However, I have just bought a cheapo Singer sewing machine off eBay and some xpack fabric.
Looking forward to delivery now, hehe.
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Old 03-08-24, 07:00 PM
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Schlafen great job on your first adventure in DIY Bag making! Well done!

Just look back through this thread and you can see how some of my earliest attempts were real disasters. When I first started I had the not so brilliant idea of repurposing old tubular tires into bike bags. I created some real turds!

I then attempted to convert purses and women's bags into bike bags. One turned out okay while the others were real hack-jobs. However, through all the failures I learned more and more.

Even this morning I happened upon a YouTube video which taught me a new technique for enhancing the edges. I hope to incorporate into the next purse I make. Mrs. PB has an order in for a black version of the bag I pictured above. Hopefully she will let me give it a try.

​​​
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Old 03-10-24, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh
I do all my stitching by hand with Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl. I've never used a sewing machine.
I found my old Speedy Stitcher recently and thought I'd share for those who aren't familiar. Even if you use a machine, the sewing awl is great for really thick parts and adding reinforcement to straps, etc.



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Old 03-11-24, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh
Schlafen great job on your first adventure in DIY Bag making! Well done!

Just look back through this thread and you can see how some of my earliest attempts were real disasters. When I first started I had the not so brilliant idea of repurposing old tubular tires into bike bags. I created some real turds!

I then attempted to convert purses and women's bags into bike bags. One turned out okay while the others were real hack-jobs. However, through all the failures I learned more and more.

Even this morning I happened upon a YouTube video which taught me a new technique for enhancing the edges. I hope to incorporate into the next purse I make. Mrs. PB has an order in for a black version of the bag I pictured above. Hopefully she will let me give it a try.

​​​
Agreed, repurposing bags rarely works.

My issue was that I've been struggling to find decent bags, for which I don't have to sell a bicycle in order to afford it and which fit my bike/handlebar constraints. For whatever reason (I'm assuming for a lack of front rack) all modern bags seem to open away from the rider, which is silly really.

Messing around withe the bag pictured above made me realize there's not much to their construction and I can probably make a better one to suit me.
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Old 03-11-24, 08:36 AM
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I bought a Speedy Stitcher decades ago for backpack repairs, and never used it. If anyone here wants it, I'd be glad to mail it to them for the cost of shipping in a padded USPS Flat Rate envelope, which is $10.70 right now I think. IM me.
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