Top tube bag

So, I’ve been looking for a while for a way to carry stuff on my roadie so I don’t have to wear a jersey.  Now I’m not trying to cart a week of groceries home, just some money, keys and phone.  However, pants pockets are next to useless if they don’t have a zip, so unless you are wearing a jersey, it’s pretty hard to carry anything.

Requirements: Not to interfere with my steering, not to require additional modifications to my bike (eg adding a rack), attaches onto the bike quickly, and has to look good off the bike as well as on.  Really, I wanted a bag that I could slip off my bike easily, and run into the shops with me, without looking like it had come off my bike.

Handlebar bags seem to interfere with my steering, and I don’t really have enough room for a large saddle bag.  So, I thought a top tube bag would be the way to go. I’ve had a look around, and most top tube bags are either huge (for touring), or pretty utilitarian (for triathletes).

So, with a few hours to spare, I decided to crack open the sewing machine, and sew myself a top tube bag.

With no real pattern, and only a vague idea of what I wanted, I set to work.  The outer is a heavy curtaining fabric I had lying around from another project. The lining is a heavy cotton drill fabric (to give it some weight).

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I basically cut out a rectangle for the body of the bag, then another smaller rectangle to make an outer pocket. (As you won’t be able to open the bag once it’s on the bike, I wanted a pocket to be able to throw highly accessed stuff)

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Here I’ve sewed the outer pocket on.

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Random sewing picture – just because it’s fun.

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I folded the big rectangle up into approximate thirds (so that the pocket is on the rear of the bag).  I sewed this right sides out as I hid the raw edges with bias binding, but you could sew it right sides in and turn it inside out – with the weight of the fabric I used though, it would have made my hems very bulky.

I thought through various ways to attach this to my top tube – velcro, straps, elastic, and finally decided on buttons.  Sure, it’s not the most high-tech of solutions, but I think it looks cute.

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Putting the button holes and buttons in – sorry I should have trimmed the loose threads before taking the photo.  Oh well, you can see exactly how scrappy a sewer I am!

After that I sewed the bias binding in – stupid fiddly job.  I had to hand tack the binding in before I could machine sew it, as the fabric was quite thick.  I think I fatter bias binding would be a lot easier next time

I then sewed a wrist loop onto the bag (I should have planned this a bit better and sewed it in whilst I was assembling the main body of the bag, but oh well).

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The finished bag – front and rear and on the bike.

All up, it took me probably 3 hours (of which an hour was probably getting the bias binding on). Next time, I’ll make the top flap longer,as with the oversize tubing on my bike, it’s a bit of a tight fit.

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2 thoughts on “Top tube bag

  1. Bikie girl sews.
    YAYAY. the modern woman can do EVERYTHING!
    Very well done Steff.

    HInt. Next time you do a buttonhole. paint the stitching with clear nailpolish BEFORE you cut the hole in it, to stop fraying. I hope you sewed the button on with the machine as well???
    Are you going to take orders??
    Kristen

  2. So after a few trial rides, I thought I’d give a bit of an update as to how it’s going. The bag fits my wallet, phone and keys – but nothing else if I’m putting it onto my bike – the oversize tubing makes it a tight squash.

    The bag bulges a little on the bike – nothing serious, but it would probably get a bit annoying on longer rides, as it rubs a bit at my legs – next time, I think a longer, skinnier bag would work better than a shorter, fatter one.

    Thankfully though, my stitching has all held in place, and I’ve had no catastrophic failure!

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