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.

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DIY Panniers

I’ve always thought our panniers really let the team down on the fashion stakes.  They always seem a bit utilitarian rather than a nice stand out piece.

Now there are quite a few companies that make nice pannier bags as can be seen on our Stylish Bike Gear page but some can be a little pricey.  Wouldn’t it be nice to actually convert your favourite bag in to a pannier?

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making arm warmers

I was getting a bit sick of my boring black arm warmers, so I decided to make some new ones.

I was feeling a bit lazy, so I bodgied them up the easy way.

You will need:

A pair of over the knee socks – try and go for something that isn’t cotton.  There’s lots of non-cotton socks out there – wool, bamboo and a stack of nylon/spandex stuff.

Gripper elastic – enough to fit around your upper bicep twice (one for each arm).  Gripper elastic is elastic with silicon on the inside of it so it stays up.  Kinda like the stuff on the inside edge of a strapless bra.

Sewing stuff (needle and thread)  I sewed this by hand as I couldn’t be bothered getting out the sewing machine.

Anything you want to pretty these up with – buttons, ribbons, iron on patches. Whatever

Method

Cut the socks off at the heel.  If you bought tube socks, you can probably just cut them off at the toe.  These ones were quite long (and I have short arms) so I cut them off a bit higher and I’ll hem them so I get a pair of arm warmers AND a pair of socks.

Cut the sock off at the heel

Now, hem the raw edge

Hemmed raw edge.

This part becomes your wrist hole. Now, get your gripper elastic and sew into the inside of the sock.

Elastic sewn in

Now you’re pretty much done.  Pretty them up with anything you like – buttons, ribbons, whatever, and you’re done.

Finished!

It is super easy, and good fun.  Give it a go.

Sewing a cycling skirt

I have a Terry Flare skort and it is a wonderful fun cut.  I wish it had removable knicks so I could wear it over other pairs of knicks instead of just the inbuilt ones.  Not that the chamois in the knicks isn’t great, it is, but you can rewear a skirt before you can rewear knicks.

So, I decided to sew my own.  I got out my Terry skort and did some measurements of the existing skirt part to make myself a pattern.  I used some scrap A4 paper, a ruler and tape measure to throw together a rudimentary pattern.

I had some fabric spare from when friends came over to sew convertible dresses.  The fabric was some ultra stretchy plastic (can’t remember which type), perfect for sporting attire.  This pattern, at my size, used about 1 square metre of fabric.

Like all patterns, I cut out all the pieces first and over locked and finished the edges of the pocket piece.  I then sewed on the pockets to the two side panels.

Using the overlocker, I then attached the sides to the front.

Overlocked the sides to the back and sewed elastic compartments into the waistband.

Overlocked the waistband on and sewed down all the overlocked seams for a flat feel against the skin and because it looked cool.  I had to put in a few gathers in to the skirt because I had made it a bit too large.  They are barely noticeable.

I fed some thick but soft feel elastic through the waistband and sized it up.  Hemmed it up and it was ready to go!

Fantastic!  The project took me an afternoon and evening.  It probably cost about $15-$20 for that amount of fabric, elastic, cotton, etc.  Mainly, because of the cost of that fabric.

If you are interested in making your own skort, Jalie have a pattern for it.  Craftster also have a stack of skirt patterns submitted and created by users, many of which would be perfect and fun for getting out on the bike.