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  1. #1
    No, that's not phonetic
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    We the people ... How to sew a frame bag. Long and pic heavy.

    I'm not a pro at this, but I have managed to whip out a few things that I'm not totally ashamed of. I figured I'd chronicle my latest project and post the process in case any sewing hobbyists want to take a crack at it. This is by no means an easy project for a first-timer, but it's not beyond the reach of anyone who has dealt with zippers and basic assembly before.

    First, grab a chunk of cardboard and trace the inside triangle of your frame. I did not extend my shape all the way to the very front of the triangle since it gets so tight and it would be pointless. I then added a 3/8" seam allowance, and cut that shape out. The inner line is the triangle size, and the cut edge includes the seam allowance.



    Next I used the pattern on a rotary mat with a rotary cutter to cut the two side panels. I folded my fabric in half, pinned it together, and cut both sides at the same time.



    Next I cut the perimeter strips that will face the front triangle tubes. I used two fabrics: the outer layer that will show was a heavier Cordura, and the inner was the same as the side panels- a lighter nylon. The double layer was so that I could pad the inside of the panels along the down and seat tubes, and put a plastic stiffener along the top tube. I cut my strips 2 1/2" wide so that they would be just under 2" when finished, and just made them long with no particular size in mind. My tubes are around 1 1/2" in diameter.





    I sewed the strips wrongside to wrongside (back to back).



    I cut some strips of closed cell foam for the padding, and pulled it into the perimeter strips using some twine.



    Next I took the drive-side panel and sliced it in half where I wanted the zipper to go.



    Then it was time to incorporate the zipper into the panel.





    I compared the panel with the zipper to the opposite side to make sure they were still close in size.



    Now is a good time to decide on the placement of your velcro strips that will mount the bag on the bike.



    I started assembling the padded perimeter to the side panels starting at the front. I placed the pieces rightside to rightside making sure I didn't forget to include the velcro strips.









    Along the top I sewed an empty double panel that I will slide a plastic strip into later.



    For the stiffener strip I used an old plastic cutting board.



    The board was not long enough, so I overlapped two strips and stitched them together.





    At the forward end of the top panel I stitched a stop that the front end of the plastic will rest against.



    Next I added a couple of 2 inch strips of velcro to the side panels that can be joined in the finished product to form a vertical divider. They can be separated and lay flat when not in use by only sewing one edge of each.





    Next it was time to add the second side. I first pinned the velcro strips in place opposite the ones they will velcro against to mount the bag in the frame. You need pay attention to which way they need to face to engage the other side since things are a bit inside out at this point.



    Next I drop the other panel in place and get ready to pin and sew it too.



    I started at the hard area which for me was the curved bottom end. I'm not great at this to begin with, but I really suck at sewing around corners.



    Then it was time to sew the top panel sides. The front end of the top panel was sewn shut, but I left the back end where it met the seat tube panel open. Don't forget to position your velcro frame mounting strips correctly.



    Then I slide the plastic stiffener in the top panel from the open back end.



    Getting close now.



    Because the frame mounting velco strips tend to pull the zippers apart, I did add a backing piece of webbing to relieve the stress on the front end of the bag.



    Finally I added a zig-zag stitch along the exposed edges as a salvage (I don't have a serger machine or any piping), turned it all right side out, and slapped it on the bike. Not too shabby.





    Go to it, peeps.

  2. #2
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    That looks really good on the Fatback. The way you fitted it to the top tube is awesome! Great job!
    My motorcycle runs on infant blood

  3. #3
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    Your Da man.....

    Mate, That's a well done job AND a great write up.

    BTW, I can see you moving along from frame bags...... it'll be...

    'tscheezy's wedding and ball gowns' @10K a piece you're pickin' up a bargain..... Just mail me a carboard cutout of yerself....... lol

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  4. #4
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    Wow

    Don't sell yourself short. You did an awsome job on that frame bag. I bet that will hold up better than some other bags. When do you start taking orders

  5. #5
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    Great job and documentation. I did not use a stiffener strip on mine, but I have a straight top tube on my bike and it did not seem necessary. How did you come up with the width of the perimeter strips? I could not find any real info on this when I made my frame bag, so I just made them 6 cm wide (final width), which seems quite suitable.

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.fi/lh/photo/d-AEN0rkEDtbi-f9VgXQUA?authkey=Gv1sRgCJGr9Nbv8dXgbQ&feat=embedwe bsite"><img src="https://lh4.ggpht.com/_BhBOJtgtve4/S21ls_znU2I/AAAAAAAADKI/IOu-48k4_Os/s400/IMG_4472.JPG" /></a>
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  6. #6
    No, that's not phonetic
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    There was no particular rhyme or reason to the width I chose. I just knew I didn't want it so fat that it stuck out way past the tubes, or so skinny that a water bottle would bulge out a lot. Like I said, my tubes are about 1.5" in diameter and I figured going a bit wider than that would be fine. I did not try to put any flare-out near the front end or anything fancy since this bag will mostly hold day-ride items like a water bottle, some tools, lunch, and a jacket. If I were sewing for backcountry epics I may have done things a tiny bit differently. I spaced the velcro divider in such a way that an extra large (24 oz, 0.7 L) bike bottle would in the front section with minimal slop.

    I added the stiffener because the bent top tube tended to cause a little bit of material bunching at the curve. It is not really necessary and I did it for mostly cosmetic reasons. The padding in the down tube and seat tube perimeter strips was to keep solid items inside the bag from tapping against the tubes when bouncing over rough ground.

    The standover clearance on the Aluminum Fatbacks is really incredible. It does limit the area inside the front triangle though, and consequently the volume of a frame bag. I would not change a thing, however.

    That's a smart looking bag, outsider.

  7. #7
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    thats well made tscheezy

    how much for a medium 18" (mk1) pugsley frame bag?
    plan it...build it....ride it...love it....
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  8. #8
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    I found using fuller enclosing velcro system on the top tube did a much better job helping the bag keep it shape (and don't need plastic or foam in the mid panels). Good write up! How well does the velcro work at keeping the sides from bulging out? I'm experimenting with different methods to solve that problem.

    Not a great shot, but gets the point across.


    This is with using just velcro (bag 1.0)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigggs
    ...How well does the velcro work at keeping the sides from bulging out? I'm experimenting with different methods to solve that problem.
    ...
    I put a removable divider (with velcro) just above the lower zipper and it works well. It is probably even necessary to keep the sides from bulging out too much in a bag as large as mine (XXL 29er frame).
    My outdoor blog: www.yetirides.com

  10. #10
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    Most frames I ride are 20" or bigger and don't seem to have any problems when I normally load up the bag. My biggest problem is stripping layers off as I warm up and trying to stuff extra stuff into an already full bag.

    I sew my velcro straps and tabs to the side panels before I sew the middle panel. That way there is one more stich pass on high stress areas, you don't worry about pinning them and the panel at the same time, and you can place both panels on top of each other before sewing them together to make sure the tabs are placed in the correct location.

  11. #11
    No, that's not phonetic
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    Lots of good insights so far. Great stuff.

    Long fabric flaps around the frame tubes would distribute the weight well and would be very strong. If I were toting more stuff I would probably try something like that. Bent tubes introduce a few wrinkles (pun intended) to the mounting question. The main thing for bent tubes is to have a support strap go around the tube at the apex of the bend so the adjoining material does not slide "downhill" to the bend.

  12. #12
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    Just got done making my own frame bag. Thanks a bunch for the pics and detail above. I also used the following threads from bikepacking.net.

    https://www.bikepacking.net/forum/in...8&topic=1094.0

    https://www.bikepacking.net/individu...ups/frame-bag/

    I pretty much made it the same, except I sewed up fancy straps and I used 1050 cordura for the whole bag. I also sewed the velcro in place before assembling the sides. I'm pretty happy with how it came out, I took my time and wasn't afraid to rip out some stitching and resewing if it wasn't up to par.

    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/33175822@N06/5026151614/" title="2010-09-25 020 by Ice Cream Jay, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm5.static.flickr.com/4146/5026151614_b9bda276f7.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="2010-09-25 020" /></a>

    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/33175822@N06/5025528825/" title="2010-09-25 022 by Ice Cream Jay, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm5.static.flickr.com/4127/5025528825_7016ca5b58.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="2010-09-25 022" /></a>


    And an extra bonus, it fits my other bike too!

    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/33175822@N06/5026133462/" title="2010-09-25 019 by Ice Cream Jay, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm5.static.flickr.com/4152/5026133462_5fac2ed3f9.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="2010-09-25 019" /></a>

  13. #13
    JBH
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    Nice work icecreamjay. I have a Fatback on order and was thinking about rack/bag setups myself. Looks like your bag came out great.

  14. #14
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    Jay, how do you like the misfit? Their website lists a rigid Alu fork that will supposedly fit an 80mm rim. I e-mailed and asked about it fitting a 100mm, but didn't get much of an answer...any experience with their fork?

    (...sorry 'bout the threadjack...)
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  15. #15
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    JBH, I also ordered an Old Man Mountain Sherpa rear rack from Speedway, it fits great and is rock solid.

    damnitman, I love my Misfit, its seriously a great handling, rugged, light, fast bike. As you can see, the frame layout is very similar to the fatback, though the geometry is quite different. I have the misfit fork too, it rides surprising nicely for an alu fork. If it's the same fork I have there is no way you could run fat tires on it. I can measure it when I get home, but I saw that too about the fork fitting 80's, and as far as I can tell that's a fantasy.


    EDIT : I measured the misfit fork and there is exactly 80 mm of clearance, so I guess you "could" fit an 80, but don't expect it to spin, or have room for a tire.
    Last edited by icecreamjay; 09-26-2010 at 07:04 PM.

  16. #16
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    Nice job on the homemade bag. I tried something similar using a Jannd bag as my reference. I made mine reversible so it would fit on both of my mountain bikes and my cross bike. It's made out of green suede just to make things interesting. I treated it with spray on waterproofing when it was finished to help keep it from staining. So far so good. There is something special about using things you make yourself.

    I did the measuring and cutting and my wife did the sewing. She has since vowed to never sew leather again.



    Almost Finished.


    Putting it to good use.

  17. #17
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    This is a great thread; I'm sorry I didn't find it earlier. I might endeavor to make one for my mountain bike so I don't have to carry stuff on the shorter rides.

    I am curious- why do frame bags and snow bikes go hand in hand?

  18. #18
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    ...ps try a stapler instead of push pins...
    If Huffy made an airplane, would you fly in it?

  19. #19
    Lighten up.
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    Considering making my own, but wondering what machine to buy. Recommendations?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    This is a great thread; I'm sorry I didn't find it earlier. I might endeavor to make one for my mountain bike so I don't have to carry stuff on the shorter rides.

    I am curious- why do frame bags and snow bikes go hand in hand?

    When you are riding in freezing temps, water bottles aren't typically the best way to go. Then you have all that space doing nothing, nothing at all. Those lazy main triangles. The bag is a way to get them off welfare and back to work.
    I proudly ride for these guys.

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  21. #21
    It aint gonna ride itself
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    Quote Originally Posted by Logantri
    When you are riding in freezing temps, water bottles aren't typically the best way to go.
    As an added bonus, water bottles inside a frame bag, especially the insulated ones, take a lot longer to freeze.

  22. #22
    Caveman
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    A few tips - sew a short sample of your zipper how ever you are going to do it and compare the finished width to before you cut the fabric for the zipper. Then add that to the the side with the zipper.

    End your tube gussets on straights - not on curves or tube intersections.
    That suede is rad.
    Eric

  23. #23
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    Bump

  24. #24
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    Another option instead of push pins....binder clips, available in assorted sizes.


  25. #25
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    Pugsley frame bag

    I made a frame bag for the Pugsley. It took me about seven hours to make, and while the craftsmanship probably is far from that on the commercial alternatives, the result seems quite good. I used 1000D Cordura, which is pretty strong. Spectra would probably be both stronger and lighter, but the finished bag still weighed only 300g, so I think the Cordura is a good alternative. As I understand Spectra is both hard to find and more difficult to use.

    The design is basically the same as on the one I made for the Fargo. which has worked great. The bag is divided into two compartments by a velcro divider, which make it possible to adjust the width also in the middle of the bag. Two zippers give access to the compartments. The frame bag was loaded with some camera equipment, bike gear and a down jacket (no compression bag) to really fill it up for the test ride.


    I added a map pocket to the left side panel. Might come in handy.


    The Pugsley frame bag is a lot wider. On the Fargo I made the panels that go against the tubes 6 cm wide and on the Pugsley 9 cm wide. The Pugsley has a wider BB than the Fargo and the frame triangle is lower, which should allow for more width. A three hour test ride revealed no problem with the legs rubbing the bag, but I would not go much wider. The velcro fastening system does make it possible to tighten it more, thus making it more narrow if necessary. It worked great as it was, though.
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  26. #26
    No, that's not phonetic
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    Some damn nice DIY stuff popping up. Good job, gents.

    I'd be tempted to sew one for Barny's bike too, but the size small fatback leaves almost no room inside the front triangle.

  27. #27
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    Nice bags and nice tips! Like Mangoman, I'm considering making my own, but wondering what machine to buy. Recommendations?

    @Outsider: what make and width are your rims? Nice bike and blog you have!

  28. #28
    is buachail foighneach me
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    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy
    Some damn nice DIY stuff popping up. Good job, gents.

    I'd be tempted to sew one for Barny's bike too, but the size small fatback leaves almost no room inside the front triangle.

    Here's your chance to revolutionize the industry tscheezy! There's another underutilized space on a snow bike that has been ignored for years. You could make a bag that hangs below the downtube, between the tires and under the bottom bracket. It would require a few stiffeners to prevent sway. You could call it the Ballsac.

    See red blob in the random old Iditarod photo below:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails How to sew a frame bag.  Long and pic heavy.-ballsac.jpg  


  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by sean salach
    Here's your chance to revolutionize the industry tscheezy! There's another underutilized space on a snow bike that has been ignored for years. You could make a bag that hangs below the downtube, between the tires and under the bottom bracket. It would require a few stiffeners to prevent sway. You could call it the Ballsac.

    See red blob in the random old Iditarod photo below:
    Great minds think alike. I came up with this idea this weekend and have plans to incorporate it into my own handmade bag. Only, I don't think it can be as big as you show. Also, I plan to attach it with velcro onto the frame bag, thus no stiffeners. FYI, my plan there was to carry an insulated Nalgene bottle and probably nothing else. Depending on conditions that area could see a lot of moisture and debris.
    I proudly ride for these guys.

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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Z
    Nice bags and nice tips! Like Mangoman, I'm considering making my own, but wondering what machine to buy. Recommendations?

    @Outsider: what make and width are your rims? Nice bike and blog you have!
    Thanks. The rims are 80 mm wide Vicious Cycles Fat Shebas.

    I use a regular Pfaff sewing machine, which was bought some 10 years ago for general home sewing purposes.
    My outdoor blog: www.yetirides.com

  31. #31
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    thanks for the tutorial. I couldn't have joined the framebag club without it.


    IMG_4357 by timlupfer, on Flickr

  32. #32
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    I like this thread! I need to learn how to do this stuff
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  33. #33
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    Good job!
    "What kind of bike? I don't know, I'm not a bike scientist."

  34. #34
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    Great thread. I'm on my 3rd bag but getting better every time.

    I can't post pics yet, but they are at FrontageRoadsDotCom.

  35. #35
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    I've been thinking about making a frame bag as well, glad I came across this thread. I'm guessing any sewing machine will work. If and when I get started I'll post photos.

  36. #36
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    Cool thread! I'm planning on doing a frame bag after some frame modifications.

  37. #37
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    Frame bag video

    Here is an instructional video I made a while back that goes over a DIY frame bag. Hope it helps.

  38. #38
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    @greenwater --That video was a great help to me for understanding the process. I still have the post it note on my work desk where I noted the zipper size, xpac and Rockywoods.com from your video. Thanks for sharing that.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by black cross View Post
    I've been thinking about making a frame bag as well, glad I came across this thread. I'm guessing any sewing machine will work. If and when I get started I'll post photos.

    Start with what ya got, or what a family member has. Older ones tend to be tougher, but I've used a modern Singer with success as well.

  40. #40
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    I've got enough posts to include a pic now. Here is my latest bag. This is my 3rd attempt and I've got the three versions on my blog here.


  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by mangoman View Post
    Considering making my own, but wondering what machine to buy. Recommendations?
    I use a Singer 20U-109 but I had to get a smaller pulley for it to slow it down a bit.I make my own bike bags I use a lot of duck cloth and wax to water proof them.I have pictures of them on face book.

  42. #42
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    I own a custom sewing company on the side. I'd be willing to answer any questions anyone may have about frame bags or packs as I have made packs for many bikes.

  43. #43
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    This is a wonderful thread. I showed my gf and she is interested in making a frame bag for my new Fargo (likely just to shut me up!)

    Just wondering about width though - as I frequently will mount Salsa Anything Cages in my main triangle and put 64oz Klean Kanteens there. I get no leg/crank rub, so how wide can I have her make my frame bag?

  44. #44
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    That's some nice work. Thanks for sharing!

  45. #45
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    Ty for all the ideas and contributions here, I've asked a friend to make one like this for me and even if he is somewhat experienced sewing bike accessories he found this most usefull, I'm hoping it will be large enough to fit a ultra compact and light tent (1,5Kg) in it.Althought I dont have a fatbike and this one is just a prototype I think its ok to post mine here:



    How to sew a frame bag.  Long and pic heavy.-b1r6689copy.jpgHow to sew a frame bag.  Long and pic heavy.-b1r6691.jpg

  46. #46
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    Good job! Thanks for the tips

    Just wanted to say thanks to all in this thread for the tips and advice, especially tscheezy. This thread was a lot of help in thinking things through.

    Finished my first frame bag and handlebar last week and tested on a 2 day MTB tour. This was my first sewing project since junior high - yes, they called it that back then
    Learned a lot along the way and will use that to make improvements on the next bag.

    The material is Cordura 1000 that was on sale at Seattle Fabrics, the attachments are 4" wide velcro.


    Mountain Touring Set Up

    The bags in action

    Joe getting it done by jon_baler, on Flickr


    Drive Side - Cordura frame bag


    Key holder - Cordura frame bag


    Interior Pocket - Cordura frame bag by sso, on Flickr
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  47. #47
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    thanks to everyone for posting their work. My mother gave me a really nice sewing machine and I've been feeling guilty about not using it. Have to get on some of my bag related projects

  48. #48
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    I also wanted to say thanks to tscheezy for his tutorial. It was really helpful for my first framebag. I used a 2nd choice "cordura like" fabric from extremtextil.

    1st Frame bag ! par Edelbikes, sur Flickr

  49. #49
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    Re: How to sew a frame bag. Long and pic heavy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peacecycle View Post
    I own a custom sewing company on the side. I'd be willing to answer any questions anyone may have about frame bags or packs as I have made packs for many bikes.
    BUMP from way back.

    This is a machine question, so I hope that's okay.

    Anyone please feel free to chime in...

    I used my moms sewing machine when I was a kid (up to about 15 years old, then I hand jobs and bought stuff instead) to make my own baggy skate shorts, make my jeans button fly instead of zipper (unstitching the entire zipper fly section/pannels and sewing in a button fly from a doner pair of jeans), and make various costumes for Halloween. Made a few t-shirts too and for some reason couldn't get them to hang right when I wore them (always a little high and drappey at the front waist and low and tight over the back, I think it had to do with where I positioned the neck hole and how I stitched it in)...but I digress.

    I've always wanted to take a crack at making ski jackets and pants, MTB shorts, and frame bags and backpacks for myself, but I don't have a machine.

    I'm now decades older. My mom's 1970's machine is old, steel, and durable, but is limited in the types of stitch and amount of fabric that it will go through.

    What is a "pro-sumer" level machine that you trust?

    Basically a machine that can handle the simple and complex stitches (programmable or not?), and can get through thicker materials, and that is reasonably durable and repairable, with easily available replacement parts for fixing and modification, that can do several garments a month. But not the crazy expensive, super burly, bombproof pro machines that are used in industry that can do dozens of garments a day.


    I've been looking/researching for a while but get bogged down with the durability/versatility part of it. I want versatile, and durable, but obviously don't need a pro level machine.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by iscariot View Post

    What is a "pro-sumer" level machine that you trust?

    Basically a machine that can handle the simple and complex stitches (programmable or not?), and can get through thicker materials, and that is reasonably durable and repairable, with easily available replacement parts for fixing and modification, that can do several garments a month. But not the crazy expensive, super burly, bombproof pro machines that are used in industry that can do dozens of garments a day.
    Have a look at the Pfaff 12xx series (1209, 1221, 1222, etc): I have the 1209, it's a rather small but very, very sturdy machine. All the 12xx have a "walking foot" double transport which really helps with thick or slippery stuff. One good thing is that they are not very fast, which make them much easier to control when you are not a pro !
    This guy has several interesting videos:
    Pfaff 1222 buying guide part 1 - YouTube

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