Introduction: Canvas Tool Roll
Anyone that rides a motorcycle, bicycle, drives a car or just likes organization knows that having a dedicated space for their tools is a must.
I took a long distance motorcycle ride a few years ago and just tossed some random tools in a bag and hoped for the best. Luckily, I had the two tools I needed when I had to tighten a couple of bolts.
When I got back from my trip, I was catching up on all of my favorite YouTube channels and saw Jimmy Diresta make a leather tool roll for wrenches and it hit me that a tool roll with carefully selected tools for my motorcycle would be perfect. Luckily there's plenty of room in the saddlebag of my bike for a large tool roll. I threw some extra tools in there in case I need to help others too.
I built this to accommodate the tools that I carry. You can make this larger or smaller to fit your needs. It includes a large pocket that allows for the storage of rags or documentation and hides the stitching of the other pockets.
DISCLAIMER: This was made by someone with limited sewing skills and knowledge. I asked some folks that know a lot more than me and borrowed a sewing machine from the Home Ec department. I'm sure the following techniques will make those with any sewing knowledge cringe and gasp in horror.
Step 1: Gather Your Tools and Supplies
- Gather your tools:
Figure out what you want to put in your tool roll. It may be a set of wrenches, a collection of chisels, a handful of makeup brushes or a pile of random tools to work on motorcycles on the side of the road.
Once you have the tools that you want, lay them out in an organized fashion so you can determine how much material you'll need. I decided that I wanted to make two layers of tools instead of one long roll. This worked well because I had some long and some short tools.
I am not going to include any sizes because a tool roll is very personalized to the collection of tools that you have.
This is what I used but you can substitute what you have or are familiar with working with. Never let tools, techniques or materials hold you back from creating
- Heavy Fabric - I used canvas duck cloth
- Sewing Machine - with needle and thread
- Marking pencil/pen
- Pins or other method of holding hems
Not necessary but nice:
- Rotary Cutter and cutting mat
- Double sided sewing tape
Step 2: Layout and Cut the Material for the Large Pocket
Once you've determined the width of the tool roll and the height of your tallest tool, it's time to cut the fabric that will make the large pocket and be the backer for the other pockets.
Take the base measurement and add 1" to the width and 1.5" to the height. This will allow for a 1/2" overlap of the sides and the bottom and a 1/2" hem on the top
Measure 1" down from the top edge and draw a line. Fold over the edge to create the hem. You can use pins to hold it or double sided sewing tape. I had neither so I used a glue stick to stick the two layers together and then sewed the hem.
Step 3: Create the First Set of Pockets
Cut a piece of material the same width as the the previous piece and 1.5" taller than needed. This is for the hem and bottom allowance.
I cut the top edge on an angle since I had tools that were taller on one end then the other. This is very common with wrench tool rolls but may not be necessary for your tool roll. Place a 1/2" hem on the top edge and then sew the other three edges to the large pocket sheet. I used the glue technique to hold this piece in place and sewed about 1/4" in from the edge on these sides.
Lay out the tools to determine the size of the pockets that are necessary.I used a pencil to mark straight lines on the fabric to follow. You may want to pin the pockets into place to check tool fit before sewing them in.
Step 4: Create a Second Row of Pockets - If Necessary
Repeat the previous steps to create another row of pockets. You may not need to do this step. Maybe one long length of pouches will be sufficient like a traditional wrench roll. Do whatever works for your tool holding needs.
WARNING - you must use the same spacing or factors of it. EX. If the bottom pockets are 1" apart, the pockets on top could be 1", 2" or 3" but could not be 1.5"
If you mess up, you may need to add a seam ripper to the needed supplies like I did.
Trim all loose threads at this point
Step 5: Cut the Outside Fabric
Go back and measure the first piece that you cut. Add 1" to the width to allow for the fold over to make the edges look nice.Whatever the height of that first piece is I would add 1/2 that measurement plus 1.5".
EX.: If the first piece was 10" wide and 10" tall cut the outside fabric 11" wide and 16.5" tall. (you can make the height bigger if you want the flap to come down further. I would make less than 2x to keep it from hanging out of the bottom)
Measure and mark 1' down from top edge and 1/2" in from all other edges. Cut 45* angles on all four corners to prevent overlap in the next steps
Sew the 1/2" hem along the top edge
Step 6: Attach the Buckle
Pin the outside fabric to the pockets and fill with tools. Roll the tools up and determine the desired placement and length of the webbing.Sew the buckle to the outside fabric.
You can also use some leftover fabric to create a tie or leave a closure off completely
Step 7: Sew It All Together
Place the pouches 1/2" from each edge and the bottom. Fold these edges over and pin/tape/glue them in place covering the rough edges of the pouches and creating a hem on the outside fabric. Run a line of stitches around the remaining three sides.
Step 8: Fill It With Your Tools
Fill it with the tools and roll it up. Toss it in the saddlebag of your bike and hope you never need it.