Make a Camera Bag for Your Bike

So last week I was cycling home through the marshes near my house. In the path in front of me was a rabbit, which you hardly ever see when you live in a big city. Anyway, I stopped my bike and got my phone out, but by the time I went to take a picture the rabbit had run away.

It got me to thinking - I need some way of taking pictures quickly, and from the (relative) comfort of my bike seat.

The way it works is that you put your phone in a bag, which is attached to the handlebars with elastic loops. The bag has a hole in it for your phone's camera, and to take a photo you use the volume control from a pair of headphones (with the camera app open).

Step 1: You Will Need:

Materials:

  • Waterproof fabric - I used an Ikea blue bag because I had it lying around, and they are so cheap
  • A zip
  • Headphones - they need to be earbud style, with a clicky volume control
  • Thread
  • Elastic
  • A small piece of duct tape

Equipment:

  • Sewing machine
  • Ruler
  • Pen and paper
  • Scissors

(you will also obviously need a bike - I don't think it will work as well if you hang the elastic loops around your ears!)

Step 2: Draw Out Design

First, you need to draw around all of the sides of your phone (including the case - if you have one). You should have three shapes - a big one that is like the shape of the screen, the long side and the short side. Make sure you draw around the largest part of your phone.

Then measure each side and add 2cm. For example a piece that is 14cm by 17cm would become 16cm by 19cm. This is to make sure your phone will fit inside. The first prototype I made, my phone would not go in at all, even after I took the case off.

Step 3: Cut Out Pieces

Cut out the pieces to the dimensions you made in the previous step - you should cut 2 of each size. Also lay out the zip like above, so you can visualize where it will go.

Step 4: Sew on Zip

If you know how to sew a zip, then feel free to skip to step

First, place the skinny piece with the right side (the one that will be on the outside of the bag) facing down. Then sew along the right hand side of the zip. Next, fold the piece you have just sewn over, so the right side is facing you. Now sew another line along the piece, so it lays flat (see the fifth picture).

Repeat the above steps for the other piece.

Step 5: Cut Excess Zip

Obviously if your zip is exactly the right length, then you don't need to cut it. However, if you have pieces sticking out, you will need to chop them off. First, set your stitch length to 0 and stitch type to zig zag. Then bring the zip pull to the side of the zip that won't be cut off. Now, sew over the zip teeth; this will ensure the zip pull doesn't fall off. Repeat these steps for the other side (if needed).

Step 6: Sew on Other Pieces

Now just sew on the other pieces, in the formation you laid out in step 3. Make sure that the right sides are facing. Now is also a good time to snip any loose threads.

Step 7: Make Elastic Loops

These are the elastic loops that will attach the bag to your handlebars. When you cut the 2 pieces of elastic, make sure they aren't too long, otherwise the bag will wobble around as you ride. Take one piece of elastic, fold it in half, and place it in the top right hand corner, and sew it to hold it in place, so it won't move around. Then fold the side piece of fabric over on top, and sew them together. Now repeat for the other side.

This step is a bit fiddly to explain, but makes a lot more sense when you're actually doing it (hopefully).

Then sew up the rest of the corners, so you make a sort of box shape. Still make sure right sides face each other.

Step 8: Make the Camera Hole

This step is really easy - just cut a small piece of duct tape and place it over where your phone's camera would be. To work out where this is, place your phone underneath and feel the camera through the fabric. Then just cut a hole in the middle. The duct tape is just there to stop it fraying - so it is not 100% necessary.

Step 9: Sew on the Back

Turn the bag inside out, and sew on the back piece like you did with the other pieces. Make sure the zip is open, otherwise you won't be able to turn it inside out.

Step 10: Turn the Bag Inside Out

Just.. what it says above! When I did this, I found that I'd accidentally sewn in a piece of elastic to the side, so I had to unpick the stitches. This made a hole which I then had to sew up.

Step 11: Put the Bag on Your Bike

Put the elastic loops over the handebars (one by one) and pull it down to the middle.

Step 12: Set It Up

Put the headphones in your phone, and place it in the bag. Zip it up, leaving the earbud strand (is that what it's called?) with the volume control out of the bag. Loop the earbud strand around your bell, and wrap any excess in the elastic loop, so it doesn't flap around.

Now you're all ready to use it and take some great pictures of nature! Just open the camera app, and press the volume control if you see anything cool. If you find that your phone moves about too much in the bag, try taping it in place or wrapping it in fabric.

Step 13: Here’s Some Pictures

I haven’t had much opportunity to test out the bag, but here’s a picture that I took of my garden (it actually worked really well!).

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