After being disappointed with eBays poor range of saddle bags I decided to make my own. I wanted something vaguely vintage looking so I decided to pull apart an old army canvas bag. I used many of the pre-existing features of the bag in my final design. I needed a bag which could hold everything I needed for long rides. The bag can accommodate: Mini Pump Spare inner tube Clip on bike lights Keys Puncture repair kit Wallet
Step 1: Find a Bag to Destroy
The bag I have chosen is an old army style satchel which I found in a charity shop for about ÃÂÃÂ£2. It has an internal pockets, buckle fastening and a thick hemmed edge which I plan to utilise. The first step is to begin disassembling the bag using a seam picker or a Stanley knife (be careful!) try not to cut through or rip the fabric.
Step 2: Salvage Useable Pieces
The design of the saddle bag is based around the pieces of material and the various existing features of the bag. You may need to alter the design to suit your materials. Here you can see the internal pocket which I plan to keep and the small metal buckles.
Step 3: Mark Out Your Pattern
I decided to copy the original pattern of the bag but on a much smaller scale. I roughly marked out my chosen pattern using a market pen and made sure to measure it all TWICE! As you can see I had made several measurement errors which had to be adjusted. As I wanted to maintain the thick hemmed top of the satchel I made the front panel from a separate piece of material from the original front of the bag. This saves time and relieves the need for more time spent with the sewing machine. Notice the internal pocket adjustments.
Step 4: The Top or Lid
The bag needs to be at least 8 inches wide as this is the size of my mini pump (and water bottle). Luckily the straps from the original bag were exactly the correct width apart. I unpicked the seems and turned it completely inside out. This allows the newly sewn seems to be hidden on completion. The acrylic material of the buckle straps was easy to hem using a lighter to melt the edge.
Step 5: The All Important Baton
In order for the bag to maintain some rigidity it is necessary to strengthen the back using a small wooden Baton. The pre-hemmed edge formed a perfect enclosure into which I slipped the wooden baton before sewing the sides together.
Step 6: Sewing
The majority of the bag is easy enough to sew together, I left a 10mm surplus around each edge to allow for hemming and any discrepancies in my rough (poor) pattern planning. Ensure the bag is turned inside out when you see the edges together. AND DON'T FORGET THE BATON! The Lid proved slightly difficult to see on due to the mass of material, this I ended up doing by hand.
Step 7: Fastenings
Hand see the extra pieces onto the bag. I added a small piece of Velcro to the inside in the hope that this would prevent the bag sagging during riding.
Step 8: Saddle Attachment
I have used a small canvas buckle to attach the bag to the rails underneath the bike saddle. Ensure the sewing at this point is nice and strong because you don't want it dropping off whilst you're going down a big hill somewhere. There may be better methods of attaching this to your bike so please post suggestions or examples if you can think of some.
Step 9: Attach to Saddle
The bag is complete! Attach it to your bike and admire your new stylish and functional saddle bag. I have used a few cable ties to prevent the bag from slipping down the seat post rails (not pictured).
Step 10: Finished Product
You may wish to add another strap to connect the back of the bag to the seat post but if you don't mind it flapping about a bit then don't worry. If you have a fancy brooks saddle then perhaps connect some vertical leather straps to the top of the bag instead.
Step 11: An Additional Strap
After test riding the bike I decided that another strap would be a good idea. The bag had a habit of blowing around a bit in the wind. The new strap attaches to the seat post and is held in place by a buckle and some Velcro.
Step 12: Waterproofing
After considering the advice of a fellow instructable member I decided that it may be wise to waterproof the bag. After rooting through my cupboards I found a tin of DUBBIN! It usually used for leather walking boots but I had a feeling that it might do the job. After a quick test it seemed perfect. I bought the tin of dubbin for 60p from Morisons super market, uk. The dubbin can be melted and applied with a thick brush. After application use a hair dryer or heat gun to melt the dubbin into the fabric. You don't need to use to much but concentrate around the seems, top and bottom. If you use too much the finish can remain slightly oily. Leave in a cool area to stiffen and you're done!