Monday, May 2, 2011

Guest Post - Hand-made roll-up panniers by Libby Bowles

It's bike month everyone! Don't forget to check out, and register to win prizes and such.
In other exciting news, my amazing friend Libby can do anything! She saw my post about panniers a while back and got it in her head to make a pair of these roll-up brooks brand panniers - and she did. Here's the story:

Hey there Melody, 
Remember these (Brooks roll-up panniers)? Well, I was so in love that I decided to make my own. They still need a few finishing touches but I was so excited I just had to show you. 

I'm going to Tandy Leather on Monday to get the studs for the little internal straps and maybe get a set of leather handles to sew on top so I can carry them like a satchel while shopping. 
I made the pattern based on the size of a paper grocery bag so they should be big enough for two full bags of groceries! I think they look perfect on my Gazelle, don't you? (Yes, they look amazing).

I wanted to make them a little prettier on the inside so I looked for a lining fabric with a bit of an Art Nouveau look. This was the best I could do but I like the period feel. 

I made the pattern pieces and cut out the fabric. Then, to give the distressed look I saw in the Brooks picture, and to add some water resistance, I coated each piece with melted paraffin wax. After that I had to iron off all of the wax which was ridiculously time consuming. I don't think I'd to that again. Maybe find a different fabric instead.

Then I plotted out my sewing strategy so every piece would be in place and look neat and tidy. At times the sewing was quite bulky and awkward as the 3-dimensions started taking shape, plus the fabric is pretty stiff with the wax residue. I wish I'd taken some pictures of me wrestling with the leviathan in the machine. It was pretty humorous. 
I modified the top design since my bike has it's own "Dutch Bungies" and I wanted to be able to use them in conjunction with the panniers. I also just got a rear box bag from Bicycle Muse and I think I can attach it to the rack through the openings I left in the top...we'll see.

So, here are some pictures for you to see. I hope we can get together sometime soon, though. I ride very close to your new house on my way home from school so maybe one of these days I can stop and see your new digs! (For sure, you must stop by soon!)
Take care,

Thank you so much for sharing with us! Libby said she loves looking at things and thinking "I could make that" and she wants to encourage others to do the same. 


Keri said...

First off, that bike is gorgeous! Second, those panniers (in the photos) look so well made. I have an old green cruiser they would look good on (with the adorable old print inside)! How fun! And thanks for sharing.

TJR said...

I need some! Those are Amazing

Alasdair said...

I love those panniers! I was interested in the Brooks roll up panniers, but I was turned off by the price. They are more expensive than Ortliebs!

I really want to make some home-made ones. I don't suppose you would be able to supply the dimensions/pattern so I could follow suit?



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