With a sewing machine I found in the basement of our apartment building, I decide to try my hand at some bikepacking gear. Materials were purchased at rockywoods.com, except for thread which I got from Seattle Fabrics. If rockywoods sells thread, I couldn't find it on the website.
Zipper in and the first panel complete. Not quite lined up, but within my allowances. I just trimmed it back to shape with my template.
Attaching the middle panel of 500 denier cordura. You can see here that I am not very square here. This will lead to problems later.
It was a struggle to finish the last section of the non-zipper side of the bag. I ended up being really far off of square, and the whole bag wanted to twist up into a pretzel. I got pretty frustrated, ran it through the machine, ripped the seam, had a beer, and did it again with a little more patience to finish up the final product.
I turned it inside out after finishing the final stitch and it looked good, it even sounded good. But it was pretty twisted up because of my lack of attention to detail. I was skeptical as I strapped it to the bike for the first time.
However, it turns out that it fit a lot better on the bike than off, and the structure of the frame helped camouflage my shitty fabrication (get it?) skills. So I loaded it up with some snacks and whiskey and headed up to Forest Park. It was a beautiful afternoon to ride in the trees. This is the obligatory #leifmp3 shot.
It turns out that downtube shifters are awesome, but not for framebags. It works, but if I was going to ride for more than 40 or 50 miles I would put bar ends on to make life much better. Also, The metal zipper pull needs to go. I understand why the gear from Revelate and Porcelain Rocket comes with cord zipper pulls.
Rain started to fall, so I hunkered under a tree and ate a bit of food, drank some booze, and enjoyed some hobo reflection.
On the way back home, it continued to rain and eventually turned into a real Portland deluge. After crossing the St. John's Bridge I checked to see if any water had infiltrated the new bag and it was bone dry inside.
That's a rainy view of the city.
All told, the bag is a complete success and I like having the extra storage space on the bike. I'm going to make another one for a different 54cm Cross Check owner, and also a full framebag for the Stumpjumper. I have learned a bunch and my next bags will be much nicer than this one.