Bags, bags, bags. (last updated Fall 2011)

A few years back, I'd been thinking I wanted to make my next shoulder/courier/travel bag, and maybe some bicycle luggage. My bag at the time, a small 6-year-old Timbuk2, was still functional but it wasn't always the right size and shape, and was getting pretty beat up. This was just a few sketches on paper until I impulsively bought a quasi-industrial sewing machine in July '08.

This page is now a place to keep a sort of running notebook of prototypes and experiences using them. I'm also collecting various bag-making resources and links to interesting bags and bag makers. You could also watch the disassemble blog, where I'll post a quick note whenever I add a new bag to this page.

(One more disclaimer: this is just a quick-and-dirty collection of notes and photos as I have a few spare minutes--I realize it's a mishmash of HTML generated by various programs-- it's just not worth the time to me to make a good-looking web page. Maybe some year... but hey, this is mainly to document things for myself or the handful of friends I mention this to...)


Bag 0: Buckle retrofit onto an existing bag.

Bag 1: The first prototype, blue canvas, single-layer, with a zipper-swappable set of pockets.

Bag 2: A small model (or some might say, a purse), to quickly try out double-layer semi-waterproof construction, hidden seams, old-style metal hardware, and cutouts.

Bag 3: The first full bag I'm using daily. A basic lined bag, with metal hardware, a seat belt-style strap, and some inside pockets. I'm still using it a year and a half later.

Bag 4: Another small model, to try out a few more construction details.

Bag 5: Full-size reversible bag, with off-color stripes inside and outside, and various detail changes based on a few months using bag #3. I still carry this around fairly often.

Bag 6: A variation on bag #5, with diagonal stripes, teal fabric, an internal pocket, slightly different dimensions, and metal surcingle hardware, given as a present to a stranger.

Bag 7: Quick test: Trying out some new marine upholstery I got for cheap.


Bag 8: Quick test: Proving to myself that rectangle + oval = 3D purse.

Bag 9: Bought a small "just a laptop" bag, removed the logo, added reflective tape and a stencil print.

Bag 10: A quick one-day prototype of a large waterproof bike pannier.

Bag 11: Custom waterproof bike panniers

"Bag" 12: Custom beer growler carrying slings.




I tend to sort of wing it, visualize something, make a few sketches, and then start cutting... but unforseen interactions of various corner folds do sometimes come up and make me wished I'd made more of a plan. I plan to draw out a few simple patterns to upload here at some point. Check out the photos of the fabric, in bags such as bag #2, and you'll see the general idea-- pretty simple in concept (things like adding pockets or zippers, hiding the fastener seams, and so on are much more work than making the basic bag shape itself).

Contact Info:

Comments / questions / suggestions? You can post a comment on the project blog or email me at bags ((at))