Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Making a Saddle Bag, Part I

Here we go. The first thing I did (this was weeks ago) was to take some rough measurements of the original bag (I'll post them in a wrap-up post at the end of the series) and translated that into a paper mock-up. Why did I do this? I'm a visual learner, that's why. I needed to know that this was possible, physically in space. Whatever, that's how I think.

Then, after I picked out some fabric, I disassembled my paper mock-up and laid the pieces out on the fabric to cut out the pattern. I cut approximately a 1" seam allowance around each piece. I'm double-layering the bag, so I did two cut-outs for each piece seen below. The small pieces that would have been the side flaps for the top have not been cut out yet, but I'll come back to that later.

At this point, I decided that I was going to need to incorporate some sort of stiffening material, since the wool itself was too floppy. I decided on the flexible plastic cover of a small three-ring binder, cut to fit. I am stitching this stiffener between the layers of wool on the two side panels as well as the front, bottom, back, and top flap of the bag.

Below, I've sewn the stiffener into the two side panels and then pinned the side panels to the piece of fabric that forms the front, bottom, back, and top flap. I did this so that I could get an idea of what size I need to cut the rest of the stiffener panels. I'll do four separate panels: front, bottom, back, and top flap (although I may just triple-layer the top flap so it's not too stiff). In the photo below, I've stuffed the bag with napkins to give it some shape.

What I discovered in the process is that the top flap seems to be a bit too short. I think to fix this, I'll cut one single piece that will be sewn to the top flap, and that will run around the sides and front and overhang just a bit. If that's not clear, I think it will be later on. Anyway, so far, so good.

Previously: Can I Make My Own Saddle Bag?

12 comments:

  1. Ah, herringbone tweed! It doesn't get any more dapper than that! (We're all waiting for you to roll out your Autumn/Winter cycling fashion wardrobe, Thom) ;)

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  2. Ha! In SoCal, that pretty much consists of long pants and a scarf (sometimes). Oh, and it doesn't start until November at least, so don't hold your breath! :)

    I think the bag is going to look sharp with honey-colored leather straps (if I can find them) or perhaps a darker brown leather. We shall see.

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  3. Has anyone suggested pet collars as a strap possibility? Might be worth a trip to PetSmart?

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  4. Now, THAT'S what we're talking about!

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  5. I have chosen nylon dog collars as my straps, they are perfect.

    I would have scotch guarded and heavily starched that tweed before using it for this project. It looks great so far. good thing about this fabric is that the thrift stores are full of suits waiting to be reused.

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  6. @jgodsey: wouldn't that have made the fabric harder to work with? I was planning to starch and water proof when the sewing is completed, but before the leather bits go on. That should work, right?

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  7. Just weather proofing it well should stiffen it pretty well. There are also really good fusible interface fabrics that come pretty stiff for just this purpose. They are easier to work with because they bond to the fabric and will not move around while you work with pieces which could be a problem with inserts.

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  8. Looking good already; love the tweed material you chose!

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  9. For the leather bits, if the craft/fabric stores don't have what you're looking for, Anthony Shoe Repair (Solana Beach) MUST have tons of leather as it's the GO TO place for all equestrians and their tack & boots. I'm sure they'd have no problem selling you leather. p.s. they do gorgeous work.

    There's also Carl's Boot & Leather in El Cajon just off the 8 on N. 2nd St. I take my less precious horse kit there. They also should have what you're looking for.

    Can't wait to see the finished product!

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  10. Oooh, Beverly, good thought - spur straps would work nicely.

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  11. Spur straps are a good idea, but I've only ever seen them in black, so if you've got a lead on some brown ones, let me know. I'd like either a dark brown or a honey to match the saddle.

    The dog collars I've found all seem a bit like over-kill, plus they're a bit expensive.

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  12. Carl's & Anthony's would have "sheets"/"rolls" of leather so you would be able to buy a "raw" piece and make it into what you need rather than pay for a collar or spur strap.

    And most jumping saddles are cognac/tobacco now which are lighter than havana. My saddle would be what you would refer to as honey (lighter than a well worn/moisturized Brooks). And they would have no problems in fixing it if I brought it in, so it's out there.

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