Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sewing Project - Part 1

After reviewing a couple of sites where some people described how they made their own frame bags, I decided I wanted to do that for the Elephant NFE. It's cool to make your own gear. but the primary reason is I want the colors to match the bike.

Now the last time I operated a sewing machine with any sense of skill or confidence, Richard Nixon was about six months away from resigning. So, yeah, it's been a while. Last week I wandered into a Joann's Fabrics store where some very experienced ladies, some employees and some customers, answered my questions and helped me out. Regardless of how well they explained things to me I still had to be lead everywhere as if I was a blind man. But I got some cheap material to practice with, some thread, extra needles, and other sewing stuff. Fortunately, Kathy has an extra machine and all the cutting tools so I didn't have to pick up anything expensive.

I put a sheet of cardboard next to the triangle on the NFE, marked it off, and cut it down to size, giving me a basic template. Taking note of where the bottle cage bolts and cables are, I marked the template to show where the velcro straps would go. I used the template to cut the material and create both side pieces. Then I cut a long 3-inch wide piece for the part that fits against the bars. Last of all I cut strips of material to simulate the velcro straps.

Now comes the fun part. Between the diagram on the sewing machine, my failing memory, and the Internet, I managed to thread the machine. Okay, I'm on the road to success. I grabbed a couple of scraps, sewed a few stitches, and adjusted the machine until I got the length of the straight stitch I wanted. Then I started sewing the "velcro strips" onto the outer edge part. I had marked the placement using the cardboard template as a guide. After attaching all the strips on both sides of the outer piece, I attached one side and then the other. By the time I attached the second side I was feeling pretty confident on the machine.

I did not close up the outer edge piece because (1) it ended up too short so I couldn't if I wanted to, and (2) I would not have been able to turn the bag right side out. (You'll also notice I did not tackle the zipper. Baby steps, okay? All in good time.) I attached the bag to the NFE using paper clips to hold the straps in place. I was happy with the fit even though two straps were useless. The one that was supposed to wrap around the head tube was more in the corner so I cut it off. The strap you see at the very bottom of the triangle is supposed to connect to the seat tube.

Lucky for me, we have lots of experienced seamstresses in the family. I look forward to hearing from them.

Lessons learned:

You have to be very precise if you use a single piece for the outer edge part. I had two "straps that were way off target. So maybe I should use four pieces and use the seam allowance to align everything correctly.

If you don't have the needle in the correct position when you lift the foot and remove your work, you will break the thread and you'll have to thread the needle once again. That took me about 10-15 times before I figured that one out.


Judy Ann said...

Well looks like your off to a good start! I'll be over on the 30th. Once I figure out my work schedule I would be happy to help!

Judy Ann

Favorite Auntie/Sis3 said...

You bought fabric to practice with??? What's wrong with the Dean Avenue shop, where I get most of my needed fabric?

You could have called me when the thread kept breaking... Always have the needle in the highest position when you finish...

I have a lot of experience: first teaching high school kids, and recently teaching grandkids.

Please call anytime.


Favorite Auntie