DIY Waxed Canvas Frame Bag

Never having operated a sewing machine, I have always been fascinated and intimidated by the fabric arts. I decided that a trial-by-fire is the best way to learn and made a canvas frame bag one afternoon…

There are 2 or 3 activities that I must routinely practice to maintain sanity. One of them is simply making things. Idle hands are the devil’s workshop, or something to that effect. For some time, I’ve been tempted to try my hand at a piece of bike luggage, but have been intimidated by what I assumed would be a tedious and exacting enterprise—sewing.

I recently renovated an old lugged-frame low-trail touring bike for getting around town, long rural rides and maybe even some light road touring (pics and details coming soon). The bike screamed for a simple and classic waxed canvas bag. A tangle bag boasts the perfect size and shape for carrying a pump, tubes, tools, a wallet and maybe a clean t-shirt.

So I bought an old Singer 301, got some cotton duck, had my wife teach me the basics, and immersed myself one afternoon last week. As it turns out, this indoctrination into the world of stitchery, albeit the outcome somewhat rough around the edges, was very gratifying. I already have a saddlebag in the works.


  • About 3 feet square of #8 Cotton Duck (from
  • A spool of Dual Duty thread (craft and button, which is the thickest I could find)
  • 50 inches of nylon webbing (I used an old strap I had laying around)
  • 15 inches of 1.5 inch velcro (sew-on type)
  • One 22″ sport zipper from your local craft/hobby store
  • One bar of Otter Wax
DIY Frame Bag - Waxed Canvas
I started by tracing about 3/8″ in from the frame outline on this peel-and-stick grid paper from the local Jo Anne fabric store. From there I added about 1/2 inch to each edge to make up for the stitch overlap.
DIY Frame Bag - Waxed Canvas
The basic premise for construction is to stitch it inside out, like a box, then you get to reveal your work when you pull it through the zipper. The only thing I would change if I had it to do over is to add a strap to grab the downtube in the front. I actually ran out of material, so that is the one that I sacrificed.
DIY Frame Bag - Waxed Canvas
Never you mind those stitches.
DIY Frame Bag - Waxed Canvas
I will probably add some coroplast or rigid foam to the bottom to help keep its shape when it is carrying weight.
DIY Frame Bag - Waxed Canvas
A generous coating of Otter Wax and a hair dryer finished it off nicely, gave it a worn look and will keep the elements out.

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