Here’s the Father’s Day DIY I think I’m most excited about, an upcycled handlebar bag. I’ve been in love with bike accessories lately, they make me want to pedal everywhere I go. Plus they are great gifts for kids, grads, retirees, and just about everyone in between. So I thought I’d try making a couple of my own.
handmade-diy-fathers-day-gift-bicycle-bagReflective straps…to show Dad you care.
handmade-diy-fathers-gift-reflective-bicycle-bagThe bag is made from a water bottle and a used sock (wash it well!)
1-upcycled-crafts-bicycle-handlebar-bagYou’ll need
a waterbottle and an old sock that fits it,
iron-on reflective tape (I found mine at JoAnne’s on the notions wall, surprisingly bike shops didn’t carry it)
ribbon that can be ironed
the closure of your choice (I ended up using parachute buckles along with velcro)
3-upcycled-recycled-craft-from-water-bottleStart by trimming off the water bottle at the length you want. You’ll want to soften the opening by holding a lighter near it, just enough to melt the very edge of the plastic.
4-upcycled-recycled-diy-craft-water-bottle-socksSlip the sock over the bottle and position it the way you’d like it to end up. The sock hugged the bottom end of the water bottle  well enough that I didn’t need to do anything more to finish that edge. At the opening of the water bottle, allow a few inches to finish off the bag, and trim off the heel.

upcycled-bag-craft-from-a-sockI decided to close the bag with a draw string. Take the sock off the bottle and turn it inside out. I reinforced the edge on my sewing machine, then folded it in to make a channel for the ribbon. TIP: I shaped a pipe cleaner into a circle the size of the water bottle opening, then folded the fabric over the pipe cleaner. I left the pipe cleaner in while I sewed the channel, leaving an opening for the draw string ribbon to come out. Once it was done, I pulled out the pipe cleaner and threaded the ribbon through the channel with a safety pin attached to the end.

5-diy-handmade-fathers-day-giftCut the ribbon and reflective tape long enough to wrap around the bottle, plus allow several inches to wrap around the handle bars and attach to the closure.

6-handmade-reflective-bicycle-handlebar-bagI needed to trim my reflective tape before ironing it on, which I did with my paper cutter. Iron on the tape according to the manufacturer’s directions.
8-handmade-bicycle-handlebar-bag-fathers-day-giftI took my bag outside and tried out the length of the ribbon on the handlebars. I sewed half the parachute buckle on one side, but wanted my other side to be adjustable. I decided to attach the other parachute buckle by sewing velcro to the ribbon. A more elegant solution would have been using a parachute buckle with an adjustment feature, but this worked!
7-upcycled-recycled-diy-craft-socksThe final step is to attach the ribbon to the sock. I did this in just one spot for each ribbon. With the sock on the bottle still, I slid a piece of ribbon under the sock to reinforce the back where I would sew the ribon to the sock. I tacked the ribbon in place on the outside. Then I slid the sock off the bottle, turned it inside out, and finished attaching the ribbon.

handmade-fathers-day-gift-bicycle-bagSlide the sock back on the bottle and you’re set. Dad now has a handy spot carrying keys, maps, a granola bar, or if he’s really lucky, a pocket GPS unit.diy-bicycle-handlebar-bag-reflective

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I’ve thrown together a new gift guides page, incase you’re like me and like to see as many ideas as possible in one glance.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel June 18, 2009 at 8:40 pm

There are so many AWESOME projects here this week! I love this one too! I’ll be linking.


Anne Weaver June 20, 2009 at 6:47 am

What an awesome Father’s Day gift idea!!! I posted a link to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


Junie Moon June 20, 2009 at 6:59 am

You have some truly amazing ideas and I’m really loving them. Thank you so much for sharing these projects. I’m trying to rev up my bike so I can get outside and ride in the fresh air. Your project is going to be very helpful for my purpose. Thank you so much!


Debbie June 20, 2009 at 11:08 am

I love this! I might make one for myself, even. I do have a question about the “cuff” end of the bag — is this closed up or secured to the bottle in anyway or is it just left to it’s own devices? I can imaging picking the bag up and having the bottle fall out, especially if there’s stuff in it.


AmberLee June 22, 2009 at 6:14 am

Hi Debbie,
Thanks for the note! As for the cuff end of the bag, I’d planned to close it up, but the sock I used fit it tightly enough that it seemed unnecessary. I can definitely see your point though. You could certainly stitch it closed or do a drawstring closure on that end as well. I’ve seen a really simple technique for a drawstring closure or for gathering fabric where you (1) pin down a piece of wire, string, or dental floss, then (2) do a wide zig zag stitch back and forth over it. (3) Then you can just pull the string to gather the fabric and close up the hole. You can add an extra straight stitch at the end if you want to reinforce it. I’ve never tried this, but it seems to make sense.


Cassandra May 24, 2010 at 11:07 am

This is awesome!!! My fiancee manages a bike shop.. he lives and breathes bikes :) I’m going to have the kids paint a white sock and then attach the straps. I’m so excited to make this, thank you!


Caitlin December 11, 2011 at 10:21 pm

I just made one of these for my Dad for Christmas and am so please with how it turned out. Thanks for the awesome idea!!!


AmberLee December 16, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Caitlin, Thanks for yoru sweet note! I’m so happy this turned out. It was so good of you to come back and let me know.
Happy Holidays!!


Veronica January 16, 2012 at 3:41 pm

The idea of zig-zagging over a strong thread for gathering is not a silly idea! I once made a valance for my bed and with conventional gathering stitch the treads just kept breaking. So I bought a ball of cheap crochet cotton and put it on the valance fabric & pulled it up. Then I was able to gather it up perfectly and had no breakages!


AmberLee January 17, 2012 at 6:18 am

thanks for your note, Veronica! I’m not exactly rock confident in my sewing abilities, so it’s nice to hear this! thanks for taking a moment to write!


Susan Kay February 10, 2012 at 12:25 pm

This is a wonderful idea that I am anxious to try. I have a little sewing trick to offer. While you still have the pipe cleaner in the opening, attach the draw string by tying or twisting the pipe cleaner around one end of it so when you pull out the pipe cleaner, the drawstring comes with it, No need to fish the cord through.


paintchelles February 24, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Since Father’s Day gifts are already purchased this will make a great Christmas gift for all the biker’s in the family. Already have the men’s socks, but am going to look for some cute knee highs for the females in the family.


Jasanna November 5, 2012 at 7:44 am

Love this! Where did you get the buckles and reflective tape? I’m definitely making this for my husband!


AmberLee November 6, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Thanks, Jasanna! I found everything at Joanne’s Fabric! easy peasy. Good luck.


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