Saturday, September 20, 2014

Have Beer, Will Travel: Bike Six-Pack Holder Tutorial

Hello, hello, hello!  I know it’s been a little while…but I’m back with the long-ago-promised tutorial for a bike-safe six-pack holder (I know you’ve been waiting with bated breath, and quite frankly I can’t imagine how you’ve gotten along thus far without it!  My most sincere apologies from keeping you from this vital information.)  But hey! Enough chat.  Let’s get to it!

This 6-pack carrier has strips of Velcro on the inside, so that in addition to being a regular carrier, it opens flat so that it can be draped over a bicycle bar for easy transport. 


1/2 yard main fabric A (I used natural canvas)
1/2 yard contrasting fabric B (I used chartreuse duck cloth)
1 yard contrasting fabric (I used a lightweight cotton print)
Sew-on velcro, 10 inches total
1/2 inch elastic, 30 inches total
1-inch cotton webbing for strap, 10 inches total
Matching thread
*A bottle of whatever size you are planning to carry in your holder is quite helpful for making sure your pockets are the proper size before you sew them in place!*

1.  Press and cut your fabric pieces to the following dimensions:  
*Main fabric A-2 rectangles, each 22” by 14”
*Contrasting fabric B-1 rectangle” 10: by 22”
*Contrasting fabric for pockets-4 rectangles, each 24” by 6.5”

2.  Start by prepping your “Contrasting fabric B” cut piece.  We need to finish the two long edges, so press them under, but leave the shorter edges raw.  Now grab one of your “Main fabric A” pieces, and set the other one aside.  (We won’t use this second piece again until step 10.)  Align the shorter raw edges of your B fabric with the shorter raw edges of A fabric, centering the contrasting fabric from left to right.  Pin, and then topstitch in place, making sure to neatly enclose your pressed edges.


3.  Now we will assemble the pocket pieces, so grab two of of your pocket pieces.  With right sides together, stitch one long side of the pocket pieces.  Turn right-side out and press.  Repeat with the two remaining rectangles, and you should end up with two assembled pocket pieces.  They will have one finished top edge, and three raw edges.  Don’t worry, we’ll close them up later. 

4.To make the pocket compartments, lay your main fabric piece out in front of you  so that the stripe of contrasting material that we added in step 2 is running vertically, right side up.  Now lay one of your pocket pieces (which should now have two right sides) on top of this main fabric, lining up its bottom left corner with the bottom left corner of your main piece.

Measure 1 inch from the left side, and place two pins, marking the vertical stitch line that will be the left edge of your pocket.  In order to measure for the correct pocket size, I found it easiest to use a bottle.  By placing the bottle under the pocket piece and just to the right of the pins I just placed, I placed two more pins on the right side of the bottle.  

If you do not have a bottle handy (or would rather just use my measurements) you need to mark with a pencil (or pin) a line parallel to our first vertical line, 4” to the right on the main (background) fabric.  Now measure another parallel line, this time on the pocket fabric, 7”to the right of the original line.  Now all you have to do is slide your top pocket fabric to the left until it meets the line we measured on the main fabric, and pin through all layers of your fabric.  If you would prefer to have ultra-clear sewing lines to follow, feel free to also mark these in pencil.    

5.  Repeat step 4 to create a second and then a third pocket.  Your pocket compartments should be centered, relative to the stripe on the main fabric.  You may end up with some extra pocket fabric, so if you did, don’t fret!  Feel free to trim this off so that the raw edges line up (although it’s not a bad idea to slip a bottle into each of your pockets to check their size before you snip this extra fabric off!) 


6.  To close up the bottoms of our pocket compartments, we need to fold the excess fabric in, so that it sits evenly.  

The two blue pins are the vertical lines we marked in the previous step.  Pinch the fabric on the edge of each pocket compartment, and then lay it down flat and pin across the bottom edge.  

Once these are all pinned, you will be able to sew one quick line across the bottom of your pockets, and your pockets will be neatly closed.

7.  Rotate your fabric 180 degrees, and repeat steps 4, 5, and 6 to pin the 3 remaining pockets compartments. 

8.  Stitch all of the pinned lines, in the order that we marked them (beginning with the vertical lines, and finishing with the bottom edge.)  If you have your bottle handy, this is a good time to make sure it fits into your pockets.  Hooray, the hard part is over!  Phew!

9.  It’s time to attach the handle.  You should have a 10” long piece of webbing.  First, finish the two raw edges.  Once that’s done, find the center of your main piece and make a dot with a pencil or chalk.  With your fabric laying vertically in front of you (you should have your finished pockets at the top and bottom of your piece) measure out from your center dot 4 1/4” on either side.  Line your finished strap edges up with these marks, and stitch in place.  Since we are squeezing a 10” strap into an 8 1/2” in space, there will be some excess strap, for carrying ease.

10.  Now we’re going to attach the velcro to the inside of our carrier.  Take your lining fabric (the second piece of main fabric that we haven’t touched yet) and lay it out in front of you.  I hope yours is a little less wrinkly than mine was, ack!  Lay your fabric out horizontally in front of you.   You should have 2 strips of Velcro, 5” each.  Take each of your strips and separate them, leaving you with two male and two female strips.  Centering from top to bottom, pin your velcro strips, face up, to your main fabric: I found that the Velcro matched up better when I measured from the center.  So, once you’ve found the center of your piece, measure out 2” on either side, and pin one female piece and one male piece of Velcro to your fabric.  From those, measure 6” out further, and pin your remaining pieces of velcro.  Stitch them in place, using a zigzag stitch.


11.  We’re almost done, can you believe it?  Take your two main pieces of fabric and and pin them together, right sides together.  (Your Velcro and pockets should be touching each other.)  Stitch them together, leaving an opening big enough to turn your wonderful creation right-side out.  

12.  Trim any excess fabric (being mindful of your corners) and turn your project right-side out.  Press it, and top-stitch around the entire perimeter, making sure to close up your gap.  

13.  To keep the bottles safely from falling out of their little pockets, I attached elastic loops to keep them in place.  These loops could just as easily be made from bias tape, ribbon, or trim, so go crazy!  I considered adding ties instead of loops, but since this was a gift for my beau, I decided to go with the least-frilly, simplest option, which was elastic loops. 

Mark the placement of your loops: Find the center (left to right) of one of your pockets.  Measure 3” up from the top edge of your pocket, and mark a dot with your pencil.  Now do the same for your 5 remaining pockets.  Cut your elastic (or other material) into 6 pieces, each 5” long.  Take one of your pieces and form it into a loop.  

Stitch the loop to your project at your pencil markings.  **Make sure your project is open flat while you are attaching the loops, so that you don’t stitch the project closed!**

And now…voila!  You should have something that looks like this…

And also like this...

I hope you have enjoyed this project as much as I did.  As always, please contact me with any questions or concerns about the tutorial, and I would love to see your finished projects!  Happy sewing!    

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