Make your own bike panniers

Earlier in the month I bought myself a new bike, many thanks to the boyfriend who found it for me on I've been bike-less for nearly a year as my old and very beautiful, bike was stolen last May and I couldn't quite bring myself to buy a new one. I finally got over this, and I'm really pleased with my beautiful new bike.

It is a 1980s ladies Raleigh bike, in a nice light blue, with all the original fittings. Apparently its been in a shed since in was bought during a keep fit drive in 1984, making it almost as old as me!

I was discussing with the boyfriend my plans to buy some nice panniers for my bike, when he said 'Why don't you make them yourself?' Why not indeed, a quick google later and I had myself a set of instructions. This is a really good blog post, so I'm not going to give full details of what I did, but will give details of the alterations I made.

It took me most of the St. Patrick's Bank Holiday weekend to make these. You start by cutting out sixteen pieces, one of each in the outer oil cloth and one of each in the inner fabric, and then you have to fold over all the edges and hem each piece, and it seems to take forever...

Before (and this is not all the bits)
One of the pieces after

As you can see the outside of my pannier are made from brown/beige spotted oil cloth, and the inners from some very jazzy Ikea fabric. (You can also see the lovely orange fabric I got in Ikea to make some curtains in the background).

Once all the pieces were (finally) put together the construction of the panniers was actually very easy and straight forward.  I got some extra strong sewing needles as you have to sew through quite a few layers of fabric and it does get quite bulky.

PATTERN CHANGES. I made a change to the design, piece G in the pattern is the bottom piece of each pannier. I changed this piece so that it was a trapezium (see left) where side b is 34cm and fits against the back of the panniers, side a is 28cm and fits against the front of the panniers, and h is 16cm and matches the two side pieces. I promise this makes sense if you look at the rest of the pattern.

I also added a small handle on the top of the panniers, so I can pick up the panniers and carry them by hand. There is also a shoulder strap which is part of the pattern, and I kept this in too. I did both of the optional extras in the pattern, the internal pockets which you can see in the picture above right, and also the Velcro ties to attach to the bike (piece E). It did take longer but I think the result is worth it.

How snazzy is that? I am delights and have been whizzing in and out of work everyday this week with all my kit in my new panniers!


  1. I suppose it is progress from the other brother getting you to make cakes for him. At least the panniers are for you.
    They are very nice, perfect for taking cake to work.

  2. I love your new bike. Want to meek for a bike ride some day soon? Trish x


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