Clackamas Frame Pack

This is a bicycle frame pack designed and sewn for 24-672 DIY Design and Fabrication at Carnegie Mellon University.

The prompt for this project was to build anything that made you or someone you know happy. I had been wanting to make a frame pack for my bike for some time, but I wanted to make something that was more visually interesting than most frame packs available.







My design process was driven by both functionality and aesthetics. For functionality, I knew I wanted to be able to carry a 3 liter water bladder, have easy access to my water bladder, have a pocket for maps, have attachment  points inside the bag for easy tent pole storage, and have dividers to keep the bag from bulging out. These were all fairly straightforward and easy to incorporate. From the aesthetic perspective, I knew I wanted to have a laced attachment method for the top tube and also make the bag look visually interesting. This proved to be the tougher problem.

Customer Moodboard


Design Moodboard


Due to shipping times, my first step was actually not to make the design, but to order materials. During this process, I decided on coyote brown as my main color, with dark brown and blue as my accent colors.

Once my materials were on their way, I was able to start formulating my design. I began by thumbnail sketching some possible ways to break up the space on the sides of the bags. I thought about adding additional zippers or large, geometric areas of accent color, but I quickly settled on a mountain design. I then iterated the mountain designs by sketching and by digital design. The aspects driving the designs were the placement of zippers (which were set because of necessary access to the main compartment, the water bladder compartment, and the map pocket) as well as the dividers. I wanted the design to cover the seams that the dividers would leave. With these aspects in mind, I was able to finalize my designs.

While I was working on my designs, I was also working on mock ups and samples that would inform my fabrication process. I traced the inside of my bike frame to produce a pattern I could use to make a full scale mock up (this pattern was also used to plan out locations of compartments/zippers and create the final patterns). I also made small samples that allowed me to test things like how my thread and fabric worked in the sewing machines, how to create the webbing loops used in the top tube lacing, how to apply the pattern, and also how wide to sew the zippers. This process took a surprising amount of time, but it was worth it as I worked out many of the kinks in my fabrication plan.


Once I had my materials, my designs, and plenty of small tests under my belt, I was ready to start the final fabrication. There were way too many steps to detail here, but the overall plan was as follows. I divided the bag into 6 panels. The two side panels, as well as 4 strips that go around the edges of the bag. I would fabricate each panel on its own and then sew the bag together inside out. I could then turn the bag inside in and it would be done. The most complicated panels to fabricate were of course the two side panels. For these I had to fabricate and attach the dividers, apply the designs, fabricate zipper strips, cut the panels for the zippers, insert the zipper strips, and then do any other necessary finishing touches.