Upcycled flat-bottomed drawstring bike pannier liner bags

What I did:


I bought new bike panniers in July. Unlike my previous panniers, these panniers are open at the top. Unfortunately, that meant that my groceries could bounce out whenever I biked over a bump. I considered buying closed-top panniers, but they were all either synthetic or too expensive for my budget. In order to solve the problem of stuff falling out, I decided to make drawstring bags to put inside each pannier. I could secure my stuff by pulling the drawstring. Then, I could tie the drawstring to the inner metal supports of the pannier so that even a light load wouldn't bounce out. I would make the bags flat-bottomed. That way, they would fit well into the flat-bottomed panniers, and it would be easier to put groceries and other stuff into them.

Before: here's a picture of the new bike panniers, empty and mounted on my bike. Note that they are open at the top.

Before: I wanted to use fabric I had on hand to make the bags, so I used an Taekwondo tunic of my brother's (c. 2000) that he no longer wears. Initially, I planned on using the white printed fabric pictured above as the lining of the bags. But, upon further inspection, I saw that it was a bit mildewy. Instead, I used a blue cloud print cotton (leftover from making masks) that you'll see in the "After" pictures.


The liner bags are working well! As I write this, I've used them for a little more than a month.

After: One of the bags, flat, with drawstring visible. Note the horizontal seam almost halfway up. That's because there wasn't quite enough material in the Taekwondo tunic to be able to straightforwardly cut out the two large pieces each (four total) that were the basic building blocks of the bags. Before even starting to sew the bags together, I had to cut up the tunic and sew the pieces together to make each of those four big rectangles.

After: here's the other bag.

After: here's a view of the flat bottom of the empty bag.

After: both bags empty and draped over a chair

After: here's a closeup of the back of my bike, from the top. The panniers are hooked onto the rack, and the bags I made are nested in the panniers, empty, open, and ready to put stuff in. Note the pretty blue cloud print lining!

After: another view of the back of my bike, from the side this time, with panniers mounted and empty, and open bags nested inside the panniers. Note that it wouldn't be safe to ride the bike like this, as the drawstrings of the liner bags are loose and could get tangled. I always make sure to secure the drawstrings to the panniers before embarking.

After: here the liner bags are half full and closed up. Again, I wouldn't actually bike like this, as the drawstrings are closed but not yet secured.

After: here's what it looks like just before I set out or after I arrive. The liner bags are full of groceries, drawstrings are pulled tight as they can go, knotted, and then tied to metal loops inside the panniers.

After: here's my bike just before I biked home from the grocery store. The liner bags are stuffed full of food and secured in the panniers.

After: in order to give the flat bottom a bit more shape, I repurposed these black plastic inserts from the old and no longer usable pair of panniers that I was replacing. To make the inserts look nice and blend in with the rest of the lining, I made covers (closed on three sides, open on one, like an envelope without a flap) from the blue cloud material.

After: here are the black plastic inserts, completely tucked inside the blue cloth lining, which I then put inside the liner bags so that the flat bottom has a bit more sturdiness to it.