How to Make a Music Satchel

Music Satchel - 01

Much of the sewing I do is sort of off-the-cuff (pun intended.) This music satchel is a perfect example of sewing to fit the situation: It’s a set of speakers that you can wear while you’re riding your bike.

There are many reasons to take your music with you. The usual solution requires headphones. But sometimes you need to bring your party– and your speakers– along with you. We used to pull a giant stereo trailer along with us on social bike rides, and some of our friends still do (movie). But when it’s just you and a couple of buddies, and there’s ice on the ground, you don’t want to be towing 50 lbs of stereo around behind a bicycle. Granted, the speakers I used are nigh unto worthless and the amp eats batteries like candy, but they made just enough sound for our little group. I needed a small padded bag for them, though, so I made one.

My design process was pretty organic: I folded the fabric around the speakers and accessories to get a feel for the size, added a pair of slim pockets for the speakers, a slightly roomier pocket for the amp and iPod and a fold over flap to keep everything in place.

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  • Quilted material
  • Webbing
  • Buckle
  • Buttons
  • Velcro
  • Tulle

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  • Shuffle or other audio player
  • mini-Amp and portable speakers (like the ones that come with this bag)



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The first step is to cut out the speaker windows and sew the tulle across them. That involves knowing where they should be. There’s a little origami mockup below if you want to get an idea of how I did that part. After cutting an “X” in the fabric, I folded back the pieces and stitched to frame the windows. Then I laid the tulle across and stitched around each frame again.

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After the tulle has been sewn on, you’re ready to sew the speaker pockets. Sew the center seams first, then the outer seams. The bottom of the pocket is the fold, so it doesn’t need to be sewn.

For sewing the side seams, the bag needs to be inside out: fold it so you are seeing the speaker pockets from inside the bag.

Music Satchel - 08

Right side out, the strap is sewn right across the top – this bag doesn’t hold much weight, so I wasn’t worried about strength here, just convenience. I used a nice long strap with a plastic buckle so that it would fit over winter coats and you could get it off with your gloves still on.


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I put a strip of velcro across the iPod pocket to keep the cords tucked away.



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Buttons were the last touch.


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All done! Not only does it match my skirt guards, but it has protected my iPod from the weather and let my music out.



Below is an origami description of the design process:

Folding arrangement 1   Folding arrangment 2

The pattern can be divided into seven parts. Fold up the bottom segment. This will be the divider between the speaker pockets and the iPod pocket.

Folding arrangement 3   Folding arrangement 4

Fold up the two bottom segments, leaving two segments showing at the top.

Fold up the bottom segment and fold down the top segment – I made the top two a little smaller since I wanted a shorter flap going over the top.

Folding arrangement 5   Making windows 1

Fold down the top segment – this is the final fold. Turn over and mark where the speakers would be showing. When you unfold you’ll know where to start on the speaker windows.

6 thoughts on “How to Make a Music Satchel

  1. A better approach is to strap mini-speakers to the handlebars. I use velcro cable ties to do this and attach a small solid-state mp3 player (one of those super-cheap ones that takes SD memory) to the middle of the speakers with velcro dots.

    This way the speakers point straight at your head as you lean over the bars, so they don’t need to be particularly loud to get good sound.

    Used this setup for about three years riding in London.

    1. Sounds great for getting the music to your ears. However, when you want
      to share your music, or are planning to get off of your bike for a bit, it is
      good to have more directional capability. My buddies liked this as I could
      point the speakers at everyone riding behind me.

  2. I don’t want to know how often Queen gets played on those, do I?

    <hums along "I want to ride my bicycle…">

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