Tech Tips: Sack Up!

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Illustration by Jamie Givens

Illustration by Jamie Givens

How to make a chalk bag

If you can use a sewing machine, in 15 minutes you can custom-make your own chalk bag for about $1, using an old pair of blue jeans or any other sturdy fabric. You’ll only save a few bucks, but the stylish, personalized bag will be one of a kind.

MATERIALS:

  • 8” x 14” strip of stiff fabric such as denim, corduroy, or canvas. This will be the outside of your chalk bag, so get creative. I took the pocket from an old pair of jeans and sewed it onto the outside piece, making a pouch for a snack bar or whatever else I might need.

  • 6” diameter circle of stiff fabric for the bottom

  • 7” x 13” strip of fleece, wool, or other fuzzy material for the liner

  • 5” diameter circle of the same fleecy material

  • Two strips of old climbing webbing for waist-belt loops

  • One cord lock (available at most outdoor stores)

  • One grommet (available at outdoor, hardware, or sewing stores)

  • 30” of strong cinch cord thin enough for two strands to go through the cord lock

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Take the 8” x 14” strip of chalk-bag fabric, fold it in half lengthwise, inside out, and sew the ends together to form a tube.

  2. Sew the bottom piece on to the tube, with the good side facing in.

  3. Turn the tube right side out. Determine where you want your cinch cord to go through. (Note that the edge of the bag will fold over to the inside and overlap the liner—see step 8.) Cut a hole slightly smaller than the grommet you are using, and install the grommet.

  4. Repeat steps 1 and 2 with the fleecy material.

  5. Thread the cord lock onto the cinch cord and tie knots in the ends of the cord to prevent the cord lock from falling off.

  6. Slip the cinch cord through the grommet in the main bag, loop it around the liner, and put the liner (and cord) inside the main bag. Don’t sew bag and liner together yet.

  7. Determine where you want your waist-belt loops. Fold the webbing into loops and slip the ends between the liner and bag.

  8. Now fold down the edge of the bag to overlap the liner and sew the bag and liner together. At the waist-belt loops, the bag can’t overlap the liner, so double-stitch that area.

  9. Fill with chalk and climb!