Upcycled Chalk Bag

Corona Chalk Bag

The past few months have been a bit of a strange time for most people around the world. It’s hard to believe that shutdowns and physical distancing all began just a few months ago. Most things for me have gone on pretty much as they had before the corona virus swept the world over. I still spend a lot of time with my family, or at Upscale. There have been some negatives; less business, more stress, but also many positives; more phone calls with friends and family back in Canada and elsewhere in the world, more time to work on projects around the house, more time for repairs, more time to perfect sewing techniques, and more time to make chalk bags. I’ve made a lot of chalk bags over the past months, in between all the other aspects of starting and running a business alone (maybe I’ll do another blog about that later). Anyway, I thought I’d try and write out the pattern and instructions for my chalk bags so that you can also try your hand at them. Besides, now climbing season is really in full swing and with restrictions starting to ease up there are more climbing opportunities!

We will be holding a course for you to make your own one of a kind chalk bag July 6 and 7, 2020 from 18:00-21:00. Register on our workshops link in the menu!

If you happen to make a chalk bag following this design be sure to hashtag #upscalesandane or tag us @upscalesandane on social media. Also, this is not a pattern to be used for sale but to create gifts and for private use.

Materials (Figures 1-5)

  1. Exterior fabric (Here I’ve used a blue cotton bedsheet with what looks a bit like mountains on it) (Figure 1)
    • 1-piece 40*15.5cm
    • 1-round piece with a 14cm diameter
    • 1-piece 14*9cm (pocket)
  2. Thicker, more stable canvas like fabric (I’m not sure what the white canvas fabric I used here came from originally) (Figure 2)
    • 1-piece 40*15.5cm
    • 1-round piece with a 14cm diameter
    • 1-piece 14*8cm (pocket)
  3. Fleece (I used a pair of fleece pants that had paint stains on them) (Figure 3)
    • 1-piece 40*15.5cm
    • 1-round piece with a 14cm diameter
  4. Cotton ribbing or jersey knit (I used the bottom of an old black t-shirt) (Figure 4)
    • 1-piece 40*15.5cm
  5. Disused climbing rope (Figure 5a)
    1. Long enough to go around your waist plus some extra (it will be a belt)
  6. Plastic buckle that fits the rope width (about 2cm) (Here from a backpack) (Figure 5b)
  7. Inner cord from the climbing rope (this will be used for the drawstring) (Figure 5c)
    • Approximately 60cm long
  8. Plastic stopper for the drawstring (what is this thing called?!) (Also, from a jacket) (Figure 5d)
  9. Wooden bead with a hole big enough for the drawstring to go through doubled) (Figure 5e)
  10. Grommet (I bought this new) (Figure 5f)
  11. Elastic cord (here I used from a discarded jacket) (Figure 5g)
  12. Velcro (I used from a discarded jacket) (Figure 5h)
    • About 3-6cm long
  13. Binding tape (Here I used straps from discarded backpacks) (Figure 5i)
    • Two pieces 11cm long,
    • 1-piece 39cm long
Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5

Tools: Figure 6

  1. Standard sewing machine with a straight stitch and a zigzag stitch (no figure)
  2. Jeans needle (needs to be strong to go through multiple layers of canvas) (Figure 6a)
  3. Scissors (Figure 6b)
  4. Lighter (Figure 6c)
  5. Grommet kit (Figure 6d)
  6. Hammer (for grommet kit) (Figure 6e)
  7. Pins/clips (no figure)
Figure 6

Make the belt: Figures 7-12

  1. Take the inner core out of your climbing rope.
    • I do this by pulling down the sheath of the rope until I can get a good grip on the inner core. I then pull out the inner core but I make sure to always pull the sheath the opposite direction along the length of the rope section so that the core doesn’t get all squished up and stuck in the sheath (Figure 7 and 8).
  2. Trim the ends of the rope sheath and iron. (be sure to not iron on too hot a temperature or it will melt!) I often put a cotton fabric scrap on top so that I can turn up the heat a bit to get a better pressing result (Figure 9).
  3. Burn the ends of the sheath to keep from fraying (Figure 10).
  4. Cut approximately 60 cm of one piece of the inner cord for the drawstring and put aside for later. Use the rest for another project (Figure 11).
  5. Place one end of the sheath through the plastic buckle and sew to itself using a wide zigzag (remember to turn the thread tension up a bit due to the thickness of the rope) (Figure 12).
  6. Place the other end of the rope sheath through the other end of the plastic buckle and you’ve got a belt! Use as is or put aside for later.
Figure 7
Figure 8
Figure 9
Figure 10
Figure 11
Figure 12

Exterior Bag: Figures 13-25

Cut out your fabric pieces and gather all of your necessary materials and tools

  1. Zig-zag stitch the top of the pocket pieces separately then, fold the exterior piece over the top of the canvas piece to create a nice edge. Straight stitch them together, then zig-zag stitch around the rest of the pocket stitching the canvas and exterior together. Fold under the left side of the pocket piece to create a nice edge and straight stitch it down. Quilt the pieces together if wanted. (Figures 13-15)
  2. Place the exterior fabric pieces on top of the matching canvas fabric for the circular and large rectangular pieces and sew zig-zag stitch around the edges to both keep them together and keep from fraying. Quilt the pieces together in any way you choose. Here I followed some of the lines of the mountains, but not all. (Figures 16-17)
  3. Fold the large rectangular piece in half to find the middle (front) of the chalk bag. About 2-3cm below the top edge and in the middle of the piece of fabric cut out a small hole using scissors that will be just barely big enough to place the grommet into. Set the grommet in place (I use a hammer to do mine, but there are various methods. Check them out online if you are unsure. YouTube has some good videos. (Figures 18-20).
  4. Find your pocket again and sew the Velcro onto the inside of the pocket piece and onto the large rectangular piece. I place on the right side of the chalk bag because I already tucked under and sewed the left side of the pocket to look neat. (Figure 21)
  5. Place the pocket piece onto the large rectangular piece and sew in place. The right side and bottom of the pocket have raw seams that are place directly on the raw seams of the larger rectangular piece. (Figure 22)
  6. Sew two loops of rounded elastic onto the top edge of the chalk bag using a zigzag or straight stitch. (Figure 22)
  7. Fold the main rectangular piece, right sides together and sew a straight stitch along the short edge about 1-1.5cm from the edge to make a cylinder. (Figure 23)
  8. Pin or clip the circular piece onto the bottom of the chalk bag, right sides together and sew in place using a straight stitch. This can be a bit tricky and is hard to fit well together. Your outer chalk bag is now assembled! (Figures 24-25)
Figure 13
Figure 14
Figure 15
Figure 16
Figure 17
Figure 18
Figure 19
Figure 20
Figure 21
Figure 22
Figure 23
Figure 24
Figure 25

Interior Bag: Figures 26-40

  1. Fold rectangular fleece piece right sides together, and straight stitch the short edge to make a cylinder, the same way as done with the outer fabric in Step 7, Figure 23.
  2. Pin or clip the circular fleece piece to the fleece piece in step 16, the same way you put together the pieces in step 15, right sides together. Sew with a straight stitch. Now you have a fleece bag with the same shape as the outer chalk bag. (Figure 26)
  3. This next part concerning the ribbing or jersey knit fabric piece can be done in two ways; I’ll first explain the way I show how I’ve done it in the photos, and then I’ll explain it otherwise. The point of the ribbing piece is to create a runner for the drawstring that has an opening in only the underside that is hidden from view.
    • Fold the ribbing lengthwise and zigzag along the long edge to make a long tube or runner. (Figures 27-28)
    • Fold the tube over to match the short ends together. Now you have an “inner” and an “outer” part of the tube. Pull the outer fabric of the tube away and sew a straight stitch just on the inner part. Then, let the outer fabric fall back in place and sew over the first stitch leaving a gap in the middle of stitch line for the drawstring to fit through. (Figures 29-30). Now one side of the tube should be “clean” without any stitching, and the other side should have the seam and a gap in it as well.
      • The other way to do this is to first fold the ribbing crosswise and sew along the short edge to make a tube, but leaving a gap in the seam about ¾ of the way along the seam. Then, fold the piece over to form a round tube and zigzag the piece together along the open edge.
  1. Put the drawstring through the runner with the help of a safety pin.
  2. Pin and sew the runner to the fleece bag, right sides together. (Figures 31-32)
Figure 26
Figure 27
Figure 28
Figure 29
Figure 30
Figure 31
Figure 32

Putting it all together: Figures 33-

  1. Thread the drawstring through the wooden bead and then through the grommet. Thread the drawstring through the stopper and tie knots at the end of the drawstring. (Figure 33)
  2. Pin/clip the ribbed tubing along the edge of the outer chalk bag and sew in place using a straight stitch. (Figure 34)
  3. Place the two smaller binding pieces to form loops at the back of the chalk bag about 2-3cm from each side of the back seam. Make sure the loops are big enough for the plastic buckle on your rope belt to fit through) Sew in place using a zig zag stitch. (Figures 35)
  4. Check that the last piece of binding is the correct length for the final chalk bag (I usually overlap it a bit at the connecting seam). Pin/clip in place covering the visible seams and edge along the top of the chalk bag. Sew in place using a straight stitch. (Figure 36)
  5. Put the belt in through the loops and you are done! (Figure 37)
  6. Go find a climbing crag and try out your new piece of gear! Climb on!
Figure 33
Figure 34
Figure 35
Figure 36
Figure 37

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