El Tour de Tucson & How to Sew a Musette

Musette Feed Bag

Musette Feed Bag

What is El Tour de Tucson? It’s a cycling event which attracts about 10,000 participates from all around the world each year, the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  The main event is a 104 mile ride around the perimeter of Tucson, AZ.  I’m proud to say that I have family members who are avid cyclists, & fierce competitors who tackle this ride each year.   That’s not the most amazing part – they hold the Platinum designation, which means that they complete this ride in under 5 hours!
They are quite the impressive group both on and off the course. Up until a few days ago, I had never heard of a musette feed bag.  Apparently it’s a bag that contains food & beverages that are handed to the riders along certain points (feed zones) of a long race. My nephew Mike provided the required specifications, & I decided to sew some for family members & friends who are riding in El Tour de Tucson this Saturday.  I had so much fun making them, & it felt good to be involved in a very small way. So just in case you’d like to make your own, (& to serve as a reminder for next year!) I’ve decided to blog the particulars.  🙂 These were made from a medium weight poplin fabric.  The finished dimensions were 12″ h x 14″ w, with the finished strap measuring 38″ x 1″ For 1 musette bag, you’ll need to cut: 2 pieces measuring 14.5″ h x 15″ w 1 piece measuring 40″ x 4″ First, take 1 main piece at a time, & fold down the top by 1″, iron in place, then fold over again, & iron. The picture below shows one of the pieces folded into place (hiding the raw edge – the one above my fingers), the other piece has been unfolded.

musette feed bag

musette feed bag

Next, fold the strap in half – lengthwise, & iron into place.  Next, take one of the raw edges & fold it up lengthwise to the middle point that you just ironed.  Now fold up the other raw edge the same way, & iron into place.  I was making more than one bag, so you’ll see the folded/ironed straps on the left (with no raw edges showing), & I’ve unfolded another piece on the right so you can see how it’s divided & ironed into fourths.

musette strap

musette strap

Sew a straight stitch lengthwise on both edges of the strap, using a scant 1/4″ seam allowance. You now have a strap with 4 thicknesses for stability. Next, retrieve those 2 main pieces again, and top stitch both the top & the bottom of the band lengthwise, using a scant 1/4″ seam allowance.

top stitiching the musette

top stitching the top band

attaching the strap

attaching the strap

Take one of the main pieces with the top stitching facing up (this is the right side) & position the strap end at a 45 degree angle, and a little down from the top edge of the band.  Allow a little overage when you position the strap, for security.  Sew or baste the strap to this main piece.  Next, take the 2nd main piece, & position facing down, on top of the strap & other main piece.  The strap should now be sandwiched between the two main pieces.  Starting at the top, make sure the tops are lined up, then begin stitching using a scant 1/4″ seam allowance down one of the sides, but reinforcing the strap in place, back-stitching & sewing several times over this spot.  Continue to sew to the bottom, back-stitch.  Repeat this process with the other side, lining up the tops, then sewing across the bottom last, back-stitching start & finish points.  Trim the raw edges of the straps so that they are even with edges of the bag.  Trim up any excess thread. Turn the bag right-side out, push out the corners, & iron.  Using a 1/4″‘ seam allowance, top-stitch around all three sides, and again reinforcing the straps.  Top-stitching will provide stability to the bag, and raw edges will be hidden within the seams.  Your musette bag is ready for use!  Good luck!

completed musette

completed musette

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