Making Courier bags will probably always been one of the off-shoots of production on this machine, along with the Singer 600WI (the Brother’s predecessor). It may not happen very often, but it will be something that comes and goes.

This is the most recent messenger bag made on the Brother DB2-B791-015. It was born out of an older bag that was made about 3 months ago on a whim using banners from street signs (a’la Freitag [or]), and a very lightweight tarping material. That bag turned out nicely, however there was much room for improvement. Upon procuring a new material (Dow Weathermate), it seemed appropriate to make the necessary modifications to the older design and bring it up a level to increase efficiency. The new Dow material was interesting due to how lightweight it was, how water-proof, and how the material is able to allow vapor to escape (the vapor issue being a bit over-kill, but interesting none-the-less), not to mention that it is essentially Styrofoam* which opened up a new venue for what kinds of material could be outdoor worthy – whether or not they seemed natural or environmentally friendly. After some research into the most recent trends in messenger/courier equipment – looking at bags by Cocotte, Baileyworks, Pac, R.E. Load, Wig, and Zugster, the harnessing system and outer pockets were re-designed and more obvious improvements like the inner pocket system and Velcro positioning were updated. Taking the older bag as a pattern – seam ripping it down again and drawing in the placement for the new buckles, Velcro, pockets, etc. – the construction began. Added features were billowing outside pockets which wrapped around the front side of the bag, and an increase of inside pockets with a two-way zipper main pocket and Velcro closing slide pockets (the zippered pocket being large enough for magazines and books). The Velcro was repositioned, using 4″ wide strips which optimized surface area and contact of the two (hook and loop) so much so, that the buckles are almost unnecessary. With the newly reconfigured presser feet, sewing was quick and easy with much sharper looking seams, and more finely tuned details. It even features two ice ax loops, just in case, which were sewn in with the protective bottom “boot”.

Here is a rundown of materials used and what they were used for:

Gütermann 100% polyester “extra strong” thread (the kind that comes on the 3 oz. salmon colored cone).

Cordura 1000 denier > cap on the end of the flap were the buckles have been sewn into place.

Cordura Ballistics 1050 denier > botton “boot” for added protection against abrasion, and heightened strength.

Dow Weathermate > main body, two layers (one for the outside, and one for the lining, with a third layer between the Cordura flap and Ballistic bottom “boot”), and also for small parts, zipper tabs and webbing caps.

YKK 2-way seperating zipper > used on the inside pocket to devide compartment space.

Velcro > purchased 4″ wide and cut down as need be, used for pocket lashing, and for quick closure of the main flap.

Side release buckles > 1″ for keeping the bag closed when the vecro is not adequate, 2″ for the main strap.

“D” rings > 1″ and 2″ for quick release of straps making it possible to loosen the bag’s harnessing system very quickly.

1″ black nylon webbing > ice ax loops, suspension system, and to anchor side release buckles.

2″ silver/grey nylon seat belt webbing > used for the main strap.

With all of these materials together a fully functioning custom handmade messenger bag is complete with 3 outer pockets, 4 inner pockets (one of which is very large and can be zippered shut), bottom “boot”, reinforced flap, ice ax loops, and best of all – the suspension system harness. This system for wearing the bag and adjusting it to fit you and your cargo worked out surprisingly well. It has all the same hardware on both sides, and can be adjusted exactly the same no matter what shoulder you wear it over. What the actual “suspension” straps do is – they allow you to control how tightly the compartment sits to the full-strap when it is over the shoulder. This feature is optimal when you have to put for example a bankers box in your bag, and your strap is completely loose, but unfortuantely there is still not enough slack to get yourself through there, by loosening the suspension straps it virtually re-positions where the main strap is carrying it’s load – from a wider stance to a more central stance. This shifting of the load bearing units allows the bag to then rest more easily – and with more option of where that easy point is – on your back. There are further reasons for this feature, but unfotunately it is the kind of thing that you may have a hard time understanding until you have either A: been a bicycle courier, or B: have really used your bag in all situations. The end result is approximately 15″ tall x 19″ wide x 8″ deep, this is a large capacity bag – approximately 2280 cubic inches (when Timbuk2 was originally founded, this bag would have been somewhere between the Bolo and the Tag Junkie, with a carrying capacity of about 300 bagels[?]). Later on we will re-visit this bag and see how the materials and construction held up, what features were good, and which were unecessary.


*If you have a moral dilemma or obligation to denounce Styrofoam (for understandably obvious reasons), consider this; The stuff is being made no matter which way you cut it, and it is more likely better for the environment to make a Styrofoam product that can serve a function in our everyday lives for an infinite number of years (no pun intended), rather than let it go to the wayside and not be used. This in no way should suggest that Dow Weathermate is not being used to it’s capacity, wrapping houses with it to save energy and increase construction materials durability by adding a layer that keeps the outside elements out, that is certainly a proper use. How environmentally friendly the production of it is, is questionable, as is how much of it is made from recycled products – however – Dow does claim to make these products from “post industrial recycled content” and make the Weathermate with an environmentally “sensitive” procedure.

9 Comments so far

  1. Alex Tweedie February 12th, 2008 8:27 pm

    This is one of the most efficient uses I’ve seen for post industrial waste. The material is tough, durable and well suited for this type of application plus the strap system is killer. Definitely one of the most interesting, cool looking and innovative bags to come around in a long time. Cheers

  2. BROTHER DB2-B791-015 » Walking Bag March 28th, 2008 3:00 am

    […] particular bag was a way of sorting out a capacity issue, although the Dow Weathermate “messenger” bag was a great success, there was one thing that it clearly over-compensated for, small trips – off […]

  3. mkbrooks April 15th, 2008 10:38 am

    that’s a hot bag, dude. i love the material. it probably keeps you warm, to boot!

  4. […] a bag that had a two-sided adjustment using a larger 2″ side-release buckle (like on the Dow Bag), then the seatbelt webbing is a must, as dive belt webbing does not easily (if at all) work in a […]

  5. […] & re-issues, double tap feed mechanisms at Delta, service with a smile at Rivera’s, “messenger” bags, walking bags, cycling booties, Brother DB2-B791-015 instruction manuals & parts books, etc., […]

  6. […] achieve them. The skunk was decided to be a mid to large capacity bag, in relation to baggage and baggage2.0 it would be a little shorter in height, a little less wide, and a little deeper at the base*. […]

  7. Goldscott December 23rd, 2008 1:27 am

    Where do you source your materials from? I am very interested in making my own bags and other items, but have a hard time finding small quantities of specialized materials.


  8. admin December 23rd, 2008 10:24 am

    Well, the bulk of the hardware, and most of our materials are purchased over the web at – they are a little steep on price, but the materials are all exactly what they say they are. If you can afford to buy in slightly larger bulk (10yds at a time), then go to Busch & Associates, Ltd. ( ) they have great prices and will accommodate medium sized orders. There is also going straight to ITW Nexus (link in sidebar) – they are generous in the sense, that they will send you free samples. Other than that, it’s time for google searches.

    Here is one more page, it is from Leif Labs, and itemizes many other places for materials and hardware (all of which, unless mentioned above, the Needefeed & Co. does not have experience with).


  9. BROTHER DB2-B791-015 » Possibilities [NFCO] February 5th, 2009 10:44 am

    […] nylon or other similar material, a somewhat more unique fabric was chosen. Of course, with all the Dow Weathermate lying around, it would have been economical to go that route, but Dow Weathermate tends to add […]