Having twins 4 months before the pandemic meant that I was going to be spending a lot of time at home. Regaining some of my old freedoms took about two years and during that time I taught myself how to sew bike bags in the evenings with grandma's old sewing machine.
Words & Photos: Josh Rizzo
In middle school I made hemp bracelets and tried selling them to all of my friends (they didn't buy them).
In high school, my friends and I started a male crochet club.
I've always had a little bit of a creative itch and really enjoy crafts and using my hands to make things.
I've long admired sewing and the people who are patient and creative enough to figure out how to turn fabric and string into something beautiful and practical.
When I was little my dad bought a tiny handheld sewing machine and would fix clothing with it.
Then my wife and I had sewing machine in our basement that was passed on from my grandma to my mom and then to me and my wife but I never paid any attention to it.
Finding a twin-dad pandemic hobby
Then two things happened that made me go to the basement searching for that old sewing machine.
1. I stumbled on an article on bikepacking.com about sewing your own frame bag. I was pretty intimidated at the idea of sewing but it really intrigued me so I cataloged it in the back of my mind.
2. We had twins. Let me correct that; we had surprise twins. Raising babies is a lot of work and multiplying that by two doesn't make it any easier. I spent a lot more time in the house and new I needed a home hobby.
Well by the time I learned how to make a frame bag, there was no turning back.
Every evening, I put the kids to bed and ran to go get the sewing machine. My sewing obsession quickly turned into fanny packs, stem bags, roll tops, stuff sacks, and tool rolls.
We're now out of the first 2 years of having twins so life has opened back up a lot. But overall, life still moves slow and we prioritize short family adventures over epic dad-is-going-away-for-a-week adventures.
My 5-year old son loves the bike bags that I make and always asks me to make new ones.
But what's even cooler is that he now wants to learn how to sew himself and just made (with a bit of Dad's help) his first stuff sack.
We're repurposing rain coats, old flannels, and even retired rock climbing rope to make bags that will cary our next adventures. I personally find the activity both enjoyable in the moment and rewarding in the long term.
I don't sew quite as much anymore but still love to pull out grandma's machine and create something new.