I've been trying to perfect a set of modest panniers for a while now. I've made several versions, but there's always something I don't like about them - they either aren't wide enough or they're too wide, the boning doesn't lay right or it twists in the channel, or some other problem. Earlier this year, I made a new set of panniers for a dressing demo, and while they had a few problems, I did love the proportions on me. I felt like I had finally managed to find the right set of measurements that flattered my size and height without being too wide for informal outfits or too small for my personal tastes.
But, as you can see below, they had issues. Because I made them in a rush, I had accidentally sewn the diagonal boning channels to the wrong part of the panel (on the center and back instead of on the sides) which made it do weird and terrible things. I also hadn't made the top yoke deep enough at the center front and back, which made it sag below my waist line. It was not a good look.
Yeah. With all that wackiness going on, those panniers weren't going to last long, so I decided to try and remake the same pattern in better materials, and with better construction. I had a ton of this pale gold taffeta in my fabric stash, so I decided to use it so I could make something really flashy and neat without having to worry about running out of fabric.
I used a couple of different resources to help pattern out the new set of panniers. As with the wonky set, I used the diagrams from the marquise.de to draft out the body of the panniers, paying much closer attention to the original measurements on the drawing. The top yoke is based off the one on the website, and the Simplicity grand panniers pattern, as well as measuring the parts of the previous yoke that fell short and compensating for them accordingly. The old pannier yoke didn't quite come up to meet my waist, and would hang very low when I had the pannier on, so that definitely needed to be worked out.
I drafted everything directly onto the taffeta fabric. Once I had my pieces cut out, I sewed one of the long seams, and stitched the yoke to the top of the body, finishing all the seams by flat felling them.
I kept one seam open to make it easy to add the boning channels. On advice, I used twill tape instead of bias tape for the channels. Big mistake! The twill tape stretched, warped, puckered, and was generally completely unruly. I had to pin it to within an inch of its life to make sure it didn't squirm all over the place. But, eventually, I had my three boning channels sewn in place.
I hemmed the bottom, and added some bias tape to the top edge to form a drawstring channel for the waist. I had to wait to finish the boning channels because I didn't buy enough twill tape on my first visit to the store, but once that was installed, I was ready to finish up.
The diagonal tapes need to sit behind the uppermost horizontal boning channel so they have some reinforcement and don't damage the skirt fabric or stick out weirdly.
I sewed up the other seam in the body of the panniers, leaving a gap at the boning channels. I had to add my second diagonal channel after closing this seam since the channel runs directly over the side seam. If I end up making another set, I think I'll put the seams at the center front and center back, rather than at the side, so I can install both diagonal channels while the body of the panniers is flat and open, rather than having to wrestle with the completely sewn pannier. It wasn't a difficult thing to do it the way I did it this time, it just could have gone a lot faster if I had done it the other way.
Once all of the boning channels were stitched, I salvaged the boning from the wonky hoop and inserted it into the new panniers.
The final step was to add the interior tapes that would pull the pannier into shape. I pinned them into place first and played with their placement until I had everything just like I wanted. Then I stitched them all into place.
And voila! A finished pannier! I may take up the yoke a bit if I find that the silhouette is too low on the sides. I have a few new petticoats to make, so once I see how they effect the silhouette, then I'll decide if I need to raise the sides.