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At BikeCraft, rain capes and more from Sara Stout

Posted by on November 30th, 2009 at 2:06 pm

sara in her shop

Sara Stout is busy creating
wonderful things for BikeCraft.
(Photos © Elly Blue)

I recently paid a visit to Sara Stout in the treehouse where she lives, paints, and tends to her bike fleet and aging dog Betty (a longtime fixture at bike moves). This week, the treehouse has been transformed into a BikeCraft factory, where Stout has been busily turning old materials into new, useful things.

When I dropped by, the final coat on a colorful tray of light-switch plate covers, was drying by the woodstove. Stout had moved on to making bicycle-shaped seat covers, with waterproof material above and a drawstring underneath.

seat covers

For a stylish (and dry) seat.
light switch plates

Switch plates for those of us
who get turned-on by bikes.

A few days later, she had moved on to a more ambitious sewing project — paneled rain capes, complete with collar and waist strap, in various sizes. She isn’t sure how much she’ll charge for them but is thinking it will be in the range of $60 or $70.

Sara is excited to share her handmade rain capes.

I ran into her in the coffeeshop this morning and asked where she got the idea — and the pattern — for the professional looking capes.

“When Burley quit making them 12 or 15 years ago they gave Citybikes [the cooperative bike shop of which Stout is one of the founders] the pattern and we bought a giant roll of fabric that had specks in it and we did a run of them. We were taught how by a friend, and we tried to do it but it never worked out as a production thing for us at that time. But clearly now it might work out now. Every time I do a shift there, people ask if we have affordable capes.”

She has been making the capes and seat covers out of material found at the Goodwill Bins and the re-use store SCRAP. Four of the capes are cut out of a tent canopy that she found in a dumpster. New fabric would cost something like $30 a yard, she says, and once her supplies run out so will her affordable rain gear. BikeCraft will be the only opportunity to buy these.

She’ll finish the capes today. Next she plans to start in on artwork — small, framed bike-themed paintings. I was going to ask for more details but she stopped me. “Time to go,” she said, “it’s looking like another beautiful day for sewing and making things.”

Don’t miss our 5th annual BikeCraft event coming this Saturday 12/5 from 10:00 am to 5:00pm! More details — including a BikeCraft vendor directory — at BikePortland.org/BikeCraft.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • lamanyana November 30, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    I just added BikeCraft as a Facebook event (since I’m more likely to actually go if I have it on my calendar there) – It’s at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=189397810771 if others want to use it.

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  • Oh Word? November 30, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Can we learn more about the treehouse she lives in?!

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  • Elly Blue (Editor) November 30, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Thanks lamanyana! The “unauthorized” version is sweet, but FYI we do have an official event page that folks are free to rsvp to as well:


    It’s part of our facebook group, which can be found at:


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  • Laura November 30, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    will there be a place at Bikecraft where those of us with used tires, tubes, cogs, chains and whatnot can donate to artists?

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  • beth h November 30, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    This year’s BikeCraft conflicts directly with the USGP Cyclocross races out at PIR.
    SO bummed.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor-in-Chief) November 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    we hear you Beth. ideally, it wouldn’t be on the same day… but it is next to impossible in this town to not have bike event conflicts.

    As for the USGP… there are two full days of racing and BikeCraft is happening from 10-5 on Saturday only…. so perhaps folks can fit both in!

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  • Bill Stites November 30, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    I love Sara’s stuff. I am completely stoked on the rain capes.
    Adding some elements of reflectorization would make it the cat’s meow for me.

    That ‘stoked’ not soaked. 😉

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  • DP December 1, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    yes, I’d like to know more about the tree house as well.

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  • Antload December 2, 2009 at 9:24 am

    I second Bill Stite’s emotion. Sara is integrity personified. I’m sure her crafts follow suit. If we support Sara’s enterprises 1/2 as much as she supports the bike community, then she’d likely sell out in about, oh, 5 or 6 minutes. Done gushing now. Buy her stuff.

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  • kernel December 2, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    what antload said

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  • rev December 2, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    this DIY powerhouse packs a punch.

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