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Nov 12, 2014

Meet the Maker: Chrome Customs SF Bag Maker, Jessie


Jessie Jane Inglis

San Rafael, CA. I went to school and lived in Santa Cruz, CA for the majority of my adult life, so whenever I go back and visit that place instantly feels like “home”.

Sewing Sensei: I worked as a sewing teacher for several years at a beautiful shop in Oakland, but now I teach out of my sewing studio. I also do some freelance sewing gigs when that makes sense in my busy life.


  • Bridgestone Rb-2 (Stolen)
  • Bianchi Avenue- I’m really proud of this bike since I built it up myself– including the wheels!!
  • Bridgestone mile 112
…and my other bike is any one of my 8 sewing machines


  • Milk music-I’ve Got a Wild Feeling
  • X- We’re Desperate
  • Kate Bush- Hounds of Love
  • Menace Ruine- This Place of Power
  • Electrelane (covering Bruce Springsteen)- I’m on Fire

 Sewing (redundant?). Knitting. Late night bike rides through the Oakland hills with my Boo. Repairing sewing machines. Collecting vintage buttons. Cat wrangling. Bike camping. Thinking about taking up spinning and weaving, but not actually doing it … yet! Making and eating delicious pizza!

How did you get started sewing and making things?

Well, I was a super big tomboy in high school, and pretty much exclusively shopped at thrift stores. I needed an answer to my DIY dreams, so I asked for a sewing machine for my 17th birthday. My parents were pretty hesitant (ha!), because I was really against anything that was traditionally feminine, but they took a chance the machine and me. Slowly, I taught myself all I know and eventually discovered the fun and beauty of making things, especially dresses … and bags

What’s your favorite DIY project?
My favorite project is always whatever I just finished making. But really, it’s the land project I was involved in. From 2010 to 2012, I moved up to 10 acres of land in rural Mendocino County and started a homestead with three friends on property that had never been lived on full time. There’s not a lot out there, so we had to provide almost everything for ourselves. We were really lucky to have electricity and running water (most of the time, haha).  We built a huge garden/mini farm and grew the majority of our produce, harvested all of our firewood from the forest since it was our only source of warmth and even built a composting outhouse. It was a really incredible experience and taught me to really appreciate and never again take for granted modern conveniences (such as the garbageman and sewer systems). I also had a lot of time to sew and started my own line of sustainable lingerie.

What Chrome Customs project was your favorite and why?
I definitely love all the salvage bags I’ve done. There’s something really special and satisfying about taking a garment of clothing that has a lot of significance and history to someone and turn it into a utilitarian item that they can use every day! However, the project that I instantly go to and that really touched my heart was a simple utility pouch. It was more of a collaboration with the customer. He was going on vacation to visit one of his friends he lived with in Northern Europe during college (almost 30 years ago) and wanted to bring her a one-of-a-kind present. We tossed a bunch of ideas around, but what ended up happening was he printed a picture of the boarding house they lived in onto fabric, and I incorporated it on a custom utility pouch for him with an inscription. He actually came into the store a few days ago to tell me how much his friend loved the present

I also really love making super special things for employees. Such as this denim (Levi’s) Barrage, that came fully loaded with a little selvedge (self-finished edge of fabric) pocket under the cargo netting!

Have you encountered any odd #ChromeCustoms bag requests? Has there ever been anything really crazy?
This isn’t really that crazy, but it was pretty funny. A guy came in and asked if we had any gun bags. In SF that’s not a terribly common request and I was honestly trying to help him find a bag that could be big enough. Then he went on a rant about how he can’t find a bag anywhere that was suitable for his needs and really wanted me to make him a bag that could not only fit one hunting rifle, but a mass of them, for a several week long hunting trip. Full disclosure, I’m vegan, so my co-workers were all looking at me and laughing since I was probably the least sympathetic person for him to come to with that query.

What made you want to work at Chrome? How’d you get this Chrome Customs gig?
Growing up and living in the Bay Area most of my life, Chrome is practically been a “household name” in the bike community. I’ve always had a ton of respect for the brand and their high quality products. I found out about this job through my partner. I was not loving the job I had before Chrome. One day after venting to my boo, he sent me some Craigslist job postings, and Chrome was the most enticing. My two favorite things are bikes and sewing, so it all kind of fell into place pretty serendipitously. *High-five Craigslist!*

What’s your favorite off-the-shelf Chrome product and why?
I’m going to have to go with the Storm Truk Shoes. It is damn hard to find a comfortable pair of vegan sneakers that are also waterproof! My mind was blown when I discovered these shoes.

What keeps you up at night?
Well, last night, I was thinking about filling out this thing, ha! But normally, it’s hungry cats. Then I’m awake and start planning out and designing my next sewing/knitting projects and it’s all over after that.

Any shout outs?
A big shout out to my partner, Sam, who is pretty much responsible for getting me this job, and for just being The Greatest. To all the Chrome Familia – I couldn’t ask for a more awesome and laid back group of people to work with.

An especially sad goodbye to Sara, who is leaving us to go on tour with her band. I don’t know who’s going to come up with the craziest bag ideas that are great conversation starters for Chrome Customs. Who am I going to have quality “girl talk” with now? Also, I can’t forget the FUN PUNX!