A (damned difficult) guitar case for Daniel

January 30, 2012 § 2 Comments

There’s something really scary about taking on a project no one has done a tutorial for before. You feel rudderless and completely clueless. But I had opened my big mouth and promised Daniel I’d make him a soft carry case for a guitar he received as a birthday gift so I had no choice but to do this one on my own . . . minus the guitar. Yes, my friend actually thought I could pull up dimensions from the net and make a case just like that. Well, apparently I can but not “just like that.” So let us begin with Pattern-making for dummies.

I got really cool fabric for this project and didn’t want to mess it up with my wonky measurement-taking so I resorted to making an actual pattern. You wouldn’t know it from my drawing now but I spent my high school summers in art classes. And while I never progressed much beyond a bowl of fruit (it was the summer I discovered boys), some skills stick to you. Like the importance of following grids. Here’s the fabric I was reluctant to cut willy-nilly:

Now, this project was intimidating, not only because I was doing it without a guide but also because of the amount of hardware involved.

Aside from calluses and random pin pricks on my arms and legs (this project was 17 inches wide and 42 inches long, it definitely landed on my lap quite a few times), this project also saw the demise of my favorite stitch ripper.

This happened while I was appropriating a pocket from an old bag I never used. On to the materials.

I used the skull-camo fabric for the outer layer, lightweight cotton canvas for the inner layer, lightweight batting and more lightweight interfacing. This case had to be soft and light enough for carrying and protecting the guitar while having a sort of frame/shape that would fit the guitar snugly. The dimensions of most guitars (according to the Internet) is 42 inches long, 16 inches wide and 5 inches deep. The length of the neck is about 18 inches, and at its narrowest point it’s about 6.5 inches. That’s all I had to work with as I put everything together. So I started with two sets of a  fabric-interfacing-batting-canvas combination. Make sure the right sides of the outer fabric and inner fabric are facing out (wrong sides facing  each other) before you sew it together.

Then I put the hardware on the front and back. This included a hand-carry handle, shoulder strap, and a pocket/pick/pen/music sheet holder.

I do this before putting everything together so I can hide my stitches, which can be straight or wonky, depending on my sewing machine and my mood 😀 And then came the fun part of pinning everything into shape.

Then I sewed the sides together with a 5-inch (well, actually 6 inches, adding the seam allowances) strip on the side, leaving about 20 inches for the zipper and another 10 inches for a velcro opening. This entire process, from pattern making to sewing all sides took me about 4 hours. I was feeling pretty good about myself and thought I would finish other projects in the same day. BUT NO. I had to deal with the pesky zipper and making sure my computations were correct for the placement of the velcro.

Yep, there’s me with second-best stitch ripper trying to stitch on the zipper straight. So naturally, all my lower stitches looked a bit weird and I decided to cheat with iron-on bias tape to hide the mess.

But finally, OH THANK GOD, finally, I was done. This was a really difficult (for me, the noob) project for me, but it was also the most fun. The only way to learn things is to actually do it. On this project I learned to make a rudimentary pattern (somewhat), make real measurements (such as the proper placement of the handles and shoulder straps), use bias tape, and best of all, how it is good to (sometimes) bite off more than you can chew, because only then can you actually stretch yourself and see what you can do.

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