Tuesday, October 21, 2014

One of A Kind Mandolin Gig Bag ... A Justification for that Stash Pile

I had eyed my husband's mandolin for a long time. It was a gift years ago from his only sibling, his brother Jim, now gone; I knew it was precious to him. I had thought a number of times about making a soft case for it, but the instrument  was either hanging safely on the wall or being played so it was fairly  easy to talk myself out of  making a project for myself.

But lately he had begun taking it out and about with him, propping it in the back of his van or leaving it on the back seat of my car and October is his birthday month, so I decided to get serious.

It would take quite a bit of material for the case and the lining.  I would need a long zipper and  binding for the edges. If I ran out and bought all the materials, it might make more sense monetarily to just go buy a mandolin case.  I poured through my stashed  fabrics. I had several yards of soft small wale brown cotton corduroy I'd found in the free box at The Legacy, the senior center support store that receives all things arts and crafty that need a new home. The fabric was deemed unsalable due to a streak of fading on it.  I found a piece of padded cotton bathrobe the kind of cloth I save to stuff potholders and a piece of padded corduroy I had thought to make into a cat bed.  Why I would make a cat bed, I don't know, given that the cats would perhaps rather sleep anywhere but in a cat bed, except on occasion.

In fact, the reason I am still up and puttering around tonight is because I am waiting for a cat to come home and find a bed of her choosing

I finally stopped thinking about whether or not I could make a decent gig bag, as such soft instrument cases are often called, and took the first step. I laid the mandolin down on a piece of cloth and drew around it and then I cut.   I dug out my zipper collection. The only zipper long enough to let  the mandolin in and out of the opening turned out to be turquoise.  It's teeth will provide a little grin of color every time the bag is opened.


The tear drop shaped  body of the instrument is like cake with a smaller second layer on top so I knew the sides of the case would have to be accommodating.  I wound up making the sides too big and had to cut them down as I assembled.  The first piece of the side that I made was the part with the flashy zipper.
                                           
                                            Inside the case is another little flash of cheerful color. It might have been nice to have enough of the quilted brown, but then again, this case is one of kind.


I basted around the curves with pins and then stitched leaving the seams on the outside of the bag. 

The inside is the finished side of the seam.  

Not having to go out and buy expensive fabric helped me to cut and improvise without worrying my prototype would be a costly experiment.  I have never made a "gig bag" before.


I was getting a good guitar concert during this pinning session.


 Dusty rose binding out of my stash  finished off the top seam and the bottom seam is enclosed in a binding  made of the thinner selvedge edge of the corduroy, enough for one side of the case.  Now all I have to do is put the straps on.


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At each stage I debated about driving into town and buying matching colors of things, but Mr. Mandolin kept giving me his approval to use the materials I had.  In the week before I started the case I had made a child size tote from scraps and that turned out to be a good warm up for this bigger project. 
 When you have stashed fabrics and ribbons and long turquoise zippers and have moved them down to Carmel and then back up the coast, it is a pretty good feeling to use up some of those items.

Down at The Legacy I bought the one color strap they had for 60 cents a yard. I  wasn't sure how that would look and worried the bag was  getting too crazy.  Mr. Mandolin had to go to the hardware store and there I saw and splurged on  black strap and paid 70 cents a foot, $2.10 per yard.
Now I am not sure which one I like the best. 

Well, I have burgundy strap and black. Which color would you choose?
Which ever one I don't use is going into my stash...never know what I might make next.

Ah, that cat in question just came to the door.  I better put this cozy little bag away or some kitty might think it's just right for a good night's sleep....no, it's not a cat bed! 

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are so creative! Love your work...
I think a kitty bed is a good idea..maybe flannel, for the winter.
I think I vote for the black strap.
Teri M.

Sarah said...

I enjoyed seeing the pics of the mandolin case. It turned out nicely. I like the burgundy strap.

Haddock said...

The best picture is the one where you are getting good guitar concert during this pinning session.
Nothing like listening to music while working.

Mrs. Pedersen said...

What a fun idea!! Looks great. :)

Neal said...

Very creative. Cheers.

Leslie said...

Wow, I am impressed. That turned out wonderfully! I think the mandolin is beautiful, too.