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Leodhas
08-30-2011, 12:51 PM
Home Made Ukulele Gig Bag Project (Concert)

Hi, I saw a post on here a few weeks ago, it was some fella who'd knitted his own ukulele gig bag and it got me to thinking, could I make my own gig bag? However, I am extremely useless when it comes to sewing/knitting, let's just call it household crafts (I don't know the correct term). Nevertheless, I will not be deterred (please remember I've never held a sewing needle in my life until today) and have committed myself to doing this! So this afternoon I bought myself 2 by 1 yards of denim (I thought denim would be a good choice of material because it's blue and durable) and some needles and thread. I have been cracking on with this all evening. It's a very simple design as i'm new to this but I'm finding it fairly relaxing!

I expect this to take me 2/3 days (going at it in the evening after work) and I will post a few pictures when I'm finished and have attached a couple to this post of the design and this evenings progress. This is all being done by my hand, except the one straight line down the angle which I got my girlfriend to do on her sewing machine earlier this evening. (I'm nowhere near advanced enough to be using sewing machines yet).

You may ask what I expect to gain from this endeavour (you may not, but you may) ? Well, to be honest, I'm hoping it makes me look sensitive and creative to my new girlfriend. Basically i'm looking to impress her, but I'm also getting a big kick out of making the bag. I've learnt that sewing is a very intricate skill and that you do draw blood from your fingers doing it! Also, surely someone needs to invent a new method of threading a needle! Threading needles is incredibly frustrating.

Anyway, I encourage you all in your spare time to have a go, no matter how bad you think it may turn out. This isn't for an expensive uke so it doesn't have to be all singing and dancing and protecting, it's just for a wee Oscar Schmidt I got! I would never entrust my hands to make a bag/case for an expensive instrument. Saying that, if this turns out ok you never know!

PS. Any tips would go down well.

rough design
http://img842.imageshack.us/img842/5125/p1020466si.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/842/p1020466si.jpg/)

Uploaded with ImageShack.us (http://imageshack.us)

This evenings progress (the bag is inside out) and that's the handle I made all by myself!
http://img190.imageshack.us/img190/8979/p1020473z.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/190/p1020473z.jpg/)

Uploaded with ImageShack.us (http://imageshack.us)

PS. I'm 34 and suffer from no mental issues if you were wondering!

itsme
08-30-2011, 01:29 PM
You may ask what I expect to gain from this endeavour (you may not, but you may) ? Well, to be honest, I'm hoping it makes me look sensitive and creative to my new girlfriend. Basically i'm looking to impress her, but I'm also getting a big kick out of making the bag. I've learnt that sewing is a very intricate skill and that you do draw blood from your fingers doing it! Also, surely someone needs to invent a new method of threading a needle! Threading needles is incredibly frustrating.
Well, good on you for undertaking something so new and foreign to you, even if you do have an ulterior motive. :)

Let's see... for threading they do make these little thingees called needle threaders. Practically every little hotel room freebie sewing kit comes with one. Then there are needles with larger eyes.

You might benefit from a thimble. Instead of pulling the needle with your fingers, you push it from behind with the thimble. Much easier IMO.

ckellogg
08-30-2011, 01:46 PM
Well done, Leodhas. Here's a quick utube on threading needle tips. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EE55f6ePaA. Another way of making a quickie gig bag is to find a pants leg that the uku will fit in. Cut the leg off. Stitch it closed at the bottom, and then put in a drawstring at the top. You can find cool pants at the thrift store, fabrics which no one wants to wear anymore, but can make awesome gig bags. I'm not a huge sewer, but will try to help if you get stuck, just ask.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
08-30-2011, 02:05 PM
ckellogg beat me to it.

I made a couple of pant leg gig bags this summer for a backpacker uke and a coconut uke.
I left both in the Islands for me to play with when next I return to Honolulu.

I used upholstery needles and thread which they told me was very strong.

It was fun but my fingertips sure hurt for a while!

keep uke'in', (whatever it takes!)

Leodhas
08-31-2011, 02:36 AM
Well I'm an idiot, as I've stitched down the angle in the wrong place, stitched about an inch in where I need to be stitching on the edge, this is much harder than I thought. I shall have to unpick and start again. By the way, the jeans leg idea is genius!

Lori
08-31-2011, 06:18 AM
Now that you have tired hand sewing, you might reconsider your idea about using a sewing machine. Your girlfriend can help you set it up, and you will get much better results in a fraction of the time. You might need to buy a sewing machine needle that is for denim/ jeans, but it will be worth it.

I have never used the no-sew fusion tapes... but you might also look into that. There are products that allow you to use tape and an iron to fuse fabric together. There are also rivets, grommets, and snaps that might make your project more successful.

Good luck. What you're going through is perfectly normal, so don't stress about it. Have fun.

–Lori

Leodhas
09-07-2011, 08:44 AM
Well I've been at this now for over a week and here is an update.

I have hand sewn all of this (to be honest it's now driving me a touch mad) and I can see the finishing line. I took an old pair of jeans and ripped off a pocket (which I thought would go with the denim theme) and now I'm using it on the bag. I still have to attaching two buttons and sew in the button holes to the uke bag pocket but I'm getting there. I also have to attach the uke bag lip/lid (don't know the correct technical term) which you can see in the pictures. I will use three buttons to secure this which will be evenly spaced along the lip. The buttons on the uke bag will all be white and medium sized.

Once all of the above is completed I still won't be finished as I have now bought some liner material (it's a fleece type material) in order to give some extra protection to the instrument. I will simply measure this out, cut the appropriate size, turn the bag inside out and sew the liner in. Once again, this is all hand sewn and as I've previously mentioned I've never sewn anything before in my life so I've learnt a few things about hand sewing, primarily that if you hand sew you stab your fingers with the sewing needle on a regular basis and it bloody well hurts!

One point I would like to mention about this whole process is that to buy the denim material and the liner and the sewing needles and thread and buttons(especially the material) has cost more than the price of a descent ukulele gig bag which anyone could buy off-line(not that saving money was the purpose of this adventure, but I'm just saying! Also I'm not saying that making a ukulele gig bag is an adventure as I'm hardly climbing mount kilimanjaro).

Nevertheless I do have enough material left over to make another 2 concert sized bags. However I'm not factoring in the man hours, I have used a lot of my spare time to do this and whilst I am getting some satisfaction from it I can't see myself hand sewing anything again in my life. If I do make another bag it will be with the use of a sewing machine. Saying that, I am a man who, although has a girlfriend, still lives on his own and enjoys it and I can't see the need to buy a sewing machine, I don't know what else i'd use it for!

I thought this process would take me a couple of days, after all, how hard can sewing be? Well it is hard and bloody painful! I alluded to this earlier but I'm truly sick of stabbing my fingers with bloody sewing needles and I still have a fair bit of sewing to go!

Anyway, please find attached two pictures of work done so far. I would just like to say that the bag is very sturdy and will not rip or fall to pieces after a year or two, it is made to last!
The last pics I post will be of the finished article.

http://img705.imageshack.us/img705/7402/p102047788.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/705/p102047788.jpg/)

Uploaded with ImageShack.us (http://imageshack.us)

Where the lip will go, imagine it all with the big white buttons!

http://img94.imageshack.us/img94/6430/p102048099.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/94/p102048099.jpg/)

Uploaded with ImageShack.us (http://imageshack.us)


TO BE BRUTALLY HONEST I DIDN'T THINK ALL THIS THROUGH BEFORE I STARTED, BUT i WILL FINISH IT!

Lori
09-07-2011, 09:58 AM
Hi Leodhas

It's looking pretty good. You might want a thimble, or wrap your fingers in some tape or bandaids to offer a little protection. Projects like this always cost more in tools and material than an assembly line store bought item. The key here is that you have customized it to your wants and needs. Now that you have a bit of experience, and a few of the tools, the next thing you make will be easier. Maybe you will want a music stand bag, or a bag to tote your music books.

A simple sewing machine can be pretty handy to have. I have made many dust covers for computer equipment, mended old pillow cases and sheets when the stitching came undone (sheets are expensive), and made black-out roll-up shades for the bedroom. When I was a teenager, I even made a beanbag chair. If you know someone with a machine you can borrow on occasion, you will find the whole process much more satisfying. I still use my basic Sears Kenmore sewing machine from the 1980's, and it still works just fine.

You will enjoy this video, I think http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yj4N0I7kby4
–Lori

P.S. Good button holes are hard to do by hand. See if your Girlfriend can do this on her sewing machine. Or, use a loop of elastic to go around the big buttons http://www.bassetlawfashionservices.org.uk/img/shirt2.jpg. An alternative would be to use pieces of Velcro tape for the closure.

GinnyT11
09-07-2011, 11:06 AM
I am EXTREMELY impressed that you took this on, Leodhas! It's not easy to take on tasks foreign to you. For me, it would be like deciding to do small-machine repair. You're figuring things out as you go along, which the Chinese say in a proverb: The work teaches you how to do it.

I agree with the posters who advise getting a modest sewing machine and using that instead. You'll discover the project is simpler and the product is more secure. Learning to sew has been as useful to me as learning to type and I've spent thousands of hours sewing clothing or quilts. I may have to look into sewing gig bags now.

Good luck!

Leodhas
09-07-2011, 11:27 AM
P.S. Good button holes are hard to do by hand. See if your Girlfriend can do this on her sewing machine. Or, use a loop of elastic to go around the big buttons

Your suggestion for using elasticated loops for the button holes is pure genius! However I have done this now all by hand as I had to pick the machine sewn work on the bag and re-sew. It has now become a battle in my head and if I use a machine I will feel as though I've cheated somehow. Nevertheless thanks for the suggestions.

When I have finished this I may buy a machine as I never want to hand sew again. It's sending me a wee bit west!

Lori
09-07-2011, 01:13 PM
You can still do it by hand.

–Lori