Things You'll Need
- Outer fabric
- Lining fabric
- Cotton batting
- Sewing machine
- Sleeping bag zipper
- Nylon belt (optional)
- D-ring (optional)
- Cardboard (optional)
Hard cases can be prohibitively expensive for the beginning guitar player. The alternative is a soft-sided case. Making your own soft-sided guitar case let's you customize it. Everything from the size and shape to the color, fabric patterns and pockets can be custom-designed,
Select your fabrics. The outer fabric must be tough and durable. Nylon fabric, canvas, leather and duck cloth are all sturdy fabric. If you will be using your case outdoors at all, choose a waterproof fabric. You can also use vinyl-coated fabric if your sewing machine can handle industrial sewing. Lining fabrics should be softer to avoid scratching the guitar.
Spread out your fabric. Lay the guitar on the fabric. Trace the guitar. Make sure you leave at least 1 inch around each side for seam allowance. Cut two of the guitar shapes out of your outer fabric, two out of cotton batting and two of the lining fabric. If you want to add pockets, sew them onto the outer fabric now. Attach a zipper to two pieces of fabric and sew into place. Do not add pockets to the lining.
Measure the height of your guitar body as it lays on its back. Add 1 inch to 2 inches to that number. This is the width of your side pieces. Measure around the outer edge of the body shape you created in Step 2.
Cut strips from your fabrics and batting for the side pieces. You need one strip of each that is the width of your side piece plus 1 inch and the length of your zipper. Cut this in half down its length. You also need one strip of each that is the width of the side piece and the length of the outer body edge minus the zipper plus one. For example, your side piece measurement is 6 inches, your zipper is 46 inches, and your outer edge is 86 inches. You need one strip 46 inches long and 7 inches wide that will be cut in half for two strips of 46 inches long and three and a half inches wide. Your other strip is 6 inches wide and 41 inches long.
Pin one of the thinner strips of outer fabric to the zipper. The right side of the fabric faces the top of the zipper. Sew them together. Fold the fabric away from the zipper and iron it flat. Repeat on the other side of the zipper.
Repeat Step 5 with the lining strips. Pin the thin strips of cotton batting between the two layers.
Pin the thick side strips to the zipper strip at the ends. The outer fabric faces the top of the zipper, then the batting, with lining on top. Sew them together. This makes the side of the outer case into one loop. Fold hem tape over the raw edges and sew it down to hide the ends of the fabric. Add a permanent strap, if you want, by cutting a long piece of nylon belt and pinning the ends between the layers of side pieces. Make loops for a detachable strap by pinning a folded piece of nylon belt in between the layers. Slide a D-ring onto the folded loop before sewing to make a ring for clip-on straps.
Arrange the body shapes with outer fabric on the bottom, batting in the center, and lining on top. The set that matches the shape of the guitar is the bottom. The set that mirrors the guitar is the top. Pin the side loop onto the edges of the bottom pieces with the lining layers facing. You can add cardboard to support the case in this step. Cut the cardboard so it fits inside the seams. Tuck the cardboard pieces in-between the batting and the outer fabric before pinning.
Sew the bottom and side together. Repeat Step 8 with the top piece and sew it on. Pin and sew hem tape over any exposed edges and your soft case is complete.
Nicole Whitney began writing professionally in 2008. She has authored in-house training documentation for quality assurance in insurance applications. With many credits coming from a stint in classics, Whitney holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies from Assumption College.