I got Trading Musician to throw in a hard case, padded gig bag, and strap with Kohaku to make their price more reasonable vs. mail order, and while the hard case is okay and I like the strap, the gig bag was really for an electric guitar of some sort, and too long. It also had a torn seam in the body and one of the front pouches had ripped open. But I looked at it and thought, "okay, I can fix this, and it'll save $30 or so when I'm done." I wasn't really planning on shortening it to properly fit the bouzouki, because I thought that might be a bit too difficult, but decided on Monday that I'd just go for it. It worked! And wasn't as difficult as I thought. The yellowy-white things are 18cm of foam that no longer fit in the now slightly-more-than-18cm shorter case.
It was more work than I expected, and I'm fairly rusty at sewing, but! it turns out it's kind of got that riding-a-bike thing going for it, so. Here's the gig bag now - of course, I failed to have a "before" picture, but imagine it looking kind of like this, but longer, and in much worse shape (particularly that upper pouch):
The upper pouch, in addition to having a couple of seams torn out, was originally higher on the case; I removed it entirely to repair and reattach it lower on the bag. In back, there's a tear that's been repaired with heavy-duty strapping material salvaged from parts of the bag that got removed. (It now only has three sets of grips, not four like it originally had. Three is enough.)
Right about here is where George showed up to help explain things:
I did a lot of hand-sewing, and that included reattaching the pouch. Once I took apart the head of the bag, cut off the excess, and sewed all that back together on the sewing machine, everything else had to be done by hand because unless I took the entire bag apart down to component fabric, I'd have had to sew through multiple layers at once, connecting layers that shouldn't be sewn together. (They're the layers between which the foam padding is inserted.)
Talking of, the foam padding was in decent shape, but made in a couple of layers that had separated. I glued it back together, and added piano wire (spring steel) to give it a little more resilience when the bag is empty. I don't have photos of that, either. foo.
Here you can see where I didn't bother narrowing the bag's shoulders, mostly because it would have meant screwing with the side-handle attachment points and I didn't want to bother. Plus, size-wise, that doesn't really make any difference; the floppy extra bit at the top of the bag was the annoying part:
George also wants to show you where I reconnected the side padding loop back together, in a detail shot:
You can also see the two abrasion pads that needed moving; they're vinyl of some sort and had to be relocated further down the case. (Had I left them in place and just chopped them, they'd have been about 60% removed.) Also, the top one had torn along one machine seam, so I trimmed it, used the other one as a guide, re-created the machine seam holes (using a sewing needle) by hand, then hand-sewed both into their new places, re-using the machine-seam holes.
Yeah, I emulate machine-sewing look in hand-sewing. When it's appropriate. (Obsessive much?) I did that when reattaching the small outer pocket, too:
Some of that is machine seam, some of it is hand-seaming emulating machine seaming. The zipper handling is identical to the original, except that it runs a little further down the backside of the bag than it did when it was a guitar bag, because that saved me a little work.
Anyway! That was the most sewing I've done in a really long time, so I thought I'd post about it. I'm really stupidly pleased with how well it came out; it's not perfect but it's pretty good and most importantly it no longer has that annoying empty floppy head. I hate that.
I'm thinking I'll sew skiffy patches on it later. I've got a bunch I've never done anything with - Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems, EVA-02, Jupiter 2 Mission Patch, things like that - so why not?