February 07, 2006

Lisa: Can you handle my truth?

I have been needing a new flute bag for a while. Strangely enough considering how much I used to play, I have never had a real flute bag. I have used various backpacks, messenger bags, and tote bags to lug my instruments and music and stuff around, but I never wanted to spend the money for a real flute bag (one made for that purpose), and besides I hated the idea of carrying a huge flute bag AND my backpack for books and whatever else around campus. Also, the bags designed for that purpose are technically called gig bags, a term which I abhor. These days I don't need a backpack and textbooks, and something a bit more professional-looking is probably in order. Anyway, a flute bag must conform to a few specifications. It has to be big enough to fit a flute and piccolo and the necessary accessories, and black enough that it can remain under my chair during orchestra concerts--because woodwind players get to do that (Eat your hearts out, string players!).

The whole point of this is that I have been keeping an eye out for potential flute bags each time I go shopping, especially at Target. A few days ago I found this bag, meant to be sort of an oversized hobo shoulder bag. It was only $14.99, so I was willing to overlook the sheer stupidity of the bag's handle.

Trust me, this picture from the Target website looks much better than the bag actually looks in person. The handle is so short that you can't even get it out of the way when you want to unzip the bag--it just sort of blocks the bag opening. I know the sides of the bag are supposed to come up and form part of the handle, but it just wasn't working out. Something in the design process had gone amiss. I decided to get the bag anyway, and just replace the handle. How hard could this be?

I cut off the old handle (seen here in all its ridiculous shortness)...

...and first tried braiding some leather-ish vinyl strips ($7) I found at JoAnn's into a handle. That was much too wimpy, and the braid wouldn't lay flat and look right. I decided webbing was my best bet. After some false starts at fabric stores and online, one of Dave's bandmates suggested REI, which sells climbing rope and webbing by the foot. I chose a 2" tubular nylon webbing. They cut four feet for me with their hot cutter (sealing the ends so they wouldn't fray), and charged me only $2.50. I got some snaps and a snap-setting tool at the fabric store ($8) and put the whole thing together. Easy peasy!

Here's the finished product:

I added a few buttons for extra cuteness power. In this picture, my flute is inside the bag, so you can see that there's plenty of room. At the broadcast on Sunday, I just tucked the handle under the bag. Success! As usual, the hardest part of this project was finding the right supplies at different craft and fabric stores.

Posted by lisa at February 07, 2006 12:05 AM
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