Seeking to take a break from wrenching on the Vanagon for a bit, I recently decided to try my hand at another craft, and the result is my first attempt at sewing something besides a pair of old jeans with worn-out knees.
When camping in the Westfalia, I have often wished for a small guitar to mess around with while enjoying a drink around the campfire. I already have a couple of decent guitars at home but they’re really too large and too shiny for banging around with our luggage inside the Westy.
So when I spotted this little 1/2-size kids’ guitar at my local St. Vinnie’s, already beat up and broken and epoxied back together, I snapped it up. On the way home I stopped at the music shop and bought two sets of strings for it; together they cost more than the guitar.
It’s been a fun little instrument, with a sweet never-quite-in-tune, back-porch blues-y sound that is particularly pleasant beneath the pines under the stars. And unlike my other guitars, I won’t agonize if it tips over and falls into the dirt.
Or the campfire.
But, being a somewhat anal-retentive old German, and not wanting my thrift-store treasure to get any more scratches or scuffs or sun-fading, I decided I wanted some kind of … sigh … protective case for it.
I mean, besides the folded-over camping blanket I’d been using.
So I set about taking some measurements and drawing up a little diagram for a simple homemade bag that even a first-time knucklehead seamstress (seamster?) like me could manage. When Lorie glanced over my shoulder at my sketchpad she said, “You know, you can buy a guitar bag for, like, ten bucks …”
“Don’t be silly,” I replied, “I only paid seven for the guitar!”
I then proceeded to exhaust the better part of last Tuesday evening cutting up an old Goodwill fleece blanket and cussing as I puzzled out how to operate an electric sewing machine. Along the way, I gained valuable insights into edge hemming, hidden seams, and converting two-dimensional flat shapes which can be cut from a single piece of cloth into three-dimensional final shapes.
Also, to keep one’s fingers away from moving needles.
All in all, I’m pretty pleased with my first sewing efforts. I added a basic tie cord salvaged from a broken hiking bootlace, and the simple design and drab fabric I think lend to it a certain old-timey ‘wandering minstrel’ motif.
Besides, our Westy is a diesel, and when I pull up to the big-boy fuel pumps I can’t have those truckers, ranchers, and roughneck bulldozer drivers glance over and see my little six-string and assume I’m some kind of hippie-dippie type who sits around the campfire strumming his toy guitar, and who uses words like ‘motif’.
Even though I in fact do …