If you can locate a Sewing machine that works, you can make your own microphone bags, or find someone that can make them for you (or teach you how to sew and help you make them). I prefer to make my own. Over the years, many people were surprised to find out that I can sew (My mother taught me how to use a sewing machine when I was very young - its been a valuable skill that I have used over the years to fix things as well as make many items that I couldn't buy otherwise.) Being that I have thousands of dollars worth of musical gear, and it had to travel, I thought it should always look its best.
The Inner-bag of this design provides an additional level of protection to the microphone without going overboard. The material I use is the same as many people use for the inside of jackets - sort of a polyester fleece material. There are many thicknesses of this - I use the heaviest available. It also comes in many colors - I look on the remnant tables (where the small left over batches are) for all of my material to get the best possible price - in this case I used brown. This is a stretch material and tends to be a royal pain in the butt to sew - if you are not careful, you will get the fabric stuck in the sewing machine. I'll discuss a simple technique later.
There are metal eyelets used in the pattern - these allow the design to provide draw-strings to hold the bag closed. I never cut holes to allow for the eyelets, rather I force an opening with the tip of some sharp object (a sharp pencil will work - I usually use an Ink Pen).
I use shoe laces for the draw-strings. This design uses the shortest ones I could find (27 inches (68.6 cm) long). Fabric stores also sell a spring loaded plastic shoe lace clamp that will be used to keep the shoe laces drawn. These are available in many colors (see the picture at the bottom of this page to see a blue one on a finished bag).
I also like to use a high quality thread that is not cotton based. I buy spools of thread that are used to do upholstery - this is normally Nylon, Rayon or Polyester based - 10 to 20 times stronger than cotton thread, and only a little thicker. Its available in many colors at most Sewing/Fabric stores. There is not much stress on any of the seams in this design, so you can use cotton thread provided that its fairly strong.
A good yard (or meter long) stick will help you draw accurate lines before you cut any fabric. I use a chalk pencil on the fabric to mark measurements. The Chalk comes off quite easily on its own, leaving no marks on the fabric itself. These pencils are available in many colors at Sewing/Fabric Supply stores. You can also use an ink pen - I would avoid permanent ink markers, I also use the stick to push the inner bag into place.
There are many types of sewing machine needles - most sewing machines use a general purpose needle that may or may not work with the heavier thread I reccomend. You may want to buy a few that can handle heavier/thicker material and heavy thread. These are available at Sewing/Fabric Supply stores. If you are unsure which ones to use, make a note of the brand of Sewing Machine you are using, and ask one of the people working at the shop to help you - explain what you are making and ask for recommendations. They might try to sell you a Sewing Machine that is heavy duty - Unless you plan to go into business making bags, a general purpose sewing machine should work just fine for the few bags you will put together. If you plan to do this sort of thing frequently, or go into business making Musician bags/covers, you might want to invest in a heavy duty production quality sewing machine.
Wash and dry your fabric before you start. This will eliminate any shrinkage that will occur later.
In looking at the microphones I have (From Left to Right: Samson,
Shure, Inch/Foot Ruler, Shure, Audio Technica), the relative sizes of each
are about the same (each under 8 inches (approx 20 cm) tall). The
Audio Technica is the longest, so if I made a bag that it would
fit in, all the others would too.
These microphones need some protection, more than a simple fabric bag can provide. To accomplish this, the design includes an inner bag that has thick (1/4 inch (approx 6 mm)) fleece material that will add some additional protection when the microphone is in the bag.
The patterns are pretty simple (and not drawn to scale). You can adapt these to larger sizes if need be, or if you prefer, you can skip the inner bag (although you will have less protection).
To keep the microphone from falling out, the design includes a draw-string.
The photo on the right shows using a pen tip to push open a hole for the metal eyelets. The goal is to not damage any cotton threads, but still allow for the eyelet. The opening is approximately 1/4 inch (6 mm) in diameter. Start at this point (no need to make it larger). The Good Side of the outer bag is the dark blue side. The inside is the lighter color side.
The photo on the left shows the eyelet pushed thru (the Good Side of the material will have the finished eyelet pushed into it). You'll note that there is a piece of metal under the fabric, right below where the eyelet will be when the fabric is folded over. Use any piece of metal you can find for this (it needs to be thick enough so it doesn't bend easily). You will damage table tops if you don't put something solid under the eyelet - you can us a concrete floor if need be. I am working at a wooden workbench.
The photo on the right shows the tool used to expand the backside of the eyelet. This small metal tool comes with the eyelets (you can buy eyelet refills without the tool). The backside of the material is facing up. You'll note that you strike the tool (once its centered in the eyelet) with a hammer. This will fix the eyelet into the fabric. I usually tap the backside of the eyelet with the hammer after this has been set with the tool.
The photo on the left shows the pinned top edge (above the area where the eyelets are placed) of the outer bag. Sew this edge next.
The photo on the right shows pulling the shoe lace thru the eyelets. Note that there is a mark halfway between the eyelets (there is a mark on the fabric - indicated here as Center Mark). At this point you need to hand stitch the fabric to the shoe string. Pass the needle and thread thru it 5 or 6 times (starting from the backside of the fabric), then tie the loose ends of the thread together (this will be inside the bag).
The photo on the left shows the outer bag folded in half with the Good Side facing inward. Pull the shoe laces out away from the seam and pin the edges.
The photo on the right shows the sewing machine foot stitching the material together. Avoid accidently sewing the shoe laces. Stitch around the full length of the outer bag, then turn the bag around and do it again. This double stitches the bag and makes the seam stronger. Leave at least 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) of thread at the end. Tie these together when done.
The photo on the left shows pushing in the inner bag using a stick (my Yard Stick - Inches on one side, Metric on the other). This takes a bit of effort to seat right, but the stick helps greatly. Place in inner bag seam on the opposite side of the outer bag seam.
Fold the outside bag edge over into the bag. It should overlap the inner bag edge by at least 1/2 inch (13 mm).
The photo on the right shows sewing the outer bag over-top of the inner bag. Sew with the sewing machine foot on the outer bag material only (it will get hung up on the inner bag fleece). I use a zig-zag stitch here because the inner bag will stretch a little as you do this. This is by far the hardest part to sew. Don't alter the plans and make the opening of the bag any smaller than the pattern shows (it will be very hard to sew if you do). Be careful not to sew over the shoe laces.
To use the bag, simply open the bag up and drop your microphone in (wind screen end first). Then pull the shoe laces tight and press the top of the clamp and slide it down to hold the bag closed. To open it, press the shoe lace clamp and slide it out towards the knots and open the bag.
It make take quite a while for you to make the first one, but making them after that goes much quicker as you become more experienced with the technique.
Questions? Comments? Contact me.
Photos taken with a Kodak DC25 Digital camera and Tiffen Close-up lens. Text added using Unix GIMP application (freeware).
Related Fabric Reference Hot Links
© 1999, Shavano Music Online