Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Electric guitar shoulder bag tutorial

Hello world,

I'm launching into the task of creating a couple of tutorials. This first one is for the guitar bag that I made for my sister for xmas:

Guitar bag

I got the idea from a gift roundup at Threadbanger, and made mine following Bored and crafty's tutorial located here, making a couple of changes along the way to suit myself. Her tutorial is great. Nonetheless, I am desperate to make up my own one, so here it comes.

First, please make sure to follow Bored and crafty's request not to sell any bags you make following these guides.

Materials and tools

Guitar bag - materials

  • Strong, non stretch main fabric. Eg. denim, canvas... You'll need at least two pieces with minimum dimensions of about 30x40cm
  • Same amount of lining fabric
  • Contrasting fabric for sratchplate pouch. You'll need at least two pieces with minimum dimensions of about 20x25cm
  • Small amount of silver (or any contrasting colour) fabric for the whammy bar and single-coil pickups (and input jack if you desire)
  • Buttons for volume, etc, knobs
  • Shoulder strap from old bag OR extra main fabric to make into your own strap.
  • Guitar bag template from below or image of electric guitar to copy
  • Old newspaper/patternmaking paper if you plan to draw your own pattern, or printer, paper and stickytape if you plan to use mine

Guitar bag template
Guitar bag template jpg

Click the image to download the zip package containing the image above as both a jpg and a psd file, plus photoshop custom shapes of the main outline, the scratchplate, and the whole image.


1. Print/draw your pattern. If you're using the files provided by me, print the pattern tiled over four pages, then tape them together and cut it out. If you're drawing it yourself, I'm sure you can figure out what you're meant to do.

2. Cut 2 guitar shapes from your main fabric and two from your lining, leaving your desired seam allowance. Then cut 2 scratchplate shapes from your contrasting fabric, leaving your desired seam allowance. Finally, from your silver fabric cut 6 rectangles with dimensions 7x2cm + seam allowance (single-coil pickups), and one with 7x4 + seam allowance (whammy bar). If you want to include an input jack, also cut 2 tear-shaped silver pieces about the same size as the whammy bar.

Guitar bag - cutouts

3. Place your two scratchplate pieces right sides together, and sew most of the way around with a straight stitch, leaving a gap of 8 to 10 cm for turning. Backstitch at the beginning and end to keep it secure.

Snip around the seam allowance to make turning easier, then turn your scratchplate right side out and iron it flat, folding down the seam allowance at the opening. Sew a straight topstitch around the entire perimeter and fasten off.

Guitar bag - sewing scratchplate

4. Repeat the process of sewing most of the way, turning, ironing and topstitching to all of your silver pieces. Then position them as pictured below and sew them in place. Also sew on the buttons for the volume, etc, controls.

Guitar bag - attaching whammy bar and single-coil pickups

5. Take the front of your bag and position the scratchplate on top of it as pictured below. Pin in place and straight stitch from one top corner, around the bottom of the plate, and up to the other top corner. Turn and sew along the seam again to make sure the scratchplate pouch is nice and secure. Fasten off.

Guitar bag - attaching the scratchplate pouch

6. If you're making your own strap, measure the length you want it to be, cut a strip of your main fabric that length and about 15 cm wide. Iron it in half lengthwise, right side in, sew the long seam and one of the ends, then turn it right side out and iron it flat and topstitch. If you're using an old strap from another bag, just go and get it. :)

7. If it matters, make sure you position your strap facing the right way up in this step. Pin one end of your strap to the wrong side of the top of the back piece of your main fabric and sew back and fourth lots to secure it, then repeat with the other end at the bottom , as pictured below. Make sure you don't get it all twisted up.

Guitar bag

This is the main difference between my guitar bag and Bored and crafty's, as her strap attaches at the sides. Attaching them at the sides means the bag keeps better form when you're wearing it, but I opted to move the strap so that it gave the illusion of the guitar's neck.

8. Place the two guitar pieces of the main fabric right sides together and pin (the scratchplate pouch will be on the inside) Make sure you fold the strap so it lies inside the bag when you pin it together, otherwise it'll end up between the bag and the lining rather than outside so you can use it! Then sew from the highest point of the top, around the bottom, and up to the high point on the other side with a straight stitch. You may want to turn and go back over this seam to make it extra secure.

Then place your two guitar piece of the lining fabric and place them right sides together and do the same thing, but leave a space at the bottom as pictured.

Guitar bag - sewing bag and lining

9. Now it's time to sew the lining into the bag. To do this, leave the lining inside out but turn the main fabric piece (the one with the scratchplate) right side out. Then put the main fabric bag inside the lining so that the right side of the main bag faces the right side of the lining, as pictured below. Make sure you fold the strap down so that it's not sticking out anywhere - it should be trapped between the right sides of the bag and lining. Once it's inserted, pin the edges together and sew with a straight stitch. Be careful when you get near the top of the scratchplate - you don't want to accidentally sew it shut!

Guitar bag - sewing in the lining

10. Turn your bag the right way out by pulling the main bag through the hole you left in the bottom of the lining and then flipping the lining back inside the bag. Now it looks like the real thing, huh? Run a straight topstitch around the opening of the bag, making sure to pull the strap into the correct position so that the topstitch secures it in place.

Guitar bag - turn right side out

11. Pull the bottom of the lining up so that you can close the opening with a straight stitch, then push it back inside.

Guitar bag - close the lining

And you're complete! Congratulations, you are the proud owner of a new electric guitar-style shoulder bag. Rock on.

Guitar bag - complete


  1. You made a printable pattern! That's wonderful! :)

  2. HI! thanks for following my blog, fellow Threadbanger!!!! :D
    i love your tutorials for the bag :) i'm going to try it but sewing by hand is very tedious !

  3. Tedious but rewarding. And you don't have to worry about the sewing machine going haywire! I'd love it if you could send me a pic of yours when you're done. :)

  4. Wow!!! im going to make one right now!!! i love it!!! Thanks a lot for the tutorial

  5. Awesome! I'd love to see a photo of it when you're done. :)