In more than a decade I’ve been playing the recorder flute, as it is a beautiful, traditional instrument that reflects my interests in medieval, renaissance and baroque culture. My teacher has been using a special and homemade shawl to protect her flutes for as long as I can remember, and I figured it was time for me to make one.
I started out by purchasing 3 pieces of fabric: One off-white piece in a flax/cotton mix for lining, one blue piece to cover the case exterior, and one piece of wadding meant for coats.
The piece for lining should be quite big.
The other pieces should measure 90 cm x 60 cm – this includes seam allowance.
You will need:
- A sewing machine
- Measuring tape
- And flutes to take measurements from
Then you are all set to start!
Step 1: Cut the Fabric
Start out by measuring the blue piece of fabric. When it fits the measurements, use it to outline the lining on the white fabric. I used a pencil to do this, as white chalk doesn’t really work with white fabric.
After measuring I cut out the lining, and placed my flutes on it, to see where it would make sense to place the pockets to hold the flutes in place later on.
Step 2: Cutting Pocket Pieces
In this shawl, the flutes are held in place by some “pockets” or “pipes” in the fabric. To make these pockets I needed pieces of the lining fabric, to fold and stitch on the big lining piece.
I measured two pieces of fabric to create the pockets. One piece was smaller than the other, as I made one to hold my soprano/alto and another one for my tenor/bass.
I pinned and stitched the square-pocket-pieces along the sides, to give them neat edges.
Step 3: Pockets
Then I took out my flutes and used them to measure the size of the pocket holes. When the sizes fit I pinned them down.
I stitched the pockets onto the lining fabric with a blue threat, to match the outside of the shawl. It was slightly difficult to fit it in the sowing machine, but with a bit of patience it worked. Just pin it very well! :)
I did this with both the big and small piece, and it took some time, but the result was great. I made more pockets than I needed; because you never know when you might need to bring another flute, hold a flute for a friend or what not.
Step 4: Wadding
After making the pockets I pinned the lining piece onto the wadding piece. Thin I cut around the lining piece so the wadding fitted this one perfectly.
After doing so I stitched the two pieces together with a zig-zag stitch. It turned out very nice – just remember to stretch both fabrics out nicely, to avoid bums and wrinkles.
I decided to stitch my name and the year onto the lining. If one day I lose my flutes, they can be returned to me – and I’ll remember the year in which it was made, and I’m crazy about remembering years!
Step 5: Sewing It All Together
The last step is to sandwich the two pieces of fabric, and face the right sides together. Then I pinned them together and stitched all along the edges. (The blue thread looked really good here)
I left a bit of the edge open, to make it possible to turn it right side out again. Then I folded the open side closed, and made it look like the other sides.
I was done at this point, but decided to make a stich all around the sides of the fabric; This would hold the 3 pieces in place, and make a cleaner edge.
Step 6: Enjoy the Music!
And then you’re done!
The shawl is easy to use: Just stick your flutes into the pockets, fold the sides of the shawl in, and the roll the long end of it like a tortilla.
This is a safe way to transport instruments, it’s easy to pack and unpack them, and the wadding extracts the humidity from the flutes (which is a big advantage when it comes to wooden instruments.) Another great thing about it is, that you have a place to lay your flutes, once you’ve unpacked them – the flutes you aren’t playing at the moment can lay on a soft surface without rolling anywhere.
I tried mine out the evening after I made it, as my ensemble was practicing for a concert, and it worked perfectly!
Hope you got inspired by this – stay creative!