May King Tsang Mic Bag

The Linton Tweeds bag for a microphone.
‘My microphone keeps getting scratched, will you make me a bag for it?’ said my customer. ‘Right, of course.’

I consulted my BBC friend about mic storage. Which way up in a bag should it be, head up, head down, sideways or diagonal? She said, ‘It needs to make sure the cable does not kink, which should store separately, as it should not scratch the rest of the mic.’

may king tsang mic bag

My pattern cutter friend said ‘It would be great with padding,’ ‘I agree,’ ‘and a dust bag.’ ‘I agree.’ It also needed a separate bag for the cable to store in the main bag.

We were in lockdown and my customer was many miles away. There was no chance of me seeing the mic. I asked my customer to send a photo of it beside the tape measure. A round head, a square wide middle, a thin handle, plus a cable.

To work out the proportions needed I used an empty milk carton to mock up the dimensions and bulk of the square middle. To make sure I had the overall dimensions right I made up a bag in some white material to test the pattern. I put the milk carton in to test the wide middle. The bag was going to have a cable pull close which can gather up quite a bit of bulk at the top. I added another 2 cm to the length. I remembered something my Dad used to say when cutting wallpaper ‘Measure twice, cut once’ I measured twice enough times to practise the two times table. I increased the size of the box corners to give more width at the base of the bag. This is a square corner cut out and then sewn across the corner. Having sewn the test on white cotton fabric I unpicked it to use as a pattern.

The Linton Tweed fabric of the Outer Bag is from suppliers that have supplied Chanel for close to 100 years and is very special. I thought the black with a gold stripe would suit my customer. The padding was fleece and the lining a shiny black paisley pattern which was also for the cable bag to sit alongside the mic in the bag.

I was shaking a bit cutting this special fabric and took my time although the pattern is one I have used many times. Stripes have to match at the base and the proportions between the stipes have to be the same all along and at the sides. I chalked it out and walked away several times to make sure the stripes were aligned before I cut the fabric. The lining was the same to cut out.

I attached the Linton label first to the outer bag. It is important to get the needle exactly in the corners so the stitch length matters. I did it 3 times before it came right altering the stitch length each time. The colour of the thread matters too so it blends into the label.

Attaching back to front I made sure the stripes matched exactly in the bottom and side seams. Then next the box corners where the square cut out creates the corner width.

Next was the padding. To create a diagonal on fabric, fold across itself. Chalk along this line. I used a ruler to measure the width against this line for the next diagonal chalk line and filled up the whole piece of fleece with the chalk lines from left to right. I stitched the fleece and the lining together and then chalked and stitched the other way right to left to create a cross-hatch pattern of padding. The box corners were the same as the outer.

Next was fitting the padded interior into the outer. I was nervous about this as I was not sure how much room the thick padding would take up and I had to get it to fit snuggly inside the outer. I had left enough in the seams to be able to trim off the excess thickness which is what I had to do. The top of the bag had to be less thick to allow for the gathering as the tie pulled it together. I had to fit the top of the padded interior further down, underneath the turnover cable casing hem, to avoid the bulk. I had left enough length to be able to trim to fit which is what I did.

During the overall process I spent a lot of time thinking and putting the bag down and walking away from it, to be sure what I thought was going to work would do so.

My last task was to thread the cable through the top housing where it would pull from either side to gather up. What I thought was two lots of black turned out to be one black and one navy blue. Due to the lockdown, I was not able to easily get more black. I decided to use both and said to my customer that if the two colours really did not work I would change them when I could get some more or they would be a reminder of this time in history. I realised as what I thought was the last task the knotted cable kept slipping undone and I had to get some glue to dab on to set it and leave it overnight. My really last task was to anchor the lining to the outer by some stab stitching in the gutter of the box corners so it would not show.

The long thin bag for the cable was made out of the lining fabric with a pull cable top. The dust bag to hold them all was cream linen with a pull cable top.

The box to post in was made especially for me to fit my bags and is lined with red tissue paper. I want my customers to say WOW as they open the box and treasure what I have made them forever.

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