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Viking 6460
and a Long Bow Case

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I have a longbow -- it's about 6 feet long and draws about 40 pounds at 28 inches. I want to make a fabric case for it that I can wear over my shoulder. I plan to use it when I dress as an archer for a Renaissance festival.

My daughter is modelling my first case attempt. She's shorter than me, so the lower edge reaches a little closer to the ground than it does when I wear it. Still, it's not dragging the ground!

I don't have any plans, so I'm making the project up as I go along. I've found a few things that I'll probably change in version two, but I'm pretty pleased with the basic plan.

What I'm making basically is a "bag" that's about 6 feet long and about 4 inches wide! I'm attaching some 1 1/2 inch webbing for shoulder straps. I'm using two "D" rings at the end of one strap to join the two.

One problem I'm going to have is that this bag is only 4 inches wide -- but 6 feet long. That means: A) it's going to be tough to turn inside out and 2) I'm not going to be able to do flat-felling to join the sides. So, I'll do French seams -- I think I'll just tough out turning the bag inside out.
I had two yards of black twill that I had saved for a pair of pants -- I'm going to tear a couple of strips from this for the bow case. I wasn't sure how wide things needed to be, so I wrapped a piece of fabric around the fattest part of the longbow, then added a couple of inches. Decided that 8 inches of fabric would work just fine for the width -- that should leave me plenty of seam allowance.

The longbow itself is a "selfbow" -- it's made of a single piece of wood. It's about 6 feet long. When I string it, it takes about 40 pounds of pull to draw the string back about 28 inches from the handle.

The broom next to the longbow actually came in handy when I was turning the bag inside out! You can also see a couple of Necchi machines -- a Lydia (white) and a Lelia (pink). I think that's a black Singer 301 the bottom shelf.
Once I decided an 8 inch circumfrence would give me plenty to work with, I decided to make this up with two 4 inch wide pieces. I could have used a single piece 8 inches wide -- but decided I wanted a seam on each side to make it balanced. Don't know if this was a good decision or not -- a single piece would certainly be easier.

I made a tiny snip 4 inches away from the edge of one two yard edge -- and then "tore" the fabric all the way along the two yard length. This is an easy way to make straight cuts. I did the same thing again and ended up with two strips of fabric -- each was 4 inches wide and 72 inches long.
I have to confess that I messed up at this point. I immediately began joining the two long strips. I sewed along one long side, one short side, then up 2 feet of the next long side before I realized that a bag closed on three sides would leave me with NO WAY of attaching my web straps!

If this were a normally-sized bag, then attaching straps to a three-closed side bag would be workable. However, since the bag is 6 feet long but only 4 inches wide, there was no way I could sew straps to the middle of one side if the bag were closed!

Out came the seam ripper and I opened up the bag. I fiddled with strap positioning -- I had two straps of webbing, each was about 3 feet long. I decided the top strap worked about 2 feet from the open side of the bag; the bottom strap worked about 1 foot from the closed end.

To attach the strap, I planned to attach eight inches of web to the bag. Then I planned to "fold back" the webbing about 4 inches, then sew up to that point.

Here, I've positioned one of the web straps against the outside of the bag and have pinned it in place.
I've begun sewing along one side of the web strap. I'll sew for 8 inches, then rotate 90 degrees, sew across the strap, rotate again, sew back up 8 inches, rotate, then sew across the strap again to "close the square".

The orange pin head marks the end of the strap; the blue pin is the 8 inch point. Basically, I'm sewing a rectangle around these two pins.
Here, I am ready to rotate and sew across the strap.

You can see why I had to do this before I close up the third side of the bag! If the bag were closed, there is no way I could have worked the bag so I could only sew through one side.
Sewing across the strap. I'll then rotate and sew back to the edge of the strap with the orange pin.

I wanted to make the web attachment really, really strong. Rather than stopping once I completed a single rectangle around the eight inches of strapping that rested on the bow case, I ran another rectangle of stitching just a little bit inside the first rectangle.

When I sewed back to the orange pin, I stopped a stitch or two before I hit the original stitching. I then rotated the strap and sewed along the four sides, just inside the first seams.
These two nested rectangles of stitching are really hard to see from the webbing side. Here's the back of the webbing -- you can see the nested rectangles on the rear of the webbing. The stuff in the middle that looks like stitching is just wrinkles.
Once the eight inch "base" of webbing is secure, I'm folding the webbing back on itself. I want to sew this securely for 4 inches. That way the webbing emerges from the center of the 8 inch base.

I start by folding the webbing over and marking the 4 inch point (the blue pin).
This goes back under the sewing foot. I'm stitching securely across this foldover. In fact, I'm stitching across, rotating 90 degrees, taking one stitch, rotating 90 degrees again, stitching back across the webbing, rotating, taking a single stitch, rotating, and stitching back again.

This gives me 3 rows of parallel stitching to securely hold this fold over point. I'm hoping this will be enough so that it won't tear out.
Once I've securely locked in the edge of the foldover, I'm sewing back up along one edge of the folded webbing. I'm only going to sew to the four inchpoint where I've placed the blue pin.

Once I reach the blue pin, I rotate 90 degrees and sew across the webbing. I again do the "single stitch, rotate" thing to stitch 3 rows of stitching across the webbing. I finally sew back 4 inches to return to the foldover point.
I've never made one of these, so I don't really know how much strength is going to be required. So, I'm again stitching another rectangle inside the first rectangle, just to play it safe!
Here's the reverse side of my 8 inch web "base". Note how lines of stitching bisect the rectangle in the middle.
Just to play it safe, I'm stitching a single row right at the unfolded point of the 8 inch base. I'm hoping this will keep it from unravelling.
once I finish the first strap, I attach the second strap the same way. The first strap was positioned about 2 feet from the open end of the bag (what will be the open end); the second strap was positioned about 1 foot from the closed end. Be sure and place both straps on the same side of the bag!!!

When both straps are attached, it's time to close the bag. Since I'm using French Seams, the inside of the bag is on the inside. Sew along the long side; I used about a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

When I got to the bottom, I sewed across the bag, rotated and took a single stitch, then rotated back and ...
...sewed back across the bag. I did this three times to give me a pretty sold bottom of the bag. The "point" of my long bow will be resting against this edge. I may leave it like this, or I may place some foam or something to cushion the bottom of the bag. I'm also thinking of placing a "boot" of leather around the bottom. Haven't decided yet. I just want to make this bottom strong so the bow won't come poking out!
Once you've closed three sides, go ahead and trim off the seam allowance. You want a little less than 1/4" remaining outside the seams.

If you're really good at stitching a straight line, you could simply sew the three sides with a 1/4" seam allowance in the first place. This'll save you a lot of time. I'm not that good, so I have to trim.
Now for what turned out to be the hardest part -- it's time to turn the bag inside out so I can finish the French Seam. This wasn't so hard until I hit the web strapping -- especially the doubled part. I finally had to reach inside, grab the webbing, and pull it out half an inch at a time. It was pretty tough.

I also used the broom you saw in the earlier picture to help poke the bag inside out. In hindsight, four inch sides may have been too short. The bow fits well, but it's pretty difficult to turn the bag inside out. I'll probably use 5 inch or wider sides in version two.
Once I finally inverted the bag, I began stitching down the sides using about a 1/4" seam allowance. If I trimmed the sides properly, this should completely enclose the raw edges.
At least that was the plan!

I ran into an "oops" when I stitched up to the part where the webbing base was inside the bag. This base kept pushing the sewing foot off the side of the bag. I tried lifting the foot to place it on top of the webbing, but it kept slipping off. I probably could have used a "shim" on one side to make the foot level. If I use wider sides in version two, this problem shouldn't happen.
Pretty close to done now. After sewing along three sides, I turned the bag back rightside out again. This was actually easier than it was the first time -- even though the bag was smaller than it was first time (because of the extra seams). What happened was I could pull on the loose web straps to "pull" the bag back rightside out again!

Once the bag was rightside out again, I hemmed the 4 inch opening. Should have done this before closing the bag -- it was pretty tight trying to hem this!

Finally, time to look at the strap ends. I sewed two "D" rings at the end of the upper strap. I then folded over the end of the bottom strap and sewed it shut to "hem" it.

C'est tout finis!

My daughter again models the finished product. The longbow is inside the case (note the bowstring sticking out the top -- I wasn't too careful placing the bow inside.)

I'll probably make version two a little wider in circumfrence -- the current one began with an 8 inch circumfrence, ended up with about 6.5 inches. The longbow fits, but it's pretty snug.

I'll also probably make version two a little shorter -- I think it'll look a little nicer if about 6 inches of the bow sticks out the top.

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