The case of the headphones

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been fortunate to be working on a new project – not a legacy one!

My folding Sony headphones (pictured), had been travelling to and from work in my backpack and I’d been concerned that without some sort of protection, it was only a matter of time before they got squashed or otherwise damaged. To try and mitigate this likely doom, I decided that I needed to make a case.

I envisaged that the completed case would be black, with a coloured zip and coloured piping around the seams. So, to begin with, I traced around the headphones to make a basic pattern and added a seam allowance.  I then scrounged around my fabric offcuts and found some leftover quilted fabric from another project (which is yet to be finished… but that’s another story!). I then discovered that I had inherited a modest collection of recycled zips with my Gran’s sewing table, and that there was a red one which would do the trick. So, all that was then required, was a quick trip to Lincraft to purchase some black binding for the zip opening and purple piping for the seams. All in all, I think the supplies probably only cost me around $6, which isn’t bad!

Headphones case - cut piecesPattern cut out (pictured), I started with the fiddliest and my least favourite task: the zip. Attaching the binding to the zip opening was a doddle, or so I thought until I realised I had miscalculated the seam width and had to re-do it all… but I got there 🙂

Now, when it comes to zips, I have always loathed tacking things in place when it’s quite obvious that it takes less time and effort to simply use pins and sew it correctly the first time! (Duh!) As I get older, however, I think it is finally starting to sink in that this approach is a bit like living on the edge, rolling the dice and leaving the outcome to chance… what appears to be a waste of time, actually saves me time in the long run by providing a type of guarantee that the end result will be lump, bump and distortion free. So, on this occasion, I heeded my high school textiles teacher and went the ‘long way’ about it, mind-numbingly tacking the zip in place before stitching it for ‘real’.  I’m pleased to report that it (mostly) worked… I’ve found that when sewing zips in place (and, particularly, where I’ve used binding on the raw edge), the fabric sometimes gets warped in the direction of the stitching and I’m not sure whether it’s to do with the pressure of the zipper foot, thickness of the fabric or something else. I’m sure there’s an answer out there somewhere on the internet (or it could be discovered through adopting more of a scientific approach!), but I haven’t yet found it… plus, the result wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t live with it on this occasion.

Headphones case - matching edgesWith zip completed, the next hurdle was to match the curves of the case, which – as pictured – took lots of pins and a few adjustments to get right.  At this point I also realised that the dream of the purple piping along the seams would unnecessarily complicate this project… so I decided to keep it for another one 😉

Having finished the external case, I realised that I wanted it lined as well, so I went back to rummaging through my fabric collection again, and came across a stack of quilting squares that a friend had given me and chose a blue fabric patterned with paw prints (why not?).  Cutting the pattern out and sewing it together was pretty straightforward (given my very recent experience!), with the most complex part being attaching it to the case. I hand stitched the lining around the zip opening and then invisibly slip-stitched along the seams between the lining and the outer case to secure it in place (i.e. so it couldn’t accidentally be pulled out along with the headphones!)

Finished headphones case (closed)I’m pretty pleased with the end product (pictured): the headphones fit snugly in the case and they are infinitely more protected than they were… which is great! As mentioned, the major annoyance is the binding around the zip, which I’m not completely happy with, however… another advantage of growing older, I find, is, as much as my perfectionistic tendencies might be riled in the moment, I know that in a few days or weeks time, I’ll have sufficiently forgotten all about the perceived ‘imperfections’ of my current project, hopefully be enjoying its use, and probably be obsessing over something entirely new!

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