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Accessory Bags

I designed four quick'n'easy bags to carry extra stuff that the bass marimba needed, namely the accidentals (F#'s and Bb's); and the stuff for the buzzers and the caps; two simple sleeves for transporting the bars; and two big sacks for transporting the resonators (not pictured).

Accidentals bag

Buzzer bag

Bar Sleeve for longer bars

Bar Sleeve for shorter bars


ACCIDENTALS BAG. Something I hate about most diatonic Orff-style xylophones is that the F#'s and Bb's are usually somewhere else when I need them. Needless to say, I love the Orff instruments that were designed with slots on the frame to hold the extra accidentals. So once we had built the bass marimba, I wanted the accidentals to accompany the instrument at all times to facilitate quick key changes.

With the help of my sewing machine and serger, this bag was completed in 45 minutes. When it is not on the instrument, the straps wrap around twice and button securely so the bars don't fall out. This bag allows space for 5 accidental bars. I used a serger to finish the raw edges; if you don't have a serger, you will have to add in the hemming, or use a fabric that doesn't fray. The measurements in parentheses, modified for those without a serger, include 1/2 inch seam allowances.

Materials needed:

1. Cut three square pieces measuring 30x11.5" (31x12.5" if not using serger- see above); two strips of denim for the straps measuring 1.5x32" (2.5x33 if no serger); and one strip 1.5x7" (2.5x8 if no serger) for the fastening strap.

2. Finish all rough edges. Use a serger (or turn under the raw edges 1/4 inch, then turn another 1/4 inch and stitch).

3. Sew long straps to outside of one of the large rectangular pieces; straps should fall 6 inches from each end; they should hang over the edges by 16" on one side and 4" on the other. Sew straps where indicated by red lines. (See diagram.)
4. Put the rectangular piece with the straps attached right side down; put other rectangular pieces on top of it. Sew all rectangular pieces together with one long seam down the middle, as indicated by the red line. (See diagram)
5. Fold rectangular pieces together lengthwise. Sew side seams where indicated by red lines. (see diagram) Turn inside out.

6. On short end of straps, sew two buttons, .5" and 2.5" inches from the end. On long end of strap, make buttonholes to fit buttons.

7. Sew one end of the short strap to outside layer of bag at the center back. On the underside of the other end of the strap, sew rough part of velcro. On center front of the outer layer of the bag, sew the soft part of the velcro.

8. Put bag on marimba frame. Thread long end of strap up from behind the 2x4 of frame, under rope towards you, and down to meet short end of strap. Button on. Repeat on other side. Put in bars, and secure velcro strap. Ta-dah!



BUZZER BAG. This bag hangs on the small end of the marimba frame. It is filled with film containers and plastic bags for the buzzers, and it also holds the caps for the resonators when they are not in use. It is also useful for holding other things that may be floating around during a performance, such as small percussion instruments, etc.

Basically, this is a big purse. It is made out of one large rectangle, folded at the 2/5ths point. (see picture) The two straps are separate, not attached together, so that I can tie it to the frame in any way I want. Once again, I used my serger, so the measurements in parentheses are for those who need to do traditional hemming, with 1/2 inch seam allowances. The hemming can be done at whatever point you choose; it is not specified in this pattern when to hem.

Materials needed:

  • 1/2 yard sturdy fabric (denim is good)
  • 1 strip of velcro (2")
  • Scissors, thread, measuring tape.

1. Cut a large rectangle of fabric, measuring 32x11" (33x12" if no serger), and two long strips, measuring 25x1.5" (26x2.5" if no serger) each.

2. Serge all raw edges. Fold large rectangular piece back on itself 12" from the end, with right sides together. Sew side seams along sides, as indicated by the red lines (see diagram). Turn inside out.

3. Sew straps to the top of the side seam on the outside, shown by red line at bottom of strap. .

4. Sew rough side of velcro strip to center front of the bag flap, on the wrong side; match to front of bag, and sew soft part of velcro. See red marks on diagram.

5. Now you're ready to fill it with stuff and tie it on the end of the marimba!

Leo poses with finished bags.

BAR SLEEVES. When I was transporting the marimba from here to there, I didn't want the bars to just float around the car and get nicked. So I sewed these ultra-easy bar sleeves to protect them. There is a set of sleeves for the bigger bars, and a set for the smaller bars. I didn't want this to be a big project, so I used the cheapest flannel I could find, and did it the fastest and simplest way I could.

Materials needed:

  • 1 2/3 yards soft flannel, 60" wide, for smaller bag
  • 2 yards soft flannel, 60" wide, for bigger bag
  • Scissors, thread, measuring tape.

1. For smaller bag, cut a large rectangle of fabric measuring 60x55", and one long strip measuring 60x3".

2. For bigger bag, cut a large square of fabric measuring 60x60", and one long strip measuring 60x3".

3. Serge all raw edges on large pieces. Fold long strips in half lengthwise, and sew raw edges together 1/2" from the edge. Turn inside out.

4. For smaller bag, fold the 60" side of the flannel 27" from the end. For larger bag, fold square in half. For both bags, sew seams to create long pockets, every 6",as indicated by the red lines. See diagram.

5. The larger ten bars (big C-C, big F# and Bb) will go in the larger sleeve; the rest of the bars will go in the smaller sleeve. Insert bars into pockets; fold the sleeves accordion-style. (See photo on right.) Use tie to cinch the bars together, like a belt. This will provide some protection from scratches as you transport the bars here and there.


RESONATOR BAGS. These bags are basically giant laundry bags that the resonator modules fit into. You don't even have to make these; if you have laundry bags big enough, just use them. If you want to sew them, here are the steps.

Materials needed:

1. Cut two giant rectangles of denim, one measuring 60x96, and the other measuring 60x72.

2. Fold the rectangles in half along the longer sides, with right sides together; sew along two sides (it doesn't matter which two) to make a bag. Hem the top if you have no serger.

3. If a drawstring is desired, fold the top down 1" from opening towards inside; sew down folded portion close to edge to create casing for drawstring. Leave an opening somewhere through which to insert the cord. Voila - instant laundry bag!

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