An Improvised Binocular Case

For me, quilting is like cooking, and sewing is like baking. When I cook, I usually read a recipe or two, take what I like from each, and then just see how it goes—putting in a little of this and that, depending on what’s on hand. When I start a quilt, I’ll look at a pattern or two, and then just see how it goes—using what I have, going in whatever direction feels right. With both, I figure it’ll be fine at worst—and it could be spectacular!

When I bake, however, I know there’s chemistry to the recipe. I might throw in some nuts or maybe chocolate chips that weren’t called for, but I never stray too far from the recipe. When I sew, I follow one pattern all the way, perhaps throwing in an additional zippered pocket instead of chocolate chips. With these, I know there’s a delicate balance that could lead to dismal failure should I step off the proven path.

But when my husband and I realized the binoculars we were borrowing for our trip needed a case, I stepped off that proven path and designed my own case.

It went pretty well.

Actually, as I was making it—and struggling at times—I kept thinking of the old Saturday Night Live skit, Fernando’s Hideaway, where Billy Crystal’s catch phrase was, “It’s better to look good than to feel good.” Here, my goal was to make it look good on the outside. The inside? Meh.

I wanted the case to be padded, so I put quilt batting between the lining and exterior fabric, quilted it, and then put the bag together. This left exposed seams on the inside that I intended to cover with binding before I finished. Um, that didn’t happen.

The opening was bit too gaping, so I added some tucks at the sides.

The binoculars are laying down inside the case, so I wanted the bottom to be extra padded. I used some of my leftover quilted pieces and made a liner for the bottom. For a third layer of padding, I designed the strap to wrap all the way around the case. I also put in a regular ol’ snap to help keep it closed. The button and buttonhole on the strap finished off the case.

We have a strap for the binoculars, so we really wanted the case to be for times we would be transporting them. Therefore the two goals of 1) protecting the binoculars and 2) looking cute-ish were met, in my opinion.

But I don’t think I’ll become a sewing pattern designer—or a pastry chef—anytime soon.

Leave a comment


  1. what a perfect analogy! It’s spot on. But for some reason I HATE baking but really love sewing from patterns. But quilting creatively is definitely the most fun. Your little case is super cute. By the way, I finally remembered to add you to the guild site- sorry it took so long, your blog is great!

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