Learning to Sew eek!
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>> Bender <<
(Bender) - MLife

Locale: NEO
Learning to Sew eek! on 10/23/2009 12:29:30 MDT Print View

How did you all learn to sew so nicely? I just started playing around last night. I know for many of the super light fabrics using the smallest needle possible is a good thing. What type of thread should I be using? All I know is I have a lot more respect for the people who make my cloths!

Nathan Baker
(Slvravn) - MLife

Locale: East Coast - Mid Atlantic
Re: Learning to Sew eek! on 10/23/2009 12:47:45 MDT Print View

You can try Gutermanns thread which can be purchased at most sewing/craft stores or pick up a spool of hydrophobe thread from Thru-Hiker. As far as learning to sew, just practice when you can or take a class from a craft/sewing store, learning annex, craigslist type offering.



Edit: I picked up on it by just practicing on scrap fabric. get a good seam ripper and have fun

Edited by Slvravn on 10/23/2009 13:08:48 MDT.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Learning to Sew eek! on 10/23/2009 12:58:18 MDT Print View

Bender, I think practice makes perfect. I've sewn a number of times over the years - easy to sew, hard to get it to look nice. My current technique is to go to my mom's house for dinner and bring over a bunch of cuben fiber...but she is starting to catch on.:)

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Learning to Sew eek! on 10/23/2009 13:29:37 MDT Print View

Practice, practice and more ;-) Been sewing since I was a kid....

Frank Deland
(rambler) - M

Locale: On the AT in VA
threads and needles on 10/23/2009 13:31:24 MDT Print View

Yes, have a seam ripper handy. Before you sew too much along a seam, look at the underside of the fabric. A stitch that looks okay on top might be bunching up or have some other easy to seee flaw. Often it is the result of a mis-threading in your set up of the thread between the spool and the needle.

Here is an explanation of needle size:

http://www.gwsms.com/didyouknow.htm

If you are having trouble threading a needle make another cut of the thread end. Sometimes an almost invisible thread is sticking out, making you miss the hole in the needle.
Try this project here or from directions at thru-hiker:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/make_your_own_gear_5_yards_to_sul_part_2.html

Edited by rambler on 10/23/2009 13:33:46 MDT.

Tim Marshall
(MarshLaw303) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Re: Learning to Sew eek! on 10/23/2009 13:33:53 MDT Print View

Have hope, it doesn't take too long to get good at it. I have only been sewing a few years. Don't expect your projects to look perfect (even now i don't expect everything i make to have perfect stitching) and slowly increase the difficulty of what you make. First project should be synthetic quilt, then tarp, then pack (use G4 instructions, but make the pack smaller) eventually you will be comfortable with harder things like mids and down quilts. It just takes time.

Guttermond is my thread for everything but packs.

-Tim

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Learning to Sew eek! on 10/23/2009 14:29:26 MDT Print View

Gutermann thread is OK for clothing - it comes in a very wide range of colours. But it is a bit mass-market and I found it unsuitable for silnylon and packs.

For silnylon I use Rasant 120 for non-critical seams and Rasant 75 for critical (highly loaded) seams. Any modern sewing machine can handle these with the lightest gauge needle (#60).

For packs I use a heavier bonded nylon thread in an ancient black Singer sewing machine with a #100 needle.

Controlling the upper tension is important - experiment. Don't make it too high though. Keeping the fabric taut as you sew to avoid puckering is critical too. Lots of very fine pins to stop the fabric from skewing is also essential.

Cheers

Tohru Ohnuki
(erdferkel) - F

Locale: S. California
Gutermann's on 10/23/2009 14:44:58 MDT Print View

I've also been using Gutermann's thread for clothing and light stuff. It works well with a 9/65 needle. Both should be easy to find in your local sewing/crafts store.

>> Bender <<
(Bender) - MLife

Locale: NEO
I made a stuff sack on 10/23/2009 17:42:32 MDT Print View

After playing around a bit I decided to make a stuff sack. I actually made a huge one for a winter sleeping bag and then I made this one. This is for my tiny Lafuma 600G bag. It came out 8.5x5" but I was trying for an inch longer. Anyway it just barely fits. This wont win any beauty contests but it works. The sack weighs .3 oz which is 1.2 oz less than the compression sack it came with. Total weight with sleeping bag is now 1 lb 6.5 oz.





Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: I made a stuff sack on 10/23/2009 17:58:20 MDT Print View

Hi Bender

You have sewn the sleeve at the top end of the bag well - 3 lines of sewing. But the bottom end could be a little weak imho. I would add a second line of sewing through all 3 layers as shown in red here (and up the side seam as well)
seamreinforcing

Cheers

>> Bender <<
(Bender) - MLife

Locale: NEO
Sweing tips on 10/23/2009 18:16:25 MDT Print View

Roger I triple stitched the bottom but you can only see the bottom row. Unless I am missing something I don't think you should see more than 1 row of stitching on the bottom. I'm checking all my stuff sacks now. Does anyone have a tip for sewing the bottom and keeping it a circular shape? Mine had a little excess fabric at the end.

Edited by Bender on 10/23/2009 18:18:23 MDT.

Tim Marshall
(MarshLaw303) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Re: Sweing tips on 10/23/2009 18:43:27 MDT Print View

i like square bottom sacks made using thru-hiker.com tutorial. Very nice!

Good work by the way. You have been bitten. Now scratch!!

-Tim

>> Bender <<
(Bender) - MLife

Locale: NEO
Bitten by the bug & non cure on 10/23/2009 19:32:55 MDT Print View

Yes Tim I have been bitten and there is no cure! I haven't been into UL for backpacking but bikes are a different story. The mountain bike in my avatar is under 19 pounds :) Eventually I want to make a tent. I know I can go much lighter and probably bigger than my BA Fly Creek at 2.25 pounds. I had a 5 1/4 pound Kelty Zen for 12 years but never had a reason to go UL. FYI the Zen is almost identical to the Clip Flashlight. When I got new poles for it the weight went down 6 oz haha. I did many bike camping trips but never had to carry the gear on my bike. I have been in bike camps with 1000+ tents so I despise guy lines. I really want to make a 2 person like my Zen but single wall with a floor. I think I could even get away using carbon poles because they barely get bent. The top of the arch would need to be aluminum because it is pre bent. Cuben Fiber would be cool but I think I would go with Ultra-Sil Nylon from Rockywoods unless I can get something substantially cheaper.

Edited by Bender on 10/23/2009 19:34:29 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Sweing tips on 10/23/2009 21:13:51 MDT Print View

Hi Bender

OK. Triple stitching the way you have done it does not add strength as only one row of sewing is 'active' - actually taking the load. In the figure below the green line of stitching is the one which is visible in your photo.
I am suggesting you should add the red line of stitching: this will halve the load on each line of thread.
.
SimpleSeam
.
You do need to make sure the hem is folded out neatly to get the load sharing of course. You may find careful pinning will help here. If the seam is taking a lot of tension you can have two red lines of sewing.

Now, the circular bottom. Work out what diameter bag you want and make a circle template out of plastic sheet or cardboard. Calculate the circumference and cut out the main wall to that width (plus hems).
Sew main body. Fold main body flat at the seam and mark the half-way point opposite the seam. Refold mark to seam to get the quarter points. (You can alternately do this before you sew the main seam.)
Now take the circular base and fold carefully in half. Mark the fold lines. Refold so the marks come together and mark the folds. You now have the quarters marked.
Pin main body and base together at the marks along the exact sewing line. In a series of halvings, pin the bits in between (ie keep halving the gap).
Sew.

Cheers

>> Bender <<
(Bender) - MLife

Locale: NEO
Thanks Roger on 10/23/2009 21:28:50 MDT Print View

Roger I knew I was missing something. Your diagram makes total sense now. Now I need to find something else to make a bag for.

>> Bender <<
(Bender) - MLife

Locale: NEO
Much better this time around on 10/24/2009 20:46:18 MDT Print View

The bottom was still tricky even after pinning it a bunch. Its looking much better overall now. I could probably still add another row of stitching to the bottom.



Edited by Bender on 10/24/2009 20:47:30 MDT.

Frank Deland
(rambler) - M

Locale: On the AT in VA
double felled on 10/24/2009 22:13:39 MDT Print View

What if you fold the blue edges under back toward the first stitch then stitch (red) over that to make it a double felled seam?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: double felled on 10/25/2009 16:04:56 MDT Print View

Yes, I would add the second row of stitching around the bottom as well.

Now to the difference between a simple seam as I drew and a felled seam with the edge tucked under. To understand the difference you have to go back to conventional uncoated fabrics. Imagine a bit of cotton sheeting with that sort of seam. The exposed edges would fray during use and during washing. So a felled seam is used to conceal the cut edges and stop any fraying.

Now imagine using silnylon fabric in the simple seam. No fraying! So there is little to be gained from a felled seam over a simple folded-over seam as I drew. Just a little extra weight for the extra fabric.

There is little or no difference in strength between the two, so with silnylon and X-pac I don't bother. With uncoated Taslan I avoid the extra bulk of a felled seam by overlocking the two edges before doing the second (red) line of sewing.

Cheers

>> Bender <<
(Bender) - MLife

Locale: NEO
Re: Re: Sweing tips on 02/18/2010 15:15:17 MST Print View

I just finished a CT2k.8 Cuben stuff sack for a new sleeping bag. This time I went with a square bottom. Weight is 7g for 6x11". I plan on sealing the seams and adding a top flap. It was tricky sewing the 2nd and 3rd lines since the bag was already put together. Not pictured I made a 4 layer thick triangle to reinforce the cinch cord area. Every single thread was pulled through to the inside of the bag and tied off. I spent forever working on this thing. This project was my first time working with Cube. Cuben is not slippery like sil-nylon making it easier to work with.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Sweing tips on 02/18/2010 16:09:24 MST Print View

Hi Bender

Yeah - well sewn!

Cheers