So I'm a 20-year-old college student in the middle of my undergrad years, and I've had the good fortune to get bitten by the backpacking bug early in life. I've barely had any actual field experience at this point, but I feel like I've been able to absorb quite a lot of knowledge by hungrily poking around BPL forums and articles for a few months.
UL philosophy is instinctively appealing to me, and MYOG even more so. Commercial gear is expensive and I'm too small for most manufacturers' clothing anyway, not to mention that there's something sacred about creating the gear that will keep you alive in the backcountry, all by yourself. Not to mention, I've got a few ideas for multi-use gear that I think might really be worth pursuing. In short: I'm sold on MYOG.
Now, some obstacles lay in my path:
1) I have no experience with gear or clothing construction. At all.
2) My understanding of sewing machines consists of this link, referenced in an earlier post.
Therefore, I'm in need of advice regarding the practicality of my starting from scratch. I'm aware of the many resources available online for learning these things (thru-hiker, jardine's stuff, this forum, etc.), but I'm suspicious that the process may be more labor-intensive and frustration-intensive than some voices make it out to be. In the end I aim to be able to construct essentially any UL soft item that I might need, which is a whole host of items. I'm imagining that I might start with Thru-Hiker's stuff sack kit as my first project, but I'm in need of some lightweight shelter so I'd like to try a Tyvek solo tarp. Anyway, my questions:
1) Is it practical for me to undertake this learning project in the middle of college, on a limited budget, without prior experience, and without any local, physical support?*
2) How long did it take you all to get started?
3) How long did it take you to gain some skill?
4) Is this a decent machine to start with? The price is right, that's for sure.
In summary, please educate me. If there are pertinent questions that I should have asked, but didn't, feel free to answer them anyway. Thanks much everyone.
* first, college is easy, so academic interference is of minimal concern; second, my budget isn't THAT limited--if I can afford a few things from STP and Mountain Gear, I assume I can probably afford to go MYOG