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Joann Fabrics Grosgrain Ribbon for tarp tie out loops
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Brendan Kehde
(Caretaker) - F

Locale: Jupiter, Florida
Jo-Ann Fabrics grosgrain ribbon and homemade silnylon loops for tarp tie outs on 06/05/2010 06:38:59 MDT Print View

I have read about using "grosgrain for tie outs". Going to the local Jo-Ann Fabrics, I found grosgrain ribbon in the decorative ribbon section in various widths. It looks and feels pretty wimpy. I did some tests with the 3/8th inch ribbon. It's actually pretty strong. I am posting my tests here as an FYI.

I sewed some loops in the grosgrain ribbon with regular strength Gutermann poly thread also purchased from Jo-Ann fabrics. I tried an Xbox on one end and some simple rows if straight stitches to secure the other loop.
Joann Fabrics 3/8 grosgrain

I tied some cord onto my grosgrain test loops and tested the strength with my body weight by bouncing on it slung over a tree limb outside.
Testing Setup

On the first test the single layer of grosgrain failed just outside of the Xbox. It held my bodyweight of 165 lbs but failed when I bounced on it.
Single layer failure

Next I tried two layers of grosgrain.double layer sewn loops

This easily held my weight and was difficult to break while bouncing on it. I did manage to make the rows of straight stitches fail.
Double layer failed at straight stitch seams

From my testing, I think Joann fabrics 3/8 grosgrain ribbon is strong enough for tarp tie outs used on the ridgeline and corners when it is doubled and a single layer would be fine along the sides.

Comments or thoughts?

Edited by Caretaker on 06/06/2010 14:28:59 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Joann Fabrics Grosgrain Ribbon for tarp tie out loops on 06/05/2010 16:06:30 MDT Print View

Agree entirely.

Can you imagine putting your entire weight on a tarp tie-out? The fabric would shred!

The ribbon itself is actually much stronger than your tests show. What was failing (in some cases) was the stitching and the weaving.

Bar tacking this sort of tape is NOT a good idea. The weave can't support the concentrated load. The Box with an X in it, as shown in the last photo, is a much stronger way of sewing any tape - as your results suggest.

Yes, I use grosgrain webbing on tents and packs too, extensively. It's never failed for me.


Unknown abc
(edude) - F
"Joann Fabrics Grosgrain Ribbon for tarp tie out loops" on 06/05/2010 18:27:07 MDT Print View

this makes me want to go get some of that stuff, grab my Mom's sewing machine and make some tree-huggers :)

Brendan Kehde
(Caretaker) - F

Locale: Jupiter, Florida
My additional testing indicates that a silnylon loop is stronger than a grosgrain ribbon on 06/06/2010 14:26:14 MDT Print View

In addition to the tests with with 3/8 inch grosgrain ribbon from Jo-Ann fabrics I decided to test homemade loops made from silnylon.

These proved stronger in my testing. The following are some photos of loop configurations I tried and the results.

I got the idea for making silnylon loops from Brawny's You Tube video on making silnylon stuff sacks. I started with a design similar to hers.

I took a strip of silnylon approximately 2 inches wide and folded the two sides in and then folded it again making a strip 4 layers thick that is 1/2 inch wide.
showing folding silnylon for making loops

I sewed lines of stitches down the sides to hold the folded material together and sewed it into a loop with an Xbox and took it outside to test it's strength.
straight stitch silnylon loop

silnylon loop under load

This loop easily held my body weight of 165lbs and I could not break it even bouncing around on it under load, but the straight stitches ripped out.

ripped straight stitches in a silnylon loop

A design using a zigzag stitch easily fixed this and provided a strong loop that I could not break or damage with my testing methods.

zig zaged silnylon  loop

These are harder to make than simply cutting a piece of grosgrain but seem much stronger to me. I don't know about long term durability.

Next I am going to test some loops sewn to tarp hems.

Tohru Ohnuki
(erdferkel) - F

Locale: S. California
Re: My additional testing indicates that a silnylon loop is stronger than a grosgrain ribbon on 06/06/2010 15:32:43 MDT Print View

Nice work. My brawny tarp has silnylon tie-outs like you described. One thought, did you melt the ends of the grosgrain ribbon before you tested it? From your first test it looks like it frayed off the end. Ribbon or webbing doesn't have much holding the ends together, pull on a crosswise strand and it will unravel...

Brendan Kehde
(Caretaker) - F

Locale: Jupiter, Florida
Melt those ends on 06/07/2010 06:12:39 MDT Print View

Yes the ribbon ends were melted to stop the fray

Brendan Kehde
(Caretaker) - F

Locale: Jupiter, Florida
Testing Jo-Ann Fabrics Grosgrain Ribbon and Homemade Silnylon Tarp Tie out loops on 06/07/2010 06:59:38 MDT Print View

I tested both the Jo-Ann fabric grosgrain ribbon and my homemade silnylon loops sewn to a 1/2 inch rolled silnylon tarp hem in various configurations. Here is what I tested and the results.

I started with this silnylon loop sewn on with two Xbox stitches. This loop failed when the regular strength Polyester Gutermann thread broke on one of the Xboxes. It did not come close to holding my bodyweight. Two other things I noticed about this configuration were: it put a lot of stress on the hem seam, and it pulled on one side because the loop ends were sewn on one side.

Silnylon loop on edge of tarp w/ 2 Xbox stitches

Next I tried this loop configuration with the loop ends sewn on each side to give an even pull, the loop ends sewn over both the hem edge and the regular tarp fabric with a reinforcement patch sewn on.

Silnylon tarp loop

This worked better than my first configuration. It was stronger, but did not hold my body weight. Again the Gutermann regular strength thread was what failed first, along with the tarp fabric ripping out. It was a balanced pull but very concentrated.

torn out silnylon loop

Keeping the loops sewn to either side, and the loops sewn over the tarp hem, I abandoned the reinforcement and tried the following configurations, this time with grosgrain.

Grosgrain tarp loops

Spreading out the loop ends was better than keeping them together. Putting one loop end on either side made for a nice even pull. Sewing the ends over the tarp hem kept pressure off the seam but still seemed to utilized the extra strength of the tarp hem. The weak link was the single layer thin grosgrain ribbon and the stitching. The stitching being the weakest.

torn out grosgrain tarp loops

The next test I upgraded the stitching. I used extra strength Gutermann polyester thread bought from Jo-Ann fabrics. It is the black thread in the picture. The grey is regular strength Gutermann. The extra strength Gutermann was much stronger. I could not make the stitching rip out under my body weight either in the regular XBox or Boxed Xbox configuration. The tarp fabric and the grosgrain were now the weak links. One of those grosgrain loops held my body weight before the tarp fabric ripped out - not along the hem seam.

Best grosgrain loops with extra strength gutermann

Lastly, I tried a homemade silnylon loop sewn with one end on each side of the tarp with the ends spread apart and secured with one large Xbox made from extra strength Gutermann.

best silnylon tarp loop

With this configuration the silnylon loop and thread is plenty strong, configuration of the attachment makes for a nice balanced even pull on the fabric and takes advantage of the hem strength but does not put extra stress on the hem seam.

I like this loop setup the best from my testing.

Edited by Caretaker on 06/07/2010 07:20:11 MDT.

Mike Knapp
(IdahoMike) - F

Locale: Idaho
Thanks for the Testing and the Post on 08/11/2010 22:23:24 MDT Print View

This testing and your results are very helpful. Thanks for taking the time to do this. I am going to use your suggestions on a tarp project.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Jo-Ann Fabrics grosgrain ribbon and homemade silnylon loops for tarp tie outs on 08/12/2010 08:21:27 MDT Print View


I am very much into MYOG for tarps and packs. Your research and testing of the different styles of tieouts and their designs was very informative and helpful.

I appreciate the the time effort and thought that went into it. I also liked the "hands on" testing methods that you employed. ;-)

Party On,


Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Jo-Ann Fabrics grosgrain ribbon and homemade silnylon loops for tarp tie outs on 08/12/2010 08:44:47 MDT Print View

Thumbs up for JoAnn's grossgrain. I've used it for years for tarp tie outs. If anything, it is too strong and therefore too heavy, so for SUL tarps I use folded fabric instead of grossgrain.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Jo-Ann Fabrics grosgrain ribbon and homemade silnylon loops for tarp tie outs on 08/16/2010 21:58:57 MDT Print View

I have used 3/8" grosgrain for tie-outs on a shelter that has been through many winter storms with no problems. I sewed mine to the shelter by making a triangle of fabric with the grosgrain sewn to two edges of the triangle (and extending past the point). Then the triangle is sewn into the seam of the shelter. Makes a very strong attachment. I agree with Roger Caffin that the ribbon is plenty strong, you just have to be careful to use a method of stitching that distributes the load well.

Brendan Kehde
(Caretaker) - F

Locale: Jupiter, Florida
Finalized tie outs I used on my tarp on 08/21/2010 14:52:11 MDT Print View

I am happy to see that this information has been helpful. Here is an UPDATE:

When it came time to sew the tie outs on the tarp I was making for this summer's trip I went with the Jo Ann 3/8 grosgrain for the corners and ridgeline tie outs and silnylon for the tie outs on the sides and lifter patches. I chose the grosgrain because it seems like it will be more durable than just silnylon.

Here are some pictures.

Ray Way Tarp on Green

Tarp Tie Out Ridge Line

This is the ridge line tie out loop. Underneath is a half circle reinforcement patch and a piece of grosgrain ribbon going along the seam. It's regular grosgrain ribbon from Jo Ann Fabrics that I have tested in my other posts. I used two layers. I sewed it on with Extra Strength Gutermann Poly thread.

Tarp Tie Out Corner

This is one of the corners. Again it is two layer grosgrain with Extra Strength Gutermann.

Side Tie Out 2

This is one of the two tie outs located along one of the long sides. The X Box is done with Extra Strength, the rest is regular Gutermann.

Lifter Patch

I bonded the lifter patches on using GE II Silicone. The X box stitching is Extra Strength Gutermann.

Ribbon Creek Tarp

This is the tarp in use with a net tent underneath on it's first real trip. On this trip we had no rain, but I did set it up in some wind. All the loops worked great.

Edited by Caretaker on 08/22/2010 17:35:39 MDT.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Finalized tie outs I used on my tarp on 08/21/2010 18:01:25 MDT Print View

Nice work, Brendan

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Finalized tie outs I used on my tarp on 08/21/2010 20:06:54 MDT Print View


Thread drift alert!

Those colors in that last picture are positively surreal!

+1 for great work on this thread and your tarp. :-)

Party On,


Jeffrey Wong
(kayak4water) - MLife

Locale: Pacific NW
Matching the webbing to the app on 07/23/2014 17:57:27 MDT Print View

Brendan et al,

Glad to see this thread from 4 yr ago. My brain, locked into "it has to be sold by a gear shop, etc" took me on a side trip to find 3/8" grosgrain to tack mitten hooks to my bug net. My lightbulb moment came when I understood that the grosgrain needn't have greater strength than the bug net. Certainly the 1/2" grosgrain that diygearsupply sold me could wait for a more demanding application.

I've gone to look for the right size stuff.

peace, out