Forum Index » GEAR » How do you Go Ultralight Without Spending Major $$$? (please ignore previous thread).


Display Avatars Sort By:
paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
patterns & cutting on 05/06/2005 15:25:04 MDT Print View

Tony,

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

What about the actual sewing of the lightweight fabric? Ray J.'s website has info on this & this seems to be a problem area for some who tried his patterns.

Did you experience any problems?

What about problems with the feed dogs & fabric bunching?

What about tensioning of the upper & lower threads?

Finally, what type of sewing machine did you use?

When you get an opportunity, let's us know.

Many thanks,
pj

Frank P.
(CThiker) - F
Sewing on 05/06/2005 15:28:28 MDT Print View

Thanks Douglas, Frank and Tony! Sounds like a very good idea to get a kit to start off with, and first i'm going to get some cheap fabric to practice with. BPL - i can't wait to see the plans for the sleeping bag when you come out with it. Thanks--- Frank

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
patterns and cutting on 05/07/2005 05:22:44 MDT Print View

>What about the actual sewing of the lightweight fabric? Ray J.'s website has info on this & this seems to be a problem area for some who tried his patterns.


Silnylon is a bear to sew, regardless of pattern or weight. It doesn't hold a fold when creased, actively tries to unfold when you're sewing a felled seam, slips apart easily unless pinned, and yet it likes to creep underneath the needle when it isn't wanted. After having sewn a few projects I really appreciate the effort that goes into making commercial ultralight gear, because you can't sell stuff that doesn't have nice stitching. We didn't have too much trouble cutting because we used a rotary cutter and big plastic measuring rulers/squares to hold the material down. The biggest difficulty with the quilt was trying to sew three layers of silnylon and two layers of batting together. Besides the various comments on Ray Jardine's sewing page (which we found helpful), my recommendation is to just go really slow, a few inches at a time. It will take a long time, but it's better than messing up your seams. Measure twice, cut once.


>What about problems with the feed dogs & fabric bunching?
>What about tensioning of the upper & lower threads?


We didn't have too much trouble with this once we got the machine adjusted correctly and did a few practice seams. We cut the Bomber Hat pattern and spent about fifteen minutes practicing various seams and such on the scraps, then started in on the project. Pinning helped keep the two (or more) pieces of fabric from pulling too far away from each other, and when sewing the batting she ran the machine while I shoved the batting under the presser foot with a seam ripper.


>Finally, what type of sewing machine did you use?


Bernina. I'm blessed with a wife who is a quilter, so she's an expert on the sewing machine, cutting patterns, and pinning. But she now hates silnylon.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Good Info on 05/07/2005 10:15:39 MDT Print View

Douglas,

Many thanks for sharing your experiences and answering my questions.

Take care,
pj

Frank Ramos
(frprovis) - F
sewing quilts on 05/07/2005 12:17:11 MDT Print View

I made one of Ray's quilts, though but I modified the design slightly. I agree that it can be very difficult to get the fabric and insulation together through the machine. What I did was simply hand baste the insulation to the shell, then turn the quilt inside out, then topstitch the edges. Even topstitching is not trivial. Handbasting takes an extra couple of hours, but if you're an amateur sewer like me, you probably save that much by not having to seam-rip your mistakes. Seam-ripping with insulation is a real mess, by the way.

Some people talk about use a piece of thin plastic, or even a piece of stiff paper, like an business card, between the presser foot and the insulation to keep the insulation from snagging on the presser foot.

The modification I made to the Ray-Way quilt concerns the so-called gorget. I just extended the quilt an extra few inches (I am 71" tall and made the quilt 92" long), then I sewed together both foot and head ends to make both head and foot pockets. The head pocket is only partly sewed up, so there is an air hole at the top (middle of quilt), which can be place directly over my face when lying on my back, or which will allow some air in when lying on my side. Pulling the quilt over the head and breathing under it increase warmth ENORMOUSLY. I haven't noticed any moisture built-up in the head region. Body heat seems to dry everything out there. In the foot region, I always get dampness, whether with polarguard or down. My feet just don't generate a lot of heat.

My feet also don't seem to be bothered by cold, perhaps because I walk in sandals so much, even in cold weather. So I didn't actually make a full foot or head pocket. That is, I didn't sew the extra 10 inches down the sides like Ray recommends. Instead, I just sewed together the ends. At the head end, the draft stopper prevents drafts, while at the foot end, I like drafts because I hate having hot feet.

Edited by frprovis on 05/07/2005 12:19:29 MDT.

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
sewing notes... on 05/09/2005 11:10:16 MDT Print View

>What about the actual sewing of the lightweight fabric? Ray J.'s website has info on this & this seems to be a problem area for some who tried his patterns.

I have also made a down quilt using 0.85oz nylon. That was easy to work with compared to Silnylon. Just take your time and you'll be fine. I don't pin anything (seems kinda silly to put holes in something that is suppose to be waterproof). I just work in 4"-6" sections.

>Did you experience any problems?

The fabric (silnylon) does slide a bit, but you get use to it.

>What about problems with the feed dogs & fabric bunching?

Never been a problem for me. I own a Pfaff, which has an extra "dog" on top of the fabric right behind the foot (sort of like a "top feed dog"). Here is a picture...

http://www.pfaffusa.com/machsewing_idtsystem_frame.html

If I disable that extra foot, its far more difficult to work with. I am glad I have that feature.

> What about tensioning of the upper & lower threads?

Not really an issue. I will warn you that Ray's thread did require a bit of bobbin tension adjustment (its a bit thicker than standard store bought thread). I bought a separate bobbin case just for my thread. And left the one my wife uses alone (that way she can't blame me for her screw-ups).

I no longer use Ray's thread as it is a Pain in the Ass to work with. It loves to explode inside the bobbins once they are less than 1/3 full, as it is very springy. I now use the thread from thru-hiker for everything.

>Finally, what type of sewing machine did you use?

Pfaff Lifestyle (aka Model 2018? 2022?). It was a floor model.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Many thanks on 05/09/2005 14:03:35 MDT Print View

Tony,

Appreciate your insight.

Many thanks,
pj