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How about a BPL MYOG course?
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Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
How about a BPL MYOG course? on 01/16/2011 09:22:20 MST Print View

Fly to Montana, learn how to make your own gear including the basics - how to deal with different fabrics, how to sew a straight line, choosing threads for different applications, dealing with down, etc. Either course participants agree on a project ahead of time, or course instructor chooses one - either a backpack, a quilt or a tarp seem like likely candidates. By day four participants are making their project (maybe by day three? I've never sewn so I don't know). On day five or six the group heads out to the Montana hills for a one or two night adventure with their new creation.

I'd sign up in a heartbeat!

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: How about a BPL MYOG course? on 01/16/2011 11:22:20 MST Print View

Great idea, Doug! May I add a variation of your idea?

In addition to offerings from BPL -- for ye MYOG gurus spread out across the continent -- I bet there are many willing to pay tuition for beginner / intermediate / advanced MYOG courses! Why not post your "course list" and location?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: How about a BPL MYOG course? on 01/16/2011 12:08:27 MST Print View

Douglas, I think it is impractical. Either the participants sew with their own machine (which is impractical to transport) or else they sew with a strange machine (which is impractical to learn).


Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Re: How about a BPL MYOG course? on 01/16/2011 12:16:36 MST Print View

Sewing courses the world over deal with this problem pretty often though. Many courses give you the option of bringing your own or using basic machines they provide.

I think it works ok because the focus isn't on how to "tune machine X", just how to do the actual sewing.

The whole thing, like running any course I guess, would be a total PITA, but certainly do-able. With the right person willing to be the instructor.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: How about a BPL MYOG course? on 01/17/2011 10:16:50 MST Print View

For pure newbies like me who know next to nothing about sewing or any sewing machine -- an intro course would be a real eye opener. Anyone in LA area willing to put something together for a paying crowd? :)

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
How about a BPL MYOG course? on 01/17/2011 12:14:06 MST Print View

Heck, I'd sign up for a course like this!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: How about a BPL MYOG course? on 01/17/2011 14:07:44 MST Print View

Benjamin, you may find that your local fabric stores offer some basic sewing classes. Also, your local adult education centers may offer them. They won't be oriented toward tents and backpacks for outdoors people. Instead, they will be oriented toward normal sewing projects for indoors people.

"The best lessons are learned the hard way."


Jeffrey McConnell
check out Joann's on 01/17/2011 14:52:57 MST Print View

I know Joann's Fabrics offers classes as well as a local place here in Costa Mesa, CA. I'm sure you could find some in the LA area and they usually don't cost a lot.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Re: Re: How about a BPL MYOG course? on 01/17/2011 15:30:07 MST Print View


>>"The best lessons are learned the hard way."<<

The mistakes that I've made I find hard to forget and thus I remember not to repeat them unintentionally.

I have only been making my own gear and sewing seriously for one and a half years or so.

I have no formal / class style training in sewing. I read the instruction book in the cabinet drawer of my wife's sewing machine to get an idea of how it worked. That is how I learned to fill the bobbin and place the thread through the proper guides and tensioners. That little book showed me how to pick up the thread through the bottom plate and change a needle.

Scrap material of all sorts got sewn together through many learning experiences. Many mistakes were made and are now remembered, (a.k.a. learning).

Jay Ham has quite a few tutorials explaining different stitches here on the BPL site in the articles on MYOG. Many articles and tutorials can be found on the internet. I have seen quite a few of them.

Start out with something simple, learn the basic stitches and be willing to make mistakes while learning.

Party On,


Judy Gross
(heartfire) - F
learn to sew on 01/17/2011 15:33:33 MST Print View

I teach sewing. The first thing if you don't know how to sew is learning how. I've taught many people to sew, some have no trouble handling the fabric and some do. The machine you work on also is critical. Many lower end (read $100.00 wallmart machines) just don't control the fabric well. I also have machines that run into the 6 or 7 Thousand dollar range that don't sew well (but they do embroidery). learn to handle different fabrics - you don't have to start with expensive stuff, go to a local fabric store, buy cheap clearance slippery stuff and stiff cottons that are easy to handle.

What are you sewing? can the machine handle it? most home machines could not sew heavy duty stuff, the motors just don't have the power to get through the layers.

Learn how to sew different kinds of seams. and mostly learn the properties of the different fabrics. I often have large scraps of silnylon, if you want them, pay for postage and I'll be glad to send scraps to practice on - often these scraps are big enough to get some small stuff sacks out of

.license plate

As you can see from the license plate on my car, I am passionate about sewing!
and, if anyone is in the Asheville area, I would consider putting a class together. I have sewing machines here (the learning curve for a machine that is not yours is not so great) both home sewing and industrial sewing machines.

Javan, everyone but you and I in this thread are out on the west coast, just the 2 of us here on the east.

Judy - LightHeart Gear

Edited by heartfire on 01/17/2011 15:37:05 MST.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: Re: How about a BPL MYOG course? on 01/17/2011 15:38:59 MST Print View

While I realize that most folks can 'learn by internet and books and seat of your pants attempts," that kind of learning, while valuable, takes a lot of time. Time seems to be the one commodity I don't have much of. (Of course, part of that is because I'm such a lousy time manager, but I digress....).

Taking a few classes to learn the basics without having to learn everything by trial and error is quite valuable to someone like me -- lots and lots of interests but not very much time. There will be plenty of trial and error after the basics are learned to keep me busy, I'd rather get the basics down quickly.

Judy, I wish I lived near Ashville!

Andrew Schriner
(lettheguydance) - F

Locale: Midwest
suggested curriculum on 01/17/2011 18:34:45 MST Print View

I can't offer much in the way of courses, but I can offer my personal "curriculum" which took me from zero sewing skills about 2 years ago to MYOG nutjob with an almost completely homemade standard kit (soft goods, at least...).

1. Buy a used machine from craigslist.
2. Take a sewing class to learn the absolute basics. (I asked ma momma)
3. Sew a square stuff sack with something thicker and less slippery than silnylon.
4. Sew a silnylon stuff sack (since it's so thin and slippery it is not an easy fabric to learn on - one of those delightful learning experiences that Newton mentioned)
5. Sew a fleece beenie. (Easy, introduction to curved seams and some stretch in the material).
6. Buy a Ray Way bomber hat kit and put that together (slightly harder curved seams, flat felled seams, and learning how to handle insulation) (also, you get a hat that makes you look ready to be fired from a cannon)
7. Try to restrain your imagination as it runs wild with all of the things you can make.

This would probably get you as far as several days of classes oriented towards outdoor gear. From there you can choose whatever projects interest you, and you should be able to figure things out from there.