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Finishing pack seams?
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Mike D.
(mpd1690) - F
Finishing pack seams? on 06/14/2011 09:06:05 MDT Print View

Hello all, I am curious as to on a pack build, how you finish the pack seams? I have been using a french seam to protect the seam edges but am thinking about going to grosgrain binding. What are your thoughts or your method?

Edited by mpd1690 on 06/14/2011 09:07:52 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Finishing pack seams? on 06/14/2011 10:15:36 MDT Print View

I use flat felled seams and then seal them to be waterproof.

French seam is more difficult to make waterproof.

French seam isn't as strong - just one row of stitches in peel - flat felled seam has two rows (or three or ?) and it's in slip (or whatever you call that)

Adding grosgrain or whatever makes it heavier, more complicated, no reason for any extra strength

But that's just my experience

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
Finishing pack seams? on 06/14/2011 10:17:58 MDT Print View

I use light weight pre folded Bias tape from quest but I also use Cross grain ribbon if really want a tough strong seam tape. Most of the back pack manufacture use cross grain ribbon or nylon bias tape of some type.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Finishing pack seams? on 06/14/2011 10:19:29 MDT Print View


Currently I fold over the seam allowance and topstitch it to the pack material.

If you really want to neaten things up use a 3/4" seam allowance, sew your seam, fold over the seam allowance so that you are tucking 3/8" under and top stitch the folded seam allowance down.

The grosgrain method is fine. It does however add more material and requires two more lines of stitching for every piece of grosgrain. It provides a more finished appearance. It adds a small amount of weight as does the second method described above due to the wider seam allowance.

It occurs to me that using the grosgrain would make the seam somewhat reinforced and therefore stronger.

I've had no issues with using just the top stitch method.

Party On,


Mike D.
(mpd1690) - F
Good suggetions on 06/14/2011 10:39:49 MDT Print View

I think the french seam is just as strong as the others, but the difference is if the first seam fails the next seam exposes the raw edge. That is why I am going to switch to bias tape or grosgrain for my next pack, as that will reinforce with an extra row of stitches, along with french seaming just being a pain. I will check out the binding method on my next one (considering a cuben pack), and see how that goes.

French seam is a viable method if anyone is interested in trying it, but it is a annoying to work with.

Also, my thought would be that grosgrain or bias tape would reinforce add strength to a seam, even if it is small at only a small weight penalty.

Edited by mpd1690 on 06/14/2011 10:44:01 MDT.

Christopher Zimmer
(czimmer) - F

Locale: Ohio
Finishing pack seams on 06/14/2011 10:42:33 MDT Print View

I use grosgrain on all my seams and use a flat felled seam as much as possible. The grosgrain might add a little weight, but it makes for a very strong seam and gives the pack a nice finished look.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Good suggetions on 06/14/2011 10:50:58 MDT Print View

"I think the french seam is just as strong as the others"

with French seam, it is in peel - the thread in the seam takes all the strain

in a flat felled seam, there is also some friction between the two pieces of fabric

also, in French seam, all the strain is on one row of stitches, then it breaks, then all the weight is on the second row of stitches. With flat felled seam, the two rows of stitches share the load so are less likely to break

I use french seam all the time, but it is a little less strong

with french seam you only see the joint between the two pieces of fabric, and maybe some of the thread in the seam. That may be cosmetically more pleasing.

Mike D.
(mpd1690) - F
Sounds good on 06/14/2011 11:01:08 MDT Print View

I am definitely agree with your points. The french seam can be just as strong if you run a second seam behind the first seam. So that way the first seam does not take all the stress. What I am saying is that it would be like putting binding on the seam but without the binding haha. Just running a second seam behind the seam that is load bearing.

Having said that I am going to switch to a grosgrain binding. It will be much easier as well. I am getting some samples of cuben and probably will order some. I hope to get another pack out next week or so. Very addicting stuff

Also, I think grosgrain will help take the abrasion that a seam that sticks into the pack will undoubtedly have.

Thanks for the input everyone

kevin timm
(ktimm) - MLife

Locale: Colorado (SeekOutside)
Ripstop on 06/14/2011 12:02:13 MDT Print View

It isn't necessary to fold over the seam if it won't fray