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Looking to start MYOG Sewing projects - Advice Needed
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Seth Brewer
(Whistler) - MLife

Looking to start MYOG Sewing projects - Advice Needed on 01/10/2012 21:38:46 MST Print View

Really into working with my hands, and I like projects. I've picked up an inexpensive sewing maching - the Brother LS590 with a walking foot attachment. Now having the tools I'd like a project. And some advice on what that should be. So here goes:

Question 1: Where do I go for scrap pieces of material to start making easy stuff like stuff sacks to practice sewing and getting some experience ? Do I buy them from people that source them here on BPL or are there sites?

Question 2: Other than stuff sacks and flat tarps - I'd really like to try doing a simple summer weight quilt with some kind of synthetic insulation. Is that too advanced a project to start off with ? My other interest was a simple backpack like the Mariposa which I assumed will require a bit more experience than I have right now. Which is none what so ever.

Any thoughts, input, sample scrap material to sell me, templates, list of other tools I should have for sewing, etc., all are welcome. I can also be emailed at:

Thanks !

John West
(skyzo) - M

Locale: Borah Gear
Sewing on 01/10/2012 21:42:47 MST Print View

Hi Seth,

I see you've been bitten by the MYOG bug ;), its addictive.
As for the scrap pieces, you just bought that tarp from me on the gear deals section, I'll ship a bunch of scraps you can practice on with it. Any scraps I had that were large enough to make a decent sized stuff sack went to Kat, but I there's still quite a few big enough to do stuff with.

For the synthetic sleeping bag, I say go for it! Definitely practice first on scrap material and cheap material before buying the actual fabric. Its really not that hard to make an apex quilt, as it require very little quilting. There are a million good guides floating around on how to do it.

Give the backpack some time. I have sewed lots and lots of gear, and I still think a backpack would be challenging for me.

Good luck!

Edited by skyzo on 01/10/2012 21:43:41 MST.

Seth Brewer
(Whistler) - MLife

Thanks John ! on 01/10/2012 21:50:08 MST Print View

Thanks for the comments and throwing in some scraps to play with when my sewing machine comes in ! I'll definitely keep the backpack idea on the back burner for a while till I have some actual idea and skill in doing this stuff. Quilt idea is sounding better and better.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Looking to start MYOG Sewing projects - Advice Needed on 01/10/2012 22:37:40 MST Print View

Look through MYOG threads here

lots of threads about making packs and quilts has some articles and projects that are good, and you can buy good materials. and have good fabrics

James Wall
(jimmyjam) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: Looking to start MYOG Sewing projects - Advice Needed on 01/13/2012 11:24:21 MST Print View

Some stuff sacks and a quilt would be a good way to start. Go to Wally World and buy some cheap material for practice. A pack is definitely hard to make- I've been working on one on and off for a couple of weeks now and finally about to finish- and I've made a tent and a wind suit before, but the pack was really tough.Take it slow, you'll learn. There will be mistakes, but that's what the seam ripper is for.

Harald Hope

Locale: East Bay
tools etc on 01/13/2012 13:51:55 MST Print View

Here's the basic tools I've found very useful:

1. seam ripper. Don't start without it, this is what a long time sewer told me to get when I started, and she was right.

I like the one with the sort of curved blades end, with the little plastic ball on one of the tips, all these things will make sense to you the more you use it.

2. A magnifier, this really helps to see what the stitches are doing, if the tension is too high or too low. I use one of these jeweler's magnifiers, the little cones, they are about right.

3. Good light.

4. Delicate thin fabrics are going to be a challenge, use very small needles, 9 or 10 size. Silnylon is really hard to sew, so if you can sew that, you can probably sew most of the other fabrics.

5. Extra bobbins, so you don't have to wind the bobbin for every new thread color.

6. For light fabrics, a straight stitch presser foot, this is really helpful to get rid of those annoying puckers that the zig zag foot makes more likely. Tip: you can zig zag a little bit with the straight presser foot as long as the needles don't hit the sides of the hole. Other nifty presser feet you can get too are things like flat felling ones, hemming ones. Haven't tried those yet, but will.

7. Sew slowly, on the lighter fabrics. That helps to keep them under control and feeding consistently.

If you have tried everything and the machine just won't sew things right, consider borrowing another machine from someone and try that one, I saw a really big difference between my first one and another one I picked up, one can barely sew silnylon without the seams slipping and the fabric slipping, a newer one that is cheap light weight pfaff hobby 307 can sew that light stuff fine as far as I can tell. So if you've given it a few weeks and you just can't get the machine to do consistent stitches the problem may not be you. My old machine has a regular speed pedal thing, the pfaff has an electronic one, and it's much easier to maintain slow speeds with the pfaff.

Get seconds of silnylon, they don't cost much, has them, so do some other sites. Some have suggested finding silnylon in Walmart, but I can't bring myself to go to that store so I'm not recommending that.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
cheap fabrics on 01/13/2012 14:03:40 MST Print View

The types of fabric carried by walmart varies store by store, state by state. I've never been successful in finding cheap silnylon.

I get practice fabric from joanne fabrics. They have ripstop for like $6-7 a yard.
Also, this is an awesome awesome site for cheap fabrics and myog goods

Start with regular ripstop, before trying silnylon. Silnylon is extremely slippery and pretty difficult to sew.

You definitely need a seam ripper. I also enjoy using a metal ruler, a cutting mat, and an exacto blade when working with cuben. For all other materials, consider getting a nice pair of scissors. Joanne runs a lot of sales on fiskar scissors.

Also, a small bic lighter is useful to singe edges on webbing/fabrics etc to prevent fraying.

I like using masking tape and/or pins to help hold seams together as I sew

I also replaced my metal foot with a clear plastic foot...this helps me see if the stitch is straight, and is very helpful when doing curves.

A #9 needle and gutterman polyester thread will handle almost every UL project out there.

Edited by Konrad1013 on 01/13/2012 14:05:49 MST.

Chris Muthig
(cmuthig) - M

Locale: Georgia
+1 for everything on 01/13/2012 17:07:02 MST Print View

Everything so far mentioned is great.

To go along with it, I would suggest a glue stick. I use this for silnylon to keep seems together as I sew it. Just a normal old glue stick will do just fine.

I love shopping at DIYGearSupply. They have nearly all the materials I need, at a cheap price and are really helpful. I highly suggest ordering test fabric from them. Even when testing, I try to use fabrics I would actually want while backpacking. Even if it is just a stuff sack. From my experience, even if the product isn't perfect, it is still usable, so might as well use good enough materials to take on the trail.

I wrote a guide for synthetic quilts that you can check out. Hopefully it will be helpful. The Apex quilts really aren't that difficult to do at all and work very well.

As for a pack, it is a bit more difficult, but the hardest part is really the design, especially on the straps. I'm currently working on a guide for a pack as well, but I am not happy with the straps yet. I will publish it once those get fixed up a bit more. Hopefully next week.

Ken Mozden
(KenMoz) - F

Locale: Louisville, Oh
Practice on cheap cloth on 01/14/2012 07:33:14 MST Print View

I expect you will find that sewing thin nylon and polyesters can be tough until you get a little experience and figure out how your particular machine handles them. If you have a walmart near you (and if they have a fabric department) I would suggest checking out their bargain rack. At times I have found some really nice shear nylon and polyesters. These are NOT quality silnylon but still make some useful gear. My point here is to get yourself any kind of thin cheap slippery fabric to practice on and build your skill and confidence.

I posted this a while back as an easy sew project:

Or search for "Ken's Hood"