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Another first pack...
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Sam Jones

Locale: London, UK
Another first pack... on 01/26/2012 02:51:45 MST Print View

I hope you don't all get bored of people's first packs! Hopefully the pictures keep things entertaining.

We got a sewing machine for a wedding present in May last year, and it has sat in it's box since then. In early January I decided to finally learn how to use it, and ordered some fairly cheap rip-stop and some random plastic bits and thread. After lots of trial and error, and trying to work out why my stitches looked nice on top and like a bobbin was violently sick on my fabric beneath (the thread wasn't going through the bobbin tensioner thing), I managed to sew a fairly neat straight stitch.

So I looked around for a pack design, and found the 5 yards to SUL article. I made a stuff sack, that seemed to work ok. Of course I then went straight for the pack. Here are the results!

You might be able to see above I added a couple of webbing loops between the back and side as well as the front and side. There are also a couple of velcro loops for poles there too.

The straps did not go brilliantly. Once cut and sewn together they were a bit wonky and too thin to neatly put some ccf inside. So naturally I stuffed them with toy stuffing. I am surprised more gear manufacturers have not taken this superior approach.

A bit too much shock cord on there at the moment.

There are two straps across the back panel inside that keep a ccf panel in place for padding. The flash in this photo shows the real colour a bit better, bright orange!

So there we are. I think I need to reinforce the pockets, they look a bit weak on the side with the cord sticking out. The straps obviously are not ideal. I think the stuffing might move around inside, so I'm thinking about sewing some webbing down the middle to keep it more stable.

I have some mesh on order for better ones. I'm not sure if I can take these ones off and add better ones, and keep the seams looking nice? I might have to make a whole new pack. I'm sure you are all familiar with the dilemma.

It's a bit bigger than the one in the article, but I'm not sure of the exact capacity yet. It weighs about 320 grams. The back and base are cordura, and the orange stuff (which looks pink in the photos but isn't, honest) is described as 'lightweight rain resist ripstop'.

Hopefully it will go on it's first adventure next weekend!

Edited to add: 5 needles were harmed in the making of this pack. They didn't like stitching the side to the back, through both fabrics plus the side attachments. I tried 70 and 100 needles, both broke. Maybe I was going too fast? There is a 90 in there at the moment. It survived, but most of the thicker bits were done by then.

The CLUNK of a needle breaking and the machine stopping is very disheartening.

Edited by sam-pangolin on 01/26/2012 03:32:46 MST.


Locale: Piedmont of the Carolinas
looks good on 01/26/2012 06:39:43 MST Print View

It looks good. Very similar to the pack I am almost done with right now, which is orange, tall and narrow like yours.

Have you weighed it?

Is the strap's padding the same stuff craft stores sell to stuff stuffed animals, etc? I admit I have eyed that stuff before and thought how much easier it would be to shove down into things rather than get CCF to fit (which it never does perfectly)

Sam Jones

Locale: London, UK
Weight on 01/26/2012 07:12:42 MST Print View

Hi Anthony

Thanks. It weighs about 320 grams, or 11.3 ounces. I only have a scale for baking, it's not electronic.

Yeah that's the stuffing. I made a cushion to practice sewing and the fabric shop down the road had no pre-made cushion shapes (forms I think they called them?) so I bought a bag of their toy stuffing, made a square shape and filled that. There was lots left over.

Like I said though, I'm not convinced they're going to be much good. I think the bits under most pressure (where you want the padding!) will go flat as the stuffing migrates to greener pastures. Time will tell. The next ones will be made of mesh attached to cordura, so no need for stuffing.

Michael Duke
(mpd1690) - F
Re: Weight on 01/26/2012 07:51:27 MST Print View

Nice looking pack!

I know exactly what you mean with the disheartening sound of the needle snapping. I've had one jump and hit my face. That was some scary stuff. I think I may know what was happening to your needles. The fabric you used looks very light. The needle pressing down will push some fabric down into the bobbin area. This will either lead to missed stitches, or the thread will jam and bend your needle on the next stitch. Just try to keep tension from the front and back of the fabric and you should be fine. Also, I haven't done this, but look for a straight stitch only foot.


Locale: Piedmont of the Carolinas
the straps.. on 01/26/2012 08:28:02 MST Print View

True, CCF does a better job not being compressed.

Thomas Budge
(budgthom) - F

Locale: Idaho
pink fabric on 01/26/2012 11:48:09 MST Print View

Where did you get the pink ripstop? My daughter needs some of that on her pack.

Sam Jones

Locale: London, UK
Fabric on 01/26/2012 16:11:23 MST Print View

Michael, that does sound like what was happening. The needle would jam down in the fabric and thread had to be cut before I could bring it up. Although, it mainly happened when the cordura was at the bottom, with lighter stuff on top. The cordura shouldn't have been being pulled down should it?

Thomas, it's orange! Honest! I know it looks pink in the photo. It's from a UK site called fabrics n stuff

They describe it as lightweight rain resist ripstop.