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where to start?
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Timm DeSalis
(timmy_toes) - F

Locale: philly
where to start? on 04/21/2012 11:10:27 MDT Print View

Hey I wanna get into myog but can never used a sewing machine, though do own one. Haven't hand sewed anything since highschool so don't really know where to start. My end goal is to make a down coat and maybe even a 4 season tent, but don't think it be smart to start out with just big projects. I'm looking for advice for where to start, for beginner gear and such. Thanks so much

Nate Powell
(powell1nj) - F

Locale: North Carolina
re: where to start on 04/21/2012 11:16:36 MDT Print View


Personally, I'd say stuff sacks are the best place to start. Make a few to get the hang of things. Might be good to make a couple out of silnylon, as they're useful to have around and it will give you practice sewing one of the more difficult fabrics to deal with. From there, I'd move up to a tarp - also silnylon. You can make a really nice, good-sized flat tarp for around $50, give or take. This will give you practice hemming and sewing the flat-felled seam, which is an important one for MYOG (in my opinion). After that, just go to town on whatever you feel comfortable with. I'd recommend any of Thru-hikers kits (no affiliation, just a happy customer) as good projects once you've gotten a couple sacks and a tarp under your belt. The patterns are good and Paul's instructions are helpful. Big fan of my Kinsman Pullover.

Hope this helps. Happy sewing.

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F

Locale: North Idaho
Re: where to start? on 04/21/2012 12:18:33 MDT Print View

I'll second Nate Powell's suggestion to start w/ stuff sacks, just to get familiar with machine sewing and the behavior of fabrics used for MYOG projects.

My first big project was a shaped tarp (actually, two built simultaneously). I had experience sewing large structures, but found 1.1 silnylon tricky. The results were perfectly serviceable, but some of the seams weren't pretty. Using sil 2nds (DIY Gear Supply) means not a lot of money at stake.

The frameless pack I made was much easier, even though more pieces and more complicated. More manageable size, and I found the fabrics much less frustrating (1.1 sil is very slippery). Designing and planning took a while, though.

Just finished a small Climashield quilt for my daughter (will do a post about it in a few days). Also a pretty easy project--well within a beginner's grasp, once you have a little machine sewing practice. Given that it's pretty easy to find detailed instructions for these, might be a good first "big" project.

Timm DeSalis
(timmy_toes) - F

Locale: philly
great on 04/21/2012 12:29:26 MDT Print View

Thanks for your help I will absolutely be looking into those things. Any recommendations of where to get cheap sil?

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F

Locale: North Idaho
Re: great on 04/21/2012 12:34:16 MDT Print View

Cheap sil: DIY Gear Supply ( has 2nds for $5.50/yard. Nice wide yards too (62"+), and the flaws vs. 1st are barely noticeable. Great service, fast shipping. Also has some DIY guides on website, including how to make stuff sacks, basic sewing tips, etc.

Jeff J
(j.j.81) - F

Locale: Oregon
What I Did on 04/22/2012 11:40:22 MDT Print View

I started just by watching youtube videos on how to sew different seams, mainly the ones listed here and elsewhere as best for gear. Found some clothes and used them for free scrap to just get the hang of seams. Then I just tailored clothes I have that didn't fit quite right to get more comfortable. Then I jumped in and made a lytw8 bivy. Measured out the pattern and cut it out, but before getting to the bivy, I practiced on the scraps to get the feel for the fabric.

I have since made a stuff sack, but because I wanted one, not for the practice. Of course, I still needed the practice, and my seams aren't perfect, but everything is perfectly serviceable. Working on a windshirt now.

As for material, DIYgearsupply has sil 2nds for the cheapest, but of course factor in whatever other fabrics you need or want. Quest has the lightest WPB available, OWF inc has great prices and selection, on and on. And I probably don't need to mention it, but it'll be cheaper in terms of shipping to just order from one shop.