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Your MYOG Best and Worst
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Garrett Soper
(sope0021) - F

Locale: Northwoods
Your MYOG Best and Worst on 08/10/2012 17:57:08 MDT Print View

For me, MYOG is a funny (sometimes frustrating) hobby because projects can go so right and also go so wrong. I know I've made things I'm really proud of, and only days or weeks later thought I had another good idea and tried to sew it, and had it not turn out at all. I don't always know why it goes that way either. Sometimes I keep sewing when I shouldn't, and sometimes I'm sitting in my chair in front of my sewing machine going, oh my god, did I just ruin this expensive project...

Other times, I've been surprised that I pulled something off, or that I created something that is lighter/better/cheaper than what I could have bought in its place.

With that in mind, tell us about your MYOG best and worst.

My best: I think for me it's a toss up. When I first started making my own stuff, I made a Green Pepper pattern pullover with 1.1 oz ripstop and primaloft sport. I was in over my head but it surprisingly came out great, and while I can look at it and find flaws, I wore it a ton during the winter.

My other possible best is a two man, silnylon/no-see-um tent (I like feeling zipped in). With its pole it weighs 14.6 oz. I worked from my own drawings and it could have been a disaster, but thankfully it wasn't.

My worst: These are the projects that have made me want to quit sewing. I'm not counting things that I just had to throw to the scraps (I tend to forget these), but stuff that I actually finished and sometimes use.

One of these things is a climashield and momentum 90 quilt. For this quilt I tried to make four yards of momentum into what basically was a big pillowcase, put two yards of climashield inside, stabilize it, and then sew the top shut. This didn't work, and I had the climashield slipping around inside as I tried to sew it to the edges. Despite getting some of it stabilized, the quilt feels like lumpy insulation floating around inside a ripstop bag. It's also lopsided because I badly serged the top shut. One side of the quilt pulls one way and the other side pulls the other.

I've used it car camping and it still works. It's warm and sometimes my wife and I use it as an indoor comforter. When I was sewing it though, I felt like I was throwing away somewhere around seventy dollars.

One of my issues is that the worse things seem to be getting as I work on a project, the more feverishly I work on it. I need to learn to take a break when I notice a mistake...

Anyway, what have been your best and worst MYOG projects?

Michael Pappas
(Mpap89) - F

Locale: bay area
karo step sewn through jacket on 08/10/2012 18:11:08 MDT Print View

I tried making a karo step sewn through down jacket a few months ago. I too was way in over my head and when i finally put my arm through after stuff, it was too tight to even bend at the elbow. so that was around $80 and many hours down the drain. But we all learn from our mistakes and i'll attack the project once again some time later.
My first try at a quilt (karo step m90 - nobull 13oz down 850fill) was way better than i was expecting so that was nice.
I think your last point is very valid. I tried sewing today but realized that i was rushing then getting frustrated really quickly. My project can wait for another day. I've spent too much time swearing at my sewing machine/fabric to know that i should continue.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Your MYOG Best and Worst on 08/10/2012 19:36:19 MDT Print View

Well, I am not much of a tayler. So, trying to modify an old pack (I think it was an old GoLite) completely ruined the poor thing. I was double and tripple stitching everything, very close guesed it, it ripped apart the first time I loaded gear in it. Over stitched...

Since, I have made several tarps and tents. One was quite small but turned out well (I thought) and only weighed 8oz. The first night in a serious rainstorm, I found out that I needed bigger... 7'x4' does not protect from drops, blown in rain, nor drips off the ends.

My 2nd best, well, I got my wife to do the sewing on a Wheelan Tarp about 14'x10'. A Great car camping tarp we continue to use. We made up two more by request.

My best was a 2pound tent replacement for our old nylon pup tent. The old pup tent went close to 48 ounces all told. The new one goes 33oz, including poles and stakes and is a bit larger than the origonal. The material on the old one was badly stretched on top and finally ripped. We put a seam on top that holds very well.

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: Your MYOG Best and Worst on 08/10/2012 20:14:06 MDT Print View

My worst was one of my early backpacks. I was experimenting with some new things and I came up with a backpack that wasn't even comfortable on the hike out after I ate all my food. I can't remember exactly what was wrong and I deconstructed it after the trip. I'll probably end up making the same mistake again.

I have two bests. My current backpack weighs less than 1 lb and does everything my old 5 lb pack used to do.

The other best was a two person tent I made in the mid 70s. My wife and I used it for 25 years. Tent zippers finally gave out.

Tyler Johnson
(riemannia) - F

Locale: Northeast Georgia
Re: Your MYOG Best and Worst on 08/10/2012 21:36:55 MDT Print View

Best: Made a small, one man cat-cut silnylon tarp recently that came out beautifully. Additionally, sewed a breathable bivy that just turned out to be super easy, and with a few of my mother's tips, it looks quite professionally sewn too.

Worst: A pack I made from XPac for the body & silnylon for the pockets... I wasn't thinking as I sewed on some straps that were supposed to go over the extension collar and sewed them on facing the wrong direction. With a couple zig zags. Frustrated, I just folded them over and sewed them back onto themselves (so, through two layers of webbing and one of XPac). I spend so long sewing packs that I always get frustsrated and just sew through the errors toward the end (particularly on the extension collars)... probably should just learn to walk away. It's always clear which stitches were sewn in the start and witch were sewn in the end. Also, I seem to always forget to order enough nylon webbing or grosgrain for my packs, and have to replace it with non-ideal stuff from Joann's or other chain fabric stores that is either two thick, or made from a different material, etc. Just annoying.

Good thread :)

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Your MYOG Best and Worst on 08/10/2012 22:14:16 MDT Print View


Pyramid I made in 1972 - heavy, too many straps and things, not waterproof, heavy pole, never used it much.

Synthetic vest I made in 1974 - asymetric and generally not very well done, but I used it anyway

I made about 6 solo tarps in recent years - some of the iterations were too close to the same and none very good in wind and rain. Some of them were made from pieces from previous versions.


sil backpack - weighs 12 ounces, carries 20 pounds comfortably, used it for years

"half pyramid" - 14 ounces out of sil, I am finally done making new solo tents - well, maybe I could do it in cuben

David A
(DavidAdair) - M

Locale: West Dakota
Re: Your MYOG Best and Worst on 08/10/2012 23:05:30 MDT Print View

This tread has me remembering some of my really dumb projects. Describing a few may make some of you feel a little better. Many of them are related to winter tents and tent heaters. so...

Some years ago I sewed an eight sided tipi out of stuff made for insulated window covers. The material had a fabric layer, an insulation layer, a mylar layer and another insulation layer.
Fun stuff to sew. But wait, the concept gets dumber. I sewed 5/16 webbing in each seam so I could pitch it either on the ground or hang it in a tree from the webbing. The floor was a trampoline sort of thing with an under quilt.

It all worked and was ridiculously warm but needless to say it was too heavy and bulky to transport even with toboggan. What was I thinking?

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
MYOG best and worst on 08/11/2012 09:30:12 MDT Print View

The best is by far the two DX40 packs I made recently. Only a few minor errors, and the design and building process was smooth and quick.

The worst is a very long list! I've stopped doing clothing from scratch, the precision required takes more time than I care to give. I had a primaloft vest that was almost unusably small, an Epic anorak that has all kinds of weird stuff going on, etc, etc. There's some exceptionally ugly stitching on the spinnaker flat tarp I use right now, but the seams are straight and it pitches well, just doesn't hold up to close inspection.

I have absolutely learned never to rush or work on a project when I'm frustrated. Now I never take up anything unless I feel free to use as much time and as many sessions to make it as needed. No deadlines.

Jim Porter

Locale: Northern California
Rain chaps and a couple of alcohol stoves on 08/12/2012 16:27:06 MDT Print View

Best MYOG projects...

1) Rain chaps from a $10 pair of those heavy duty tyvek-like protective coveralls that I bought at Home Depot. I cut off the elastic at the ankles so I could easily slip them on over my shoes, and I made belt loops out of duct tape. The weigh in at 3.2 oz, which is a vast improvement over my old 9 oz steam-oven rain pants. I've seen other examples posted here at half that weight, but the coveralls I got are the heavier duty coated type. It took me all of five minutes. My scissor cuts are not the cleanest, but they'll do. They will see duty on my JMT hike starting Friday.

2) Two alcohol stoves made a cat-food can and a soda-can, both of which work remarkably well. The cat-food can version is sublimely simple.

Worst MYOG project...

1) Rain chaps from a $10 pair of...

James Reilly
(zippymorocco) - M

Locale: Montana
Best and Worst on 08/14/2012 00:05:10 MDT Print View

Best Project

Liberty ridge shell jackets. I made one of these without a hood and one with a hood. Both turned out nicely. The hooded one is for my gal to use and she brings it on every trip. The hooded one is mine and is one of the best looking things I have ever made.

Worst project:

Liberty Ridge Hooded Shell. I made a hooded shell for my self as well and it also turned out very nice. However, when the project was about 90% finished I set it on my hot knife burning a hole straight through the back and chest. I patched it and still use it more than the one I made without a hood. It was a terrible feeling when I realized what I did.

Another project that turned out very nicely for me was a 2.5 Climashield quilt I recently made and used this summer. It really is not quite enough for Montana even in the summer but I made it for my AT though hike 2013. I will really like it there.

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
Your MYOG Best and Worst on 08/15/2012 09:32:11 MDT Print View

Their are really no best or worst projects because each project is learning experience. Seam ripper can change the project in to good one, Except when working with Xpac because of the punctured needle holes take away from the water proofing of the fabric.

My best:
Is the Desert Nomad ruck with breathable back panel I just completed. Also my original FTZP design aka: flip top zip top pack design I came up with I am very proud of. I mostly stick with designing and sewing packs, stuff sacks and fighter kites because that is in my comfort zone of sewing.

My worst:
Is Frost line kit down jacket I did when I was 11 years old for boy scouts backpacking trips and just to wear around. If it were not for my next door neighbor she helped me finish it and taught me a lot about sewing. So I did learn something. Over the years I have tried to make pants and jackets and they always came out lop sided so I give up on clothing. I don't think a serger sewing machine would even help me.

Recently I have done quilts they have come out alright but really don't meet the bar for me.


Edited by socal-nomad on 08/15/2012 09:35:45 MDT.

scott Nelson
(nlsscott) - MLife

Locale: So. Calif.
Worst projects on 09/14/2012 20:55:07 MDT Print View

My worst project had to be the pack I made a few years ago following the instructions here on BPL. This was the project where you made a pack, tarp, and stuff sacks all from one length of yardage. Anyway, I made the pack out of Spinaker cloth. Walked about 20 minutes with it and sat down to do some navigation with the pack still on. Upon hunching forward to stand up, the entire side ripped open from the bottome anchor of the shoulder strap! It was pretty funny at the time. And there were the soggy bivy sacks, the upside down zippers, The quilting where giant sections of fabric were invisibly caught in the seams, the down quilt where I sewed the top at 180 degrees to the bottom...And the frostline down bag that accidently gained a pizza sized burn hole from camp kids I was supposed to be leading toward responsible adulthood.
Best?- It's always the next pack.
Don't get into this if you can't take a joke! Scott

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: Worst projects on 09/14/2012 21:30:39 MDT Print View


Thanks for the laughs.

"giant sections of fabric were invisibly caught in the seams" I could really relate to this comment.


Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Re: Worst projects on 09/15/2012 20:14:05 MDT Print View

My first quilt took so many hours to make.
It had 9 ounces of 800 fill and in the end I hated it.

It soon became cut and sewn in half and made into 2 dog beds.
What a huge waste of time.

I have also made a few clothing item that are hideous to say the least.
I just do not have the means to be so tedious.

Everything I make now is made to just fit me and I don't care how crappy it looks as long as it works and gets the job done.

Now I am much happier with my gear.