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different types of grossgrain?
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Jesse Anderson
(jeepin05) - F

Locale: Land of Enchantment
different types of grossgrain? on 10/11/2012 07:46:49 MDT Print View

I'm working on my very first MYOG project (an add-on pocket to replace a non-functional part of an old Osprey pack) I bought some grossgrain ribbon for binding the inside seams to keep them from fraying out. Once I started unpackaging the grossgrain, it seemed very thin and not real durable.

Are there different weights of grossgrain? If so, how can i tell the difference when I don't have the option of feeling it before I buy it.

Also, below is a picture of how I intended to make the seams. Is this the best way? I apologize for the simplicity of the question, I haven't sewed anything since my 6th grade home ec. class many years ago.stitch

Edited by jeepin05 on 10/11/2012 07:47:23 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: different types of grossgrain? on 10/11/2012 08:25:50 MDT Print View

Just do a french seam. has a good article (in addition to good materials)

Or just sew several rows of stitches to prevent fraying.

Or take the pocket fabric and fold it over twice and put a row if stitching (hem it) and then sew that onto the pack.

I think I've seen polyester and nylon grosgrain. It's pretty light weight. I just buy it from thru-hiker or and don't worry about it. I use it for guyline attachment loops.

Why would you ruin a perfectly good pack by putting pockets on it? It just weakens it, path for water to enter,... Uh oh - back on my anti-pocker rant again, sorry...

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: different types of grossgrain? on 10/11/2012 08:49:31 MDT Print View

"I just buy it from thru-hiker or and don't worry about it."

Me too. There is some real crap in some of the fabric stores that looks very similar but it is so weak you can tear it with your hands.

Jesse Anderson
(jeepin05) - F

Locale: Land of Enchantment
Re: Re: different types of grossgrain? on 10/11/2012 08:53:04 MDT Print View

This pocket won't actually be sewn to the backpack itself. The pack is an older Osprey with the Vector system. The system had pockets and other gadgets of various sizes that would clip to the outside of the pack. This system was also the means of compression for the rest of the pack.

My pack just came with a mostly useless shield type device made from fabric and some type of CCF. I want to replace that with a pocket that will provide a bit more utility and maybe even save some weight.

As for the french seam, sounds like that might work well, thanks.

Edited by jeepin05 on 10/11/2012 09:21:52 MDT.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: different types of grossgrain? on 10/11/2012 09:12:25 MDT Print View

Wrong place do express philosophical concepts... anyway...

There are a lot of different weights of ribbon. Different weaving, different textues, besides different materials. Suggest you simply look at some on your existing equipment. Check what is offered at various sites and sewing shops. Too many to begin to list. It ia all different. Often the difference is simply the style of weaving. Some "ribbon" is more like a tube that has been heated while flattening.

Yeah, that is probably not the best way to make a solid seam, though it cover the seam from abraision and pulling. Unless you leave a LOT of fabric hanging out, it will pull and fray after a few uses. A felled seam or french seam or french felled seam, with slightly wider stitching, would do better, as Jerry siggests. Some fabrics want to be glued, also. Well, cuben isn't really a fabric. Some are heavy enough to simply do as you say. Mesh is often locked in. Some is like screening with minor thread locks at the joints. This seperates easily. SOme untreated nylon pulls loose with even a 1/2" of overhang.

I have a hard time with felled seams. There are basically rolled over and restiched. But, I am a klutz doing this, and, I do not have a good sewing machine capible of doing it. (Overlocker?) I simply seam one side, roll, seam it again. This leaves a loop with the ragged edge inside. Then I flatten/seam it again. Like I say, I am a klutz. I had one tarp split across a panel, between two seams, though. Soo it must be working for me. I can concentrate on accuracy, not rolling just right, pulling slightly to flatten it and seam it simultaneously...silnylon is very slippery. I have managed several tarps and tents, though. Heavier PU coated pack cloth often just needs as you describe. Often the seaming is weaker than the fabric. Stitching too close can ruin it. Stitching to far apart will leave gaps, and/or weaken it. I am NOT a taylor. So, I can only describe what I do...

If it works, it is not ALL bad...

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: different types of grossgrain? on 10/11/2012 16:23:41 MDT Print View

Hi Jesse

Cheap packs just run a single line of stitching down the join, and rely on the coating to prevent fraying.

The diagram you have shown is how many better-class packs are sewn. The edges are covered and the tape provides a tiny bit of water blocking. But the seam is not really any stronger.

Thing is, both methods can be done cheaply and fast. Anything better, like a felled seam, is a LOT more work. MYOG pack makers have no trouble with the extra work, but commercial stuff - no way. Chinese day packs wholesale for about $4 each.


Brendan S
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
Re: Re: Re: different types of grossgrain? on 10/11/2012 16:28:28 MDT Print View

For your purposes, I'd just use what you have. It's just preventing fraying, so it doesn't really matter how strong it is. Depending on what weight of fabric you're using, French seams might be tricky if it's a stiffer fabric.

David Scheidt
(dscheidt) - F
Re: different types of grossgrain? on 10/11/2012 18:42:55 MDT Print View

There are indeed different sorts of grossgrain. Grosgrain is a sort of weave, which can be used to make fabric, and not just narrow gauge tape goods. It's made with a weft (crosswise) thread that's much larger than the warp (the long way) thread which is what gives it the horizontal ribbed appearance. Historically, it was common to find that the weft was wool, and the warp silk, or linen. Modernly, it's not generally found except as tape goods, typically made of synthetics.

The stuff you'll find in most fabric stores is polyester, and not terribly good quality stuff. It's really for gift wrapping and decoration, and not for durability. the stuff sold by the places recommend by others is usually nylon, and better quality, and substantially more abrasion resistant. Commercial gear mostly uses nylon grossgrain binding.

If you're putting the binding inside, I'd use what you've got. or do a french seam, or fell the seams, depending. If you use it, I'd do the seam in two steps: sew the seam, and then bid the finished seam. don't try to put together in one step. That's harder, if you don't have a tape applicator, and a bit less strong.

Jesse Anderson
(jeepin05) - F

Locale: Land of Enchantment
Re: Re: different types of grossgrain? on 10/11/2012 19:57:44 MDT Print View

Thanks for the insight. I'm willing to put work in, to make sure that the projects lasts longer. I'm not a good seamster, but I do have access to nice machines including a heavy duty one, that should be able to sew through anything I need.

Brendan & all,
Back side of pocket is a heavy cordura fabric (it forms part of a shovel pocket so I don't want it to tear easily) front sides are a 400x300d diamond ripstop, so lighter but still pretty stout. (Now before I get flack for using too heavy of fabric, this is my super bomber mountain pack and it just seemed odd to put a light ripstop nylon next to the heavy cordura of the pack body.)

I'd like a seam that I can manage to sew as a novice, even if it takes more time. I love this pack and expect to keep using it for many years, so I'd like what I'm doing now to last just as long. I understand how to do French seams but I'm not sure I understand felled seams. What is going to be the best combination of ease of sewing and strength of seam?

By the way, I can't say how awesome it is to have so many people willing to help and share their insight. I don't think I would have ever taken on this project if I hadn't found BPL.

Edited by jeepin05 on 10/11/2012 19:59:00 MDT.

Jesse Anderson
(jeepin05) - F

Locale: Land of Enchantment
Re: Re: different types of grossgrain? on 10/11/2012 20:02:04 MDT Print View

You hit it right on the head. It is a polyester grossgrain. I didn't thing anything of it at the time I bought it. If I end up using it to encase the seam, how is the best way to sew it, can I fold it in half and iron to keep it folded while I sew it down, or will I have problems with it melting with the heat?

David Scheidt
(dscheidt) - F
Re: Re: Re: different types of grossgrain? on 10/11/2012 21:24:04 MDT Print View

Pressing a crease into the ribbon will make it easier to sew on. I don't know how wide your ribbon is, if it's wider than an inch, you might not need to.

You can iron most polyesters at low to medium heat. If your iron went from 1-10, about 4. Take a two inch or so piece, and try. If it works, great. If it melts, you're too hot. If it doesn't melt, but the crease isn't set, turn it up a bit. Some steam should be okay. So should a wet press cloth (Something like a non fuzzy kitchen cotton towel will work just fine) if you can't get it to work with a dry iron. ribbon is cheap, it's worth wasting a bunch to see how it reacts.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
grosgrain on 10/12/2012 21:06:19 MDT Print View

You don't have to use grosgrain. You can use strips of any good quality PU coated nylon fabric you can find. But you have to fold the edges of the strips under before using them for a binding. Look at Eureka tents for example; this is the type of binding they use.

As was suggested, ironing to keep the sides of the strips folded under before pinning and sewing makes it easier. The coated nylon fabric is lighter than grosgrain, easier to penetrate with a sewing needle, and waterproof.

You can seal the inital fabric seam before putting the binding over it. Then once the binding is sewn on, seal the stitches on the outside of it. I have found this really keeps water from penetrating pack seams.

Admit it is easier for me because i have drawers full of the Eureka type coated and folded nylon binding strips resulting from many early on tent MYOG fugues. Still think the coated nylon fabric binding is better than grosgrain, though. It would be nice if they made coated nylon binding tape without cut edges, but haven't found any yet.

Jesse Anderson
(jeepin05) - F

Locale: Land of Enchantment
Re: grosgrain on 10/13/2012 07:45:36 MDT Print View

Would it work if I cut strips from the fabric with a hot knife to seal the edges or are they still likely to fray out unless they are folded under?

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: grosgrain on 10/13/2012 08:09:45 MDT Print View

If you heat seal the edges, they are weaker when you put stress on them. In use, it may start ripping. Fold over - edge is stronger.

I sometimes use fabric scrap instead of grosgrain, mainly if I don't happen to have the grosgrain handy. They only make grosgrain or webbing up to about 2 inches, so I use fabric if I want it a little wider.

Jesse Anderson
(jeepin05) - F

Locale: Land of Enchantment
Re: different types of grossgrain? on 10/19/2012 20:46:32 MDT Print View

I just wanted to follow up and close this thread with some pics of how my project turned out.
It's not quite professional quality but I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. I know I couldn't have done it without everyone here. Your knowledge and insight were the keys to my success.

As I mentioned previously, this is an external pocket designed to replace a compression panel on my old tried and true Osprey Finesse Pro. At one time they made a pocket and other items to replace this panel but after searching the internet for years I finally gave up and made one myself. Here are my results. The new pocket is the grey fabric, it secures to the pack with ladderlocks to snug everything down.

packup closestitchingcompression

Just wanted to say, thanks again everybody. Oh, and as you can see some of the seams I ended up using a felled seam. But on the inside I went with a regular seam and them wrapped that in the grossgrain and sewed that down with a nice reinforced stitch.

Next stop: a couple of small hipbelt pockets and this pack will be everything I'll need for many years to come.