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Finer points of tarp making ?
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Brian UL

Locale: New England
Finer points of tarp making ? on 04/18/2007 14:10:14 MDT Print View

Hello, Ive been in the process of making 2 diffrent tarps, working on them a few hours mabey at time (so its taking a long time- Im a slow sewer). I have made tarps before - like the rayway kit and so on. The ones Im making now are spinnaker ( Thanks to M.Maurer for selling some to me from GG )and I think you must be more carefull in their construction so they will hold up to use and wind more than with say, silnylon. So, now Im almost at the point where I need to start thinking about the tie-outs...or the best way/configuration to attatch them.I have bonded (w/silicone) and sewn the re-enforcment patches, and I couldnt help but wonder-how big should they be? triangular, square, rounded? 3" or 5" from the corner? should they be of spinnaker, silnylon, or 1.9 ripstop? Should the tieouts be nylon, polypro, polyester?-webbing or grosgrain? I think the case is solid for the box stitch- but is it best to stitch through them together, side by side, one under, one over? I ve seen what looks like bias tape open at the corner on the Spinntwins? I know a lot of this will be personal prefrence and anedotal evidence, but I just thought it would be great to hear peoples opinions and expeirience on these things - thanks

Edited by MAYNARD76 on 04/18/2007 14:11:46 MDT.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Finer points of tarp making ? on 04/18/2007 15:34:25 MDT Print View

Make some up out of what you have on scrap pieces opposite
each other then tie lines on them an pull till one or the
other type of webbing/reinforcement pulls out. You may be
surprised what types of construction are strongest.

variables include--
stitch length
thread type
needle size
stitch pattern and direction
reinforcement material, size and location
direction of pull
webbing type and size
stretch and cut of material and reinforcements
use of waterproofing sealant


Brian UL

Locale: New England
Thanks David on 04/18/2007 16:33:08 MDT Print View

I think that would be the intellegent thing to do. But, its a lot of time and effort and somtimes I get impatient with my sewing projects. They quikly become a chore but I am always happy when its done!

David Passey
(davidpassey) - F

Locale: New York City
Re: Thanks David on 04/18/2007 20:27:48 MDT Print View

I believe there is an article on this site describing the best tie out stitch pattern, which was a box with diagonals from interior corner to interior corner.

Ron Bell
(mountainlaureldesigns) - F - M

Locale: USA
Re: Finer points of tarp making ? on 04/18/2007 23:49:43 MDT Print View


I recently posted some close up detail pics that show how I do it. You can surf to my site and look at the Grace Tarp Spinntex .97 Duo to see the pics.

I roll the edge hems (standard for many tarp makers) and so that makes three plys thick plus there is also a rolled reinforcement piece in the hem too. The edges are then 6 (sides) or 9 (corners) thick. (Corner edges overlap to make it 3 + 3 +3 layers)

By making the rolled edge hem a bit wider than some tarps ( 1/2"+ vs 1/4" or 3/8" ) you have more room to bartack and the force of the edge is spread out farther from the stitching.

I use a med spaced double row of bartacks. -Key is not to make too many needle holes too close together.

I feel the double bartack system bomber because it's through so many plys and there is some space and a row of straight stitching between it and the tarp body.

The box type stitch pattern is stronger IF you are stitching into only one or two plys and the pattern is done very precisely and the thread/neeedle/spacing and fabric combination is correct.

I usually use the same material as the tarp for the reinforcements. It's the stitching that would fail before the woven fabric itself, and so no need for heavier fabric on the reinforcements. Plus, it will stretch the same and can be sealed with the same type sealer as the tarp.


Brian UL

Locale: New England
Thanks ! on 04/19/2007 06:06:08 MDT Print View

Thats exactly the kind of info I was looking for ! And from one of the foremost authorities on the subject. I had not really considered a bartack because of the article that was mentioned but now I will, I do have a 1/2" rolled hem. I also used the same material for the reinforcments. I just wish I could sew a straight hem, mine is a bit sloppy and if I make a mistake ( and I have ) ripping the seam and sewing on another one makes me cringe ! Its just more holes in the fabric. But that just comes with practice. - Thanks

Eric Parsons
(EricP) - F

Locale: Alaska
good stuff on 04/19/2007 10:51:31 MDT Print View

Great post,
I'm going to be doing my first tarp in a bit and this is great information.

Kevin Egelhoff
(kegelhoff) - F

Locale: Southern Cal
Ron, THANKS, any thing you can add to this on Cuben for a tarp ? on 04/25/2007 18:01:55 MDT Print View

Ron, Thanks sooo much. Any more thoughts on the difference in using Cuben ?? I think I need to use tape in some locations where the Cuben is in sheer but also need to sew in some places where it could peel ??? Your thoughts ??