Oct 23, 2009 at 11:29 am #1240518
How did you all learn to sew so nicely? I just started playing around last night. I know for many of the super light fabrics using the smallest needle possible is a good thing. What type of thread should I be using? All I know is I have a lot more respect for the people who make my cloths!Oct 23, 2009 at 11:47 am #1539077
@slvravnLocale: East Coast - Mid Atlantic
You can try Gutermanns thread which can be purchased at most sewing/craft stores or pick up a spool of hydrophobe thread from Thru-Hiker. As far as learning to sew, just practice when you can or take a class from a craft/sewing store, learning annex, craigslist type offering.
Edit: I picked up on it by just practicing on scrap fabric. get a good seam ripper and have funOct 23, 2009 at 11:58 am #1539080
Bender, I think practice makes perfect. I've sewn a number of times over the years – easy to sew, hard to get it to look nice. My current technique is to go to my mom's house for dinner and bring over a bunch of cuben fiber…but she is starting to catch on.:)Oct 23, 2009 at 12:29 pm #1539089
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Practice, practice and more ;-) Been sewing since I was a kid….Oct 23, 2009 at 12:31 pm #1539090
@ramblerLocale: On the AT in VA
Yes, have a seam ripper handy. Before you sew too much along a seam, look at the underside of the fabric. A stitch that looks okay on top might be bunching up or have some other easy to seee flaw. Often it is the result of a mis-threading in your set up of the thread between the spool and the needle.
Here is an explanation of needle size:
If you are having trouble threading a needle make another cut of the thread end. Sometimes an almost invisible thread is sticking out, making you miss the hole in the needle.
Try this project here or from directions at thru-hiker:Oct 23, 2009 at 12:33 pm #1539091
Have hope, it doesn't take too long to get good at it. I have only been sewing a few years. Don't expect your projects to look perfect (even now i don't expect everything i make to have perfect stitching) and slowly increase the difficulty of what you make. First project should be synthetic quilt, then tarp, then pack (use G4 instructions, but make the pack smaller) eventually you will be comfortable with harder things like mids and down quilts. It just takes time.
Guttermond is my thread for everything but packs.
-TimOct 23, 2009 at 1:29 pm #1539110
Gutermann thread is OK for clothing – it comes in a very wide range of colours. But it is a bit mass-market and I found it unsuitable for silnylon and packs.
For silnylon I use Rasant 120 for non-critical seams and Rasant 75 for critical (highly loaded) seams. Any modern sewing machine can handle these with the lightest gauge needle (#60).
For packs I use a heavier bonded nylon thread in an ancient black Singer sewing machine with a #100 needle.
Controlling the upper tension is important – experiment. Don't make it too high though. Keeping the fabric taut as you sew to avoid puckering is critical too. Lots of very fine pins to stop the fabric from skewing is also essential.
CheersOct 23, 2009 at 1:44 pm #1539115
@erdferkelLocale: S. California
I've also been using Gutermann's thread for clothing and light stuff. It works well with a 9/65 needle. Both should be easy to find in your local sewing/crafts store.Oct 23, 2009 at 4:42 pm #1539157
After playing around a bit I decided to make a stuff sack. I actually made a huge one for a winter sleeping bag and then I made this one. This is for my tiny Lafuma 600G bag. It came out 8.5×5" but I was trying for an inch longer. Anyway it just barely fits. This wont win any beauty contests but it works. The sack weighs .3 oz which is 1.2 oz less than the compression sack it came with. Total weight with sleeping bag is now 1 lb 6.5 oz.Oct 23, 2009 at 4:58 pm #1539165
You have sewn the sleeve at the top end of the bag well – 3 lines of sewing. But the bottom end could be a little weak imho. I would add a second line of sewing through all 3 layers as shown in red here (and up the side seam as well)
CheersOct 23, 2009 at 5:16 pm #1539173
Roger I triple stitched the bottom but you can only see the bottom row. Unless I am missing something I don't think you should see more than 1 row of stitching on the bottom. I'm checking all my stuff sacks now. Does anyone have a tip for sewing the bottom and keeping it a circular shape? Mine had a little excess fabric at the end.Oct 23, 2009 at 5:43 pm #1539182
i like square bottom sacks made using thru-hiker.com tutorial. Very nice!
Good work by the way. You have been bitten. Now scratch!!
-TimOct 23, 2009 at 6:32 pm #1539194
Yes Tim I have been bitten and there is no cure! I haven't been into UL for backpacking but bikes are a different story. The mountain bike in my avatar is under 19 pounds :) Eventually I want to make a tent. I know I can go much lighter and probably bigger than my BA Fly Creek at 2.25 pounds. I had a 5 1/4 pound Kelty Zen for 12 years but never had a reason to go UL. FYI the Zen is almost identical to the Clip Flashlight. When I got new poles for it the weight went down 6 oz haha. I did many bike camping trips but never had to carry the gear on my bike. I have been in bike camps with 1000+ tents so I despise guy lines. I really want to make a 2 person like my Zen but single wall with a floor. I think I could even get away using carbon poles because they barely get bent. The top of the arch would need to be aluminum because it is pre bent. Cuben Fiber would be cool but I think I would go with Ultra-Sil Nylon from Rockywoods unless I can get something substantially cheaper.Oct 23, 2009 at 8:13 pm #1539208
OK. Triple stitching the way you have done it does not add strength as only one row of sewing is 'active' – actually taking the load. In the figure below the green line of stitching is the one which is visible in your photo.
I am suggesting you should add the red line of stitching: this will halve the load on each line of thread.
You do need to make sure the hem is folded out neatly to get the load sharing of course. You may find careful pinning will help here. If the seam is taking a lot of tension you can have two red lines of sewing.
Now, the circular bottom. Work out what diameter bag you want and make a circle template out of plastic sheet or cardboard. Calculate the circumference and cut out the main wall to that width (plus hems).
Sew main body. Fold main body flat at the seam and mark the half-way point opposite the seam. Refold mark to seam to get the quarter points. (You can alternately do this before you sew the main seam.)
Now take the circular base and fold carefully in half. Mark the fold lines. Refold so the marks come together and mark the folds. You now have the quarters marked.
Pin main body and base together at the marks along the exact sewing line. In a series of halvings, pin the bits in between (ie keep halving the gap).
CheersOct 23, 2009 at 8:28 pm #1539211
Roger I knew I was missing something. Your diagram makes total sense now. Now I need to find something else to make a bag for.Oct 24, 2009 at 7:46 pm #1539402
The bottom was still tricky even after pinning it a bunch. Its looking much better overall now. I could probably still add another row of stitching to the bottom.
Oct 24, 2009 at 9:13 pm #1539421
@ramblerLocale: On the AT in VA
What if you fold the blue edges under back toward the first stitch then stitch (red) over that to make it a double felled seam?Oct 25, 2009 at 3:04 pm #1539564
Yes, I would add the second row of stitching around the bottom as well.
Now to the difference between a simple seam as I drew and a felled seam with the edge tucked under. To understand the difference you have to go back to conventional uncoated fabrics. Imagine a bit of cotton sheeting with that sort of seam. The exposed edges would fray during use and during washing. So a felled seam is used to conceal the cut edges and stop any fraying.
Now imagine using silnylon fabric in the simple seam. No fraying! So there is little to be gained from a felled seam over a simple folded-over seam as I drew. Just a little extra weight for the extra fabric.
There is little or no difference in strength between the two, so with silnylon and X-pac I don't bother. With uncoated Taslan I avoid the extra bulk of a felled seam by overlocking the two edges before doing the second (red) line of sewing.
CheersFeb 18, 2010 at 2:15 pm #1575434
I just finished a CT2k.8 Cuben stuff sack for a new sleeping bag. This time I went with a square bottom. Weight is 7g for 6×11". I plan on sealing the seams and adding a top flap. It was tricky sewing the 2nd and 3rd lines since the bag was already put together. Not pictured I made a 4 layer thick triangle to reinforce the cinch cord area. Every single thread was pulled through to the inside of the bag and tied off. I spent forever working on this thing. This project was my first time working with Cube. Cuben is not slippery like sil-nylon making it easier to work with.Feb 18, 2010 at 3:09 pm #1575453
Yeah – well sewn!
CheersFeb 24, 2010 at 7:11 am #1577936
@lynb87Locale: Southwest US
cool square bag!!! I'm going to be making my own bags soon and I'm totally going to use that design.
As for you're sewing, not bad for a first time! Just keep practicing and it'll get better. From time to time you might want to compare your current projects to that first one, you'll be surprised at the improvement!Feb 24, 2010 at 9:39 am #1577996
Sewing over the seam allowance for the second line of stitching was tricky. I am usually not as sloppy but sewing inside the bag is very tricky to keep straight. I loosely followed this guide here on BPL The guide only shows a single line of stitching and I did two like Roger posted above.
Roger you have created a monster!
Here is a pillow I did recently
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