Feb 2, 2014 at 1:39 pm #1312787
I have never made anything before, except for a pair of pants on my Sew Perfect when I was 8 back in 1977.
That did not go well.
I'd like to try to make some things…but I have no idea where to start!!
I ordered YAMA's cuben stuff sack kit and I can't wait to get my hands on it. Any other ideas of easy projects to get my feet wet and start to get comfortable with making things?Feb 2, 2014 at 2:02 pm #2069024
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Jennifer, my own experience went this way. First, I decided that it wouldn't be too hard to sew up a few things such as silnylon tarps, so I purchased an inexpensive sewing machine (maybe $75) that has about a dozen different stitch types. It took me a few hours just to figure out the basics like thread tension, so I used lots of scrap cloth to train on. Make some stuff sacks! The next step was to purchase a commercial pattern for something I needed. So, I got a hooded jacket pattern from Rain Shed. The first try with that was a mess. I used some fabric that was difficult, and I kept getting confused between right side and wrong side. So, using the pattern on some cheap fabric is a better training ground. Next, I used the same pattern on some other fabric that was more appropriate, and that worked nicely. At the same time, I purchased a cottage-made hooded jacket that was equivalent, and I studied the details on it in case I need to make another. Since then, I've made a couple of shaped tarps. I purchased the Thru-Hiker Liberty Ridge pants kit. With the standard fabric, it worked nicely. I also have some cheap fabric and used the same pattern to make some ultralightweight pajamas. Since then, I've sewn cuben fiber ground sheets, rain mitts, and all sorts of stuff.
–B.G.–Feb 2, 2014 at 2:07 pm #2069025
I have a 5-6 yards of silnylon that you can have to get you started. No charge, just want to help you get started. :-) I also have some Cordura 400 denier you can have, black in color. PM your address and I'll get it out in a day or two.Feb 2, 2014 at 2:23 pm #2069028
Careful, Jen, it's a slippery slope! :-)
I had a lucky advantage in having a mom who taught me to sew, but lots of people here seem to have progressed well by just starting small and simple, and working up from there.
Starting with some cheap silnylon (or better still, free! – good on you, Dan), my suggestions are:
stuff sack, a small summit daypack/stuffsack and/or stuffable shopping bags, rain kilt or poncho, tarp, bathtub floor, 'mid style shelter…
There was an article a few years back that gave plans for a stuffsack, a pack, and a tarp. Jerry Adams had an article on a full pyramid shelter, and if you search there are all sorts of posts on other projects.
Good luck!Feb 2, 2014 at 2:42 pm #2069032
But I'm so envious of everyone here who can make things, and I'm really just unsure of where to start. So I thought I'd give a few easy projects a whirl and see what happens. I even bought an exacto knife today!!!!!!!Feb 2, 2014 at 2:47 pm #2069035
yeah, danger Jennifer!!!
a number of articles here – mine, Roger's, Jay Hamm's "5 yards of spinnaker fabric",… (except don't bother with spinnaker fabric, just use sil). They include what you need for a pattern.
I've heard of many people using that pyramid article to make pyramid, that's a good one.
Using a pattern is cheating. And unnecesary. And depriving yourself of some of the fun. I've ripped apart stuff, made a pattern, used it, modified pattern a bit and iterated. But many people use patterns.
Cuben is so expensive, maybe make it first with cheap fabric to make sure it's what you want.Feb 2, 2014 at 2:51 pm #2069037
buy a pair of scissors for fabric and don't use it for anything else, especially paper (or wire,…)
then you can just push it through fabric without having to open and close it
I have a hard time doing this – I tend to ruin any scissors for fabricFeb 2, 2014 at 3:34 pm #2069054
@wsafleyLocale: Eastern NC
I agree with the stuff sacks as a start. If you want to go this direction, a bivy sack may be a decent project. Some of the patterns for bivys are little more than a very big stuff sack for people. :-)
I started with the stuff sack instructions from Jay Hamm's article on this site, asking my wife questions every 5 minutes. After a while it starts to make sense. It is a slippery slope, but it is fun and rewarding sliding down.
WilliamFeb 2, 2014 at 3:42 pm #2069061
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Do not underestimate the value of 100 straight pins with a magnet as a pin keeper.
–B.G.–Feb 2, 2014 at 4:17 pm #2069070
@ewolinLocale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
You are about to become addicted…
Many good suggestions above (stuff sacks, bivy sacks), but also a simple tarp, gators, and when you feel up to it, get a pattern and make a wind shirt with a hood, and maybe wind pants…inexpensive and you'll learn a lot (and don't be afraid to rip out seams, carefully). Even synthetic quilts are really easy (down quilts not so easy).
Then the sky is the limit: pyramid tent, hardshell jacket/pants, pack, etc. On occasion I buy kits, sometimes they are cheaper than collecting the raw materials (Ray-Way and others).Feb 2, 2014 at 5:00 pm #2069087
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Doomed, that's what you are – doomed.
PS: yes, buy an expensive pair of heavy fabric scissors and use them only on fabric.
PPS: you could try making windshirt and trousers:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/make_your_own_gear_trousers.htmlFeb 2, 2014 at 5:56 pm #2069104
my article about making trousers is much superior to Roger's : )
(actually, if I had seen Roger's, I wouldn't have done another one, but there are a number of different techniques you can pick and choose from, just don't use Roger's colour selection)Feb 2, 2014 at 5:57 pm #2069106
Make something for your best friend pictured in your avatar :-)Feb 2, 2014 at 6:46 pm #2069123
You guys are awesome…
So back to Joann Fabrics for a good pair of scissors.
And if anyone wants some crappy stuff sacks, let me know!
I wonder how hard it would be to tape a cuben dog bowl??Feb 2, 2014 at 6:51 pm #2069125
"Any other ideas of easy projects to get my feet wet and start to get comfortable with making things?"
A cuben thong?Feb 2, 2014 at 6:52 pm #2069127
Don't shop at Joann's without one of their coupons. At least 40% off.Feb 2, 2014 at 7:24 pm #2069145
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
Try Gaiters, and do not be against using a pattern, unless you want to spend the rest of your life in your workshop, avoiding all human contact, maybe even your favorite pooch. Not kidding. When in the MYOG fugue state in the workshop, my Shelties get very little attention. It's an addiction that must be conquered at all costs.
A yard or less of a heavier fabric eVent shouldn't cost too much. It is hard to find shortie gaiters made of very WPB material that is tough enough to withstand abuse and in a nice light color (Why do so many companies go for black, that just collects heat where you least want it?) They will be something that is hard to find on the market, so well worth doing, and still a small project. Will probably involve sewing elastic, a big challenge to learn about. You might also add a zipper so they are easier to put on and off, even harder to find on the market. If OWF and others do not have patterns, try getting a cheap pair of uncoated nylon oxford shorties that fit you from one of those Walmart suppliers, with names like Outdoor something or other, and spend some time taking them apart with a seam ripper. A two-fer – you get a pattern and learn how they are constructed.
Good luck!Feb 2, 2014 at 7:42 pm #2069153
I make gaiters from 1.1 oz breathable nylon
Since the fabric is vertical, water runs off it easily, doesn't have to be real waterproof. Even when I walk through wet brush, my socks stay fairly dry.
Breathability is good. WPB isn't real breathable
Weight on my feet is much worse than weight carried because I lift my feet a lot more than my body. WPB fabric is fairly heavy
Maybe next time I'll try M50 fabric which is 0.7 oz/yd2
They do wear out faster than heavier fabric, but I probably have extra small pieces around and it doesn't take long to make a new pairFeb 2, 2014 at 8:19 pm #2069177
Alister R BarnesParticipant
Stuff Sack to start with just to get familiar with the machine, and the tension right.
A Quilt is easy, I suggest making zigzag dividers, although these are a bit more difficult than straight. Sleeping bag only a bit harder. I suggest starting with either of these as it will give you most satisfaction and a highly usable item. You can cheaply make summer and winter versions for considerably less than purchasing, as there is quite a bit of time involved in manufacturing. Down from old bed-quilts can be a good choice if washed, sorted to get the best quality, and DWP added.
Clothing I find hard to get right, trousers OK but jackets and shirts hard. (My wife has no such problems). However there are a lot of patterns and "how-to" available.Suggest you put off a hooded style to start with. However the cost of making is considerably less than purchasing.
Tents can be risky as material costs can be high. Flat tarp is easy, Floorless (single pole) Pyramid with or without catenary cut is not difficult. Tarptent has a good page on a MYOG design. Adding a floor and bug protection a bit more complicated. Any other style tent is more difficult and I recommend leaving this till later.
If you get ambitious Roger Caffin has good info on Tunnel tents which I recommend.
Packs are hard, not because of sewing problems, but simply getting a good fit to match your body. Patterns are available for a frameless, but if you can, aim for a light framed pack. People that make their own never seem to stop at the first.
Have funFeb 2, 2014 at 9:43 pm #2069201
@lunchandynnerLocale: Pacific Northwest
You can see my descent into the dark side from my MYOG posts. The Brothers XL2600i on Amazon is a very good starter machine, it's what I taught myself on and use now.
There are lots of patterns for beanies, hats, etc you can practice with, and pant patterns can be readily made from what you've got.
But honestly, you gotta go for broke and just tackle a large project like I did. It's very satisfying and you'll be hooked.Feb 2, 2014 at 11:04 pm #2069220
just Justin WhitsonMember
Just will say, it can be VERY frustrating at times, and at other times VERY rewarding/fulfilling. Personally, i prefer to come up with interesting, but practical designs more theoretically than the actual sewing/work to get it made. But as they say practice makes perfect and once you start getting better at it, the making part can be fun too though the above still sometimes applies.
I've never used an official pattern so far, but i'm thinking i may start trying some.Feb 3, 2014 at 2:32 am #2069232
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Be very carefull of buying cheap anything, you need good tools.
You will need at least two sets of shears: Larger fabric shears, one small set for at the machine…mostly for cutting threads. Good shears cost about $80 or more. Little ones may cost as much as 20-30. A seam ripper is needed. Get a good one or get a couple cheaper ones. Yes, they do get dull.
That said, I really doubt you need much in the line of a machine for silnylon. The small motors of home sewing machines are perfectly suited for up to 7-8 layers of nylon. Brothers, Pfal, and Husqvarna make some fairly good new machines. Don't forget a machine will have other uses. A basic machine with 5-10 stitches will likely be overkill, most will have *many* more. Once a machine is set up, it is rarely changed, except stitch length and tension, though.
Tension, stitch length and type, needle type, thread thickness, top feeders ("walking foot") etc are all interelated. Too many stitches can "score" a fabric making it an easy place to tear. Too few stitches can leave a seam weak and leaky. Try to think ahead and adjust accordingly. Throwing in a few more stitches because it cannot hurt is a rookies mistake.
Keep a chart of your settings for various stuff. Long hems, Heavy over light fabrics, light over heavy fabrics (netting to silnylon, for example.) Cuben fabrics should be both sewn and glued. Usually alcohol is used as a glue solvent. Acetone can be used to clear the needle but may melt some threads/fabrics. Cheap threads will fray and ball up at the needle, good for hand sewing, not machines. Pick one brand you know you can get readily and buy a few spools of black, white and grey. Other colors as needed. But, camping, bears don't care about the thread color. Purely cosmetic. I recommend the 100% polyester, but even cotton is OK, though it can rot over several years.
Look at how things are put together. Your existing gear should show you how to use the various stitches needed for camping. Often, a sequence of putting things together becomes apparent looking at the various corners.
Spend a bit of time on your gear. It should last at least 10 years.Feb 3, 2014 at 10:33 am #2069327
OK, one more possibly silly idea, but I just read an old post where someone was going to try this with a down sweater to make down "swants"…Feb 3, 2014 at 11:16 am #2069348
@saparisorLocale: Pacific Northwest
After reading a couple of recent posts (Justin's vest and the panty thread), I've got it:
Make camo apex-insulated panties with no-see-um mesh backs. Done and done.Feb 3, 2014 at 12:42 pm #2069380
@regarrettLocale: Lost in the mountains
I got into DIY just for a hobby. My first machine was a 1940's Elna Grasshopper. It did one thing and one thing only…a simple straight stitch. But, I learned the basics I that little darlin'.
Use cheap fabric to learn on. I buy sil 2nds from Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics. For projects that need to be flawless I get sil from BearPaw. It's really good stuff. DIY gear supply has sewing tips and "patterns" on line.
My wife graduated me to the expensive Janome. That just shows the importance of learning the basics. I made my first few cat cut tarps and hammocks on that little Elna. In fact, my fav hammock was made on it.
You're going to love getting into this!!
My favorite quite now is "My favorite power tool is my sewing machine."
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