Sewing Thread....A discussion on making your own adventure textile gear.

BritKLR

Kapitis Indagatoris
Did you like title? "Sewing Thread!" For a sewing discussion?!? LMAO.....or not.....

Anyway, since I frequently get asked about how to make textile gear, thought this would make a good discussion topic for the outdoor/overlanding/adventure hobby since so much of what people take along is stuffed in some form of textile bag, covers something or worn.

Since this is a community board with a great deal of knowledge and experience I'd also love to hear and see what projects you've created and how we can help each other.

I recently posted this on another thread (thx MEP1811) and thought it'd make a good start: What sewing machine to start with?

For those interested in starting to sew, a couple of really good sources for used machines are your local garage sales, Craigslist and family members. Try to stay away from modern Walmart, mass produces machines due to their weak drive trains and throw away designs. Any older machines (50, 60, 70's) made by Singer, Brother, etc tend to have a solid steel frame and powerful motors. They tend to be similiar in design and share parts, such as motors, bobbins, bobbin cases, needles, presser foots, etc. Finding one with the a walking foot design and a reverse capability will make your life so much easier. Also, if you can find a consumer machine with the stand will give you a solid, dedicated place to keep everything and to sew on.
Now, probably the best machine is the Commercial or Industrial Walking Foot machines. These have powerful motors, heavy weight pulley wheels, dedicated sewing tables/stands, a walking presser foot that pulls the material under the needle versus you pushing the material through, lights, stronger frames and just built for the heavier and/or stacked materials you may use.
Cost: My first machine was free and given to me by a family friend. The second machine cost me $25.00 with the stand from a local garage sale. My first commercial walking foot machine was $500 with stand and my current Industrial machine with all the accessories was just under $2000.

Good luck and what machines are you working on?
 

BritKLR

Kapitis Indagatoris
I wish there was a good thread to consolidate good sewing information when I was building my own RTT. It worked out well all things considered but many mistakes were made and I relied on a lot of trial and error and guess work. I'm sure building it from scratch would have been better but cannibalizing an old tent with existing windows seemed less daunting. I would love to hear what other people's thoughts are on a few things.

For a tent, what type of seam is the most practical? I found myself having to choose between strength and simplicity without too much guidance.

To minimize seams, is there a good way to add a window or door to the middle of a length of fabric or an existing wall panel?

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Wow! Impressive DIY project!

As for your two questions, the Lapped Seam is probably the most common and strongest seam for your purpose. Start with your standard super imposed seam and then fold over the facing surface and run another seam along where they meet.

As for adding a window or door in the center of a price of material, I assume your adding a zipper so as to open and close it. Measuring will be critical and must include the measurements for the seam and zipper. Lay your material flat on your work surface. Measure and chalk in the door/window. Take into account 1/2 seam fold and the width of the zipper for main piece and door/window piece since the zipper will now fill that gap. Separate your zipper and sew in the main piece with 1/2 inch seam. (Note: the corners of either piece will need to be curved to accommodate the zipper to move smoothly) sew the zipper on the door with 1/2 inch seam. Use the lap seam to finish off the zipper on both pieces. One question: do you want the door/window to be completely removeable or partially attached?
 

BritKLR

Kapitis Indagatoris
The Lapped Seam and Flat Felling Seam are very similiar. Where the LS Seam has single fold it appears the FF Seam has a double fold. The phot shows the LS Seam and I've found it easy to incorporate into large items like Tarps or tent panels since your simply sewing a single Seam on the backside of the material then folding it over and running a second Seam parallel to the fold.

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As for sewing in a zipper into a cutout for a door or window it'll fit without cutting a whole separate door panel since once you sew in the zipper with a 1/2 fold over (depending on the size number of the coil and zipper) and then add the finishing Seam (similiar to the Lapped Seam) the zipper now takes up the 1 inch gap (1/2 inch on both sides of the coil) that was sewn into the Seam.

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Josh41

Adventurer
I use a Sailrite LSZ-1. Stong walking foot with great support. Sailrite also has tons of great supplies and fabric.
 

BritKLR

Kapitis Indagatoris
I use a Sailrite LSZ-1. Stong walking foot with great support. Sailrite also has tons of great supplies and fabric.
I love those machines! I want to mount one in our event trailer on day. Btw, what have you made with that or do you keep it on your sailing yacht? 😀
 
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DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
A couple of years ago I tried my hand at sewing a bike packing tarp. I'm not the world's greatest sartor but I get along and inheriting a Pfaff from my family makes normal stuff almost look passable.

However I found working with Ultrasil exceptionally difficult. Are there any tricks to working with such light and mainly slick fabric? I just had trouble even pining the heck out of seams, particularly long ones, keeping things straight and square.

Happy I did it and would again, but wish it ended up looking a little less DIY-esque.

508486
 

BritKLR

Kapitis Indagatoris
A couple of years ago I tried my hand at sewing a bike packing tarp. I'm not the world's greatest sartor but I get along and inheriting a Pfaff from my family makes normal stuff almost look passable.

However I found working with Ultrasil exceptionally difficult. Are there any tricks to working with such light and mainly slick fabric? I just had trouble even pining the heck out of seams, particularly long ones, keeping things straight and square.

Happy I did it and would again, but wish it ended up looking a little less DIY-esque.

View attachment 508486

Dave -

You've got your fingers into so many things, your a regular renaissance man. Great machine and a good example of how one comes by a high quality machine.

I use Tarps for everything, so well done on the tarp!

Sorry, no real good answer for working with those 00 denier/ultrasil/silky/ripstop materials except using the garment grade machines designed for the light weight fabrics (think dresses and under garments, etc...). Heavy duty/powerful/walking foot machines don't like those types of materials. My REX would just chew it up and spit it out. I still have my old lightweight consumer Brother (none walker) that I use for when the wife needs curtains or lightweight stuff done. There is special seam tape/glue that can be used to tape down a seam prior to sewing it, might test it to see how it does on a long seam. Lmk if you find something that works consistently. Good luck.

Just remembered......I assume you adjusted the speed of you machine to the lowest setting, used the smallest needle and bonded thread for the material and adjusted the foot pressure to lightest setting while feeding and pulling the material through? Common sense stuff, but just remembered. Good luck
 
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krick3tt

Adventurer
Originally I had a Brother with table that I inherited from my Dad's leather working but it kept requiring service and I sold it. Now I am looking at a JUKI with table and still have to get it. I would purchase it from a dealer or repair service instead of having it sent to me. I have been reading reports that getting one shipped may be frought with problems.
 

BritKLR

Kapitis Indagatoris
Originally I had a Brother with table that I inherited from my Dad's leather working but it kept requiring service and I sold it. Now I am looking at a JUKI with table and still have to get it. I would purchase it from a dealer or repair service instead of having it sent to me. I have been reading reports that getting one shipped may be frought with problems.
Yeah......once you go Juki, you'll never go back. Oh, and size does matter when it comes to these monster machines.......and....when was the last time you saw bodily injury warnings on a shop tool??

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A couple of years ago I tried my hand at sewing a bike packing tarp. I'm not the world's greatest sartor but I get along and inheriting a Pfaff from my family makes normal stuff almost look passable.

However I found working with Ultrasil exceptionally difficult. Are there any tricks to working with such light and mainly slick fabric? I just had trouble even pining the heck out of seams, particularly long ones, keeping things straight and square.

Happy I did it and would again, but wish it ended up looking a little less DIY-esque.

View attachment 508486
You need to use seam tape. It's like a clear double stick tape. I use 1/4" and 1/2". It gums the needle a little sometimes, but has never caused a problem. Really makes it easy to hold stuff together without pinning. Most of my projects have been Sunbrella, and it works great.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
You need to use seam tape. It's like a clear double stick tape. I use 1/4" and 1/2". It gums the needle a little sometimes, but has never caused a problem. Really makes it easy to hold stuff together without pinning. Most of my projects have been Sunbrella, and it works great.
That's probably the critical puzzle piece. I figured there had to be something I missed.
 

BritKLR

Kapitis Indagatoris
Automotive upholstery and restorations, have been sewing since 02. Any questions feel free to ask.
Kevin
Kevin-

Vehicle upholstery has always fascinated me. I've been lucky enough to not need it until now. The driver seat on my Suzuki Samuari needs redoing. I "assume" once the seat pan panel is removed I would just reverse pattern and cut the panels and resew. Is there a better way? How about replacing the foam? Do you order OEM stock pieces or cut/shape your own? I've been chasing thread since 89!
 

JaSAn

Active member
My first sewing project was a Frostline (remember them) sleeping bag kit, made with a hand-me-down Elna Supermatic. That was the mid '70 when I was a poor student. I have since made a lot of backpacking gear. Nowadays it is just used for clothing and gear repair. The Elna is still humming along.

jim
 
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