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  1. #1
    I Gotta Get out of Here!! Foyt20's Avatar
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    Talking The Definitive Sewing Tips Thread

    DOes anyone have any tips, hints, or shortcuts to make all of us beginner Seamsters not curse at our machines? Suggestions on pattern making, sewing cat cuts, different fabrics, zippers etc, etc? I have done several searches, and thought that it might be nice to compile everything into one thread.

    Please Tip and Suggest Away




  2. #2
    I Gotta Get out of Here!! Foyt20's Avatar
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    From Catnip:

    Here's a sewing tip: Use Lemon Pledge and polish the bed of your sewing machine. Also take off the foot and polish the bottom of it. I did that and have had significantly less trouble with fabric getting out of alignment from the top or bottom layer stretching when I'm sewing a long seam. Was sewing some 2.2 PU coated ripstop today and it wasn't a struggle at all (the coated side is rather grippy).

    My poor kitties were the inspiration for this. We noticed every time we Pledged a surface that they were used to jumping on, they'd hop up then slide like it was an ice skating rink , usually right off the other edge. I finally put 2 and 2 together.





    Im Just going to copy a few over that i have run into.

  3. #3
    Registered User greentick's Avatar
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    Before starting a project practice a few times with some scraps of the material to get a feel for how it handles (if you are new or infrequent seamstress).
    nous défions

  4. #4
    Registered User hammock engineer's Avatar
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    Get good thread. Cheap stuff is not worth the head ache. Gutternman thread works great for me. 100% poly, cotton rots over time.

    Go slow and pin everything. Cat cuts are not bad if you pin it first. When I sew straight, I sew along the lines in the ripstop. I cut along them too. They are straight enough if you do not stretch the fabric.

    There is a lot more sewing talk on hammockforums.net then here. Might be worth a look.

  5. #5
    Registered User Frolicking Dinosaurs's Avatar
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    As HE says, use quality thread - 100% polyester. Pin or clip everything. I use spring hair clips to hold fabric together in between pins - pin every 2 ft or so - closer if sewing catenary curves

    Go slow - this isn't a race and the straighter seams without skipped stitches that don't have to be re-done are worth it.

    Measure twice - cut once. Double check everything before cutting. Make sure the right side on fabric is where it needs to be if it has a right side.

  6. #6
    I Gotta Get out of Here!! Foyt20's Avatar
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    Keep em coming, this is a good start.

  7. #7
    Registered User hammock engineer's Avatar
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    The best way to learn is just by sewing. Start small and work up. If you get fustrated, take a break. That is huge.

    It is also easy to fix mistakes. I make a lot of changes to things after they or done or late in the game. Most of the time it is hard to tell that wasn't what I always wanted to do.

  8. #8
    not very ultralight user Creepy Uncle's Avatar
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    silnylon's a pain. use a glue stick to hold the fabric together while stitching.

    that is, if you don't mind the extra weight

  9. #9

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    I usually only sew when I need to out on the mountains, so usually it is by hand. For a heavy usage or pulled seem i tend to double thread my needle to create a stronger seem.
    http://www.alphabluetech.com/kjhanlon
    Enjoy it while it's wild. Soon enough we'll be hiking indoors.

  10. #10
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    I won't give advice, this is NOT exactly advice, but I will tell you what worked BEST for me. And I hope this helps.

    1. Ask lots of questions of experienced gearmakers. There are a lot of people on WhiteBlaze and other boards who are happy to share knowledge.

    2. Take the time to scour WalMart to get your materials. You can hate WalMart all you want, but they get end of bolts of smoke grey, the same stuff Quest and Thru-Hiker sells and at $1 per yard Wally can't be turning a profit on it. I have close to 16 yards of coated, 3 yards of cuben, lots of uncoated grey, green and blaze orange and it all cost me less than a decent steak dinner.

    3. Use high quality thread. People say "friends don't let friends use Coats & Clark" (as someone did to me) but C&C now makes a line of 100% polyester UV resistant thread especially for sewing outdoor gear, and I can tell you this stuff is STRONG. And half the price of Gutterman. You get what you pay for? Time willl tell.

    4. Waterproof zippers from Thru-Hiker DO work. They're great for adding a beak and much more secure in wind than velcro.

    5. Practice, practice, practice. Making your own stuffsacks is good practice. Not great practice at sewing a 9' mock-felled seam, but good practice nonetheless.

    6. Accept the inevitable. Mistakes happen and the CAN be repaired if you're careful. Go easy with the seam ripper and needle holes can be fixed with SilNet.

    7. When you get discouraged, go hiking with a 7 pound Coleman tent. When you get home you'll want to have that ultralight shelter for the next time.

    Or do what I did, admit you're too much the perfectionist, you'll never be happy with your own product and give $199.00 plus shipping to Henry and get a Contrail.

    Like I said, this is not exactly advice. Anybody want to buy some materials? PM me.

  11. #11
    Registered User FeO2's Avatar
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    Default Nylon or Polyester and why??

    Question:

    Polyester or Nylon Thread??

    I just ordered a spool of Nylon #69. I assumed I should use nylon, didn't even think about polyester.

    I plan on sewing webbing material, making a climbing harness, hiking gear etc... Once I get better at sewing I might tackle a tarp.


    Nylon or Polyester and why??

  12. #12

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    very informative thread!
    are y'all making your own patterns for your gear or is there a place where they can be purchased?

  13. #13
    Registered User Frolicking Dinosaurs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleMsGoody2Shoes View Post
    very informative thread!
    are y'all making your own patterns for your gear or is there a place where they can be purchased?
    Thru-Hiker - excellent place for the beginner in making gear
    Quest Outfitters - Outdoor Fabrics, hardware and patterns - also kits for beginners
    Outdoor Wilderness fabrics - Outdoor Fabrics, hardware and patterns
    Welcome To Seattle Fabrics - Outdoor Fabrics, hardware and patterns
    HOMEMADE OUTDOOR GEAR - free patterns for a lot of things
    Just Jeff's Homemade Gear - great designs - free instructions
    Risk's Ultralight Hiking - innovative designs toward bottom of home page - free
    PonchoPlans
    Kickass Quilts - Make Your Own

    That said, I make most of my own patterns using ideas from existing gear modified to meet my needs (I'm an old, fluffy Dino - I need my clothes and bags to be big and warm -- and the Dinos still like each other enough to want to sleep under the same quilt - and none out there are big enough for two fluffy Dinos)

  14. #14
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    Dino said to measure twice, cut once.

    Are you sure it's that way? I usually do it the other way around; in fact one of my standard curses, is "Dang, I cut the thing twice and it's STILL too short!"

  15. #15
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    Thumbs up Fix those machines :)

    Hey all,

    I highly recommend getting your sewing machine professionally serviced. Mine was having a couple little problems, bunching the thread up underneath occasionally, balky starting seam lines, and some other annoyances. Nothing that kept me from sewing, but they sure made it more aggravating. I also have a good quality overlock machine (serger) that sat in the garage unused for around 5 years and it was seized up. They're both about 15 years old.

    They were repaired and tuned up last weekend and now they're purring like kittens , and running faster than my cats when they hear a can being opened.

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