Ok this was my first DIY attempt: a 12' SilPoly hex tarp kit from Ripstop By The Roll. The fabric is dark olive SilPoly PU4000. I think it turned out pretty good, even though it is far from perfect.
I have only sewed twice in my life: once in Jr. High when everyone (boy and girl alike) had to take a home economics class. We learned to use a sewing machine to make a pillow. And again in college when I made some curtains for an old VW bus.
I got out the old sewing machine which hadn't been used in a couple decades. The first thing was to put some gun oil on all the moving parts. Then I tried to wind the bobbin. It worked for about 5 seconds… then something broke. The rest of the machine still worked, so I found another way to wind the bobbin:
I ran some test pieces for about an hour and got everything working ok. My house does not have a lot of extra space, so I laid out and cut the fabric outside:
Handling the big pieces of fabric was hard at first, but as the project went on it got easier. Here is an action shot of sewing:
It took 5 nights of working on it a couple hours per night. I am kind of slow. Also, the sewing and snipping of excess thread took longer than I thought, especially at the reinforcement areas:
Well, I hung with it and finished it up this morning. There are a whole lot of imperfections, but I am really happy with how it turned out:
The completed tarp weighs 15.3 oz. I added 30' of 3mm Bluewater NiteLine for the ridgeline (attached with 2mm prussics), and four 5' sections of the same 3mm NileLine for the stake tie outs. With four aluminum stakes from REI, the total weight is 21.7 oz. I will make a snakeskin for it later.
I love it. The material was easy to work with and is tougher than I was expecting. I will have not problem trusting it on a solo backpacking trip I am taking this spring.