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  1. #1
    msudawg's Avatar
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    Nov 2015
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    Looking for suggestions on making my next tarp

    So, during spring break next week, I am planning to complete 3 new hammocks and a new hex tarp. I have a couple of questions about the tarp.

    1. I am using Dutch's Xenon sil, is there a right side (outside) and wrong side (inside)?

    2. When cutting the catenary curves, do most prefer to do it after the top seam that joins the two pieces is completed or do you cut before joining? (Why I ask is that Xenon is 58" wide and I don't know if I will have to trim away the selvage or trim to straighten the other side. Regardless, it will be less than the 10' (120") with seam allowances)

    3. If doing the felled-French seam, is there a side of the seam you prefer facing out?

    4. Is it necessary to heat seal the unfinished edges if I am rolling it in a hem anyway? (It seems unnecessary given that it would be completely contained)

    5. With the grosgrain tie-outs and Beastee Dee rings, do you prefer sandwiching the fabric between the grosgrain or placing the grosgrain to the inside? (Again, seems like less stress on the fabric if placed between the grosgrain)

    6. Finally, with side pull-outs, do you prefer putting the grosgrain to the outside and the tarp fabric sandwiched between the reinforcement patch on the inside or sewing the reinforcement (Doubled matching fabric) patch and grosgrain loops both outside?

    Please feel free to answer any or all of them or provide any additional feedback that you mig find helpful.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Spark's Avatar
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    Nov 2014
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    Oklahoma City, Ok.
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    DYI 11 Hexon,1.9camo,Argon1.6,12'XL
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    I made a tarp out Xenon last fall for the Texas hang. I'll Try to answer with my limited experience. 1. Both sides are the same. 2. I didn't do cat cuts, not needed. 3. The pretty side out. 4. I didn't
    5. I sandwiched it. 6. Didn't do side pull-outs.

  3. #3
    msudawg's Avatar
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    Thanks Spark!

    I do have one more question. Why not just do a flat fell seam and skip the French seam? I have seen where people recommend skipping the felled seam in the modified Felled French seam, but not leaving out the French seam and just doing a flat fell. From looking at it, you would have both raw edges encased and have a nice flat seam to add seam seal around without having to possibly go under the French seam to get to the stitches?

    Again thanks for the replies!

  4. #4
    Spark's Avatar
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    My understanding they are both good! I also have a tarp that has a standing seam with grosgrain with beastie d''s on the ends. Both are great tarps. Neither leak, two different kinds of ridgelines.

  5. #5

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    I think I do a modified seam. Offset the fabrics by a half inch, sew, then fold the proud half inch over to the stitch line, lay it down and sew. I put the grosgrain around the fabric in all cases. I heat seal with scissor cuts but not rotary tool cuts which seem to be much cleaner.

    Good luck, it all works out in the end.
    Caminante, son tus huellas el camino y nada más... - Antonio Machado

  6. #6
    msudawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caminante View Post
    Offset the fabrics by a half inch, sew, then fold the proud half inch over to the stitch line, lay it down and sew.

    Good luck, it all works out in the end.
    Caminante, your process is what I consider a flat-fell. I have practiced with the modified flat fell French seam and while I have no doubt that it works, unless you get it just right, I think you would have to seal the seam and underneath the seam or get it across the seam and tarp to pin it down. Your seam would have a much lower profile with only two stitches compared to 3. Thanks for the vote of confidence!

  7. #7
    Senior Member kev138's Avatar
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    Jul 2015
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    Don't know if it's any help but on my mamajamba the side pulls are gross grain loops on the outside and the reinforcements are gross grain v's on the inside with the tarp sandwiched between. Not 100% sure but i think the corners are underneath the tarp sandwiched between reinforcement and tarp ( I'm fairly sure that's how it is, i was just using the tarp this morning.). Hope that helps and good luck. I'll be looking forward to finnished pics.

  8. #8
    Senior Member MattK's Avatar
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    May 2015
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    Tarps are fun to make! It will turn out great.

    1. There is no right/wrong side to Xenon. It is similar to sil-nylon in this regard.
    2. There isn't selvage to the Xenon. Not sure it matters too much if you cut the curves before or after sewing the RL. I think before would make sense, that way you don't have to cut the material twice.
    3. I think it is standard practice that the french seem be felled down to the outside of the tarp. At least that is how I have typically done it/seen it done.
    4. I wouldn't waste time heat sealing the edges. The xenon doesn't fray much as it is due to the silicone coating.
    5. I am not sure it makes much a difference if you sandwich with the grosgrain or place on top/underneath. If the stitching is the same, the stress will be transferred in a similar way. I personally like sandwiching because I think it looks cleaner.
    6. I typically do reinforcements on the outside of the tarp. Not sure why, but that just makes the most sense to me.

    Good luck!

  9. #9

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    MattK reminded me - I do reinforcement panels on the inside, just thinking that they're less likely to catch water at the seams that way, although with proper sealing it shouldn't really matter and considering how many tarps have them on the outside it's clearly not an issue. For sure they look very cool on the outside.
    Caminante, son tus huellas el camino y nada más... - Antonio Machado

  10. #10
    msudawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spark View Post
    I made a tarp out Xenon last fall for the Texas hang. 2. I didn't do cat cuts, not needed.
    Spark, so in your experience, Xenon didn't need cat cuts and the tarp stayed taught? Going without cuts would definitely be easier. I have also thought that with adding panel pulls that I might want that extra fabric as well as them serving to take out any extra slack. Good to know.

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