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  1. #11
    Senior Member packman9000's Avatar
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    Feb 2019
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    Finger Lakes, NY
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    Give yourself permission to make mistakes and keep going. I've been sewing for several years and still do dumb things, it's just part of the process. Failure is only true failure when you give up; if you stick with it, it's just a cheap first-hand education. Learning how to deal with mistakes was a big hurdle for me, might not be for others but I see a lot of people throw in the towel on a lot of different endeavors after just one mistake.

    I'd add to that to make sure you finish your first project. Sometimes we make a mistake, get down on the project, and want to start on the next project without the mistake...but you've already bought the materials, so finish it up and make the most of the education, and any additional mistakes won't hurt to bad.

    And start easy, don't make your first project one of those complicated packs with all the accessories.

    Run a seam on a scrap first before you sew the actual piece you need. I save sized enough scraps so I have a reference to back and get the feel for it, even fabrics I've already worked with.
    Q: Does it get any better than kayak camping?

  2. #12
    Crazytown3's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Tooele County, UT, USA
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    WB Eldorado/DIY
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    DIY 12' 1.1 Winter
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    DIY gear is great once you get into it. When you finish a project, there are no others like it. As Mr. Bob Ross says, "We don't make mistakes, just happy accidents".

    My DIY silpoly tarp has some of the most wavy seam sewing you may ever see. But it works fantastic, I love it, and it is uniquely mine.

  3. #13
    Senior Member
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    Jun 2020
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    Yorkshire, UK
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    Type "Learning to use a sewing machine" into Google and look at the videos. There'll be one of the series/channels that you gel with. I ended up watching those from a channel "Made to sew" but it's a case of finding one that suits you. The introductory YouTube channels will go through things like how to set up your machine and alert you to potential problems that may occur.

    Extra kit: cutting board (as big as you can fit on your table) and wheel, scissors, pins and/or clips to hold things together while you sew. I've a metal straight edge to help with cutting material.

    Buy some material for a project but get an extra metre/yard or two so that you can practice. Make some stuff sacks

    Things can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make them. A gathered end hammock for instance is just a rectangle of material with a double rolled hem (the material is folded once then once again to hide the cut/frayed edge) along the two long sides and a channel at either end - this is just like a double rolled hem but wider. The biggest issue with hammocks and tarps tends to be managing all the material rather than keeping the stitching on track.

    As others have said, don't worry about things being a bit rough, it makes them personal. If the stitching on a hem wanders about a bit does it really matter? Is anyone other than yourself even going to know? As the saying goes: "The man who never made a mistake never learnt anything".

    On which point. I made myself an asymmetrical tarp a few weeks ago (there's a post about it somewhere in this sub-forum) but I hadn't made a stuff sack for it. Today I found an off-cut of some material that my wife had used for something a year or two ago. The tarp fits in a commercially made dry bag that my wife uses for her phone when out and about. So I measured it up, cut out the material from the off-cut, remembering to make allowance for the seams and made the stuff sack. Except... I'd measured the width and height but forgotten to double the width! DOH!! So the bag was half the volume it should have been Fortunately it's just the right size for my tree straps and whoopie slings so all was not lost. Measure twice, cut once.
    Last edited by Bob-W; 05-10-2022 at 13:07.
    Better weight than wisdom, a traveller cannot carry - Viking proverb

  4. #14
    I am also starting out with DIY gear and have arguably made my first mistakes before I even have the materials... The first time I put needle to cloth will be on a chameleon style double layer hammock and I didn't even think to order to extra material to play around with. I'm based in the UK and postage is prohibitive for ordering anything extra now so I guess I'll just have to muddle through!

  5. #15
    Senior Member Cruiser51's Avatar
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    Oct 2012
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    Bowmanville, On
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    A point about sewing machines, you don't need anything fancy, for the most part you will likely end up using a straight stitch and sometimes get really fancy with a zigzag.

    The main difference between more expensive models (in a particular lineup) is the number of stitches offered, so the basic model will give you everything you want and need. I commandeered the family Singer 4411 heavy duty and it can do everything I need ... I will also mention that to start out, the machine and I didn't get along very well. Aster 2 weeks of fighting, the machine and I came to an agreement, if I used the machine correctly, it would work fine, been best friends ever since.

    Along with learning the ins and outs of the machine, thread selection is also quite important ... this is a link to a discussion on thread selection, that I found useful

    https://www.hammockforums.net/forum/...-clarification

    The Mara 70 thread is a pretty popular choice and RSBTR and Dutchware both stock colours to match their materials, the lesser known/used Tera 80 is also available, but is a little harder to find the colour selection ... I am currently using both.

    Second the suggestion to lookup JellyFishes Youtube channel ... full explanations, good advice and she makes each project clear and approachable.

    The last thing 2 things to think about is 1) a good work area with lots of light, including a decent task light with an articulated arm .... go with a an LED model, not halogen (don't ask, heat and riptstop don't mix) and 2) plan for all the "bits and bobs" you will acquire ... needles, thread, scissors, thread snippers, different feet, pins, a cutting mat, rotary cutter .... the number of things you will deem as useful to the process is really quite impressive .... so plan ahead for how you intend to organize all this "stuff" you will acquire, throwing it all in a box isn't really an option


    Brian

  6. #16
    3 Feet High and Rising's Avatar
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    Apr 2022
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    England
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    New G3Free
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    Quote Originally Posted by cap624 View Post
    Thumbs up on watching sewing videos. I liked Matt's video (of RedPawPacks)
    5 Beginner Sewing Ultralight MYOG Tips I Wish I Knew, especially when he said, "It's all about jumping over that first barrier of entry to get better..."
    Link not working for me.
    To much chat, not enough hang.

  7. #17
    Senior Member
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    Jun 2020
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    Yorkshire, UK
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    Just made myself a correctly sized stuff sack for my hammock when I noticed that I'd got the tension wrong so needed to adjust it. So a tip...

    With some of the extra material you ordered sew a couple of strips together but use a top and bottom thread that are different colours (and different to the colour of the material). What you should see is all the top coloured thread on one side and all the bottom thread on the other. Usually you only need to adjust the tension of the top thread relative to that of the bottom so if the top thread is showing through the material increase the tension (because the bottom thread is pulling it through), if the bottom thread is showing on the top then decrease the tension (because the bottom thread isn't pulling it through). One of those "it makes sense when you see it" things.

    Edit: Actually worth doing a run at each tension level, usually 1 to 5, with each type of thread and material you use then you've a "library" relating material/thread/tension that you can refer to. Always have the same colour on top then you can compare like with like.
    Last edited by Bob-W; 05-13-2022 at 06:44.
    Better weight than wisdom, a traveller cannot carry - Viking proverb

  8. #18
    Buy some scraps of different materials so you get a feel for how each type handles. When you buy material for your first project, order extra so you can practice on that also. Above all, don't expect perfection!

  9. #19
    Senior Member ibgary's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Colorado
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    Dangerbird, (custom) thanks Papa
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    Woopie, UCR
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    Buy a good sewing machine and learn to use it. Then start with making a tarp or hammock, nothing fancy to start with.

    Sent from my couch

  10. #20

    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    South Elgin, IL
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    My advice to get started, is to make it fun and rewarding! When I see a project I like, I put it down on a list, and then when I commit, I note the dimensions and add it to my material order. I made an imperfect tarp out of 1.6 silnylon where the hem literally is rolled one way on one panel and the other way on the other side! I made mesh pockets for the four corners,4 center pullouts and even 2 on the inside for string to pull my hammock to the side for more room on a rainy day under the tarp. I sealed it with silicone/mineral spirits mix. There were many others steps like splicing all the lines, other pullouts, using linelocks, etc. Overall I must say that not only do I have an interesting and functional tarp, it was FUN to make! You do need to learn to use your sewing machine, the adjustments are there for a reason, though I still do not know all of them. After that, you can make anything you can think of. Planning and patience will help get it done.

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