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  1. #1
    Senior Member Deadphans's Avatar
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    Your First Time Making A Tarp

    Howdy DIY'ers. So I may have stumbled on a 20' X 65" silnylon. I was thinking of making my own 10' X 10' tarp out of it. My mom has a sewing machine that I am going to borrow if I decide to go through with this. I have never sewed a thing except a very crude path to cover a hole on my jeans back in the day.

    I watched some great videos on here about the DIY tarp making (thank you very much to all who have taken the time and effort to put out such great videos for us newbs). It looks fairly simple. But as I have learned in the passed looks can be deceiving. So honestly, how easy was your first tarp making experience? Did it come out okay? Be honest!

    Have a good one!

    DP
    "In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy." -D'Signore's, Tide Mill Farm, Edmunds, Maine.

  2. #2

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    bought 20 ft of urethane coated nylon. Split it in half, borrowed GF's sewing machine and ran a flat felled seam down the middle. Used it that way for many years wrapped around my thermarest on the trail and hung over the front of my tent with a few pebbles or pine cones in the corners. It kept a lot of rain out of several different back leaning tent doors. ;-) Now good as a cook tarp.

  3. #3
    MAD777's Avatar
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    Sew the ridgeline seam, FIRST! Don't ask me how I know this
    After that, everything is a breeze.

    With silnylon, you definitely want to put a curve in the edges to help keep them taut. Also, use some kind of self-tensioning guyline system, a simple loop of shock cord will suffice.
    Mike
    "Life is a Project!"

  4. #4
    Senior Member JohnSawyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadphans View Post
    Howdy DIY'ers. So I may have stumbled on a 20' X 65" silnylon. I was thinking of making my own 10' X 10' tarp out of it. My mom has a sewing machine that I am going to borrow if I decide to go through with this. I have never sewed a thing except a very crude path to cover a hole on my jeans back in the day.

    I watched some great videos on here about the DIY tarp making (thank you very much to all who have taken the time and effort to put out such great videos for us newbs). It looks fairly simple. But as I have learned in the passed looks can be deceiving. So honestly, how easy was your first tarp making experience? Did it come out okay? Be honest!

    Have a good one!

    DP
    Sil is very slippery stuff, so take your time and use LOTS of pins. (every 6" wasn't enough for me the first time)

    My biggest issue with my first tarp was fabric management. I didn't do a good job, so my wonderful flat-felled seam included a wrinkle where I sewed in an extra layer of fabric from an inch over. I had to open that section up, release the extra fabric and re-sew about 4". When working with lots of extra fabric, roll it up, and clip it together with binder clips from the office supply store. It makes sewing so much easier.

    I recently made a minimalist cat-cut tarp. It works fine, but the rolled hem isn't as pretty, so next time, I'll just bind the edge with grosgrain or bias tape.

    My advice: do it, take your time, and be proud of the outcome. no matter what, it will be functional, and you'll notice the flaws more than other people...

    John
    "Do or do not, there is no try." -- Yoda


  5. #5
    hppyfngy's Avatar
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    +1 on everything John said.

    You have more fabric than you need for a 10x10 so practice on some scrap. Sil is slippery.

    Your main concern is the flat felled seam. If you can get that pretty straight, you're golden. The hem is mostly just functional.

    Take your time and keep an eye on what you're doing. You'll be delighted at how easy it actually is.

    hfg
    Caution: Happy Fun Guy may suddenly accelerate to dangerous speeds.
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  6. #6
    Pro Vagabond's Avatar
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    I made a 11'x10' tarp last year and I love it!! I made mine a simple rectangle and it works great for me. Def. do the ridgeline first. I put in a lot of tie-outs for versatility, so that is an option for you. TAKE YOUR TIME AND REALIZE YOU MAY SEW MULTIPLE LAYERS TOGETHERS. Just remove the stitches and be more careful. You will love the results!

  7. #7
    Senior Member hippofeet's Avatar
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    + 2 on John. I hate sewing an accidental fold. And since there are no difficult gatherings or pleats or whatnot, it's mostly learning the machine.
    An emergency of my own making...is still an emergency.

  8. #8
    Senior Member hiker_DC's Avatar
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    When I started DIY, I thought that regular 1.1 ounce ripstop was hard to work with. I figured I made a BIG mistake trying to sew silnylon. Once you learn to sew silnylon, everything else is a easy. If this is your first time sewing with slippery stuff, try a stuff sack made out of sil first
    I have two doctors, my left leg and my right. ~G.M. Trevelyan

    Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time. ~Steven Wright

  9. #9
    Senior Member animalcontrol's Avatar
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    I found beer to be a tremendous help!!

    seriously, I struggled until I found a large enough area to lay everything out...that helped keep everything even and symetrical (beer hindered this process, but offered a much needed excuse!)
    "Every day is a new day to a better future"
    "Of all the things that matter, that really and truly matter, working more efficiently and getting more done is not among them." ~ Mike Dooley
    "What if I told you that you couldn't have anymore of anything... No more friends, no more money, no more anything, until you first got happy with what you have?"~ Mike Dooley
    "The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing." ~ Socrates

  10. #10
    New Member
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    I said a whole lot of really bad words during the sewing of my first tarp. Sewed the fell flat center seam 1st. One small section I used too much tension and it puckered a bit. Simple rolled hem around the edges. When I seam sealed the center seam the puckers folded over and looked hideous. Oh well, it's still works as good as a pretty seam would and frankly I'm not worried about the squirrels laughing at my sewing skills. I must say that I do pitch that tarp with that seam down If I'm not alone. I do have my pride.

    My second tarp went off without a bad word uttered. So did the 4 other projects.

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