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  1. #1
    Member macfly's Avatar
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    Flat-Felled Seam for BlackCat ridgeline

    Hi y'all,

    Have to confess I've been lurking these parts for a while now and am long overdue for posting! This place has become like the little devil (in-a-hammock) on my shoulder. At the beginning of the summer I thought I had it all with my new Hennessy Explorer Ultralight...well, now I'm sitting here in my mom's sewing room, knee deep in silnylon and binder clips, daydreaming about hanging with my ring buckle setup out in the Loess Hills this weekend . I'm not even gonna reveal how many Wal-Marts I've walked into in the last month!

    Suffice it to say the hammock world has pretty much swept me right off of the ground and into asymmetrical bliss thanks to the friendly dialogue and valuable information on these forums and related websites. You gals and guys rock!!!

    So my question is, I'm making a BlackCat tarp. I've made the caternary cuts and am now at the point where I need to sew a flat-felled seam on the ridgeline. I have the tarp halves lined up squarely on the ridgeline and secured with binder clips. I'm confused because according to everything I've read about how to do a flat-felled seam (here, for example), the bottom piece of fabric's seam allowance needs to be twice that of the top piece of fabric. However it seems like Blackbishop has made it pretty clear at the end of Step 1 and beginning of Step 2 that the two pieces of fabric need to be lined up squarely along the edges. Is there some kind of modified flat-felled seam that I'm unaware of that allows me to proceed from here without re-aligning and clipping/pinning the two tarp halves again?

    Hope that makes sense, if not I am happy to try and clarify.

    Adam

  2. #2
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    To the best of my knowledge, the only way to do a flat felled seam is to leave a double seam allowance on the bottom portion of the material and then open up the two halves and fold the longer seam allowance into the stitch line of the seam and stitch a second time.

    You may be thinking of trying a French Seam. This might work okay, but the FF is better, IMHO. Just remeber you can't use an iron on SilNylon...

    http://www.thru-hiker.com/workshop.asp?subcat=11&cid=16

    A little hint iof you've never sewn a flat-felled seam before: DON"T GET IN A HURRY! If you want the seam to be neat, take your time and fold the material nicely, holding it tight with your right hand and pull slight tension on the material with your left hand as it feeds through the machine. Every time I get in a hurry tryig to do an FF seam it looks like crap.

    Also, if your addiction gets bad enough, a nice walking foot helps feed the slippery materials we use in Hammock/tarp construction...

    http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden...3/product.html


    Best of luck !

    Spoon

  3. #3
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    A flat-felled seam is just a french-fold seam lain over flat and sewn again. Try it on some scrap fabric first. Draw lines with dressmaker's chalk or a tailor's pencil.

    It's not that hard, but practice helps a LOT!

    P.S. I like pins better that clips, but you have to make sure that you seal the holes if they are in a weather situation. You were gonna seam-tape or -seal anyway, right?


    Frank

    Quote Originally Posted by macfly View Post
    Hi y'all,

    Have to confess I've been lurking these parts for a while now and am long overdue for posting! This place has become like the little devil (in-a-hammock) on my shoulder. At the beginning of the summer I thought I had it all with my new Hennessy Explorer Ultralight...well, now I'm sitting here in my mom's sewing room, knee deep in silnylon and binder clips, daydreaming about hanging with my ring buckle setup out in the Loess Hills this weekend . I'm not even gonna reveal how many Wal-Marts I've walked into in the last month!

    Suffice it to say the hammock world has pretty much swept me right off of the ground and into asymmetrical bliss thanks to the friendly dialogue and valuable information on these forums and related websites. You gals and guys rock!!!

    So my question is, I'm making a BlackCat tarp. I've made the caternary cuts and am now at the point where I need to sew a flat-felled seam on the ridgeline. I have the tarp halves lined up squarely on the ridgeline and secured with binder clips. I'm confused because according to everything I've read about how to do a flat-felled seam (here, for example), the bottom piece of fabric's seam allowance needs to be twice that of the top piece of fabric. However it seems like Blackbishop has made it pretty clear at the end of Step 1 and beginning of Step 2 that the two pieces of fabric need to be lined up squarely along the edges. Is there some kind of modified flat-felled seam that I'm unaware of that allows me to proceed from here without re-aligning and clipping/pinning the two tarp halves again?

    Hope that makes sense, if not I am happy to try and clarify.

    Adam

  4. #4
    slowhike's Avatar
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    yep, pins will hold the slick sil better.
    at first i was afraid of putting all those pin holes in the sil, but as some one pointed out, the sewing machine is putting multiple holes in the fabric.
    when you seam seal it, they all get filled.
    welcome to HF adam. ...tim
    don`t leave the CREATOR out of the creation!

  5. #5
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    A flat felled seam actually isn't the same as a french seam folded flat and stitched again although the french seam version is easier to sew possibly.

    A flat felled seam actually wraps both fabrics around each other as shown here

    It effectively hooks each fabric into the other making a seam where the tension is applied to the fabric via the fold rather than on the stitching. It also has the added effect of giving a neat finished seam with no exposed seam allowances.

    When you aren't sure about sewing something it really helps to look at sewign specific material. There's tons of info out there, even if it is mostly aimed at women, its still the same techniques.
    Last edited by Rapt; 10-04-2007 at 07:40. Reason: lvleph beat me to it... :)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rapt View Post
    A flat felled seam actually isn't the same as a french seam folded flat and stitched again although the french seam version is easier to sew possibly.
    Thanks. I'm wrong a lot, but I'm good at admitting it!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightwalker View Post
    Thanks. I'm wrong a lot, but I'm good at admitting it!
    In fairness they are very similar. Stitching a french seam flat, results in the two seam allowances being folded face to face rather than wrapped around each other.

    Can you tell I spend too much time reading sewing books?

  8. #8
    Senior Member lvleph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by macfly View Post
    Hi y'all,

    Have to confess I've been lurking these parts for a while now and am long overdue for posting! This place has become like the little devil (in-a-hammock) on my shoulder. At the beginning of the summer I thought I had it all with my new Hennessy Explorer Ultralight...well, now I'm sitting here in my mom's sewing room, knee deep in silnylon and binder clips, daydreaming about hanging with my ring buckle setup out in the Loess Hills this weekend . I'm not even gonna reveal how many Wal-Marts I've walked into in the last month!

    Suffice it to say the hammock world has pretty much swept me right off of the ground and into asymmetrical bliss thanks to the friendly dialogue and valuable information on these forums and related websites. You gals and guys rock!!!

    So my question is, I'm making a BlackCat tarp. I've made the caternary cuts and am now at the point where I need to sew a flat-felled seam on the ridgeline. I have the tarp halves lined up squarely on the ridgeline and secured with binder clips. I'm confused because according to everything I've read about how to do a flat-felled seam (here, for example), the bottom piece of fabric's seam allowance needs to be twice that of the top piece of fabric. However it seems like Blackbishop has made it pretty clear at the end of Step 1 and beginning of Step 2 that the two pieces of fabric need to be lined up squarely along the edges. Is there some kind of modified flat-felled seam that I'm unaware of that allows me to proceed from here without re-aligning and clipping/pinning the two tarp halves again?

    Hope that makes sense, if not I am happy to try and clarify.

    Adam
    Not to say that BB doesn't know what he is doing, but I didn't feel his explanation of a FF seam made sense. The way I do it and the way I have read it, was to line the top piece of fabric up so that it is 1/2" in from the edge of the bottom fabric (for 1/2" seam allowance). Then sew the top and bottom pieces together 1/2" from the edge of the top piece. This will result in a seam 1" in from the edge of the bottom piece. At this point you want to unfold the fabric, so that the two halves are side by side. The bottom we will say is now the right side. Fold the right side edge over the left (this is why it is longer), and then fold both together to the left. Sew along the left edge of the seam. Voila a flat felled seam.


    EDIT: This is a better explanation and has pictures.
    Last edited by lvleph; 10-04-2007 at 07:28.

  9. #9
    The instructions I got on-line for a 'flat-felled' seam had me line up both raw edges (I used pins also) and sew a 3/4" seam. From there, I cut off +/- 3/8" on one of the edges, folded and stitched.

    I mentioned in an earlier post the time frame for this step isn't real clear. For me, it was:
    'Step one. Sew a flat-felled seam'
    'Step two.... (so I'm thinking it's easy here)

    Well, it took me about 3 hours of fussin' cussin' and sewing to get to that
    2nd step. My wife called it a classic 'Stitch and *****'.

    Take your time and apply a little outward tension on the silnyl material. Mine tended to wrinkle or bunch-up at the needle. I've got a few puckers in my earlier seams due to this. Once you get a feel for the material it isn't so bad.
    I also had to adjust my thread tension on the thicker seam.

    TWS

  10. #10
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    I'm just glad someone brought this up! When I was making my BlackCat I found two different websites showing how to make a "Flat Felled Seam". One showed it lined-up and the other showed the half inch bit. It caused much distress in my little mind. Maybe this thread will save someone else that aggravation.

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