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  1. #1
    Merganser's Avatar
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    Grosgrain ribbon on a cat-cut tarp?

    So I have a DIY hammock (gathered end) and underquilt done. My next project is going to be a cat-cut tarp. I'm going to make it similar to the Speer "Winter Tarp".

    I'm considering using grosgrain ribbon on all the edges and possibly even down the ridgeline and I'm interested in comments some of you folks with tarp experience might have on that.

    My thought is that the grosgrain will stretch less than a simple hem and you'd be able to pull it tight and put less stress on fabric. I'm OK with the extra few ounces (I paddle/portage not pure hiking).

    Is there a chance that if I trim it all (ridgeline included) that will make it harder to get taught (i.e. fabric stretched by wind etc, ribbing not)?

  2. #2
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    I would not use grosgrain on the ridge. The flat felled seam is rather bulky to start with and plenty strong. There are several different schools of thought about the ribbon on the hems. Some folks swear by it. I tend to swear at it. Some folks like the accent look I don't particularly care for it. I wrap a length of twill tape in the rolled hem for edge strength.

    IMO it is a question of personal preference and whatever floats your boat. I find it a PITA. Others would find my technique unacceptable. But to a great degree it's what ever works. The other issue for me is grosgrain is rather expensive. We have a whole spool of twill tape. For me that's a no brainer. If memory serves there are some folks who don't reinforce the hem at all but simply rely on the strength of the rolled hem, which is really a pretty hefty hunk of fabric when you are done with it.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

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  3. #3
    gargoyle's Avatar
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    I just went with the rolled hem and no twill or grosgrain. If you have a chunk of test fabric (scraps) fold it over and hem and fold and hem again and give it a strength test. I did this on my first tarp, I could not believe how strong it was, and I saved the money of not having to buy grosgrain.
    Call me lazy, but anything to eliminate sewing time is a plus, when it isn't neccessary.
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  4. #4
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    I made a cat cut tarp with GG and a rect one without. I have a lot more nights with the cat cut one. I think you can make a valid argument for not using GG. Having said that I am going to put it on the next tarp that I make. It adds a couple oz's. But I think makes for a cleaner look. Plus I think it helps gets the edges taughter.

    I also wouldn't put it on the ridgeline.

    I still put a small roll seam on the edges before the GG went on. Might not be needed. But doesn't add to the weight (I don't consider the weight of thread to amount to anything) but it adds some strength and piece of mind.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Splinter's Avatar
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    I'm like coffee, one with GG and one without. I would say it's personal preference. The GG gives it a clean look, but it can be a pain to get on in a nice manner.

    I'll also echo the others...don't put it on the ridgeline.

    ...just make sure you post pics when your done (I think its in the online contract somewhere).
    "Do, or do not. There is no 'try'."
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  6. #6
    I'm in the middle of a similar project, an 11'x12' winter cat tarp. While I do like the look of the cross-grain, I'm also what people on here refer to as a gram weenie. I like light weight. I have noticed that there is a little less stretch with the cross-grain, but not enough to get me to start using it on my projects. Instead I roll me hem an extra time. I'm not sure that it makes any difference or not, but it seems to give the hem a little extra stiffness that I like without the weight gain.

    I also worry about the water retention at the edge of the tarp and the added dry time that it creates. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against the cross-grain. I have 2 tarps with it. I just don't think it's worth anything more then asthetics.

  7. #7
    Merganser's Avatar
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    So it sounds like no grosgrain on the ridge line is the consensus. Seemed like overkill to me as well but it was a thought. So at least we ruled that out. I'll have to try sewing some gg on an a curve and see how much of pain that is. If it's not bad I think I'll go with it. If its a pain, I'll roll the hem an extra time instead.

    Thanks, everyone for your input and I will post pictures when I am done.

  8. #8
    Darby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merganser View Post
    So it sounds like no grosgrain on the ridge line is the consensus. Seemed like overkill to me as well but it was a thought. So at least we ruled that out. I'll have to try sewing some gg on an a curve and see how much of pain that is. If it's not bad I think I'll go with it. If its a pain, I'll roll the hem an extra time instead.

    Thanks, everyone for your input and I will post pictures when I am done.
    If you decide to try the grosgrain on the edges, fold it in half and iron it. This takes a lot of hassle out of it. Also, I found that using pins on a curve is a pain. I don't use pins on cat cuts, I just align about 8" at a time.
    Beer won't solve problems, but then again, neither will milk !
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  9. #9
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darby View Post
    If you decide to try the grosgrain on the edges, fold it in half and iron it. This takes a lot of hassle out of it. Also, I found that using pins on a curve is a pain. I don't use pins on cat cuts, I just align about 8" at a time.
    I find the grosgrain to be a pain period. However I agree... align a section at a time instead of trying to pin the whole shooting match.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
    Mrs. Loftus to Huck Finn

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    Important thread injector guidelines especially for Newbies

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  10. #10
    Merganser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darby View Post
    If you decide to try the grosgrain on the edges, fold it in half and iron it.
    I was planning on use 3/4in and putting it flat on the underside of the tarp, with a single fold in the nylon under it. My Cooke Custom Sewing tarps are made this way and I've been quite impressed with them.

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