Tips and Techniques - a thread for MYOG types

Discussion in 'DIY & MYOG' started by Graham, Oct 27, 2016.

  1. Graham

    Graham Thru Hiker

    I've learnt a lot of tips from various MYOG projects written-up on trek-lite but currently they're spread all over the shop.

    I thought it might be useful to consolidate MYOG project tips, techniques and experience in one thread.

    To help the handful of members that bother to use the search function before posting ;) it would be good if you could put a couple of search terms in bold at the top of your posting. I'll kick off with one below.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2016
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  2. Graham

    Graham Thru Hiker


    In my MYOG TrailStar inner thread @Whiteburn suggested the following approach for installing the zip:

    I normally use a method that has a hidden seam so only one line of stitches show either side of the zip but I decided to try this method instead, which is definitely simpler if you're doing this for the first time.

    I was installing a #3 zip which is not that wide, so when I cut the fabric along the centre line (being very careful to ensure it was centred) it left a pretty small fabric edge each side of the zip to tuck under as @Whiteburn describes in the last step.

    I found it really hard to tuck the flap under using my fingers so I ended up using a small flat screwdriver (the one that came with the sewing machine) to gently push the fabric under, as shown below.

    I could tuck enough in one go for about a dozen stitches, so it was slow going but the end result was a pretty tidy seam. Hope that helps anyone trying this approach :)

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  3. Shewie

    Shewie Administrator Staff Member

    Stickied :)
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  4. craige

    craige Thru Hiker

    Good tip, I'll be using that technique on my next go at an inner. The grace duo inner I made is a bit of a mess.

    Great idea for the thread too. There have been a few times I've considered starting a similar thread but time for doing any myog is non existent atm. still got those costco blankets waiting for me too attack them.
    Graham likes this.
  5. Graham

    Graham Thru Hiker


    I have a simple method for sewing grosgrain tie-outs for MYOG tarps:
    1. Take a 75mm length of grosgrain ribbon (I use 18mm wide ribbon if I'm attaching LineLoc 3's) and heat-seal each end to avoid fraying.
    2. Fold the grosgrain in half and position it so that the heat-sealed edges on both the outside and inside of the tarp are ~15mm from the hemmed edge (with the LL 3 if needed). I usually have a ~12mm (half inch) wide rolled hem, so the heat-sealed edges will both overlap the hem stitch by ~3mm.
    3. Careful sew a plain stitch across the width of the grosgrain, parallel with and about 6mm from, the heat-sealed edge. I use quite a long stitch length at this stage. This plain stitch should go through the 3 layers of your tarp material formed by the hem. The idea of this plain stitch is to anchor the grosgrain in place before bar-tacking the grosgrain loop in place.
    4. Remove the tarp/grosgrain from the sewing machine and check that the grosgrain is aligned correctly both outside and inside the tarp. If it's wrong, the advantage of the plain stitch is that it is easy to remove.
    5. Put the tarp/grosgrain back in the machine and set the machine stitch length and width so that it produces a 2-3mm wide bar tack with a short stitch length over the top of the plain stitch. I don't stitch the whole width of the grosgrain, I normally start about 1mm in from the edge and aim to end 1mm from the other edge, I don't stitch beyond the grosgrain and over the fabric if I can avoid it. I will usually reverse stitch and then stitch again i.e. 3 times.
    6. Cut the thread and reposition the tie-out and stitch another 2-3mm wide bar tack ~5mm parallel with the first one (same as Step #5).
    I normally use a 75 weight thread for sewing tie-outs which is heavier than the normal 120 that I use for most sewing work. I think most tent / tarp manufacturers may use up to 50 weight thread.

    Nowadays I always smear some Silnet over tie-out stitching (both sides) to provide a first line of defence against dirt etc.

    That's how I do it, any other methods / tips anyone?
  6. Whiteburn

    Whiteburn Thru Hiker

    Haven't built any tents/ tarps yet but for high load points (pack straps, etc) I've been using Gutterman Tera 60; pretty strong & the Singer handles it.
    I used it with #14 needle which may be detrimental (larger holes) to 50 g/m2 Silnylon but others may advise?
    Graham likes this.
  7. paul

    paul Thru Hiker

    90/14 is fine in sil. slightly larger hole but the thicker 60 weight thread fills it nicely.
    Graham likes this.
  8. Graham

    Graham Thru Hiker

    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016
  9. paul

    paul Thru Hiker

    Grosgrain tends to loosen around the thread over time if you use just a straight stitch. zigzag helps that issue enormously, especially if its a proper three step zig zag stitch.
    Graham likes this.
  10. Whiteburn

    Whiteburn Thru Hiker

    I found the Tera 60 difficult to find but eventually found it from Profabrics
    Graham likes this.
  11. Scotty Von Porkchop

    Scotty Von Porkchop Ultralighter

    FWIW I never use the thicker gutermann thread on anything but tree-straps. I use 120 thread with size 80 ballpoint needles for nearly everything and rely on more lines of stitches if I think it needs it. I can't see how 20d fabrics would benefit from chunky thread.
    Graham likes this.
  12. paul

    paul Thru Hiker

    I tend to use thicker thread for top stitching zips when i want it to pop a bit more but thats purely aesthetics.

    i dont own any ballpoints but then i dont really work with uncoated wovens.
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  13. Scotty Von Porkchop

    Scotty Von Porkchop Ultralighter

    Ah that's actually a really great method to get the contrasting colours to show up better. But surely that's adding unnecessary weight ? ;-)

    I can't say that ballpoint or no makes the slightest difference but it what I was originally instructed to use.
  14. paul

    paul Thru Hiker

    Ballpoints are designed to be used on woven fabrics where you want to push the fibres apart and not damage them. On coated fabrics the fibres dont move so a fine sharp point puts less stress on the fabric when it punctures it.
    Scotty Von Porkchop and Graham like this.
  15. Graham

    Graham Thru Hiker

    ^ Thanks, for that @paul. Ties in with advice I was given a few years back to use a ballpoint needle for Pertex.
  16. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    Using ballpoints on very fine woven fabrics make no sense to me at all.:o o: The diameter of the point is much larger than the gap between the weave....ergo, it's going to break fibres. I can hear it when a needle isn't sharp, it makes a popping sound as the needle goes in.

    The gaps between windproof synthetic fabrics for exapmple are tiny compared to commonly loose weaves like wool, which is the traditional use for ballpoints

    For close and dense weaves of any type, supersharp needles are the one to use. eg Schmetz Microtex. The point is so sharp that it's very unlikely to cut a fibre and if it does, it's a very tiny amount of damage.

    Pertex is a bit different, all the fibres are teflon coated before weaving and so they slip quite easily between them selves. I haven't heard of using ballpoints on it, might be worth a try to compare. FWIW, I've sewn a lot of Pertex and supersharps have always done a far better job than a universal.
    Scotty Von Porkchop and Graham like this.
  17. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Dressmaking - I'd only use ballpoint needles for knitted fabic. Broken fibers -> pulls/laddering etc.
  18. Graham

    Graham Thru Hiker

    The old memory isn't letting on who told me that about was very early myog days when I was outraged by the cost of commercial windshell jackets. I used Pertex 4 and the jacket I made is still going strong, the seams are wobbly as hell (embarrassing to look at now) but functionally they're fine, haven't pulled at all and it's a 1/4 zip jacket so often gets pulled-on over other layers. That was the one and only time I used a ballpoint needle on a project.
    Teepee likes this.
  19. kamov

    kamov Trail Blazer

    NIce topic :) I actually started to shoot videos for my myog youtube channel. I will cover some tricks there and paste it on the forums :)

    Sometimes I fold the ribbon first it and then melt both ends together so you get a nice loop.
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  20. Graham

    Graham Thru Hiker

    That would great @kamov the projects you've posted on the forum have looked first class.

    On your loop method, is that what you do for example with gg loops that are stitched into the seam of a pack?
  21. craige

    craige Thru Hiker

    @kamov that's what I do with mine, less hassle lining them up.
    @Graham is there any particular reason you have gg either side of the tie out? I've tried it that way but lining the ribbon up is a pain.
  22. Graham

    Graham Thru Hiker

    Convention - all of the tents / tarps I've ever owned have had the gg / webbing both sides. That statement covers a LOT of manufacturers ;)

    Hopefully someone can explain why, there must be a good reason (probably strength related) because, as you say, lining up the ribbon is tricky. It's less tricky if you try the 'plain stitch anchor' method, I find going straight to a zig-zag is the main reason for misalignment, at least for me and my machine.
  23. craige

    craige Thru Hiker

    Yeah, you make a good point about companies doing it like that... I suppose a sandwich might be slightly stronger. I like it on the inside so that it doesn't get quite so wet in light rain, and imo looks better.
    I've got a bunch of scrap fabric so some testing could be done... although there will undoubtedly already be a substantial thread on BPL somewhere.
  24. kamov

    kamov Trail Blazer

    Yes if i don't offset the two ends.

    Yes sandwich method is slightly stronger. Strength of a tieout is also a bit friction dependant and here you have 100% increase of surface area (well this is my theory :)

    This, and its much easier to do...
  25. Graham

    Graham Thru Hiker

    Never owned a ZPacks shelter - don't think they sandwich their tie-outs?

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