May 26, 2020
Sewing tips from Ray Jardine
My first piece of outdoor gear I sewed myself was a Ray Jardine Tarp kit.
I still use that tarp to this day and making it taught me a lot.
Below are some tips, largely extracted from his writings.
He and his wife are still in business and selling kits to make tarps
and kits. I highly recommend them.
It would probably not be overstating things to say that Ray Jardine launched the
ultralight backpacking scene. He is worth reading.
He says that sewing is easier than driving a car. Perhaps so.
I use a Singer 401A with a horizontal bobbin and get along fine.
- Get over any "guys shouldn't do this" hangup you may have.
- Get over any "I could never do that" hangup you may have.
- Start out with scraps and just try stuff; this builds confidence.
- Just do it!
- Get a good machine. Pfaff, Elna, Bernina, Viking are the big four.
- Avoid discount store machines, any machine with a horizontal bobbin.
- Get some Fiskair scissors and use them only to cut sewing material.
- Start every project with a new needle (use the universal 80/12 size).
- Many weird problems are due to an old needle.
- Use 10-12 stitches per inch.
- When learning to sew, go slow, take your time.
- Let the machine do the work and move the fabric.
- Have a seam ripper and don't be afraid to use it.
- Consider hot cutting synthetic material.
- I use a hot soldering iron to melt cut edges (which usually end up
folded under and hidden). This prevents unravelling.
- Crummy thread ruins many projects (avoid the common cotton covered polyester).
- Use all polyester thread like Metrosene, Molynecke, or Gutemann.
Have any comments? Questions?
Drop me a line!
Tom's hiking pages / firstname.lastname@example.org