Taking the Plunge

brn2hnt

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Feb 27, 2012
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Whelp, last week I decided to bite the bullet and tackle building my own backpacking shelter. Decided on a pyramid design as it seemed the simplest to fabricate and still be tall enough to stand up in. Penciled out some dimensions based on my fabric width, figured out how many yards I should need plus some for miscalculations and what not. Order showed up from RipStop by the Roll Monday, a short tutorial on machine setup by Mom while she stopped by to drop off the machine and I was off.



Cutting the fabric turned out to be harder than I expected, what with all the help I was getting and the slipperiness of the SilPoly material.



Tape didn't work for securing the fabric in one place, but I was able to use binder clips with the butcher paper I did tape to the floor (couldn't chance the sharpie bleeding through for fear of the Missus) and that seemed to work well.



To cut the material I used a piece of cardboard for backing and a rotary cutter with the plexiglass thingy made for a rotary cutter.

 
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brn2hnt

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Definitely the best way to mark the long diagonal cuts was using a chalk line. With the slippery nature of the fabric, the less you have to tough it, the better.



I then set about cutting the pieces of fabric for tie outs, similar to a Kifaru Tut but with different geometry, we will see if that has a negative result later. I then sewed together 3 of the four walls (2 right triangles sewn long legs together.) I am currently debating starting over with them, as the seam has me wondering about integrity, especially since RSBTR 1.1 oz fabric is only 20D rather than the apparent industry standard of 30D. It is essentially triple stitched, but as in another thread, when I put tension on one side I can see holes from the thread. Debating sewing a sample and seam sealing it and seeing what I think from there. It may be nothing, but it's got me wondering and it hasn't even left the house yet.
 

gudspelr

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Cool-I'm glad someone else is doing another thread like this. Between a few different builds, there's bound to be a bunch of good info. What's the seam you've got so far? Can you add another roll to give another layer of material on both sides and stitch through it all? I'm a lot happier now that I added that extra roll of the seam and re-stitched. Would be a shame to start over if you can get something figured out to beef it up. Looking forward to seeing your finished tent.

Jeremy
 
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brn2hnt

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Cool-I'm glad someone else is doing another thread like this. Between a few different builds, there's bound to be a bunch of good info. What's the seam you've got so far? Can you add another roll to give another layer of material on both sides and stitch through it all? I'm a lot happier now that I added that extra roll of the seam and re-stitched. Would be a shame to start over if you can get something figured out to beef it up. Looking forward to seeing your finished tent.

Jeremy

What I've done is the basic seam (5/8"ish) then ironed both tag ends to one side and double stitched that. Was going to trim and fold, but didn't see how that was going to gain me anything. Trying to figure out a solution before I start connecting the individual walls together.
 

gudspelr

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Hmmmm... I'm having a hard time envisioning the seam. Is there an illustration of it that you could post up? Just trying to think if someone here can help figure a solution for you.

Jeremy
 
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brn2hnt

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This pic is of the third stitch in progress. The original seam is on the right of the foot. The short side of the seam is underneath and folded to the left. The seam on the left is the second stitch. I'm probably using all the wrong terminology. I'm thinking I could roll the seam over to the left, but then I would have holes that would show on the left side instead of the right I'm thinking.

Side note, what have people been using for this type of a seam that doesn't give the problem of holes from tension on the seams? Seems (no pun intended) like every stich I've seen thus far would have the same problem on top.
 

gumbl3

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Ain't that a bitch, they used to give you a roll of thread for free
 

gudspelr

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Did you see the diagram on the thread I have going that shows the flat felled/French seam hybrid? Is that similar to what you have done with yours? I'm imagining mine as being yours in your picture and here's what I added:

Take the line of stitches on the right and fold it over to the left, making the "crease" (or fold point?) the left line of stitches. You've now added another layer of material to the stack on both the side you're looking at, as well as the under side. Using this example, you now have a flap open to the left that needs stitched down. Run a line of stitching just in from the edge from top to bottom. Now, flip the whole panel over and you'll see the back side will have an open flap that needs sewn down, as well. Repeat your previous side's work just in from the edge and you'll have a nice, clean, flat felled looking seam that should be nice and strong.

I hope that makes sense and if anyone else sees significant flaws, please share-I'm by no means an expert...

Jeremy
 

530Chukar

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brn2hunt, Looking great. I just built a shelter very similar. A simple flat felled seam worked for me and I didn't get any light pass thru. PM me if you have any questions. I'm just up the road in Redding.
 

Flydaho

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I ended up using a true flat felled seam on my shelter which worked great. The stitching is recessed in the seam by about 1/16 - 1/8th of an inch so even if the holes elongate (which they barely do at all) they are backed by the folded seam (which is all seam sealed together). It is tricky to do, and it will take much longer to accomplish than the faux flat felled seam, but whats a few more hours of construction if you are going to be using the shelter for years to come?!

To accomplish this you need to buy basting tape (double sided tape) from sailrite. The width of the basting tape will determine the width of your seam, I opted for 1/2-inch. There are multiple manufactures of basting tape but I found the sailrite basting tape to provide the best adhesion.

To manufacture the seam you take the two pieces of material you want to join and run the basting tape down one edge of the material (right along the edge). Next you take the other piece of material and place it over the basting tape, just covering the tape. Now you fold the seam over which creates the true flat felled seam construction. The basting tape has enough "backbone" to hold the seam as you fold it over into a neat 1/2-inch seam. Next use pins, down the center of the seam, to hold it together. Then you sew one edge of the seam (using the top fold as an edge guide), staying about 1/16-th of an inch inside the seam. When you are done with one edge, flip the material over and run down the other edge. This gives you a true flat felled seam where each stitch penetrates through 4 layers of fabric. Leaving the basting tape inside the seam will not hurt anything and will only add an ounce or less to the overall weight of the tent. In my opinion, the benefit of having a true flat-felled seam outweighs the extra ounce.

To help get consistent edge standoff, you can use a felling foot to run down the edge which make the seam look very neat with little wander. With this seam you are getting the same construction as a hilleberg, and they know their stuff. I would suggest practicing on a small scarp first before graduating to your long panel seams. And if you have any questions feel free to hit me up.
 

Flydaho

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One tip for getting the double sided tape to stick to the material is this: Once you apply the tape to the first edge of the fabric, and before you pull off the top "backing", use a plastic spoon or fingernail to press down on the tape. Do this over the length of the seam before you pull off the top backing and it will have a better chance of sticking to the bottom material.
 
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