As I continue to delve into sewing projects, I’m beginning to need some repeatability. I’ve managed to put together some successful pieces without patterns so far and the time has come to figure out this part of the equation.
After a rudimentary proof of concept for a new project, my buddy Scott and I spent an evening drawing up patterns on cardboard and putting together a prototype cut from those patterns. Satisfied with the outcome of our prototype, we set ourselves on a mission of production for our new idea. While I cut material using our pattern, temporarily taping the pieces together with iron on seam tape, Scott began assembling components.
The ability to repeatably cut fabric has been awesome, particularly after we swung by the hardware store and bought an inexpensive wood burning/soldering iron to cut and seal edges all at once.
While sewing up the first run, my sewing machine siezed up, throwing a wrench into our production plans, but with some quick transport to Casper via one of Scott’s business trips, we were able to drop the machine with Dave from Sew Fix it. Dave was amazing, not only fixing the machine overnight basically, but also delivering it back to Lander the next day as he made some other deliveries. To top it all off, he gave me a tutorial on adjusting stitches, zigzag stitches and machine maintenance, right at the house!
I brought one of the first batch into the field with me for two weeks of backcountry skiing and when I returned, I was able to finish up the “production pieces” before Scott took off for a float down the Grand Canyon, handing them off to him with a feedback form for our “voluntold” testing crew. We are looking forward to some design feedback, durability testing and most importantly tales of adventure and fun on the big river.
Things we learned in this process:
- Hot knives rule to cut nylon.
- cardboard patterns are easier to trace around on fabric than paper.
- Math skills. This is why they teach math in schools, you may actually need it someday!
- Sewing machines need to be oiled. (oops, thanks Dave!)
- We still have a bunch to learn before we go into actual “production.”
- Scott made his first machine stitches (and did great!)
- Iron on seam tape is awesome when working with lightweight fabrics and washes out when they are all sewn up.