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Old 04-28-2010, 05:37 PM
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Help with DIY gear, sewing, etc.

I'm thinking of trying to make some customized gear. After looking at some of the prices on Multicam vests, clothing, pouches, etc., I think I can do this comparably by just sewing the stuff myself. I realize I probably won't save any money in startup, but that's not the only reason I'm wanting to do this. The second reason is that the things I make will be custom fitted. The third reason is that I'm just the type of person who likes to tinker, modify, customize and make things all my own. Anyway...

I've ordered samples of cloth from RockyWoods.com. I snagged samples of 1000D Cordura, 500D Cordura, 50/50 Ripstop and Duraflex material. My main question is, what kind of sewing machine will I need to be looking at in order to sew 1000D Cordura? And, my wife wants a sewing machine as well. Is there something out there that will sew layers of 1000D Cordura and also be manageable enough to hem a lightweight fabric?

Finally, if you're making a shirt/pants, what fabric would you use? Any of the samples I've got, or something else? What about a vest, or pod pouches, etc.? And what kind of thread should I be looking for?

I've been going through Google search results for 2 days now and I'm just hoping someone out there with some experience in this kind of thing can point me in the right direction.
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Old 04-28-2010, 05:52 PM
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Re: Help with DIY gear, sewing, etc.

pm kanuck.
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Old 04-28-2010, 05:57 PM
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Re: Help with DIY gear, sewing, etc.

The best route to go is probably an overlocker of some sort - double or tripple stitching FTW! You won't go wrong with an industrial overlocker, but that is probably an overkill for your wife's day-to-day tinkering. Try 4+ threads for size! Pfaff, Singer, Brother, etc.

Go to Overlocker Sewing Machines to see what I'm on about. Maybe contact them, and ask for their opinion. They are the experts after all.
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Old 04-28-2010, 08:22 PM
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Re: Help with DIY gear, sewing, etc.

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pm kanuck

I was hoping he'd chime in here. Viper187 too. (Inspiration!)
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Old 04-29-2010, 02:06 AM
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Re: Help with DIY gear, sewing, etc.

I've been seeing a few Heavy Duty sewing machines on eBay. A lot of them are older machines that are refurbished, and I don't think they will handle anything except straight stitches. You guys sewing your vests and pouches with 1000D Cordura, what machines are you using?
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Old 04-29-2010, 03:33 AM
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Re: Help with DIY gear, sewing, etc.

In my own creations, I've been using a Brother from Walmart. Cost my wife a whopping 100 new.

Now, I've used it to sew everything from common cloth Kilts to HD Velcro, nylon and leather up to 8oz. The trick to sewing heavier materials is keeping SHARP needles in the machine AND using GOOD quality, nylon threads.

Get a good supply of HD needles [a dozen or so] and about a dozen extra bobbins. Trust me on the extra bobbins...

Get yourself a good roller cutter [looks like a pizza cutter] and a yard stick or 1 meter tape and straight edge.

Also get a few pieces of fabric chalk or fabric pencils to make your markings. It washes out nicely.

Common fabrics like those sold at local stores are usually about 10oz fabric. That's a little thicker than tee shirt material. Bull denim is a bit heavier, is much like denim material.

Genuine military fabrics are a tad heavier, perhaps in the 12oz weight unless it's for desert/arid temps.

I would say that any fabric in the 10oz and higher class is ideal for common clothing building.

In regards to nylon material, they are usually classed in lightweight [like umbrella material], 500D and 1000D.
500 is like cheaper book bag material, where 1000 is heavy duty stuff. The 1000 is best suited for vests, pod packs and the like...although 500D would be nice for light/fast rigs. Double your stitch paths because 500 will tear faster than 1000.

Here are some of my own projects made with my Brother:

Leather sporran:



Kilts - The Fleck Kilt is made from HD tent shelters BTW:




This one is for my daughter...the purple is actually canvas:


This one is for my 10yr old daughter:


Winter camo is made SOLELY from 2 layers thick of 10oz canvas, as are the spats to match. The leather in the spats is 16 oz leather and was a bit tough to sew through:



Twin 3lb CO2 tank back pack for my vest. The material is actually MARPAT tarp material [don't ask me how/where I got it]:


Genuine EGA MARPAT material off EBay:



And here I cloned a bunch of OD tacten vest items in MultiCam nylon for a customer:


...with heavy duty Velcro:



As you can see, the machine can handle quite a bit.
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Old 04-29-2010, 06:12 AM
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I make cool stuff out of cordura ;)


 
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Re: Help with DIY gear, sewing, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justus
I'm thinking of trying to make some customized gear. After looking at some of the prices on Multicam vests, clothing, pouches, etc., I think I can do this comparably by just sewing the stuff myself. I realize I probably won't save any money in startup, but that's not the only reason I'm wanting to do this. The second reason is that the things I make will be custom fitted. The third reason is that I'm just the type of person who likes to tinker, modify, customize and make things all my own. Anyway...

I've ordered samples of cloth from RockyWoods.com. I snagged samples of 1000D Cordura, 500D Cordura, 50/50 Ripstop and Duraflex material. My main question is, what kind of sewing machine will I need to be looking at in order to sew 1000D Cordura? And, my wife wants a sewing machine as well. Is there something out there that will sew layers of 1000D Cordura and also be manageable enough to hem a lightweight fabric?


What's your budget on the machine?
I used a Singer Stylist 834 up 6 months ago and it did well except for the thicker layers of cordura. It would punch through but not without some coaxing.

Here's my current workhorse which cost me just under a grand shipped from Industrial Sewing Machines at Sewinggold.com
New sewing machine on the way!
Here's my sweatshop The KCK Sweatshop

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justus
Finally, if you're making a shirt/pants, what fabric would you use? Any of the samples I've got, or something else? What about a vest, or pod pouches, etc.? And what kind of thread should I be looking for?
I've been going through Google search results for 2 days now and I'm just hoping someone out there with some experience in this kind of thing can point me in the right direction.

You'll want 50/50 Nylon Cotton for shirts and pants.
I make most of my gear(pod, bottle pouches, etc) out of 1000D Cordura.
For non Load bearing items like admin panels, I will use as low as 500D Cordura.

As far as the thread, the heaviest that will run in a home type machine is #69 Bonded.
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:00 AM
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Re: Help with DIY gear, sewing, etc.

Hey guys, thanks for the responses. The budget for the machine isn't very much. We've got a new house that needs a driveway and sidewalk, and a new son that needs his room finished with carpeting. My sister has an entry-level Singer that she got from Wal-Mart that was going to be my first test. I hope the samples I get from rockywoods are large enough to fold over a few times to test the machine out. If that doesn't work, I've got a couple other machines I'm sure I can borrow. Ultimately, though, my wife did say that she'd like a machine so that we won't have to keep taking stuff to her mom's house to have it mended/patched/etc. (Her mom's machine won't handle the heavy-duty stuff at all - I tried sewing a loop of webbing onto my hunting vest and the needle just kept flexing.) So, if the job can be done on a inexpensive, quality entry-level model then I'm sure that's what we'll end up getting.

Sean, your setup is awesome! Reading over your posts and Viper187's posts is what made me think I can do something like this. I'm not looking to go into full production, though. I just want to make some stuff for myself, so hopefully it won't end up costing me an arm and a leg. That new TacSew is a beast!
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:03 AM
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I make cool stuff out of cordura ;)


 
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Re: Help with DIY gear, sewing, etc.

Try a heavier gauge needle if the current ones keep bending. I have Plenty of cordura scraps if you need some to test with. You know how to get a hold of me
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:25 AM
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I make cool stuff out of cordura ;)


 
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Re: Help with DIY gear, sewing, etc.

I would check local machine repair shops and see if they have any of the old skool Singer machines for sale. My old one is HEAVY and did OK for my projects until I kicked up production.
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