Friday, November 17, 2017

Sew Barefoot | Quick Tips to Sew Better

Kick off those boots and sew in your socks.  Sew barefoot!  You'll have better control with your presser foot and you'll have an easier time sewing.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Deluxe Tree Strap Bag, Video with Pattern

Click here to download the pattern (pdf).  Print in landscape orientation and verify that the scale is correct my measuring the 1" square on each page before cutting your fabric.

You will need:
Fabric of your choice (I used 300 Hyper D from Ripstop by the Roll)
Zipper Tape (a scant 2'), (I used a size 3 zipper)
2 Zipper pulls
6" Grograin ribbon (optional)

All seam allowances are 1/2".

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Black Cat Tarp

Click here for the pattern and Dr. Sally's Catenary Curve Template
Print the Catenary Curve Template in Portrait Format without changing the size.  Make sure the 1" reference square is truly 1 inch.

Black Bishop's Black Cat Tarp Tutorial:

· Tarp Fabric: silnylon or silpoly (waterproof ripstop), 1.1 oz/yd2
· 1 yard of ripstop nylon fabric for tie-outs, 1.9 oz/yd2
· 4-6’ webbing for tie-outs, 3/4” or 1”
· 6 D-Rings, 3/4” or 1”, nylon/ heavy duty plastic, sized to match the webbing for the tie-outs
· Polyester thread, Gutermann Mara 70
· 14 yards Grosgrain Webbing (for finishing the edges), optional (instead you could sew a double-rolled hem)
· Seam sealer

· Pencil
· Scissors
· Measuring Tape
· Straight Edge
· Sewing Machine
· Needle of your choice
· Small brush for seam sealer

Assembly Instructions:
1. Cut out and tape together the catenary curve template (included).
2. Cut the 2 sides of the tarp fabric).
3. Cut the catenary curves into the tarp edges (c and e).
4. Sew the ridgeline with a flat-felled seam.
5. Cut the corner tie-out reinforcements so that they are at least 6” deep + seam allowance.
6. Sew the 6 corner tie-outs to the tarp (they can be attached on the inside or outside of the tarp).  Sew several parallel seams for reinforcement.
7. Hem the edges of the tarp, either with grosgrain ribbon or a double-rolled hem.
8. Sew the webbing (with D-rings) to each corner.
9. Seam seal the ridgeline.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Super Nova Extra Wide Jungle Hammock

I've had some requests for the pattern of my Super Nova Hammock, so I wanted to throw it up online for anyone interested in the proportions.  The sewing is a little different from the regular Nova, so I'll upload some video tutorials soon.  Things have been a little hectic around here, so I appreciate your patience. 


Monday, April 3, 2017

Nova 132 Harmony Jungle Hammock

This is how I made the Nova Hammock, an 11’ integrated bugnet double-layer hammock derived from mathematical principles using the Golden Ratio.    

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Deriving the opitimimum ridgeline length by using the Golden Ratio

I presented my sister Sally with a challenge, to help me figure out if there was a basis in mathematics for the 83% ridgeline that has been widely recognized as the optimum length for hammocks.  What she came up with is quite elegant.  Using the Golden Ratio, she identified a range for a hammock ridgeline length, the average of which is exactly 83%.

The lower bracket of the range (80.9%) is based on the Golden Pentagram and the upper bracket (85.8%) is based on the Golden Spiral.

The Golden Ratio is replicated in nature, in the human body, and in plants and animals: chambered nautilus, fiddle-head ferns, cyclones, sunflowers, rose petals emerging from a bloom, the shape of a human ear and fist... the list is nearly infinite.. 

The Golden Ratio is famously depicted in Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, (circa ~1490) with the Golden Pentagram and the Golden Spiral superimposed in the image above.

When adjusting the ridgeline of our hammock, you may identify with the symmetry of the pentagram or the harmony of the spiral, or you may find yourself equally channeling both by finding maximum comfort right in between.

The golden ratio in the ridgeline proves that hammocks truly are divine.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Round Bag Fundamentals + Calculator + Pattern + Tips

Click here to download my Round Bag Calculator (excel).
Note:  Fractions may not be view-able if using a mobile device.

Click here to download the Small Round Bag Pattern (pdf).
Print in portrait mode, and verify the 1" square on the printed copy is truly 1".

Tips for sewing round bottoms into bags:
  • Mark your seam allowance on the circle with a pencil so that you can verify that you aren't deviating off course. 
  • Mark the quarters of your bag and the side of your bag, and then check to make sure those marks line up when you are sewing.
  • Use a magnetic seam guide, or mark the needle plate of your sewing machine with a piece of tape, to help see the seam allowance when you are sewing.
  • When at the sewing machine, place the side of the bag on the bottom (against the feed dogs) with the right side facing up. Place the circle with right-side facing down. 
  • When sewing, hold the with your right hand.  Use your left hand to ease the circle so that the edges of both pieces of fabric line up at the seam allowance. Hold the circle at least 1/2” in from the edge to prevent bias stretching.
  • Stop sewing with your needle in the down position, lift your foot, and ease the fabric when needed to keep circle stitching smooth and to prevent puckering.   
  • You could also use pins to hold the side of your bag to your circle on the quarters or eights.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Round Zipper Bag for Tree Straps

CLICK HERE to download the pattern.  Print in landscape mode, and verify that the 1" square is truly 1".



· With right sides facing and the edges of the zipper tape and fabric lined up, sew the zipper to both pieces of Pattern B; overcast stitch the raw edge of the fabric to the zipper tape; press open flat and topstitch the fabric to the zipper tape.

· Cut grosgrain into two pieces, fold each piece in half, and baste to ends of zipper so that the loops are facing inward.  (Add D-Rings to grosgrain before basting if desired).

· With right sides together, sew zipper assembly to the narrow edges of both sides of Pattern C; overcast stitch raw edges; then tack down.

· Sew the circle to the side of the bag on each side:: 

Put the loop of the zipper assembly (pattern pieces B and C) on the bottom (against the feed dogs) with the right side facing up.  Place the circle with right-side facing down. 

Tip:  Hold the bottom / straight piece of fabric straight with your right hand. 

Tip:  Use your left hand to ease the circle so that the edges of both pieces of fabric line up.  Hold the circle at least 1/2” in from the edge to prevent bias stretching. 

Tip:  Stop sewing with your needle in the down position, lift your foot, and ease the fabric when needed to keep circle stitching smooth and to prevent puckering.

Tip:  Mark your seam allowance on the circle with a pencil if needed.

· Trim and overcast stitch the raw edge of the circle.  Turn bag right-side out.

Happy sewing!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

DIY Stuff Sack Drawstring Channels 4 Ways

Join me as I sew two double-sided stuff sacks, with a different method for finishing the drawstring channel on each side:

1.  Folded Corners
2.  Casings
3.  Knotched Seam
4.  Interrupted Seam

I am sure there are lots more ways to do it.  If you like something different, let me know and I'll check it out.

The fabric that I used was the 1 oz hyper D from Ripstop by the Roll in Spectra Yellow and Moroccan Blue.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

DIY Tree Straps using RSBTR 1" Poly 1500 in Spectrum Rainbow

I made this pair of tree straps using Ripstop By the Roll's NEW Outdoor Ink 1" Polyester Webbing 1500 lb in Spectrum Rainbow, that was inspired by !!ME!! and designed by Bynum Grahic Design (kitsapcowboy).

Other materials:
Gutermann mara 50 Thread
Ballpoint needle Size 16
Dutch's Cinch Bugs

Bonus:  I used the extra length of my webbing to make a rainbow collar for my dog, Stuart.

Monday, January 30, 2017

January 2017: 9 Nights in a DIY Hammock

I slept outside for 9 nights in January 2017 in my homemade setup:  4 in Asheville, NC, 3 in my back yard, and 2 at the New Jersey Winter Hang.  I stayed warm, slept some with a dog, and had a branch rip through my newly sewn winter tarp.  It is all in the name of fun, so I repaired my tarp and kept hanging.

Ivy practicing for hammock camping in the back yard.

Stuart practicing for hammock camping in the back yard.

Tear I got in the nor'easter.
New Jersey Winter Hang

New Jersey Winter Hang 2017: My DIY Hammock Setup

It got fairly cold at the New Jersey Winter Hang; cold enough for a gallon jug of water that I left out of my car to freeze solid.  I stayed toasty warm in my DIY setup, though.  I took this video on Sunday morning before packing up.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Make an Underquilt Protector for Hammock Camping

I'm very thrilled with my underquilt protector, and its ability to keep me warm and cozy while blocking the wind.  Check out my video on how to make one, and join me in this quick and easy DIY project.

Make a winter tarp with me

Join me while I make a winter tarp, using the pattern from DIY Gear Supply.  This is a multi-part video series, and I'll cover the following topics in separate videos.

Part 1:  Cat curves and fabric cuts
I will show you how I made the patterns for the catenary curves and cut the fabric for the winter tarp.  In this video I use XTrekker's Catenary Curve Calculator.

Part 2:  Sewing the ridgeline
I sew the ridgeline using the flat felled / french seam hybrid method.

Part 3:  Tie-outs
I'm deviating from the sequence of the pattern a little and I'm attaching my tie-outs so that the webbing is on the inside of the reinforcement fabric.  It works out and I am happy with the product.

Part 4:  Rolled hem using the *rolled hem foot*

I hem the tarp, including the catenary curves, using my 1/8" rolled hem foot.

Part 5:  Side pull  outs
I attach side pull outs to the tarp, and like the tie-outs, I'm deviating from the instructions somewhat.

 Part 6:  Seam Sealing
I use Silnet to seal the seams on the ridgeline and the side pull-outs.

Download the Winter Tarp pattern from DIY Gear Supply:

XTrekker's Catenary Curve Calculator:

How to sew outdoor fabrics with the rolled hem foot:

Monday, January 2, 2017

How to sew outdoor fabrics with a rolled hem foot, including lightweight and waterproof fabrics

The double-rolled hem is the preferred method for finishing single-layer fabric edges on outdoor fabrics.  I have heard some complaints on Hammock Forums that the rolled hem foot is problematic for these applications, leading to inconsistent results and big headaches.  Instead, DIYers are resorting to using hundreds of pins to secure the edges of hand-rolled hems.

In this video I troubleshoot the problems and show you how to sew outdoor fabrics using a rolled hem foot, including challenging fabrics, such as very lightweight (1 oz Hyper D ripstop nylon, 0.66 membrane taffeta) and waterproof (1.1 oz silpoly), using a rolled hem foot.

You can put a rolled hem on your tarps, underquilt protectors, and other outdoor fabric projects without needing a thousand pins. 

You can roll a hem on fabric cut with a catenary curve, or on the bias of the fabric.

The trick is to use a strip of tissue paper beneath the fabric to provide traction between the feed dogs and the fabric, and to pre-fold and guide the fabric into the foot while sewing.  If sewing a straight seam (not a zig-zag), the tissue paper will easily tear away when you are done sewing, and your rolled hem seam will be straight and true.

If you are new to the rolled hem foot, I suggest you practice your skills on scrap fabric first.