Tuesday, February 28, 2012

42 Days- Temperamental Sewing Machine

Too large stuff sack.
At the beginning of 2010 my Mom and I made me a tarp tent to use for ridge running.  I don’t think it even crossed our minds to make the new tent a stuff sack, but the first time I went to pack it up the oversight was obvious.  We had already moved on to other projects, like making rain skirts, at this point so instead of backtracking I salvage.
On my 2009 AT thru-hike I had used a Eureka! tent that developed a leak early on and I used it sporadically.  Ask any AT thru-hiker from the class of '09 and they will tell you how it rained, and rained, and for good measure it rained some more so a leaky tent was a very heavy piece of dead weight.  I shipped it home and relied on shelters the rest of my hike.  In 2010 I repurposed that tent’s stuff sack for my new tarp tent.
The old bag was clearly too big.  The fact that it took up a smidgen of extra space and weighed maybe two ounces more than it should have kind of bothered me.  It didn’t bother me enough to do anything about it for two ridge running seasons, but with a list of projects for the PCT downsizing the stuff sack sounded like an easy one.
Excess fabric.
My Mom and I started our alterations about a week and a half ago.  We snipped off about five inches from the top of the bag.  We set up the old sewing machine, folded over and pinned down the new top of the bag and ran it through the machine.  One time around left the bag partly sewn.  For some reason the machine was skipping huge sections, then a few successful stitches and then another section of missed stitches.
Dials were fiddled with, the internet was consulted, new needles were bought, second opinions were sought, and yet, the problem persisted.  We tried some scrap cotton fabric and the machine worked just fine.  Tried the bag again with the same unsatisfactory results.  We thought the fabric of the bag was too slippery.   It wasn’t looking good for the tent modifications I wanted to make or the new pack cover I wanted sewn out of silnylon which is a very slippery fabric.
The new lighter brighter stuff sack.
We tried a piece of scrap silnylon left over from making my tent.  The machine sewed it perfectly.  We decided the machine just didn’t like the old stuff sack.  With a bigger piece of left over silnylon my Mom cut the piece for a new stuff sack and had the bag done in under an hour.  The only remaining piece of the old bag that we used was the cord to sinch the bag closed.  Using the silnylon makes for a much lighter bag than the old one—even after trimming it down.  And being bright red will help the bag reach Canada with me instead of blending in with its surroundings. 

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