So if you're trolling for a used machine I highly recommend it. But, my friends, Beware of the Singers from the Russian Years On the other hand, if you want to make a lot of outdoor gear for yourself, family, and friends, a commercial machine is better--though it's a bigger investment. I'm currently waiting for the right deal on a commercial machine to come down the pike myself If you own or get a free junker though, don't worry--you can still make tents with it. A piece of crap machine like my "Brother" could probably handle most of the sewing on the tent, but doing the corners, and sewing webbing in require power.
She recommended doing the lighter sewing on your piece of junk at home, then bringing the tent in and sewing the corners and webbing and such with the brick-stitchers at the store to save cash. I used a denim needle on most of the seams and zippers. I bought a big spool of UV-resistant nylon thread online from Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics--a great, cheap source--and used it for all of the sewing. Glues and such gum up the needle and aren't necessary--I just pinned all of my seams together and then sewed them. It can be slow, but it seemed worth it. You could try using some sort of waterproof seam sealer tape as you sew.
Cutting out the Doors and Windows The next step is to put doors and windows in the tent's wall pieces. All you have to do is decide what size you want them to be, draw them onto the cloth using a yadstick, and cut them out. If you're making the Pretty Great Tent, you'll cut out three sides of the foot vent and side doors, leaving the third side uncut as a hinge. Doing this while the cloth is in the frame would be best, but laying out the material without the frame works fine too.
I drew the doors and vent in with angular corners, using a yardstick. Then I used a big coffee can to round out the corners. Just be careful to cut along the rounded line. Sew the zipper onto the door or window first--as opposed to sewing it onto the door or window "frame" edge first. Make sure you pin exclusively from the side you'll be sewing from the 'top' side as you fold the material under, or the outside of the tent.
Then pin the zipper to this folded edge, pinning from the same side you did before. Pin it close to the teeth but not too close. Let a couple of inches of extra zipper overlap each end of the door cut.
Sew the zipper onto the door or window edge, removing pins as you go. Keep your magnet in close by as you sew so the pins get sucked over to it while you're running the cloth through--it's a drag messing with a pin cushion; just pull the pins out as the cloth goes into the foot, and sweep them towards the needle. Once you've sewn the zipper to the door or window, repeat these steps to sew the zipper onto the edge of the door or window frame. Keep the zipper closed during these steps.
What Can You Make with an Addi Knitting Machine?
When you've got the zipper completely sewn in, feed the sliders in and then run a bunch of stitches across its terminal ends so that the sliders won't come off. When you're finished, you can unzip the zipper and admire your new door or window. Make sure the door is clear of where you'll be sewing and will still work right when you're done, and sew the screen on, being sure not to sew the door shut.
Then, with the ripstop door unzipped open , sew the other side of the screen doors' zippers to the tent wall even with the solid panel's zipper. I might use a zig zag stitch the next time I do it, but for the great tent, a straight one worked fine. You should now have both solid and screen doors that will open and close sewn into the wall.
Making the screen side doors and sewing them on is easy. But I want to be perfectly clear on this step.
Either a. Sew one edge of the zipped-shut zippers to the door s , then sew the other edge to the tent. Both the cloth and screen doors' zippers will end up being sewn to the door frame-edge together. You could pin the solid and screen doors' zippers together and sew them to the frame edge at the same time, but I found it easier to do them individually, and I suspect you will too. Once both the screen and the solid doors have their zippers sewn on, zip them shut and sew the hinge end of the screen door to the hinge end of the opaque door.
This might sound complicated, but it's not--as you'll see once you're doing it, and by looking at the phhotos.
I added a couple of tie-back strings at this point. I reinforced mine with some scrap material. My photo shows one way to do this. Since the floor comes up about 3" from the ground, the bottoms of the doors will eventually be sewn to it when you assemble the tent.
What’s So Intriguing About Knitting?
For now, just get the wall panels sewn up as discussed above, leaving the zippers of the screen and solid doors pinned together along their bottom edge. You'll sew them to the upturned side-pieces of the tent floor last. The roof for this particular tent was pieced together out of a large rectangular piece of screen, a large piece of ripstop, and three narrow border strips.
I sewed the border strips to the screen first, then sewed this panel assembly to the ripstop panel. I just matched the edges of thw two pieces needing to be sewn together, rolled them over twice, pinning as I went, then sewed two lines of stitches along the roll. Note: in the photo of the completed tent, there is a drip edge on the lower end of the roof.
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This was the result of getting my roof measurements wrong somhow. The roof was too long, so I folded over the edge and sewed in the flap. This ended up being a good thing because I reinforced the parts where guy lines attach and the flap takes all of the stress of the lines. I didn't photograph every part of this process, but this step is simple, and I've added pictures of the details: 1. Piece together or cut-out the solid panel for the door. I had to sew three different pieces of cloth together for this, which is why there's a diagonal stitch across the front door, and a brown strip of cloth down one side.
Piece together or cut out the screen door panel. If you're using continuous zippers, use a soup can or a bucket of fried chicken to round out the two bottom corners of these--like you did on the side doors. If you're using a couple of zippers, you should have them meet at right angles to each other in the lower corners. This seam doesn't have to be fancy--they'll get a better one when you sew the doors to the roof.
Once you've made this stitch, and sewn the zippers onto both the screen and ripstop doors, match the zippered edges of the two up, pin the unsewn edges of the zippers together, and run a stitch around them. This is simpler than it may seem.
The Near-Perfect Tent: Design and Build a Recycled Tent: 15 Steps (with Pictures)
Just pin and sew the four walls to the roof, one at a time, then sew the walls to each other along the corner seams. I started with the front doors, then did the back wall, then sewed in the side doors. Once all four walls were sewn to the roof, I sewed the vertical, or corner seams together one at a time. Leave the top four corners unsewn in the last inch or two so as to attach the webbing for the poles and guy lines.
Then sew in the floor in the same way. On three of your walls, you'll be sewing the door zippers to the floor. This is only slightly harder than sewing the tops of the walls to the roof. You just need to make sure that when you sew the two zippers in together that you don't crowd the teeth too much or run over them with your stitch. There were several points where I sewed through the zipper teeth doing this and had to rip the seam back open. It sucked, but it all works out in the end, so just be careful and be thorough when you pin the seams together. Remember that you'll be turning the tent inside out to make these seams just like a pair of pants or a T-shirt so that they'll look neat from the outside Just sew the seams shut to within an inch or so of the corners.
It's easier to add all of the webbing for stakes and lines all at once after the tent is fully assmebled. I did this step all in one semi-intense go, and didn't take pictures of the process. From the standpoint of assembly it's as easy as putting together a little model house. From the perspective of process it's a little harder, but not unlike anything you have to do up to this point. I've included some photos to to give a sense of how this is done below. Although keeping the weight down was one of my top considerations in making this tent, durability won out in some instances.
I added some heavy nylon ribbon to the seams that run from the top of the poles down to the lower back corners, and from there down to the staking corners.
I pulled the ribbon off of the junk tent. I just sewed the walls to the roof, then turned the tent right side out and pinned and sewed the ribbon onto the outside. I already had a little grommet-making kit so I put some grommets in these. I also reinforced the corners with extra wedges of ripstop, building up a couple of plys and in some cases 4 plys of material.
The webbing pieces are sort of long so that I could sew the crap out of them. I canoe camp a lot, so the idea of using paddles for poles was appealing, though obviously not necessary. So I attached some webbing that was long enough to tie a paddle handle into. The pictures explain how. Making the fly is simple. When you've completed the tent, set it up. Then take your fly material--scraps, etc. The tent serves as a 3-D frame that you stretch and pin the material over.