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Discussion in 'Do-It-Yourself & Gear Modifications' started by Mercury, Oct 5, 2009.

  1. Mercury

    Mercury Empty Pockets

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    I am looking to make some organizers for my EDC bag. I am very interested in sewing cordura, but do not have a sewing machine yet. In the meantime I would like to know what kind of organizers I can hand-sew for organization in my EDC bag.

    I've been considering neoprene as it's so soft but I can't find where you would purchase moderate amounts of it.

    Does anyone know a good material that's widely available for hand sewing? Also, does anyone know what to look for in used sewing machines? I'd like to look at some of the pre-50's era treadle machines for their ability to handle tougher fabrics (from the DIYTactical forum how-to). Are there good brands of machine to handle cordura?

    I wasn't able to find much information about hand sewing the kind of things I'm interested in. Most of my interests involve cordura and that seems to live in the sole domain of machines.

    I know this is a hodgepodge of questions but I'm just getting into this a bit unsure of where to start.
     
  2. landwire
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    • In Omnia Paratus

    landwire Loaded Pockets

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    Check out your local fabric and/or craft store for materials. As far as machines goes, I've been using an older Viking. It built like a tank and weights like one too.
     
  3. Hannibal Lecter

    Hannibal Lecter Loaded Pockets

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    My Dear Friends,

    Look for older treadle machines - Singers can often be had for $100 - $125 or so in excellent shape at flea markets and antique malls. Mine is an 1885 model that will sew anything I put under the needle - I am the fourth generation of our family to possess and use it.

    Owner's Manuals are available online for most of these older relics - do pay attention to the maintenance schedule (a few drops of oil once in a while is about it, but it is important).

    Use heavy-duty nylon thread for sewing Cordura - I purchase mine from a local upholstery shop a spool at a time.

    FWIW - these antiques will handle sewing multiple layers of suede leather or military canvas - Cordura isn't an issue in the slightest - I have done it many times.

    ------------
    Hannibal
     
  4. yam350

    yam350 Loaded Pockets

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    Hand sewing cordura is easy, I do it because I have a load of leather working tools, the hardest thing is to learn to space the stitches evenly as it's difficult to mark black cordura. It is also very slow compared to using a machine, I have one in the house that needs repairing which after I have found someone patient enough to teach me, I will use.
    As it says below the older models are generally better for heavier stitching.
     
  5. Mercury

    Mercury Empty Pockets

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    Thanks for the replies!

    Landwire: For brands your vote goes with Viking?

    Hannibal: That's great that your machine can sew leather and military canvas as these are other materials I have projects in mind for. As far as brands go you're saying a treadle Singer is a good bet? Thanks for the upholstery shop tip.

    Yam: I didn't realize you could hand sew Cordura. Would you be willing to tell me what types of tools/needles you use?
     
  6. yam350

    yam350 Loaded Pockets

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    It doesn't need much, I use a darning type needle about 1mm thick and 1 1/2" long, these are strong, have a sharp point and take a lot of punishment pushing them through multiple layers without breaking, a sail makers palm Tandy leather sell these,for load bearing seams I get UV resistant thread from a shop that makes awnings, it's not really necessary but I like it and it's strong because on an awning it has to hold seams against any weather.
    Most seams are internal but where stitching will show I just us black nylon as you don't get many black awnings. For marking out I either use pencil which you can just see against the light or Rotring draughting pens , they have a black black ink that is indelible but cordura wears out the tips quickly and they are expensive so I only use them where I need to see a mark clearly, like cutting out awkward shapes. Other tools are pliers, the best scissors you can find, a hole punch, 1/8" rivets and a rivet set (Tandy again) and a lighter, when I cut cordura I always melt the edges or if I punch a rivet hole I hold the flame to that to seal the edge. You could use tailor's chalk to mark with but I dont like it, it seem to leave a pale mark.

    I hope that is of some help.
     
  7. Mercury

    Mercury Empty Pockets

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    A great deal of help. Thank you very much. Looks like I'll be hitting up my local leatherworking shop ;D
     
  8. Hannibal Lecter

    Hannibal Lecter Loaded Pockets

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    My Dear Friend,

    My attraction to the Singer treadle machines:

    Can be used very slowly - more controllable than electric machines on heavy fabrics.
    Designed for heavier fabrics - in fact, I generally don't try to sew fine fabrics on it.
    They are damned near indestructible.
    Parts are readily available in the rare event that an issue does occur.
    A mentally-deficient monkey can maintain the machine - they're very simple to keep running.

    Singer is the de facto standard for home-grade machines, and unless you're going to be sewing stuff for a living a commercial machine is both far too expensive and overkill IMO.

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    Hannibal