Beginner Ripstop sewing question

In article <29hrrl$6mp@usenet.INS.CWRU.Edu> dh967@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Greg Padden) writes:
>I've never used ripstip nylon for kites before and am wondering what 
>the pitfals and tricks to sewing using this material.  Do I need special
>needles, special sewing mackines, etc...

No special machine is needed.  I've been sewing award winning kites on a
25+ year old Kenmore sewing machine that does nothing but zigzag (at its
narrowest, this becomes a straight stitch).

For needles, I tend to use whatever I have lying around.  I believe this is
usually an 11.

For thread, use 100% polyester.  I can buy both Guterman and Metrocene at
my local sewing shop.  I tend to use the latter (fewer fuzzies, or so it

I've been using the standard presser foot on my machine.  Marty (and Reza)
swear by the walking foot.  TC Powers swears by the teflon foot which which
he does his spectacular appliques on his Bernina.  After talking to him and
a couple of other people who use a teflon foot, I plan to buy one of them
rather than a walking foot.  I've tried the walking foot once or twice.
It's very nice for straight lines but seems to make curves rather
difficult.  I have a tendency to use curves in my appliques.  ;-)

The big things are to practice and to ask when you have questions.  Fiddle
around with scraps of rip stop.  Try out different applique techniques,
different hems and seams.  Study kites that you own.  Whenever I see a
paneled kite, I study it to see in what order the pieces were put together.
I'll probably never build anything that uses that information, but you
never know where you'll get inspiration.  Don't be afraid to make mistakes
with your hot cutter, your needle, or your back-cutting scissors. 

If you run into a problem, ask on rec.kites or try to find some local
kiters who do their own sewing.  Most of 'em will remember what they went
through when they started sewing and will be willing to help out.  ;-)

Finally, is there any sort of club in your area that might sponsor
workshops?  KAK here in DC is about to hold its first sewing workshop, for
members, on the 30th.  It's a 6 hour ordeal and folks are invited to bring
their machines and works-in-progress if they need any help.  Unfortunately,
I'll have to miss it as I'll be in Chicago for the weekend.  :-/ Dunno if
I'd be a student or a teacher anyway.  Probably both.

If you're looking for somewhere to buy materials, I strongly recommend Hang
'em High Fabrics down in Richmond, VA.  Call and ask for a catalog with a
set of fabric swatches.  The phone number is 804-233-6155, M-F, 10-10
(Eastern).  I have no affiliation with Hang 'em High.  I'm merely a *very*
satisfied customer who's placed numerous orders and had every one of 'em
delievered quickly and inexpensively.  And they sell virtually everything
you'll need to build most kites.


|Jeffrey C. Burka     | "When I look in the mirror, I see a little clearer/ |

Return to Kite Fliers's Site