Forums: Skydiving: Gear and Rigging:
Winter Project-Making my own FF suit

 


MarsGirl  (D License)

Jan 14, 2012, 9:16 AM
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Winter Project-Making my own FF suit Can't Post

So my parents recently cleaned out their basement and I took home a very nice sewing machine. Living in the NE I'm not jumping much at all and I want to make myself a FF suit.

The problem is, I don't know how to sew, measure fabric, cut fabric, etc...SlyAngelicBlush

Where is the best place to start? Take a beginner level sewing class?Unsure

I realize this is rather ambitious given my lack of knowledge and ability. Any advice on where to start is greatly appreciated.Smile

*Carley*Mars*


adagen

Jan 14, 2012, 12:22 PM
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Re: [MarsGirl] Winter Project-Making my own FF suit [In reply to] Can't Post

Thoughts from someone who hates sewing!

Learn to use the machine well.

Learn about measuring and fitting - maybe a tailoring focus would be better than a more general class since fit is more important.

If you don't already have views on the subject, learn about the properties of materials, and how that affects the properties of FF suits. Even consider apprenticing yourself to someone who makes suits.

If you're naturally good at this sort of thing you might be able to produce something reasonable quite quickly. Personally, I'd be thinking of suit production as a business opportunity before putting in the time and money I'd need to learn to sew well enopugh, but that's me. Good luck with the project! Smile


davelepka  (D 21448)

Jan 14, 2012, 1:52 PM
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Re: [MarsGirl] Winter Project-Making my own FF suit [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Things to keep in mind, and I speak from experience here - the fabric has to be the correct weight and weave for what you want to do. Fabric store stuff will not survive flapping the freefall breeze, and will begin to self destruct within 10 jumps. A good idea would be to work out the 'details' like the pattern, the fit, the sewing etc with some cheapo fabric, and once you're all set contact a suit manufacturer and buy a couple yards of fabric from them to assemble the 'final' suit.

Also, when building the suit, pay attention to the bias of the fabric. It's like the grain of wood, and it's orientation to seams, etc makes a difference.

A good idea might be to borrow a suit similar to the one you want to build (in a similar size) and use to get started with the pattern. You can literally trace the outline of the suit onto paper and go from there.


wolfriverjoe  (A 50013)

Jan 14, 2012, 2:07 PM
Post #4 of 6 (368 views)
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Re: [MarsGirl] Winter Project-Making my own FF suit [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
So my parents recently cleaned out their basement and I took home a very nice sewing machine. Living in the NE I'm not jumping much at all and I want to make myself a FF suit.

The problem is, I don't know how to sew, measure fabric, cut fabric, etc...SlyAngelicBlush

Where is the best place to start? Take a beginner level sewing class?Unsure

I realize this is rather ambitious given my lack of knowledge and ability. Any advice on where to start is greatly appreciated.Smile

*Carley*Mars*

A beginner sewing course would be a help.

If you go to a senior center and find a "little old lady" who has been sewing for 70+ years, you may be able to get some really good one on one training for the cost of lunch and the willingness to listen to some grandkid stories (and yes, I am totally serious about this).

Due to the complexity of a FF suit, the necessity of it fitting right and the extreme environment that it operates in; it probably isn't a good first project.

Simple stuff is a lot better to start out with. Logbook covers are a good beginner project. Gear bags can be another (big but fairly straightforward).

It's a skill like any other. Start with the fundamentals, work your way up from simple projects, saving the more complex stuff until after you've mastered the basics.

Good luck, it is a lot of fun.

What kind of machine did you get? (I'm guessing a domestic one, but they can be nice too)


dthames  (B 37674)

Jan 14, 2012, 2:40 PM
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Re: [MarsGirl] Winter Project-Making my own FF suit [In reply to] Can't Post

My mother sewed well and taught my sisters as they were growing up. It took a long time but both of them ended up being very good. My wife tried to learn but just didn't have the time to get as good as my sisters. She was often redoing her work, which took time.

I don't know if it would be a good idea or not, but if a person tried to learn making clothing for a doll, it would seem that total time and rework time, plus material costs would be reduced.

Dan


jonathan.newman  (D 30644)

Jan 15, 2012, 6:26 AM
Post #6 of 6 (292 views)
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Re: [MarsGirl] Winter Project-Making my own FF suit [In reply to] Can't Post

I learned sewing from my mother. In fact, I'm using her first machine for canopy repairs and relines, and jumpsuit repair.

Where do you live? In NE you have Don Meyer at the parachute shop and Bev Furlong of Bev Suits. Both are very approachable. +1 for the idea of learning to sew at a retirement home.

If you break it down, there are a lot of skills you need to learn to build a suit. Just a few off the top of my head -- pattern making, seaming dis-similar materials, using elastic, installing zippers and snaps.

Another option might be to look for a commercial pattern. Simplicity, McCalls, maybe others might have patterns available. Expect that you would have to figure out your own cuffs and collars, and make sure the zipper works in freefall. The benefit here is that it will include instructions and tips.

Have fun! Have faith. You can do it.

Jonathan



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