Monday, June 15, 2009

The Sunshade/Rainfly

Sort of an experiment to challenge myself and see it I could do it. After reading lots of tent making tips on the Medieval Encampments yahoo group and seeing the "bloody" sunfly at Golden Lyon I decided to dip my toes into tentmaking by making a simple sunshade.
I bought seven yards of 60" wide cotton duck from JoAnn Fabrics, cut it into two 3.5 yd lengths, and seamed the two panels together (making a fly aproximately 10'x10'). I followed the suggestion to sew a french seam then sew the flange down because it sounded easier than a felled seam and I use french seaming on my smocks and skirts so it was something I already knew how to do. The french seam works just fine but I think I will go with a felled seam next time. I hemmed the cut ends and left the selvedge sides alone. And I am happy to report that my 50 year old $50 Kenmore sewing machine went through the multiple layers of canvas like it was buttah!
The next step was deciding how to do the grommets. Anyone who has been following my sewing projects will know that I simply don't do metal grommet preferring hand-stitched lacing eyelets on my garb. I had my doubts about a simple stitched eyelet being strong enough and toyed with the idea of stitching over a metal ring for reinforcement but, in the end, decided to do big honkin' brass grommets. They don't show when the fly is up anyway. :wink: What I did not do though was cut holes in the canvas. I used an awl to spread the threads apart to make holes for the metal grommets just as I would do for stitched eyelets.
Yesterday we went to Home Depot and purchased closet rods to use as the poles (as suggested at Golden Lyon) cutting six foot lengths for the corners and seven foot lengths for the center poles. We are using nails in the tops to go through the grommets and loop the ropes over. We plan to use it as is for Border War but most likely will swap out the nails for some pretty finials before Pennsic.
Speaking of the ropes- I didn't originally notice ropes attatched to the center poles in the images at Golden Lyon and thought we wouldn't need them. I had planned to set up the fly directly in front of my (modern) tent. We realized that those center poles need tension on them to keep the ridge from sagging (long debate with Tom over adding or not adding a ridgeline pole :rolleyes:) so we had to move the fly far enough out from the tent to make room for the rope there.
It was a learning experience and, all in all, I am pleased with the result of my first baby steps toward tent making.

1 comment:

La- said...

I love it and I love that you are stepping outside the comfort zone! you go girl!