DIY solar covers- how do you sew them?!

Discussion in 'PopUp Gizmos' started by MaeKay, Mar 25, 2018.

  1. MaeKay

    MaeKay Active Member

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    35573BF3-ADDE-414D-A0E6-F4CBA6AF5341.jpeg I have rudementary sewing skills and a sewing machine that works half the time. (I recently successfully made a weighted blanket and can hand-stitch like nobody’s business) I tried to sew together two Walmart brand emergency blankets and it was a nightmare! First, the blankets are so big and stiff because of the cold lines it was tough to get them to line up. I thought about pinning them together before sewing but the black edging is just too thick to pin through.

    Then I just tried to free-hand it on the sewing machine. While the needle had no problem going through both layers of black edging, the bulk of the blanket wouldn’t fit through the arm (???) of the machine and after 3” it just twisted so much it broke the thread. Should I just be more careful with rolling and folding the excess fabric on the right side and try again???



    So I tried hand sewing. That’s tough! I finally got into a routine of how to sort of keep them lined up properly but after an hour I only got about 12 inches done. And my fingers are sore! And I have another 73” to go and then a second set for the other bunk!

    Any tips?
     
  2. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

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    I am not skilled in the art of sewing but I would try putting the blanket together back to back so you can run just the seem through the machine.
     
  3. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    Personally I don't think it is worth the trouble to make them like that. I bought mine and consider it money well spent. Good luck though! You could do it with a speedy stitcher. I used mine too repair my awning bag. Slow going though.
     
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  4. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    I didn't sew mine. I put the seams together with chrome duct tape. I used them 8 years in the sun and rain. They never came apart.

    20150520_171555~3.jpg
     
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  5. MaeKay

    MaeKay Active Member

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    Oh my gosh. You’re a genius. See what I meant by “rudementary”?
     
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  6. MaeKay

    MaeKay Active Member

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    I was planning on using silver tape to cover the seam anyway! Good idea! What brand/type of tape did you use? I’m excited seen the Reflectix brand, wasn’t sure what else was good.
     
  7. MaeKay

    MaeKay Active Member

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    Sweet. I see my local Walmart has the Duck brand in the color Chrome. Way easier to source than the Reflectix brand. Both were available on Amazon but as add-ons and I always forget to add them to a $25 order.
     
  8. LjohnSaw

    LjohnSaw So many fish, so little time...

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    For holding the material together for sewing, an auto upholstery guy clued me in. Use a standard stapler! Flip the anvil so the staple legs go out rather than into the center (temporary staple setting). It makes them so much easier to remove. Unlike pins, the staples won't slip out or allow the material to slide side to side. It is so much faster and you won't be sticking the end of your finger trying to place them!

    As a bonus, they are thin so you usually won't bend a needle if you hit them when sewing.

    That being said, I just used the Mylar and aluminum roll of attic insulation and aluminum tape for mine. They are silver on both side so it looks like I'm protecting myself from aliens when I'm camping.
     
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  9. MaeKay

    MaeKay Active Member

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    Thank you! Such great advice!
     
  10. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    I used whatever brand Walmart had at the time, which was probably Duck.

    I also used it to give cut edges a finished look. I just folded it in half over the edges.

    20150520_171555~4.jpg
     
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  11. MaeKay

    MaeKay Active Member

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    Nice! I like that look! Thanks.
     
  12. MaeKay

    MaeKay Active Member

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    It probably is but we’re on a tight budget. I can get these made for $50 vs $169. I doubt they’ll be the quality of the real ones but it’s what we have to deal with at this stage. Thanks for the review of the original ones, though!
     
  13. MaeKay

    MaeKay Active Member

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    I hate my sewing machine. Long story, but I hate this machine with a passion.

    In other news, using staples and piecing the two sides together seem to work well. 8CAE4834-92B0-4468-9C6D-11E0F980BD32.jpeg
     
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  14. MaeKay

    MaeKay Active Member

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    Adjusted the tension. Got it all sewed together. Now to fit it to the bunk end!
     
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  15. LjohnSaw

    LjohnSaw So many fish, so little time...

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    BTW, you are supposed to remove the staples like you would if you use pins. They will rust and stain the fabric if you leave them in place.
     
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  16. MaeKay

    MaeKay Active Member

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    Haha, thanks for the reminder. I did remove them all. At first I left them on until I had finished a side but then I started pulling them out just before they passed under the presser foot. You saved me sooo much stress by teaching me that trick!
     
  17. eagleclan

    eagleclan New Member

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    I'm so glad I stumbled on this thread! I just purchased similar blankets on Amazon and was deciding between tape or sewing. I think I may end up taping because my sewing machine is kinda a POS. Love seeing fellow DIYers!
     

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