Repairs On Really BIG Pieces

Questions and conversations related to sewing up a magnificent kite creation.
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TheBigKiteGuy
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Repairs On Really BIG Pieces

Postby TheBigKiteGuy » Tue, Dec 12 2006, 11:18 PM

Ok, I have some repairs to make and while I know what I have to do for some, I am still trying to decide what to do about others.

The challenge: repair a 50' diameter 65' long tapering cylinder otherwise known as the barrel.

The majority of the problems are at the back end of the barrel where it abruptly tapers to vents which cause it to spin. Three of the vent panels are torn free from the trailing edge webbing and or from the main cylinder and are fairly straight forward repairs. There are also a couple of stress tears in panels in the rear of the cylinder, probably from using webbing cinched very tightly to launch the barrel. I will probably use tear-aid tape to repair these, if I can find them. I did have the sense to take the trouble to pack the barrel backwards so I can just take the trailing edge out of the compression sack.

Now comes the fun part. I have never measured it precisely enough to get an exact figure but there is something between 500 and 550 square yards of fabric in the barrel and there are a couple of seams midway down the length that need repair. Assuming that I can find these seams, which is a big if, I can not figure out how to use a machine to repair them. There is no way I could ever fold or bunch the fabric enough to get it through my machine. I assume that I am going to have to hand stitch them, maybe a sail makers stitch. I have not figured this out yet. But then I don't know how I am gong to find the open seams, if I pull the barrel completely out of its compression sack, it will completely take over my dining room which is where I do repairs.

But assuming that I can find these open seams, anybody have any ideas on how to get a machine to stitch these seams in a sea of fabric, or more likely know any really strong hand stitching techniques?
Alan Sparling

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Frodos Majik
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Re: Repairs On Really BIG Pieces

Postby Frodos Majik » Wed, Dec 13 2006, 12:24 AM

The only thought that come to mind for me is,what about one of those small hand held sowers? I dont know how strong the stitching would be though.
May Ol Ma Nature never hold her
breath on you.
-------
Ken

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Draftnik
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Re: Repairs On Really BIG Pieces

Postby Draftnik » Wed, Dec 13 2006, 09:40 AM

Good golly, that's alota fabric! :shock: I have visions of you going the route of the lizard if you unpack that thing in your living room. :-D

A very dusty memory from high school sewing classes makes me wanna say that hand stitching is stronger then machine stiching, but I could be wrong. AND you'd have to be skilled at hand stiching to make that work.

It's impossible to keep the majority of the fabric outa the arm of a machine? Hum, I wonder if a quilting machine, a long arm could do it? http://www.gammill.net You'd be surprised how many of these are around. I know 3 women that have had them and quilt for others with them, and I'm not even a quilter. If nothing else, this url might give you some idea how they manage all the fabric and layers they work with on quilts.
TTFN,
Draftnik

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awindofchange
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Re: Repairs On Really BIG Pieces

Postby awindofchange » Wed, Dec 13 2006, 12:18 PM

We have had to do a couple repairs on my Peter Lynn Maxi Fish and on my Premier giant eel. The Maxi Fish is about the same size as your Barrell (estimating) so I know of the difficulty in getting inside that thing and sewing a panel back together.

The thing that comes to mind is to completly flip the thing inside out (and I am not sure if this will actually work because I have not seen a closeup of the Barrell). That way the seams that need to be repaired would be on the outside of the kite instead of inside. If the hems are inside it would just be a matter of getting the section that needed the stitching into the machine from the side instead of trying to tuck the entire thing inside of the reach of the sewing machine (which would be impossible). With the Maxi fish we actually had to unstitch part of the kite to get to the inside where we could pull its innerds out and stitch it, the re-stitch the new opening (kinda sounds like surgery huh! lol).

If you have a huge living room then kewl! If you are like me and your living room is smaller than your kites then the only option is to move the sewing machine outside or in the garage. A long extension cord in the back yard works good, just make sure it isn't windy and the kite wont inflate or you will surely have a problem.

If the seam to be repaired is not hemmed but sewn one piece on top of the other then you may have a bit more work. Chances are that there is a seam somewhere on the kite where the two pieces of sewn fabric are hemmed together. You may have to unstitch that section just enough to give you an opening in the center of the kite where you can then get to the seams that need to be repaired. Once you have an opening then you only have to stuff a small amount of fabric into the machine to get to the repair. Another option is to pick the area in need of repair apart enough to add an additional two pieces of matching material that can be sewn onto both sides of the repair area and then hem the two pieces of new material on the inside of the kite. The outside will be very close and nearly undetectable but you would see the small hem on the inside...again this would be very small and nearly undetectable but it may be the only way you can do it....or just sew the two pieces together as small as possible with the machine and then hand stitch the remaining area.

Again I am just speculating because I am unfamiliar with the actual repairs needed and where they are at. I hope this gives you a couple of ideas to get you going.
Happy Winds!
Kent
www.awindofchange.com

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Chris
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Re: Repairs On Really BIG Pieces

Postby Chris » Wed, Dec 13 2006, 05:18 PM

Here's a link to a UK company that sells to sail makers. I have no idea what they cost, but I think they fit your application perfectly :-D

http://www.solentsew.co.uk/
It's a great satisfaction knowing that for a brief point in time you made a difference.

-unknown

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TheBigKiteGuy
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Re: Repairs On Really BIG Pieces

Postby TheBigKiteGuy » Wed, Dec 13 2006, 05:21 PM

Thanks for your suggestions, I will have to let them peculate a bit. Having flown the PL Maxi Fish at several festivals, it is a good bit smaller than the Barrel. This is only relevant as it means that it takes up even more space when unpacked. Unfortunately the fabric is sewn so that no hem is accessible and by the nature of the barrel, both the inside and outside are very visible to the public. As a ground bouncer, repairs that I have done on my PL Maxis would be visible. As my sewing skills are minimal, I want to avoid opening up more seams if possible. I will have to study the Barrel a bit more to see if I can determine where the final seam putting it together is. Strangely, it has never stood out. I know Peter Lynn does some hand repairs with a sail makers stitch (I saw him do it in Thailand), I think I may have to do some research here. The bottom line is that it has sat there since AKA convention, it can wait a bit longer while I decide what to do.
Alan Sparling


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