Do It Yourself / Make Your Own Gear

DIY / MYOG Projects

Projects about to be done:
Kayak repair, Sewing packs/bags, shaping kydex and leather sheaths, making golf/trekking/camping/biking/climbing accessories, Rod Quiver, Backpack Rod Quiver, Fishing Kayak add-ons, Backpack Add-ons, Boat Hanger, Kayak Carrier, Fishing Knife and Pliers Scabbards, Rescue ladder, Pole bags, Field Note Wallet, First Aid Kit, Flip Ropes, et cetera.

Sewing projects

On the workbench: Map Case

Not the final product. Binding has to be added.

And there we go: designing and making an ultralight (or: as light as possible, yet durable) map case.
This case has tailored measurements, exactly serving the way I prefer to fold my (1:25.000 scaled) walking maps. The shell will be made of VX21 Black X-Pac® X4-Laminate with 210 den Nylon, X-PLY® and 50 den Polyester Backing, PVC Window Film 0,3mm and the top part is reinforced with Black Curv® thermo-polypropylene to create a sturdy base for the grommets and make the case stable to use.

On the workbench: Molle/Tear Away First Aid Bag

I am a former (Green Baret) Commando Medic, as well as a AWRFA (Advanced Wilderness & Remote First Aid Medic) and Whitewater Rescue Technician (Rescue 3 Europe Whitewater / WRT-REC & WRI Swiftwater). My specific level of knowledge, reflects in the very particular contents of my First Aid kit, aimed to help myself and others.

This tailored First Aid Bag will be fitting neatly on my Fenix ​​Protector ‘Magnus 50’ backpack. The main compartment will be made out of 1100 dtex Invista Cordura, Powermesh and Curv reinforcements. It will have 3 zippers and webbing. The outer layer will have Pals webbing on the sides to accomodate a Leatherman Rapture Rescue tool and a Tourniquet pouch. The shell in which the tear away pouch is housed utilizes a slotted bay and velcro as well as a Fidlock Snap closure to keep it in place (and at hand).

Packing Cubes

In an attempt to make the most of the space in my pack, I decided to make tailored stuff sacks for my Fenix ​​Protector ‘Magnus 50’ backpack. With these cubes I utilize all the available space of this pack. I do not use them for trekking activities (because then I use a waterproof lining) but for traveling.
The choice for 50g/m2 Ripstop Silnylon fabric, is based on the weight and sufficient slipperiness, so that they stack easily in the backpack.

The basic shape is a trapezium/trapezoid, which I’d like to close with a centered drawstring. When I drew a (trial) pattern, it turned out to have a waving top to accomodate the trapezium shape. I have never seen a pattern like this before.

Fishing Vest

A fishing vest based upon the Twig & Tail Trailblazer Fishing vest, with a number of practical adjustments and additions. Our design goal was to make a light (less than 300gr), sturdy, low snag vest. I used the pattern for the basic shape and sizing. It is a 2 day project.

My version of this vest has:

Click to enlarge:

Techniques and materials:

  • This vest has been sewn with a size 90 needle and Gütermann’s continuous filament thread, TERA 40, which is a Tex 75 polyester thread.
  • I used Cordura with Vectran-Ripstop because of its strength and durability, so it can handle heavy backpacks. It is very hard to cut, so I used specialised micro-serrated scissors for the big Nylon/UHMW panels, but had the Molle-panel laser cut the Cordura/Vectran panels (based on a vector file). This was more exact and it sealed the edges.
  • I made the left hand box-pocket to fit my fly-box and fishing permit. The right hand pocket has the same outher dimensions, but is divided into a sunglasses pocket with lid and a open knife pocket with a drain hole (with plastic eyelet).
  • The Coolmax All Season Polyester mesh is used as lining for the vest, as well as a mesh back panel. A simple choice because of it cools in warm temperatures, insulates easily in cold weather and effectively wicks away moisture in all situations and dries quickly.

Polartec Raglan Hoodie

Here is my (raglan sleeve) hoodie. I used a pattern by Learn MYOG, The material I used is Polartec Alpha Direct, Style 4028 60g/m2. The Gütermann Mara 30 thread worked well with this fabric. My trial version, made out of unbleached cotton, did have details like the hood cinch and binding. None of those made it to the final version, due to lack of (baselayer) functionality. I found it hard to use this material, because of the loose structure and the difficult to distinguish sides. Having said that: This turned out to be one of the most comfortable and warm baselayers I own, dispite it’s open structure.
This turned out to be a three hour project (trial version and my final version).

Design- and Trial Versions.

Rope Roll / Rope Tarp

This rope roll consists of an integrated bag and tarp and is elongated in shape when closed. It’s final shape fits on a Backpack Lid. The basic principle is to use gravity to lower the rope from the tarp into the shallow bag, which expands to fit the rope because it’s made out of Power Mesh. There is a piece of Velcro to secure the middle of the rope when rolling and/or to loop the rope end. Roll it all up and secure with one buckle. The two D-rings on the sides can be attached to the sides of the backpack. The dimensions are 100x100cm for a 30meter (9,5mm) rope, which I use for my walks. The outher shell is made out of Nylon/UHMW-PE Gridstop, 210den Nylon/Tsunooga®, coated, 160g/sqm. The inner pocket is made out of 4-way elastic Power Mesh. All hardware is Duraflex, all webbing is 100% Dyneema. It has a total weight 120gr.

Leather projects

Golf Caddy-, Yardage- and Scorecard Book

I made this holder to keep all my golf administration together. It fits my back pocket, it has a pencil sleeve and the elastic pagekeeper and slots hold both a side-bound and a top-bound book. The leather is a piece of reused (cowboy)bag, veg-tan 1,5mm cow hide. It is entirely hand sewn using 6- and a 2 prong hole 1mm punches, wax-thread and a blunt needle. It took me 2 hour to make.

Knife Sheath

This sheath had to be made, replacing the 45 year old original that came with this Helle Camp knife. The knife is still in perfect condition, apart from some delamination, which is probably due to decennia of sharpening. (I made a kydex version as well.)
The sheath is made out of one piece of 3mm cowhide (a kids saddle found in a thrift store), thread and a brass button stud. It has two belt loops for a stable wear. I lined the sheath with a snug-fitting piece of 0,5mm G10 Micarta, folded on the edge side. The tools I used are a 6 prong 1mm punch, wax-thread, a blunt needle, a lined Basket Weave Brass Stamp for the decoration and a “V” Gouge for the decoration border. It took me an hour to make this beauty. I made a Kydex version as well.

Pistol Holster

This is the prototype of an bespoke made holster for some Walther P22 version. It is a belt worn, form fit, holster made out of 3mm cowhide, hand stitched using 6- and a 2 prong hole 1mm punches, wax-thread and a blunt needle. The decorative works as a pressure plate, covering elements that create the inward thickening, needed to keep the pistol in place. The basic shaping was done in a kydex press, moulding the wet leather. The whole holster is covered with a decoration made using a Basket Weave Brass Stamp. For the cover plate decoration, several Carving Stamp were used, either bought or home made. This holster took me a day to make, apart from the cover decoration which took another 4 hours.

Rope projects

Monkey’s Fist

This Monkey’s Fist, which is of no use to me, was a nice project to do. I used a glas marble of 6cm diameter, 6mm Hempex rope (a twisted, spun polypropylene artificial hemp rope) and an hour of my time. The knot used for the ball part is called the Monkey’s Fist knot (a throw line knot used on sailing ships and used as a melee weapon by the same sailors). For the handle I used a Crown Sinnet knot with an oversized Diamond knot on the end. All pretty basic knots. The hard part, as allways with paracord projects, is to make the connections between the different parts/knots firm and solid. I solved the problem by incorporating the 2 handle ropes inside the Monky’s Fist knot. The Diamond knot was a continuation with the handle ropes. So plenty of rope should be used from the beginning.

Thermoplastic projects

Rogan Pry Bar Sheath

I made this sheath out of Black Curv® 0,66mm. An incredibly strong thermo-polypropylene material.
The pry bar does not pop or click into sheath. It is held in using an adjustable friction tensioner and slid into or pulled out of the sheath with a set amount of force.

Knife Sheath

This sheath had to be made, replacing the 45 year old original that came with this Helle Camp knife. I made a leather replacement sheath as well. This sheath was is a very basic kydex project. Two pieces of (carbon look) kydex, heated to 60° Celsius in the kitchen oven, moulded in a kydex press, riveted together (with a rubber washer for some tolerance in the shaping) and fitted with a belt clip. The rivets were set with a hand press, but these rivets can be bought with a manual rivet setter as well. This type of project is ideal to get familiar with kydex work. The only critical stage is the shaping, so the knife can be inserted and extracted easily, whilst being secure and silent when in place. This project took me an hour.

Composite material projects

Carbon Rod Tube

Left to right: Rod in Sheath, Rod (my largest) and Sheath.

In need of a virtually indistructabel, yet very light sheath for my fishing rods, I made this tube sheath that fits any of my Tenkara rods (snug):

  • I shortened a piece round Carbon round tube, 3k-Plain Weave, Ø 30 / 28 (which I normally use to make kayaking paddles) to a length of 28cm.
  • Plastic tube caps were added on both sides.
  • The top cap was cut open, flush to the inside of the tube and thus creating some protection from the carbon edge.
  • When placing the top cap I placed a loop of 3 mm elastic cord through it.
  • A simple cord lock was placed on the cord.
  • Two Elasto-Lok Ice Axle Buckles are added for mounting on a backpack or vest.

Now I simply slide a rod into the tube, though the elastic loop and tighten the cord lock.
Ready to go blue lining!

(most used) Tools

Singer 4432 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine

My trusted sewing machine, a crucial factor in many of my projects! Capable of sewing outdoor fabrics, leather and what not. Components like feet, bobbins and needles are readily available. I almost allways use it with the optional Singer Extension Table. This is an all mechanical machine. A choice I made so I can understand and feel the limits of the machine whilst challenging it’s capabilities. This is a very easy going, uncomplicated sewing machine, with straight forward features that cover all of my needs and much more. The available extra’s like feet and needles are easy to understand and use and explained in the projects that I’ll share and publish.

Kai Scissors & Shears

I am a loyal and very satisfied user of Kai scissors. These reliable Japanese high-precision tools make the most complicated work easy. Right now I’m using these scissors (from top to bottom):

  • Stainless Embroidery Scissors 1140ST: 140mm total length, blade length: 55mm, with a soft elastomer handle. We do not do a lot of embroidery, but these are the best size to allways have on hand when sewing on the machine.
  • Stainless Universal Scissors 1165ST: 165mm total length, blade length: 65mm, with a soft handle grip. These are our allround Sewing scissors with a usefull compact, but potent, size.
  • Stainless Sewing Scissors 1220ST: 220mm total length, blade length: 100mm, with a soft elastomer handle, angled to cut without lifting the material. Suitable to cut fabric, canvas and paper.
  • Aramid Shears with micro serrated blade, 7240AS: 240 mm total length. The ultimate Aramid/Kevlar/Fiberglass scissors! The micro serrations ensure more grip on slippery materials and that the blade stays sharp longer. These micro serrated blades easily cut the toughest materials. A must have for making outdoor gear!
  • Fabric Shears, 7300: 300mm total length. Long sharp shears, made to cut large pieces of fabric with ease. These are among the best in the world. The thick blades are made from particularly hard steel, called AUS8A, which is a stainless steel with a high carbon content. Due to this steel hey can besharpened better and stay fine cutting much longer.

Special features of the 7000 series scissors are:
● The handle is made of soft elastomer which is a soft plastic type that gives the scissors a nice grip. Thus, it remains comfortable in the hand even during prolonged cutting.
● Thanks to the Duplex Interlock adjustment screw, these fabric shears are well adjustable and will not suddenly cut much looser after cutting through a heavy fabric. The scissors will always cut the same in terms of feel.

Kai Rotary Cutters & Cutting Mat

I use rotary knives for cutting technical fabrics, leather, paper, acetate and composite materials.
The two sizes I own are the Kai RS-45, ø45mm, size 180 x 55 x 30mm and the Kai RS-60, ø60mm, size 205 x 65 x 25mm. Both have three settings: light, heavy and secured. They come with a comfortable, soft-grip handle with a pressure-sensitive safety lock feature. The blades are made of tungsten steel.

A cutting mat is mandatory when using rotary cutters, because blade edges last much longer. My Kai CB-01N has the very practical dimensions of 900x600mm (and 1,5mm thick). This lightweight mat is made of 3 layers of PVC with a so-called self-heeling effect and can be used on both sides.

Other Tools (Click to open)

Materials used

  • VX21 Black X-Pac® X4-Laminate with 210 den Nylon, X-PLY® and 50 den Polyester Backing
    X-Pac®’s lightweight 4-layer laminate with 210 den nylon outer fabric in color Black. The waterproof fabric is ideal for making lightweight backpacks, panniers, packing cubes, bike bags, wallets or other lightweight but durable gear. The tried and tested X-PLY® technology creates a tear- and tension-resistant material. A 50 den taffeta nylon backing provides enhanced stitchhold. In addition, the light-colored taffeta offers the option of dispensing with the lining fabric on the inside of bags or backpacks. Laser-cuttable & waterproof.
  • PVC Window Film 0,3mm
    Made of 100% PVC and weighs 365 g/m². This fabric-type is not IRR-safe, not PU coated, not DWR, water-resistant. This fabric has no stretch. Use it or Packs and Pouches.
  • Polartec Alpha Direct, Style 4028 60g/m2. this ‘active insulation’ fabric was developed for U.S. Special Forces to create an insulation that would be highly breathable as well as warm, fast-drying and became the ‘ultralight king of base layers’.
  • Silicone Nylon (silnylon ) Soar Coat Ripstop – 65″ wide, 1.4 oz/sqyd or 50 gsm, no stretch, highly water repellent, very light and slippery. Ripstop Nylon is a woven fabric. It uses a special reinforcing technique that makes it resistant to tearing and ripping. Ripstop “stops the rip”. During weaving, reinforcement yarns are interwoven at regular intervals in a crosshatch pattern. Silnylon makes great stuff sacks or backpack covers.
  • Black Curv® thermo-polypropylene
    CURV® is a stable thermoplastic composite material made of polypropylene with high energy absorption, high impact resistance and high impact strength. CURV® performs particularly well at extremely low temperatures with very good stability and, thanks to its resilience, the material always returns to its original shape. Thanks to the composite structure of the fibers, there is also no stress whitening (mechanical degradation). CURV® is chemically inert and impermeable.
  • Nylon/UHMW-PE Gridstop, 210den Nylon/Tsunooga®, coated, 160g/sqm.
    The 210den nylon is reinforced with a white ripstop made from extremely tear-resistant Tsunooga® UHMW-PE-threads. A diagonal ripstop further enhance performance and give the fabric a technical look. Tsunooga®-UHMW-PE fibres, like Dyneema®, impress with their extremely high tear strength at low weight. Perfect for light to ultra-light backpacks, bags, hipbags and other outdoor gear.  The thin, durable polyurethane coating makes the fabric highly water-repellent, but it remains pleasantly soft to the touch.
  • Cordura® with Vectran®-Ripstop, honeycomb-coating, 410g/sqm.
    Strong Cordura® with ripstop reinforcement made from the high-performance fiber Vectran®. The Vectran® additionally increases the tear resistance of the base fabric and, together with the white fibers, provides a technical look. With a strong, partial PU coating in a structured honeycomb pattern. Ideal for reinforcements or sturdy bags or backpacks.
  • Mesh-lining, COOLMAX-Polyester, elastic, 120g/sqm.
    Soft, elastic net-lining made from high-performance COOLMAX All Season, which thanks to a sophisticated fibre blend cools in warm temperatures, insulates easily in cold weather and effectively wicks away moisture in all situations and dries quickly. This is achieved by blending COOLMAX fibre, which is optimised for moisture transport, with hollow-fibres that provide insulation through the inclusion of air. Suitable as a breathable, fast-drying lining, for ventilation applications or as a very airy shirt on its own.
  • 100% Dyneema® webbing, 20mm. Dyneema® fibres are 15 times stronger than steel, but still remain soft and textile. This webbing is 100% Dyneema®, so it is both very tear and abrasion resistant. Dyneema® is a very smooth fibre, therefore the surface of the tape is quite smooth. However, it still clings very well in our buckles. Ideal as an extremely tear-resistant, abrasion-resistant and UV-stable webbing or reinforcing tape. Thanks to its low density the tape floats and does not absorb moisture.
  • Power Mesh is a 4-way stretch fabric that has high compression. It looks like fine, stretchy netting. It is breathable and strong, but soft enough to be comfortable next to skin. 60″ wide, 230 gm, 4-way stretch: 50% in both directions. Certification: Bluesign. There are many possible applications, its just one of those handy fabrics we should always have in your stash!

Suppliers List

  • TacticalTrim is thé German one-stop-shopping supplier of military standards or are based on a US Mil-Spec/German TL. DIY /MYOG goods, carrying a wide array of haberdashery, fabrics, webbing, zippers, Velcro, etc. Their website is in German and English.
  • Discovery Fabrics: a Canadian company specializing in technical and performance fabrics for Outdoors and Activewear, selling high quality fabrics. 
  • Twig & Tail offers sewing patterns online, with every conceivable form of help on the website and included with the patterns.
  • Learn MYOG designed and offers the famous Alpha Raglan Hoodie patterns. IMHO, Tim makes great choices in what he makes, uses and offers. A great place to visit for knowledge, patterns and inspiration!
  • Duraflex is the brand I rely on for all plastic trimming products (readily available worldwide).
  • R&G Faserverbundwerkstoffe GmbH is a German company where I get my high quality Carbon tubes.

Need information? Help? Feedback?
Check out the Tailor Forum.