Sew far so good

My big walk begins on 30 May this year. Now normally one would expect decent weather but I can’t take any chances. Imagine if it turns out to be one of those ‘the worst June since records began’ and I’m out there in the middle of it? Now I already have waterproofs but they’re not exactly top of the range. The overtrousers were the cheapest Decathlon could offer whilst my jacket is a very comfortable £5 nylon affair from the charity shop. They are both completely waterproof but they are useless because they won’t keep me dry. Yes, they’ll keep the rain out but sadly I’ll still end up wet because they’ll keep my perspiration locked inside. I need something breathable and lightweight.
RAB have some lovely kit that I drool over from time to time including a fabbo jacket which would be perfect for the job (http://www.cotswoldoutdoor.com/fr/rab-mens-spark-jacket-11111213). Perfect apart from the price that is. So what’s a poor boy (I.e. me) to do? Well I know how to use a sewing machine so the thought struck my why not try to make my own jacket? I know that mere mortals are capable of doing this because my mate Simon has made his own jacket and it looked pretty good. Now my excursions into the world of needlecraft have only involved basic stuff (duvet covers, curtains etc) but why not give it a go?. Necessity being the mother of invention so to speak.
So the other day I spent the morning ripping apart a cheap waterproof coat. Not out of anger you understand but to get a feel for the shapes of material involved since I‘m not keen on shelling out money for a proper set of plans. With the outlines of the old jacket I made up some prototype pieces from some old curtains and fastened all the bits together with pins, safety pins and staples. Just to get a feel for how the various shapes fit together. And it seemed fine.
The next step was to get hold of the proper material and here I turned to a specialist company that I found in Dresden called Extremtextil (www.extremtextil.de). The English version of their website was easy enough to navigate and I ordered a couple of metres of breathable lightweight nylon. The whole shebang came to less than 55 euros. So now I’m waiting in a very impatient manner for the goodies to arrive – according to the parcel tracking the stuff is on the way and should arrive today. It’s all too exciting.
Oh, nearly forgot to tell you. As well as ordering the nylon for my jacket I also ordered some ultra-lightweight nylon (silnylon) and some ordinary ripstop nylon as I’m also going to make a tarpaulin and a hammock for my planned trip to the Pyrenees. I really do seem to have the bit between my teeth these days.
Fast forward a few days. The stuff arrived so I decided to get my sewing skills up to speed on the easy stuff (hammock and tarp). Then onto the ‘jacket of doom’. Now sewing a hammock is easy but a jacket? Not easy at all, especially when you can’t put in together that easy before you sew it together – pinholes let water in. But I’m a patient soul and it all came right in the end. Now esoterically it’s not the nicest looking jacket and you won’t see beautiful young people modelling down the catwalk anytime soon. But it cost me sod all, weighs a mere 150 grammes, and keeps the water out. So it does what it says on the tin – well there isn’t a tin actually but you get my drift. Still, I’m just hoping that the first three weeks of June will be days of endless sunshine. Keep yer fingers crossed.
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