[balloon-makers] Seams and stitches

Andrew Beattie andrew at tug.com
Sun Jan 27 03:01:40 CST 2002

Bob LeDoux wrote:
> I feel most comfortable when the warp and fill threads in tape
> run parallel to the warp or fill threads in the fabric.

May I interject with some of the things I've learned from kite design?

Observation of damaged soft kites shows that when a seam bursts, it
is the fabric that fails, not the thread.  So:

I avoid having seams that are parallel to the threads in the fabric.
The sewing machine makes a long row of perforations - if they are all
bursting the *same* thread, then you might as well say "tear down
the dotted line..."

I use the fattest thread that I can work with in my sewing machine,
namely Coats Din-40 Nylon (which they normally sell to people making
mattresses or tennis shoes), because a fat thread is a *blunt*
cutting instrument.

I use the biggest stitch my machine will do (less perforations)

I use as little tension as possible, to reduce strain on the fabric.
This is difficult with a conventional machine - I use a Pfaff with a
walking foot - the foot holds the previous stitch, so that you don't
pull it with the next stitch.

Of course, I'm using much lighter fabric than balloonist (Icarex P31
by preference), I don't have to deal with heat, nor consider having
humans trusting their lives to my handiwork, but I thought it was
worth mentioning.

More detail on the design and construction of my kites at:

Andrew Beattie

The LAZIEST way to find kite pages ---------> http://www.kitez.com/
My own stuff (Shona, Chevron, Veronica) ----> http://www.tug.com/
Resources for rec.kites --------------------> http://www.reckites.com/
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kite, n: A piece of negotiable paper representing a fictitious
financial transaction and used temporarily to sustain credit or
raise money.
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