Sunday, May 24, 2015

Guide to sewing your own pouch - Part 1 - Shopping List

So, you want to build your own mag pouch but don't know where to start, I can help with that!

Here's what we're going to end up with - a proper double-layered Nerf-specific pouch with a variety of retention options.

But, first, you're going to need to do some shopping and get the materials required. All of this is standards-based materials, which is all I use. It's possible you could substitute cotton thread (ugh) or polyester webbing, but why would you. Build it right.

I'm using 500D Cordura nylon fabric. I'm using a couple of different colors in the tutorial, because most of it won't be visible when it's complete. 'D' is short for denier, basically it's the weight of the fabric. 1000D Cordura is more abrasion resistant than 500D, but this isn't a suitable use case for that. 500D will work fine. For all the internal and back parts (which can't be seen from the front) I'm using Tan499 Cordura.
I'd start with Rockywoods or ebay if you want small quantities.

Velcro (or hook & loop)
For hook, I tend to get 2" wide on full rolls, but smaller quantities are available. For loop the secret is to buy the wide 4" rolls and just cut it down as is appropriate. I'm using a couple of different colors, 4" wide Multicam pattern lop and 4" coyote brown loop. I have 2" hook in coyote brown.
I got the Multicam from another gearmaker. Rockywoods and ebay again are good places to start.

I'm using both printed Multicam webbing and solution dyed Tan499 webbing. You're going to want to find nylon MIL spec 17337 webbing in 1", or a commercial equivalent. It's flexible and easy enough to sew through.
Again, Rockywoods and ebay are good first sources

Binding Tape:
Not really 'tape,' it's very thin webbing used for edge binding. The mil spec is 5038. A search for 1" 5038 will get you what you need. I'm using Multicam printed 1" 5038.
Rockywoods, again, is a good source for a small quantities. I buy whole rolls from GSI, but they don't sell less than whole rolls.

I'm using #69 bonded nylon thread in Coyote brown (but it looks closer to Tan499 to me.) This is strong (you can't break it with your hands) and is the correct tool for the job. You're going to need a fairly large needle though to sew this. I use a #21 needle in my machine. If you're doing this on a needle feed home machine you may not be able to find larger than a #20 needle to fit it. Getting tension right is going to be a challenge with a smaller hole.
I like TheThreadExchange as a source for thread. I've also bought from GSI.

Shock Cord:
Search for 1/8 inch shock cord, also called elastic draw cord. This is used for general retention and for a pull tab retention.
Ebay or Rockywoods for small quantities.

You're going to want a cordloc or two, depends on how rapidly adjustable you want the pouch to be. I use ITW toaster cordlocs. These are coyote brown.
I bought a bunch from another gearmaker, but again Rockywoods is a pretty good place to pick up a couple.

Good fabric scissors, tailors' marking pencil, thick cardboard for making templates. Binder clips, seriously, they're a requirement.

Not technically a requirement, just a strong suggestion.

This is not a sewing lesson. You need to know how to sew already. You need to know what I mean by seam allowance. You need to have a beefy enough machine to get through several layers of Cordura and webbing. You need to be comfortable attaching binding tape, a binding attachment for your machine is absolutely recommended. A walking foot industrial machine is recommended.